Thursday, September 23, 2010


A History of Viagra by Michael Dennis Mooney

Today, on the broadcast, we're with Bobby Levin. We call him the "nutty professor," because his specialty is human gonads, the functioning thereof, also the malfunctioning.

Good evening! Great day to be alive! Specifically, I'm a reseracher in Geriatric Hypogonadism, which is sexual dysfunction, basically a lack of normal erections, in older males, and the relief of the problem with medicine.

Bobby, honestly, you seem younger than Springtime, yet we understand you're retiring next year from the College of Pharmacy. How is this possible?

You're as young as you feel, Charlie, and I'm in Viagra research!--

Do you treat yourself with that stuff?

--Yes! And I'm feeling like a very frisky 30-something, one that goes for hikes up hills, one that stays up late, ahem, stays up, and fools around. Life is good!

Retirement? For a young fellow like you?

I'm 66, a few months away from 67, and eligible for full benefits, so I'm leaving the Pharm! I'm done with the College of Pharmacy and teaching at the end of the school year. But I'll still have my research grant at the hospital.

We'd like to hear about Viagra. What has been learned about it so far?

When we first discovered this formulation, we were researching its potential as a medicine for lowering blood pressure. It didn't do so great in that area, except in mild hypertension cases.

It was a bust?

Yeah, we were prepared to write it off as unworthy of development. We were wrapping things up, finishing our notes, we were asking all the research subjects to bring back their unused supplies of Sidenafil. That's what it was called then.

I see where you're going with this. They wouldn't return the samples?

We found they'd grown quite attached to their little blue pills. Wouldn't give them up willingly.

And the reason? As if I didn't know!

The men, we noted, were, "having sex a lot more," , and it was, they reported, "THE BEST THEY EVER HAD !!!! " We realized we might be onto something. Lightning in a bottle.

These were not necessarily old men, am I right?

Correct. They were middle-aged, thirty-somethings, also 40's and older.

Most of us have thought this treatment was more for the elderly married man.

You see, blood pressure problems and erectile dysfunction both tend to hit the human male, and require treatment, at about the same time in life, in the post-35 age range, in middle age. So we were treating the right age group, but, in a sense, the wrong set of symptoms, with this medication. So we simply changed course. We had a new med to treat a problem no one had ever treated medically, not like this! So Viagra was born.

So, Bobby, you can treat younger people with the Vitamin V!

Yup! Charlie, it won't do anything for a 20 year-old, obviously. He'd just be wasting his money. But anyone in their later 30's, or 40's, 50's, etc., anyone who's been woefully noticing some inability to become erect while in a good stimulating lovemaking situation, will find this med makes quite a difference. You know, it will work better for a 40 year-old with a relatively small degree of impotence, than for, say, a 90 year-old, as there is, in the younger fella, way more potential to work with. Yes, it's for younger people, and it makes them feel even younger.

How does it do this?

Simple. It causes an increase in circulation to the erectile tissues! All it takes is just a small amount of increased blood flow, and VOILA! This drug is a vasodilator, it creates greater amplitude of flow.

Bobby, indulge me, here's a favorite joke of mine: Doctor says to the pharmaceuticals sales rep, "I have a complaint about those Viagra pens. They only work about half the time!" Ba-Da-Bim! But you're saying, this medication, though, always works, and quite reliably.

I take it (believe me, I knew I needed the help) and it has never not worked.

Well, now we know why you have such toothsome grin. And how long have you been taking it?

All through the late 90's and the 2000's, up til now, 2010. Two to three times a week. It's good for about 48 hours or more. You figure, you take one mid-evening on a Friday, the dose is less than 24 hours old on Saturday. On Sunday, you're still good.

They call it the weekend pill?

That's right. 'Fact, I'm going to take one right now, as it's Friday, and it's cocktail hour.

Bobby, what are you doing? We're on the air!

So report me, uh, to the F.C.C. or something. Here, I'm taking one right now. Plus, I've brought along this big cocktail shaker with O.J. and ice, I'll pour in a few shots of vodka, there!, and I'll have my ritual Friday evening DOUBLE SKA-REW DRIVER!! That'll get the "Vitamin V" going. Later, I'll go home and screw around some. First, though, I'll prepare a little barbecue for my wife, the lovely and sensuous Sheila Levin. She likes a grilled tuna steak with teriyaki sauce, I like a nutty and garlicky pesto on mine. And then I'll let her take advantage of me. We NEVER have anyone over on a Friday. 'Less I've taken the day off and we've been fooling around already.

