Sunday, May 16, 2004

Live from the Acela Express to New York, New York (the city so nice they named it twice...)

I’m taking the train down to NYC to go to a Sarbanes Oxley seminar. The Sarbanes Oxley Act, as I’ve mentioned here before, was a law passed in the wake of the Enron and other corporate scandals. One of the sections of Sarbanes Oxley requires companies to perform a quarterly review of their internal controls. We spend an astounding amount of time each quarter doing this review, so I’m going to the seminar to get some helpful hints that will hopefully help us streamline the process a bit.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to have time to do much else in New York. I’m on the 3:14 train from Route 128, which gets into Penn Station at 6:42. Then I have to check into my hotel and grab some dinner. The seminar runs from 9-5:15, then I have a 7:00 train back to 128. So, I’ll basically see the inside of my hotel room, Penn Station and a couple of restaurants.

If nothing else, the train ride down is nice. The Acela is a beautiful train, with comfortable seats, lots of legroom and a cafe car. I have a couple of movies to watch on the iBook on the way down and back, including a couple from the new Marx Brothers boxed set I just got. I’ve been a long time fan of the Marx's, and this new boxed set seven of their later films - A Day at the Races; A Night at the Opera, Room Service, A Night in Casablanca, Go West, At the Circus and one other I can’t think of right now. Two of them, A Day at the Races and A Night at the Opera, can rightfully be said to be brilliant. The others are weaker, but still have some funny moments - Groucho’s rendition of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” in At the Circus is one of my favorite bits. I’m looking forward to a collection of the films from their Paramount years, which would include my personal favorite Marx film, Duck Soup. Hopefully if this one sells well, the new collection will be coming soon.

I used to enjoy business trips, but now I don’t enjoy leaving the kids. I see little enough of them during the week, so I hate to give up some of my weekend time. It would have been nice if this seminar had been during the week and I could have just gone down to New York from work, but it didn’t work out that way.

We’re passing through Providence now. I can see lots of familiar landmarks from the train: the North Main Street businesses, the main Post office and coming up on downtown Providence and the mall. It’s only taken 28 minutes to get here, so that seems like pretty good time.

Of course, the Providence train station is not the one I grew up with. When Buddy Cianci pushed through the redesign of downtown, a new train station got built and the old train station was changed into offices. I was actually inside there once for an interview. You would have never known it was a train station!

Anyway, I think I’ll sign off here. I’ve got the rest of The Right Stuff to watch (I started it on the commuter rail last week) and then maybe I’ll grab a snooze. I’ll try to write again on the way home.


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