Archive | September, 2005

The Amazing Race : Family Edition

28 Sep

I didn’t watch the whole thing yet, and what I did see looked like a bit of a cluster-eff. But its TAR, and I’ll watch.

It was nice to see Kevin & Drew make an appearance at the “Frank” stand on 91st between Lex & Park. It was even nicer that one of the kids recognized them.

Also, sure enough, the clueboxes do sport that newfangled flag I took a picture of at the Falls. More later when I’ve watched it.

Wal*Mart: Mediocrity sells

28 Sep

Craig takes me to task for having the audacity to suggest that Wal Mart should treat its employees well. He says that Wal Mart doesn’t treat its employees any differently than Wegmans or Tops.

Except Wegmans was named the Best Place to Work in America.

Except Tops has unionized employees, and is a relatively small subsidiary of a Dutch-based worldwide conglomerate. Oh, and it provides health care insurance to many employees.

Except Wal Mart is the No. 1 company in the Fortune 500, and its 2004 sales climbed 10% to $288 billion; profits rose 13% to $10 billion.

I’m no fan of Wal Mart’s because their products suck and are cheap. I don’t like them because they pay their employees shit – in some cases, so low that they’re encouraged to go on Medicaid and other forms of public assistance. I’m not crazy about the fact that they portray themselves as a flag-waving proud American star spangled company, but they require suppliers to source from China to keep prices low. Are outsourcing and minimum wage the new patriotism?

Wal Mart is huge and doesn’t have to be responsible for the health care of its employees (they’re expendable, I guess). But it could, and the largest corporation in America ought to, since nobody else will.

Our universal health care in America is called “Emergency Room”, “dunning”, and “bankruptcy.”

Shop there if you want, but I’ll go to Target, where the stores are clean and the products are of better quality.

Book Release Party Tonight

28 Sep

Today, c’mon down to the Hamlin House. Christina Abt (candidate for Eden Town Board) will be hosting the launch of her book, “Chicken Wing Wisdom: WNY Stories of Family, Life, and Food Shared Around the Table”

Today: Wednesday September 28, 2005 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm

At the Hamlin House at 432 Franklin Street between Virginia and Allen.

Tickets are $25, including an autographed copy of the book, wings to eat, and soft drinks. (Cash bar available). (Cash or check only – no plastic). Additional books at $15, and party tickets only for $10.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Family and Child Crisis Services / Haven House and the Hamburg Domestic Violence Office.

Want a sneak peak? Check out the CWW website.

A physical bridge to the 21st century

28 Sep

It’s funny that I left Boston when I did.

The Big Dig commenced construction in 1990 – the year I graduated from college in Boston. I still remember the news reports about people in the North End complaining about the rats infesting the neighborhood because their underground homes were being disturbed.

I returned in 1994, and construction was in full swing. It seemed that every couple of months, the already screwy Boston traffic patterns downtown by the waterfront would get even screwier. It was a big mess, but the Commonwealth did a good job with public relations, and people were genuinely supportive of the project as a whole. Everyone looked forward to the day when that project would be done, and downtown would be reconnected with its waterfront. I still have some of the booklets about the Dig that were sent around in the mail, or included as inserts in the Sunday Globe.

The Big Dig’s pretty much been finished for a year now. The elevated Central Artery is gone. The tunnel is open (and leaking like a sieve). Funny that I had to put up with the traffic headaches, and now I don’t even get to reap the benefit. Oh, well.

But the most visible part of the Big Dig project was the new Charles River crossing.

Once an ugly, rusting bucket of steel rising high over the Charles, complete with a Y-connection to the Tobin Bridge Chelsea-bound, it’s since been replaced by an elaborate ribbon of off & on-ramps, connecting with a gorgeous cable-stayed bridge designed by Swiss engineer Christian Menn.

By 2001, the bridge was complete and had become a distinctive and beautiful addition to Boston’s skyline.

In fact, the biggest controversy about the bridge was its naming – then-Governor Cellucci decided it should be named after a local civil rights activist who had recently died. But the adjacent Charlestown neighborhood balked, and demanded it be called the Bunker Hill Bridge. After all, Menn had the foresight to add little obelisk shapes to the tops of the towers – identical to the obelisk at the top of Bunker Hill nearby. A compromise was struck, naming it the “Leonard Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge”.

The traffic guys call it the “Zakim Bridge”.

As early as 2001 – just around the time that the bridge was completed – a local financial firm already incorporated the bridge’s design in its logo.

So, Buffalo, Christian Menn says you ought to rip down the existing Peace Bridge and replace it with a modern, cable-stayed bridge. Something that’s unique and distinctive. Who says a utilitarian bridge can’t be beautiful?

Thanks to several emailers, including 10th Legislative District Candidate Rus Thompson, the Buffaloblogger, and Pat McNichol from NMG for the postable pictures.

Folks, sometimes symbolism and perception mean more than reality.

The Peace Bridge is the past. Menn’s design is the future. I think Buffalo’s best days are ahead.

Let’s build the future.

