Idiot Watch List

It occurs to me that the greatest danger we face may not be terrorists, but ignorance. Here are five signs to look for that may help you avoid confrontations with people who can’t be reasoned with:

  1. Use of the phrase “mainstream media.”
  2. Discussion of President Obama’s birth certificate. Or suggestion that he is a Muslim.
  3. They have a Donald Trump sign on their lawn.
  4. Include the the word “Benghazi” in any sentence.
  5. Blaming America’s problems on “political correctness.”

I could have written a list as long as your arm, but this should get you started.

Somebody’s Been In Prison Too Long

A lot of us were fascinated by the escape from Dannemora, so the 150 page report on last year’s prison break is like a wonderful gift from Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

The report is crammed with minute details about the incident, and much of it is served up by none other than escapee David Sweat. Matt took his side of the tale to the grave.

It’s also contains some funny things, like the instructions Sweat gave Joyce Mitchell about meeting them after they emerged on the other side of the wall:

“I told her you can leave the car running, shut your headlights and stuff off, and you’ll get out of the car, act like you’re talking on the phone, because everybody knows you’re not allowed to drive and talk on the phone…”

Yes, everybody knows you’re not allowed to drive and talk on the phone.

Anyway, I give the report two thumbs up!

Lot’s of people say that the Dannemora escape would make a good movie, and perhaps it would, but I think it needs someone to root for. Maybe we could write in a third escapee, someone forced to go along against his will, a character convicted of something less contemptible than the murderous Matt and Sweat. How about an  art thief? Then he could turn the tables on the evil pair —  and in the end get the girl. We’d glam her up a bit, of course. Hey, it’s Hollywood.

Blister in the Sun

Bethlehem was lovely when I moved there, but it gets uglier every day. Every open space is filling with cookie cutter houses and fast food outlets, the traffic is becoming unbearable — and now this abomination:

dome
Yeah, that’s a fugly blot on the landscape.

The local soccer club teamed up with an area company to put up the dome which holds “grass-like playing surfaces to simulate the feel of outdoor play.” None of the grass-like playing surfaces qualify as large enough to a play a high school lacrosse or soccer game, so it seems they are used for practice, clinics or scaled down matches.

Now, here comes the “when I was a kid” part.

When I was a kid, sports had seasons in the Northeast that were enforced by weather. Maybe it varied in other parts of America depending on the weather — or maybe it was just common sense that certain games were played at certain times of the year.

Taking the seasons out of sports is another way adults have taken the play out of play. They’ve created a culture where games are a measure of their child’s worth — and by extension, their own. Don’t buy that it’s damaging? Then look at the rise in the number — and severity — in youth sports injuries.

If kids want to kick a soccer ball around in the winter, maybe they should do it outside. I see people outside all year round at St. Rose’s Christian Plumeri Sports Complex in Albany. Bundle up and deal with it — and take your big ugly bubble out of my town.

Foto Friday

Christman Sanctuary, Delanson NY

All Set

Chris K

Chris Kapostasy (Jansing) back when the WNYT news set — and the newscast — was in its prime.

So, somebody asked how long WNYT’s been using the same news set.

I was there when they debuted the current set, you know, the one with lots of wood and the faux control room in the background? It’s been there so long that I couldn’t even remember when it was new. I looked it up and the answer was surprising.

Here’s an article from the Times Union about the station installing the new set — in 1995!

That makes the set more than 20-years-old. If it were your kid, it would be in college — and at this rate, it might be witness to a third term with a Clinton in the White House.

After all these years, the set is looking shopworn, especially the background, which has clearly faded with time. If you watch closely you’ll glimpse the unmistakable white mop of hair belonging to Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House in 1995.

But the bigger question is this: what’s more important, the news set or the people sitting on it?

The answer is both, but not in equal proportion. You’re much better off having great anchors sitting on an old set than the other way around.

How long does a news set last? Let’s go back to the 1995 news story:

Neither Fenhagen nor the people over at Channel 13 would give even a ballpark figure as to what it costs to build a set, which usually has a lifespan of between five and 10 years.

Or twenty years.

Either way, it’s time for a change. You could get away with certain things before DTV and 50 inch screens. The old days of analog TV were much kinder to rough-looking news sets and wrinkly anchors.  Now, something that’s faded looks faded.

Localism

I used this picture, taken at the Stewart’s in Selkirk, in a presentation about communication.

donotdrink

My point was that some things, no matter how simple, still need to be explained. Things like “DO NOT DRINK” the cleaning products.

I probably did not need to mention that this was in Selkirk, but what Glenmont person can resist a Selkirk joke? You see, people may think all of Bethlehem is snooty, but in truth, the town has its own pecking order.

  1. Slingerlands people look down on Delmar
  2. Delmar is scornful of Glenmont
  3. Glenmont considers Selkirk the other side of the tracks
  4. Selkirk folks joke about Ravena

We could also go back up the scale, but suffice to say, you think anyone above you on the list is a condescending ass.

What do the people in Ravena do? They disapprove of  Coeyman’s Hollow. Coeyman’s Hollow? Westerlo. Westerlo? Medusa… and so on. You could draw a line all the way from the Capital Region to Arkansas.

Next time you generalize about Bethlehem, just remember this: it’s the Slingerlands and Delmar people who are contemptible, not the lovable crowd in Glenmont. But don’t get me started on Selkirk.

Foto Friday

Doomsday Prepper

Look, when you get to be my age, you’re going to be subjected to all sorts of dire things. Like a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy, as you probably know, is when they pass a camera inside you and have a look where the sun don’t shine. The good news is that you’re totally out of it during all of this, in fact, moments after sedation, you don’t care what they do to you.

Many people will tell you that preparing for these tests is an odious ordeal. They’re half right.

My prep required a day of non-solid foods capped off by a giant dose of laxatives. The first half, the liquid diet,  was not so bad, but the second half was no walk in the park. In fact, a walk in the park that’s the last thing you should do after taking a giant dose of laxatives.

Here’s my delicious lunch of mango Jell-O and chicken broth. Good stuff.

lunch

And hey! I have some pictures from inside my colon if you’d like to see them. No?

Some of you are saying, “Whoa, Rob! TMI!” Nonsense. This is a routine medical procedure and you’d be crazy not to do it. Colon cancer doesn’t get the sort of high-profile attention as other health risks, perhaps because it’s not a very glamorous region of your body. This is nothing to be squeamish about — and it could save your life.

By the way, hats off to the doctors and nurses who do this all day long.  You think you deal with a lot of assholes all day long?

Ta Da Dump, Ta Da Dump, Ta Da Dump Dump Dump

What sort of backwards place is Bethlehem, anyway? Yes, backwards.

The Albany suburb is known for its excellent schools and well-heeled residents, the home to doctors and lawyers and such — but to that, I say, “WTF! Who closes the dump on a Friday?”

It’s not really a dump. The town transfer station collects your waste and dispatches it to landfills and recycling centers. This is not Albany, where you  just put a ratty old couch on the curb and it disappears overnight. No, in Bethlehem you drag it to the dump transfer station and pay them to make it go away.

De-cluttering a house is hard work, and lately my car has made many trips to a local storage facility and the dump transfer station. Too many trips to the storage facility and not enough to the dump transfer station, if you ask me, but that’s another blog post.

So, if you’ve ever filled your vehicle with crap and found that there’s nowhere to put it, like in Alice’s Restaurant, you know what I mean. Except in this case it wasn’t Thanksgiving, the dump transfer station was closed because it was FRIDAY.

Again, I ask you: what sort of backwards place is Bethlehem, anyway?