Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Women's Hall of Fame

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Submit the story of the woman you are honoring for a chance to win two complimentary sets of tickets to their next Induction Weekend on October 10th & 11th, 2009.

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With the purchase of a Book of Lives & Legacies, you receive: Two engraved plaques, one displayed in the Hall's gallery and one to give to the woman you are honoring.
The opportunity to submit the story of the woman you are honoring; stories will be displayed in the Hall's gallery and online at
A complimentary one-year membership to the National Women's Hall of Fame. Members receive quarterly newsletters, advance notice of special events and member pricing at those events, free admission to the Hall, and a 10% discount in the Hall's on-site and online gift shops. Offer Expires: April 30th, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Fliers; hanging on your doorknob, attached to the railing of your stairs, on the stoop, on the lawn. Good grief! Sanitation tells me that I am responsible for recycling the paper litter that is placed on my property or I will receive a fine. Oh, yes, I have gotten fined for dumping the plastic bag of fliers in my regular garbage. They will even go through my regular garbage to see if these fliers are there. Not only do I have to recycle these unwanted advertisements but also separate the plastic bag from the papers.

Has New York City come up with a solution to the littering? Oh sure; they passed a law which states that you must post a sign which is not less than 5 inches by 7 inches in size and which states in legible letters at least one inch in size: “Do Not Place Unsolicited Advertising Materials On This Property”!

Has that made a difference? I have two signs, side by side, sitting in my front window. Just this morning alone, I opened my door to find a flier on the doorknob and a bag of fliers on the stoop.

But, let’s go back to last week when I received two dreadful bags. There must be some assumption that I have someone living in my basement as bags are now placed sort of between my property and my next door neighbors…there is a set of shared stairs that leads to our basement door. As if the bags of circulars weren’t enough, there were a few things from local stores attached to my stairs, and two more things placed in my mail slot.

I first called the local Post Office to report this offense. Yes, it is a federal offense to put anything through a mail slot or even in your mailbox if it does not have postage. After providing the names of the companies, the P.O. requested that I place them in an envelope with a note to the postman to bring it in! Easy. No cost to me. I hope they follow through!

I now call 311 for assistance. They basically do no more than take down my name, address, etc. to send me a form to fill out. I could have done this online. I asked for the phone number of the Sanitation Dept. to report this and told that they were not allowed to give out that number. I have yet to receive the forms. I went online and printed one out.

Here is what line number 6 states. “On____, 20__, at___am/pm, I personally observed on my property unsolicited advertising materials (describe specific location of where material was found), in the form of (menu, pamphlet, bag of flyers, etc.) and which contains the name of ____on such written solicitation”.

I am quite busy with writing articles, preparing and airing my radio show (Whirl With Merle on, my blog site ( , etc. There are just times…oh yeah, the weather… that I do not leave the house for a few days! When I do I find the garbage building up.

Here is what line number 7 states: “I have attached the original unsolicited advertisement material to this complaint form in its entirety and in its original form, including any materials that were packaged together.” I did finally get to talk to the Operations Dept. of Sanitation who said that it was my responsibility to pay for the postage!!! One form for each advertiser.

I called V.A Distributions re the flyer bags. The manager was not available. I told the person whom I did speak with about the law and that I intended to make it a point to have a fine imposed on them. She asked for my address. I said, “What difference does that make? It’s your responsibility to abide by the law and tell your staff to look for the signs.” I asked for their address and they gave me a P.O. Box in Elmwood, NJ.

After this morning’s delivery, and lots of insistence, I was given the phone number of Enforcement. I wanted someone from the Sanitation Dept. to come to my home, view the crap, take notes and do their job. I spoke with Lieutenant Diaz and told that I had to go along with what the form stated and cannot have someone go to my home. He blamed the City Council for passing the law. I asked him about my having to fork over money for the postage and told that he gets boxes of these advertisements each day.

Now, doesn’t that make you wonder if they are actually fining these people? I mean, if they were, don’t you think the companies (especially the distribution ones) would make it a point of checking to see if they were in violation? If fines are being imposed, are they paying? Think of how much revenue the city can receive if the fines were not only imposed but also collected. Considering the amount of negligence, we may be able to keep both of the Queens hospitals open.