Bob, sheesh!, you can't do stuff like this on the air, drink and combine it with a drug.

Just did. Can't undo it exactly, either. Hey, count this as one of your Public Service Announcements. You could make a video cassette, and show it once a day.

Bobby, you're the devil. Put that drink down, and get that canary-eatin grin off your face.

You should get yourself an O.J. sponsor, I'm drinking the true juice of youth. It's good for ya.

Bob! Get rid of that plastic cup!

Okay, I'll pour it back in the shaker. But I'll be sipping it through a straw all the way home. In the streets. Since I'm an outcast here.

You walked here?

I walk everywhere, to the store, to work. To a restautant in the evening, with my Sheila. To the movies. Heck, we like to walk half way across town for any reason at all, just to walk. It's all the same idea. Get the blood circulating. Only place I drive to is Connecticut. Why do you think Walt Whitman, for example, was such a notoriously horny guy, always writing about free love, about freely loving women, one woman and then another?-- and men! He walked everywhere, he walked all the way into Manhattan from Brooklyn. Like it was nothing. He was a vigorous old sage, and a horndog. Get yourself a good pair of hiking boots, young man.

Bobby, I'm sixty! I get my insurance from AARP!

You're a young man to me, Charlie. "Sixteen and Sixty are the same." That's from Karl Shapiro, the poet, he's saying both ages are ones of a great, exuberant idealism, and a disposition to rebellion and independence.

Okay, tell us some more about the early days of investigations into Viagra.

I remember our first international conference! At the time, Viagra was only legal here in the U.S. The F.D.A. had just approved it. We had all these foreign doctors attending, practically every hotel in the city was booked-up. These foreign docs were getting the American docs to write them Viagra scripts.

I can see where this goes.

These international doctors wiped out the city's Viagra supply. Every pharmacy, way out into the 'burbs, as far as Pennsylvania and Delaware, had run out of it by the second day of the convention. Friday was still three days away, and there was no Viagra to be had. Pfizer became aware of this, but there was little they could do to make more, not on the spot like that, not enough. It was the one Viagra-less weekend in the city, and Viagra became a smash hit around the world. Global buzz! Quite a thing! A true story.

Tell me about Pfizer. They making money? I bet they are.

They've sold more Viagra tablets than all their other medicines combined, ever! They're doing okay. They did a billion in sales the first year. They fill a new script every few minutes.

Do people abuse this stuff?

Sure. A very funny-- also a not funny-- story! A true story! The first Viagra death...

Keep it clean.

...This fella, you'd have to say he was morbidly obese, he'd contracted the services of a little lady of the evening.

And who knows what else he may've been contracting?!

So, as he is very heavy, several hundred pounds, he is used to taking extra-large doses of some medicines, like Ibuprofen, say, because he has to compensate for all that body tissue to get the effects of the med. Well, he took, I think, too many Viagra tabs. He was having sex with her-- and he died right on top of her. Hey, at least it enabled him to have a fling at making whoopie. 'Course, she had her arms around a great big problem.

My god!

Now, if she were one of those girls who ALWAYS has a cell phone in her hand, she might've gotten rescued a lot quicker. No one discovered her 'til the next day. The bed wasn't very firm, and she was just pressed right down into this squishy soft old mattress like a bug smushed into a wadded-up newspaper. She couldn't budge him. When the maid came in to clean the hotel room the next day, it was eventually discovered there was a live lil call girl, uh, sex worker, under the huge corpse.

Phew! We're going to take a pledge break for a few minutes. We'll be back in five with our guest, Bobby Levin. Are we off the air? Bobby, pass me that shaker. Bring us some mugs, please.


We're back with Bobby Levin!

Charlie, this is some great coffee your producer makes. 'Course, I like to sip mine with a swizzle straw. A lil plastic umbrella would be festive in my cup.

Ahem, we were talking about abuse. Will there ever end-up being, say, a 12-step program for Viagra abuse?