Let’s Build This Thing

27 Sep

The New Millenium Group has released its proposed design for a signature Peace Bridge. The design is by Christian Menn, who designed Boston’s Zakim-Bunker Hill Bridge. It’s quite unique, and it’s gorgeous. Build it.

Linkage (pdf). If I can get a hold of some reasonably-sized pictures, I’ll post them, too.

Over the Borderline

27 Sep

Homeland Security wants you and you and you to have to produce a passport to cross the US-CDN border.

On a side note – to my friends in DHS – when I produce three blue US passports for three occupants of a motor vehicle, why-oh-why do you persist in asking us our citizenship? Those blue passports are your answer to that question.

The problem is that your granny who lives on social security and wants to buy some cheap medicine, for instance, might not really be able to come up with the scratch to get a $100 passport when, up ’till now, a drivers’ license and a birth certificate had been enough.

Obviously, since we’re talking about the Bush Administration, this new requirement to cross the US-CDN border is given the very Orwellian name of “Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.” NYCO calls it Upstate-unfriendly.

I’ve already got passports for everyone in my family, so I don’t feel strongly about this one way or another. I’m wondering what people who don’t have passports think about it. How would you have to shell out $100 and wait 6 weeks to grab some Ming Teh’s?

Go tell Senator Schumer. You can submit a formal comment using this link.

Buffalo Currents: revealed

27 Sep

I asked, and I received (HT eal)


Alternative Newspaper, Buffalo Current- Released

Buffalo, NY – September 27, 2005 – Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., today launched Buffalo Current, a new alternative weekly newspaper serving Buffalo and Western New York.

Buffalo Current is the new voice for alternative weekly news in the region, targeting 18 to 35-year-old professionals. The new weekly paper will focus on news, arts and entertainment information relevant to the lives of its readers. Content also includes high-end recreational sports, fashion and food, and listings of local events. Its presentation includes a creative mix of photographs, graphics and illustrations.

“Our staff has made a commitment to giving readers throughout the region a newspaper that’s relevant, innovative and worthy of their time.” said Les Rogers, Buffalo Current publisher.

Buffalo Current is distributed free through a startup network of 750 locations throughout southern Ontario and Western New York. Circulating 100,000 copies weekly, Buffalo Current is CNHI’s largest news title.

CNHI, formed in 1997 with corporate headquarters located in Birmingham, Alabama, is the parent company for daily, weekly and semiweekly newspapers published in more than 200 communities throughout the United States. The initials CNHI are an acronym for Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. CNHI was founded by newspaper professionals with extensive expertise in editorial, advertising, circulation and production.

As any reader of the brilliant Niagara Falls Reporter will tell you, CNHI is also the company that has run a few papers into the ground up in that neck of the woods. Operated under a subsidiary called “Greater Niagara Newspapers”, CNHI operates the Niagara Gazette, which is a shadow of its former self, the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, the Tonawanda News, and the Journal-Register in Medina.

One who reads the Reporter on a regular basis would wonder why CNHI would devote resources towards publishing an Artvoice competitor free weekly instead of improving its existing portfolio of assets. To make matters worse, the purple distribution boxes and the font used for the name of the paper appear as if they had traveled in time from 1984.

I’m no journalist, but the use of the passive voice in the press release is unfortunate.


27 Sep

Mary Kunz Goldman’s blog post today recites the benefits of walking & biking to work in today’s world of high gas prices. NSS.

One could also let Metro take one where one wants to go.

But here’s the kicker from that whole post:

You’d spend a few pleasant moments at the pump, enjoying the smell of gasoline and trying to catch what you could of Dr. Laura, whose bossy voice was trickling from your car radio.

Doctor LAURA?!

Elliott & Byron

27 Sep

Shopitall sez:

I heard that Spitzer & Byron will be visiting the Elmwood strip & speaking to shop owners today (Tues).
They should give them an earful.

No time was mentioned……..lunch on Elmwood, perhaps?

Can someone confirm this?

Thanks for the attention

27 Sep

Posts-for-cash himself proves that he’s one of the “3 or 4” people who read this every day. Welcome, Joe. Feel free to hang around a while.

You’ll recall that he yesterday posted a particularly egregious diatribe, libeling Jim Tricoli, and denigrating me and this blog, which I do for free as a hobby. (Which, ultimately, means that his hatred means nothing to me, except some cheap entertainment). The diatribe was subsequently erased from his site, as was a prior incident where he referred to Professor Hardwick as “casper milk toast”.

I wondered in print why that paragraph was excised. Posts-for-cash responds thusly:

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

And let’s parse that for a moment, shall we?

First off, he insinuates that I am evil and he is good. I don’t really need to elaborate on the sheer, patent idiocy of that. It merely underscores the fact that he’s deluded himself into thinking that he’s better than everyone else.

And there’s other, obvious, evidence of that, as well.

That quote is from Romans 12:21. Joe Illuzzi: Apostle.

I know that internet rule #1 is to not feed the trolls. But they’re sometimes so cute and entertaining.

Thanks for the traffic and attention, Joe. It truly validates what I do.