Category Archives: Around town

Dog left in car writes letter to public on behalf of owner

dog in a carYou hear stories all the time of people breaking through car windows to free a dog left in the car while the pet owner shops or dines.

This morning, I was at the Wal-Mart in Glenmont and saw this sign posted on the window of a running car. The dog — a large, black and white mixed breed — was inside barking. In theory, his “call” was less about overheating and more about being bored and uncomfortable sitting (he was seatbelted in, it seemed) in the back of a small car.

While I realize leaving your dog in the car is not ideal, if you are going to do it (and sometimes you have no choice) this seems like the best approach. Not everyone agrees. The sign has sparked a bit of a debate on Facebook. 

Did you see this?

I’m starting a new (occasional) feature on Just Kristi where I share things — status updates, photos, links — I find on social media that make me stop either because they’re funny, moving, incredulous, educational, unbelievable, sad, inspiring or something else.

Here are your three for today (if the statuses are not public, I removed the author’s name. When the post is public — like with the photo in this post — I still asked permission to repost/share):

Sex>money: Continue reading

Overheard: Asian strippers, and a death threat

exotic dancer“Oh, man, we’ve got to go. Asian strippers are supposed to be sick. Do you get to pick your girl,” he asked his coworker. “I mean, if they send one over and you don’t like her, can you send her away and say ‘no, I want someone else’?”

I perked up. I’m an eavesdropper by nature (a trait ingrained in many reporters) and believe if you don’t want your conversation to become public consumption then you should not have that conversation when out and about.

“Um, uh, I don’t really know,” he said, busying himself behind the counter, not looking at his friend. “I’ve only been once.” Continue reading

Rude moms

talking womenYears ago, my parents took us to the Christmas show at Radio City. What I remember more than the falling soldiers routine or live camel on stage was how the group next to us talked the entire time.

For the full two hours they gabbed about everything from Christmas gifts to their drunk uncle to the homeless man who scared them in the Port Authority.

Why, I wondered, would you come to a show to talk? Coffee shops are for that nonsense, or bars.

We said “please stop talking.” The ushers asked them to quiet down. Management got involved. And yet, the conversation continued. Nothing worked. Continue reading

Is it ever OK to ‘run over’ your child?

tantrumI heard him a good 10 aisles before I saw him. After weaving from the health and beauty section to the vacuum cleaner accessories I met the source of the screams — a towhead of about 3-years-old (maybe a tad younger) slung on his mother’s hip. She balanced the teary-eyed, red-faced youngster while pushing her shopping cart.

He squirmed and she tried uprighting him. My breath quickened, and my chest tightened. I was panicking as if this was my child having a breakdown. I gave the mother what was intended to be a sympathetic look, but what probably came across like fear, or constipation. I walked faster, as if leaving the tantrum in the rearview was somehow going to make it stop. Continue reading

Draven Rodriguez, step away from the cat

Those signs people hang in their kitchen that say “kitchen,” white, button-down shirts and senior portraits in the yearbook have this in common: they’re boring, and generic.


Vincent Giordano/Trinacria Photography

Boring and generic is OK for some. Many, actually. Boring and generic often means fitting in, and it’s easy because being boring doesn’t require much effort, thought or creativity.

But there are times when we need to accept what is and realize that getting something is better than nothing at all.

Draven Rodriguez doesn’t live by that motto. 

The Schenectady High School senior created an online petition so a photo of him with his cat could appear in the portrait section of the yearbook. “This is my photo that should be going into the yearbook, but we know how finicky the school systems can be. I’m hoping that with enough signatures, my school simply can’t turn this down” he wrote on the top of the petition. 

Some (including Rodriguez) may call his move preemptive, I call it attention-seeking.  Continue reading

Does he (or she) deserve a tip?

No tipMany, many moons ago I’d get my hair cut at a small place in a strip mall in my hometown. The only two stylists at this joint were the owners — let’s call them Polly and Beatrice.

I’d get my hair cut by Beatrice, for $10. This was the perfect price for a college student in 1999. And, since she was the owner (AKA not paying booth rental fees or turning her earnings over to a salon head), I did not tip.

Suddenly, I’d come home from break and she’d never have availability. This was odd seeing as I would previously get in the same day. I tried a few more times, with the same results. Continue reading

Why the ‘crappy’ tip?

Originally, a portion of the restaurant's address and the diner's signature was visible. I have removed those details.

Originally, a portion of the restaurant’s address and the diner’s signature was visible. I have removed those details.

I got involved in an interesting conversation on Facebook this morning regarding tips. A waiter posted a photo of a receipt where he received $6.54 on an $85.46 bill with the caption “This is not okay people.”

I agree. That’s a lousy tip. And, knowing this particular individual casually, I suspect he’s not one to offer service that warranted a less-than-10-percent gratuity. What perplexed me, though, was how some of the commenters (conversation below) jumped to comment on the financial situation of the diner(s).

Tips are not guaranteed. They are earned. Lousy tips happen for all sorts of reasons — people didn’t like what they chose/ordered or they thought the service out of the kitchen was too slow (both of which aren’t the waitstaff’s fault, but that doesn’t mean some diners won’t blame them). It could be as simple as a personality clash. Perhaps a waiter or waitress reminds the person picking up the tab of someone they don’t like, personally or professionally. Maybe it was matter of a bad day. Continue reading