It isn't an addictive substance, so no. But anything can be abused, so there are cases in which this medicine has fed into an already screwed-up life, one with lots of unhealthy behaviors and anxiety-driven compulsions. Also, there are new studies showing that Viagra has really changed the pattern of adult development in old age, which we define as life after 60.

That's a powerful thing, it can alter how people typically grow older?

A man used to retire to the life of a typical old-school grandfather, he'd stay close to where his kids live, visit with the grandchildren a lot, do house-repair projects, work on the golf swing, volunteer at the fire department, do the crossword puzzle, ho hum, take naps, listen to Benny Goodman records in the garage, etc. But now there's a new older man that is taking his Viagra Rx on the road.

What do you mean?

He might acquire a girlfriend of about age 40, or even younger, someone who's really peaking, a ripe middle-aged woman, and then move away from the family to be closer to the hottie, the babe!

Now, in old-school days, the kids and grandkids would expect to be his heirs.

Yes, but not now, the sole heir can, perhaps, be his new babe toy. She has a powerful say over what happens. I had a friend, Mackey, his name was, he went way out into the Midwest-- well, to Buffalo, far enough-- he left his family here, and transferred to a job out there, at an age when he should've been, by old-school lights, settling into a retiring mode, one of just being in the background of his son's life.

He shuffled off to Buffalo. He met someone.

Yes, he did! On the internet, as they exchanged blog posts. Pretty soon they're on the phone every day. In no time, he's traveling to meet her on his August vacation. In a few hours, they're shacked-up, in some god-forsaken, rundown, ghetto-y Buffalo neighborhood. He's 59, she's 40. They are an instant item. They spend weeks together, never apart, a sort of wild joy ride of a first date, she's a divorced woman, a grad student-- a divinity student!-- with the summer off. A couple weeks out there together, then they spend a couple more weeks back here. They set the copulation record for a first date, as they remain together every day for a month or more! Alert the Guinness World Book! He then resumes working evenings in the hospital back here after vacation, he's in nursing, and they fool around all day,'til he goes to work at 3 p.m. She then stays home and plays with the computer, watches her soap, reads her grad school books, talks on the phone, orders-in Chinese. He comes home from work at midnight, and he doesn't sit down to a lonely beer and late night TV, 'cause she's calling out to him, "Get that ass in this bedroom!," real playful, and they do some more minky pinky. And again in the morning, right after coffee, some more. And this girl babe of his-- Mairlie, he called her, she is a Mary Lynn-- Mairlie herself is pure human Viagra, as she likes having sex, and she likes having it a lot, I mean, frequently, she's always wanting to mount his lap while he's just sitting there playing with his, um, laptop. You'd have to know Mackey to know how this transformed his life, he's one of those big hefty working class Irish, 250 lbs, six foot two, a body made of beer, beef, and buttermilk, but now, with Mary Lynn, he's exercising every day, walking to work two miles like it's nothing. He's a changed man with a smile on his face.

Your friend is a new kind of senior citizen!

Yes, he is!

So he leaves his family and the hometown area.

Yes, he transfers to a hospital out in shabby hairy old icicle-hanging Buffalo. Same job, same pay, a better-run facility. He rents a house there, a good one, and at a great price. The first thing they do is fool around, right there on the carpeting of the new place, with the still-loaded UHaul in the driveway. They christen the new house with their sweat, their bodily fluids, and their ecstatic cries echoing mightily off the bare walls. Things are going gangbusters. Well, for the moment.

This is the new horizon available to grampy!