My last straw was calling my council person. My call was never returned due to a busy schedule, but gave me a telephone appointment in March. Kathy, the person I spoke with, asked for my address. She said that she lived nearby and knows the guy who does the deliveries, suggesting that she would tell him not drop off the garbage. He walks around with headphones and obviously does not make any attempt to see if there are any signs. I said that I did not want her to say anything to him asking if she would interfere in my behalf if I were given a fine for littering. She just didn’t get it. Instead of allowing the wrong doers to deal with the consequences, she thought that she was doing me a favor.

One more insult to add. If the culprit pleas “not guilty”, you have to take your butt to a hearing with the ECB (Environmental Control Board) and “in some instances the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge)may need to adjourn the matter to a future date. This will require you to come back”. If they don’t show, they are at default. Wait! “the respondent may be entitled to a new hearing. If this is the case you will be notified by ECB on how to proceed.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nutrisystem Update

I know that I'm not supposed to write down the calories from both the meals and extras like veggies, fruit and protein, but I was curious to see the caloric intake each day. I decided to chart it for a week. I really need to exercise. Having a bit of trouble with one hip. Going to my chiro tomorrow to get my body cleared out. I know that the Biggest Loser folks knock off over 5 lbs. a week and look healthy. I want to be able to do the same. Granted, I'm not going to be doing the kind of exercise available to them. Mine will be stretching, treadmill and the Nutrisystem walking DVD. I'm going to be adding light therapy to this. Will report on findings. I need support.

Oh yeah...I forgot to say that I lost 12 lbs. in three weeks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Al Jarreu , Ashford & Simpson Performance

First time at Nokia. Great concert hall. Expected it to look like a Broadway theatre. Sat in a balcony area on the right...VIP. The show was just fab. Music had my head bouncing, up you know what I mean. Ashford & Simpson opened the show. They are great. Al is even greater. He sang as if he were in instrument in a former life. Got to go backstage afterwards and take a photo with him. He was quite exhausted. Don't blame him. No time for youtubing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

JPD Program at Giants Stadium

Although the New York Sharks women's professional football team hosted the JPD (Junior Player Development)Program the last two years, this was the first time that I, I'm neither between the ages of 13 and 17 nor interested in learning how to play flag or any other sort of football. I went to watch. It was a two-day event. I was present for the first day.

There they were...well over 100 girls at this free clinic. Both present and former Sharks players were on hand to do the coaching. When introduced I should have said that I was number "oy" and played the position of "Brokenback".

The kids went through several drills, talks on subjects such as life skills on and off the field ending each day with actual flag games. It is amazing as to what the NY Sharks players can accomplish in one day, let alone how these young girls must have felt.

I'm not sure...and I will find out in the near future...but the experience of these girls ranged from never participating in any team sport to a set of twins who play tackle football on what is a boys high school football team.

While this was going on, webmaster Steve Mark was rolling his camera and Taya Wyss, who represents a group called...something like Wives and Girlfriends of the Giants, was interviewing players, coaches, parents, myself, and especially Andra Douglas, who was responsible for this yearly event. James Dockery was snapping away on Saturday and Amber Hopkins caught the action on Sunday. More about this to follow

Friday, February 6, 2009

Nutrisystem Update

I'm losing it, I guess. Like to share a recent experience. I had a dinner that was just awful! Zesty Canjun Style Chicken with Sausage. It didn't taste bad going down, but not only did I have this really bad aftertaste, but I was feeling a bit nauseous the rest of the evening. Brushing my teeth and tongue didn't help and the gas was so bad that I had to leave the room after the omission. Funny how it doesn't bother ones cat or dog, huh? I called Nutrisystem. Since this was the first time with an order, I didn't choose the items and of course wouldn't know how they tasted, etc.

I was interested in seeing if I would be able to return items and exchange. So, here was the deal. No problem. I told them what I would be returning and chose want I wanted instead. I am to pack the returns in a box and send it to them to include the exchange number and later to call in the tracking number. I am to pay for the shipping to them, but they will ship the exchanges with no charge. Now, I know for the next time.

Wally Shoop

At the age of 67 Wally Shoop, who owns and creates bronze (eagles are his favorite), has decided to go back into show biz with his rock n roll. He sings and plays the guitar with a backup band. Wally just released a CD entitled, "Wally Shoop: Rockabilly Revisited. What's "rockabilly"? You may have guessed it. Rock with a hillbilly sound. Songs: Boogie Man; Different Places; Bad Girls; Chicka Boom; Big Mama; Holly; Journey; Miller's Slough; Peaches; Sometimes; Sunshine Man; and Eagle. Who'd a thought. He's not giving up his bronze biz which you can check out at I already interviewed him on my radio show re the bronze. I'll let you know when I have him on for the CD. Oh yeah...he wrote the music and lyrics.

