I stayed home today to try to beat the end of a bad cold that has been going on for almost two weeks. It was made worse by the fact that I had to walk to work the last two days because of the transit strike. The strike is allegedly over now, and the busses and subway system are slowly coming back to life, but I think it’s 50/50 on having my F train operational tomorrow morning for work. A bus runs right outside of our apartment on Grand St, but I haven’t seen one yet. Who knows. I’m sure someone in Chinatown has “I survived the subway strike” t-shirts for sale, though.
I haven’t written anything about the strike, mostly because I’ve been sick and it has taken all of my effort just to get to and from work and eat a couple of meals a day. I’m surprised the whole “fuck-bush” crowd wasn’t a lot more virulent about supporting their socialist brothers by endorsing the strike. The whole situation was stupid, and simply caused by the greed of the TWU. Every day, you hear major stories about companies like GM on the brink of death because they basically oversubscribed on pension and didn’t plan on how much they needed to put away to keep people going on retirement. And the TWU is that way about MTA jobs – they basically want people to work for 20 years and then somehow magically withdraw full pay for another 50. And without a magic money printing machine, you can’t do that. Sure, the MTA has a surplus, but that wouldn’t pay for a percent of a percent of the money they would need to sustain that kind of retirement ponzi scheme. MTA workers make good money for their moderate amount of work, and get pretty damn good benefits. This wasn’t an example of working-class Joe sticking it to The Man; it was plain greed, taking a city hostage. I’m glad that most New Yorkers seemed to recognize this and side against the TWU, which is why I think they eventually backed down. Hell, even the TWU’s parent union didn’t side with them.
I’ve been reading a lot, because I’ve been sick and also have a lot of books coming in as presents. I started reading Neal Cassady’s collected letters, which were interesting, but I stalled about halfway through. Maybe I’ll get back to it later. I still have more astronaut stuff to read, and I’m about halfway through Michael Collins’ autobiography. He was the CSM pilot on Apollo 11, i.e. the one that didn’t walk on the moon. His book is probably one of the best astronaut biographies I’ve read. He was a test pilot, and seems much more “human” than others, in the way he describes things. He’s not writing as a big huge mega-person who is larger than life, or a politician, or someone shilling you a message via the fact that they were spam in a can a few times. He spends a lot more time talking about how they got ready and developed things for these trips, and most of his writing is as a pilot, not a scientist or a spokesman. It’s good stuff. There’s a new Neil Armstrong authorized bio out now, so I will have to order a copy and contrast/compare. I guess Armstrong was on 60 Minutes recently, and they showed him flying his glider. I wish I could track down info on that and find out what he’s flying.
That’s about it here. I think I’m going to go back to bed until dinner.