Believe me, there can be some dazzling sunrises on this horizon! So, then, many months later, (Mackey told me this story in tears) they had some squabbles about their new domestic arrangements, then a big angry blow-up. She left him! She would NOT speak to him. Now, what is he left with? He's in this strange town on the foggy, polluted shores of Erie, he's hundreds of miles from his son, from family members, his sister, his mom, he even misses the ex-wife, who, at least, was a friendly woman who would talk to him. And winter is a-comin' in, it's late November. Then comes the first December arctic blasts, single-digit temps, and lake-effects snows. He's depressed, anxious. Can't sleep. Starts drinking too much. It's the holidays, it's his 60th birthday in December, and he's living in desolation. He gets in some minor scrapes. He hassles someone he thinks is dating the babe. He is extremely remorseful and self-blaming, the way depressed people are. He has no life there in hoary depressing Buffalo, yet this is how far away he got from his life, via Viagra. Eventually, he finds his way back here and gets rehired at the old job, but he comes back here in pretty rough shape. He goes into therapy, hoping to find answers. So these setbacks can happen, by way of overly compulsive, well, "womanizing," I'd guess you'd say. This particular fella was not a sex addict, you know, not a maniacal conqueror of one woman after another, but he certainly took a big head-first plunge with a woman he didn't know. He had a good time, but paid for it with a lot of heartache, and he hated himself aferwards for being a fool. This could've been much worse, if he had been dealing with multiple substance addictions, like, say, cocaine and tranqs. As it is, he spent a lot of his savings, which might've gone into better things. But you know, if she phoned him, he might do it all again. That's what he says. He still refers to her as "my baby." (And, in fact, she's exactly the right age to be his offspring!) If he could see her again, he'd, of course, approach the matter with some caution, he would not so swiftly merge his life with hers. This was a case of "Sixteen and Sixty." Our Mackey was a teenager again, at 60, pulled into a vortex of desire for Marvelous Mary Lynn.

This medicine helped wreck his life for a while.

Yeah, but at least he didn't use Viagra, as some older men will, to be with nineteen different girls in a summer season, only to end up with syphilis, perhaps. He had intended to marry the hottie. They both intended to be happy together, and happily erotic at that.

Bob, we're just about out of time.

I always end my talks with a little proselytizing moment. I take out my prescription bottle, there!, and open it up, there!, take one tablet out, here it is, and put it on the table. Then I turn to my interlocutor, and I say, "So, any questions?"

Look at that silly grin! Get out of here!

Any questions, Charlie?

Yeah! Can I have one?

Take it with your coffee, and have yourself a weekend, my boy. Just don't end-up in hairy-assed Buffalo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The People's Daily Blues

Ideology Notes: On Septmember 13, 2010, the newspaper, People's Daily, in China, provided "analysis" of some shocking events. Numerous employees have been jumping off Foxconn Technology buildings this year. In China, suicide, per People's Daily, is often not the result of mental illness, as in the West. Rather, it is a custom of honor, so as not to be a burden to others. It is a cultural phenomenon that is very much a part of being Chinese. Thus is raised the possibility of a serene, non-melancholy,"Chinese-style suicide," perhaps an important distinction.


De Chinee Peeppa's Day Lee News Blues
~ by Ole Micah Dee Moondog

Ever moanin Ah geddup
Read de Peeppa's Day Lee News
Oh my, Ah am sa happy
To find Ah doan hab dem bloooose!

Ah been tole Ah doan hab dem blues!
Oh my, dat is good news!
Doan hab dem mind-messin, distressin,
Low-down an depressin

(Spoken) Ah'se jes Chinee
An Ah hates mah job

When Ah geddup na moanin
Fust thing in mah head
Ah'll go head-fust offa buildin
Land right on mah head

Oh my, Ah am sa happy
Ah doan hab dem blues!
Ah doan hab em now, doan hab em,
Woan hab em when Ah'se dead!

(Spoken) Ah'se jes Chinee

My, Ah am so-oh happy
Ah doan hab dem buh-loooose
Yeah! Ah red it in de paypuh!
Ah doan hab dem blues!

(Spoken) Break it Down!
Buh-loooose it up, Y'all!

We de Chinee Peeppas
We doan moan an sob
When we go off de buildin
'Slike we goin to de job

(Spoken) S'all bidness!

We dress from head to toe
In our bess bidness suit
Our family gets
Death benefits
An ever one stay mute

(Spoken) Is part de job
No need to sob, Y'all
We'se jes Chinee

Ole Ma can hab mah 'nnuity
Young Sis can hab mah car
Pop can hab mah stamp collection
(He cain't take dat to de bar)

No mo Ah'll be a burden
Ta mah family
Ah'll jes take dis flyin leap
Into eternity...