I don't want to omit that his very talented wife, Kit does miniature water colors.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Weight Is Over

Nutrisystem: The Weight Is Over. I mean...I'm overweight. And now for a Nutrisystem update. My scale is off. No, it’s not an excuse. I’m not sure as to what I first weighed. I’m just going to go along with what it says that I began with. Food is still fine. I did lose some weight. Getting into the exercise via the DVD tape and/or treadmill and drinking lots of water. Had steak and potato dinner along with a salad. Checked out ingredients for a fat free dressing. Bought rice vinegar and using cilantro and arugula for added flavor. Sweetening with a bit of that new sugar substitute PurVia.

AL Jarreu And Ashford & Simpson Performance

“We’re in this love together. We got the kind that lasts forever. And like berries on the vine, it gets sweeter all the time”. Do these lyrics sound familiar? They were made popular by the only vocalist in history to net Grammy Awards in three different categories: jazz, pop, and R&B. Yes, it’s Al Jarreau who will be taking his musical talents to the Nokia Theatre at Times Square, for Love Is In The Air – An Evening of Love Songs on February 15th.

For those of you who may not know Jarreau, his career has expanded for decades that probably started with his first performances singing secular songs in a choir with his mother as the church pianist. Born in Milwaukee, WI, on March 12, 1940, he was the son of a preacher. Where did it go from there? I interviewed Al on my radio show, Whirl With Merle on this past Monday afternoon.

Al hearing my sense of humor said, “You fit perfectly in my band.” He asked me if I ever hung out at the Improv as he did, “known to be the place to get the bugs out of your routine.” It seemed that he did the hanging out in the late 1960’s and that he and Julio Martinez were the “comic relief”. Back to his career, Al has performed on Valentine’s Day in New York City for several years as a tradition. In addition, this year, Ashford & Simpson will be on the roster with a new rendition of “Solid As A Rock”…Solid As Barack”.

As a young man, Al got a gig singing in between the double feature movies with performances earning $75 a week and the non-paying Do Whop on the street corners. There was an a capella choir (he admits to now being able to sing any song from a Broadway musical) and then onto nightclubs while he went through grad school. He soon went off to San Francisco where, after earning his master’s degree in psychology, pursued a career as a Rehab Counselor and singing two-three nights a week with a trio from 1964-68. When the club folded he made the decision to do his music full time.

The change that began to occur was in writing his music as he now had the time to think about it. He and Julio Martinez did a four-year run at Gatsby’s in Sausalito. Al tells me, “Raggedy Ann and Susan’s Song were two of the songs that we wrote for my first album.”

What is the difference in his styles? “I’m weaving a jazzy approach throughout my music”, although he admits that 2% of his music are specifically “jazz”. I felt that his song Mornin’ became one of the most “heard” songs on the radio. We then broke to compare the songs Roof Garden and Rainbow In Your Eyes. Although Roof Garden is more jazzy with “skat” they are common to all of his music with “syncopation”. We also agreed that the jazz radio stations, such as CD 101.9 are great for waking up to in the morning.

What else was Al Jarreau’s famed music? How about the theme from the television program, Moonlighting. We then talked about the type of jazz of which I labeled as “showing off your instrument”. “Jazz lost a bit of its form”, said Al. “It used to be music that people danced to.”

His latest CD is Love Songs, produced just a few years ago, although he did cut a Christmas CD last year. The song Take Five has become one of his favorite songs that “takes on a life of its own” as “every group that takes on Al Jarreau and becomes a new song just about every night”. We should look forward to having him perform that song on February 15th.

Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson have been two of the most influential songwriters and performers in R&B music since the 1970s. Their compositions include some of the greatest hits of all time: “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” “You’re All I Need to Get By”, “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand” (Diana Ross), and “I’m Every Woman” (Chaka Khan). Their own recording career reached highs in the 1980s with the #1 hit smash “Solid”. Today they continue to record and tour the world performing to SOLD OUT audiences and spreading musical joy to many, many loyal fans. These are two performers you won’t want to miss!
Tickets: $89.50/$79.50/$59.50
Available at
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