(Spoken) Cuz zats mah job, y'all
Doan moan an sob
Is jes mah job

Lawd! Ah am sa happy!
Ah doan hab dem low-down Buh-Loooose!
Doan hab em, Ah doan hab em,
Woan hab em when Ah'se dead

Ah'll jes jump right offa Foxconn
An land smack on mah head
Woan hab dem blues,
Woan hab em, Woan hab,

Neva mo ha-a-hab, de blues


Notes on Reality: Working conditions are so bad at Foxconn Technology, the world's largest supplier of electronics components for manufacturers of computers and electronic gaming consoles, they are a form of 21st century slavery in an industrial setting, people working hundreds of hours of overtime each month for $1 an hour, working in heat, dust and fumes, often sleeping in the factory after working long overnight shifts. Marx and Engels, writing in the mid-1800's of British factory conditions, would be aghast to see this ultimate Stalinistic sweating of the laborer, and in a nation that proclaims itself a "People's Republic." The average worker has little choice but to stay and slave or return to a poor village in the countryside, and most leave, rather than contemplate "Chinese-style suicide." ~MDM

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wi-Fried In Albany

A Guide To The Hot Spots And The Not So Hots  by Michael Dennis Mooney

So many of the supposed WiFi Hot Spots here are Not So Hots. (Examples: Breugger's, Panera, Uncommon Grounds, Borders, and Muddy Cup all make my short list of the lukewarmest, the posers, the formerlies, the not reallys, the notsa hotsies, the seriously inadequate.)

I am a person who lives by the keyboard, it is always at hand when I'm getting coffee. So here is my WiFI guide for the perplexed. You new students in Albany, all you new law, med and pharm hands on N. Scotland, new social scientists of Western Ave., new engineers of Troy Hill and of Union Ave, new accountancy and computer freaks of Loudonville, new rosebuds of Madison Ave (and rosebuddies!),  future directors of nursing from Sage and new rock and roll musicians of SUNY Schenectady CC, listen up.  First let's clear the psuedo-hot from the field:

Uncommon Grounds on Western, hard by SUNY Albany: You're on your screen at around 1130 a.m., with coffee and a rich bagel sandwich, delish!, and you think you're getting work done. You go to transmit your work to a net site and the "idiot manager" (I have called him this to his face) has turned off the router. He is encouraging the WiFi users to leave before lunch starts in. This ain't hot. (Not cool neither.) Good deli, lousy WiFi.  Uncommon is a "formerly."  Once hot (got too hot for the manager) now not hot. They turn the router back on later. too late to matter. 

Uncommon Grounds on Broadway in Saratoga remains hot 365-24-7, even at the height of the August track season, even at lunch, an hour before post time. Exemplary hotness. Enlightened management. Go figure! Who knew? What were the odds?

Breugger's, the entire chain, is so far behind the curve, it is just plain utlra-pseudo. They have a marketing campaign, but no real WiFi.  You're working on your screen and almost starting to experience some WiFi contentment and your screen goes off. What's this? It's a commercial interruption, just like broadcast TV!, and it's a new screen full of corporate-speak about "Relax, and have another cup of coffee," etc. WTF! 

Meanwhile just try and find the edits you made to your work, edits you thought you posted to your net site. All your work has been lost. Very Breuggerly in a NOT RELAXING sort of way. Your work has been lost, because your net connection was cut-- WiFi interruptus!-- and the chain is now, in its very psuedo-service-oriented way, inviting you to log on again. With service of this kind, who needs fraud. Let's have the authentic article. WiFi.

Panera is the same. The little corporate-speak message comes on, and with it the slowly dawning horror that your work has been eaten by Panera's policy.  Great baked goods, pseudo WiFi.  Both Breugger's and Panera do this timed interruption of your work (actually a cancellation) at about the time they figure you should be clearing out, and to make it real sporting they do this without warning. So now you're warned. Don't trust the bastards.

Now for the inadequate. You walk past the sign saying Free WiFi and in the door at the Muddy Cup on Madison, and (unsuspecting fool!) you do not know their signal is so weak, well, it is too weak to defend itself. You end up realizing you'd do better just visiting someone you know across the street, which is also what the other customers are doing, they're logging on to whatever's nearby. Great open mike nights. WiFi that is too weak to live. Muddy management focus. The night atmosphere is way better than the daytime, especially when St. Rose  and SUNY Albany are in session. The day atmosphere there is as bleak as the jobs economy, in fact that is who's here, the marginally employed. Hey, why am I here?  Fortunately, the new owner there has just gotten a divorce-- WITH NO ALIMONY!--  from the Muddy Cup chain of franchise operations, and he has made it a priority to have the WiFi back-up and running. So at the new ... Ta-da! .... Drama Cup (that really is the new name) the spot is hot again this September. Log on to WAVES. (Get it, microwaves?) And the Cup that was Cold is now Steeemin! The new owner has also refurbished a bit with new couches, and he should have a great fall and winter season, with or without my vote of confidence, because his WiFi is now sparklin'. No longer muddy.

Muddy Cup in Schenectady has a fine WiFi system, it's in the Proctor's box office atrium on State. Log on to Proctors Visitors Rob Alley(code: showhouse.) And you're doing work, and in a comfy chair! Plug-in receptacles everywhere in the electric city atmosphere.  It's more electric in the evenings when theater crowds are on hand. In the day it's bleaker, more of a welfare state atmosphere. Street people getting a cup of consolation. Bomber's Burrito Bar, other side of State, has a great huge space, wonderful food, good beers, great sports on TV, a way overworked staff, and it has WiFi that has a headache and doesn't feel like it. Fuhgeddaboudit! 

Bomber's in Albany on Lark, no problem, just log on the municipal WiFi, AlbanyFreeNet and you're getting work done while crunching those deep fried tacos. Pass the guacamole.


Now that we've cleared the major posers from the field, here are the really good places: fewer details are needed, as the WiFi works in these places. Let's start with a corporate one: Starbuck's, I think, is doing quite well, especially when hosted by a Hilton, such as here on N. Scotland, or by a big book barn behemoth like Barnes & Noble, both at Colonie Center and Mohawk Mall. At the Hilton Starbuck's you log on to Hilton Honors (any one who is sitting there is a guest.) And you'll never have to cringingly await the interruptus. Here you can relax, 'cause the WiFi works, and you won't get, um, cut off.  Also in the Hilton's bar and grill, the Recovery Room, same deal. You can really feel yourself getting better, as you sip a beer, munch a snack, and rock the net. In the books department, I find Border's at Crossgates, where I practically live, can't get its act together, intermittent WiFi just ain't doing it for me. When it goes down, and it always does, you call an 800 number and speak to an outsourcing Fillipino who is just not grasping your nuances.  Really inspires a lack of confidence.


 Envelope please, Best local WiFi places:  

The best coffee house in Albany is one of the very newest. Midtown Tap And Tea. A coffee house from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then it turns into a restaurant. Original art on the walls, including a Warhol. $1 coffee, free refills. Right next to Stewart's and The Fountain on N. Scotland. A roof-covered patio with outdoor plug-ins for your laptop, an Indian Summer idyll. Their staff, Melissa The Barista and 'em, are the most gracious crew, so far in front of the curve they've destroyed the curve, blown it to bits.  And the Tap and Tea is also the finest space for a coffee house in Albany, roomy, beautifully and stylishly appointed, tremendously ambitious new construction. Miss Meliss is also a savvy gourmandizer who wants to make you a great breakfast or lunch in her newly built kitchen, egg dishes, bagel sandwiches, salads, cheese plates. For WiFi, log on to Coffee House Guest (code: Coffee.) 

Also truly great: Ultraviolet Cafe (which has a well-organized cost-free book exchange!) next to Spectrum Theaters on Delaware; Also Java Jazz (I write this while jazzed on about 40 ounces of their Italian Dark Roast.) And Perfect Blend.  Both are on Delaware in Delmar. The Blend is now run by very good bakers and their coffee is now better than the old Perfect BLAND (what I used to term it) and the Blend is one of the real centers of community activity in the village.

Easiest place to get a coffee with WiFi, oddly, is the Dunkin Donuts, Lark and Madison, because of the municipal free Wifi, AlbanyFreeNet, which lights up most of the places along Lark. Best WiFi along Lark, besides Daily Grind, (log on to lynksys in their upstairs room), is almost anywhere!, the Wok, the Tandoori, Elda's, your friend's stoop, your car, if your just sorta pit-stopping in front of the Dunkin. Daily Grind in Troy is the beating heart of that city's  cafe district, and it's pulse rate is permanently high, it's a way roomier room than the Albany store, more comfy, and good Wifi. Also try Spill the Beans.

Best multitasking play in the Lark neighboorhood: log on to the laundromat WiFi at MadLark, put your wash in, and after transferring it to the dryer (the atmosphere is already way warmer than Bruegger's) saunter across to the Lionheart's Indian Summer patio setting. Your WiFi connection still works, you're getting work done, you're having a Spaten Optimator, you're optimating the possibilities and feeling the spateneity! Now that's relaxing! I told the beeeeertender there, about the Spaten, THIS STUFF IS REALLY GOOOOOD! He quietly explained it was about three times as strong as the Miller Lite twaddle I am used to. I am completing my education here: three for the price of one is a no-brainer, a triple play, and my wash is getting done, so that's a home run or something. Boy am I going to need a good nap later, plus some aspirin.

A distant second, but great, is the patio(s), front and back, of Cafe Hollywood on Lark. Log on to Hollywood Hotspot. Just another day in Hollywood. Don't hate the glamor! Put on your shades and WiFi away in the front sidewalk cafe with a $3 Schmithwicks's at happy hour, 3-7 p.m. You're sitting there in your shades at 3 p.m. and every schlub that drives by is envying you. What? Is that Mooney guy retired now? Yes, he is. A gentleman of leisure on the stroll.

Best breakfast in a bar with WiFi: Quintessence on N. Scotland, where the early bird special is less than $4.50 and includes scrambled eggs, potatoes, toast, juice, coffee, with the lovely Alicia refilling the cup (a pharm student and future millionaire.) Log on to Quint.  Also log on there during Blues Night, Moday at 830pm, German Night (sauerbraten!) on Wednesday, all the other nights, Mexican, Italian, et alia.

Ice cream hot spot: Emiack and Bolio's on Delaware. When I was there, I bought an ice cream cake for my kid's birthday, cosmic purple buttercream frosting over an ice-cream cake compounded of  "Serious Chocolate Addiction" and "Almond Joy." My son is a teenaged guitarist, so they wrote YOU ROCK! on his cake top. Totally worked. Their cafe, set back behind their ice cream store is the sweetest little hobbit habitation, cozy, comfy and pleasing as eating ice cream and drinking cappuccino should be. And their WiFi is perkin'.

A great tea place: Lil Buddha Tea on Lark. I'm not very adventurous-- you should have the chai! you should just chai it!-- so I had the plain black tea in a pot with lemon and honey. I again wasn't brave enough to go for the spinach and sweet potato frittata, so many densely nurtitious dark greens and oranges!, so I had the fruits and cheeses. AlbanyFreeNet works great there, though I piggybacked on Cafe Hollywood, 'cross the street. I completely re-edited this entire text there, while all teed-up, so to say. (And Hollywood Hotspot never faltered.)

Italian eatery hot spot: Mercato's on Delaware in Delmar. I like to bring a chess set and embarass my son with my doing chess problems on their checkerboard tablecloths. I like to go at lunch time, it's not busy then and the prices are less at that hour, and the lunch waiter is a terrific kid, a good server, and actually from Italy.

Diner hot spot: Latham 76 Diner on Rte 9. Not many places to plug in, though. Ask the busboy where the vacuum cleaner gets plugged in

Noirish pizza hot spot: Side Door on Western-- Don't go in the front door, neither! You'll rune the atmosphere, ya gavoone!-- where WiFi, pizza, cute indifferent bartendresses, beer, even karaoke, can be quite a play on the possibilities. It's great when a plan comes together.

Phew! I am exhausted. This research is too much fun. Who needs public libraries, not I,  when there are Hot Spots with Spaten!

Ooh, almost forgot, best alternative to Uncommon Grounds: Mobil Mart, right next door, coffee,chairs and tables, WiFi, 365 days, 24 hours, no pretense.

P.S.:  McDonald's, the behemoth of behemoths, is starting to use free WiFi as sort of amenity. Believe me, though, there is no guarantee you'll have it your way. I was at the one on Western near Crossgates, and there is not a single plug-in receptacle available to customers in the entire store. Posers! This is just a dealbreaker for a WiFi fan. I may never have a double cheese again.  Well, maybe "to go."


Michael Dennis Mooney is the author of a book of light verse, "Midcentury Man, New Century," available from John Chapman's Broadcast Books, Michael Mooney, 55 So Lake Ave,  Albany 12203.  His website is:

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