Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I encountered a heavy night of nostalgia on CNN tonight. When I was young, back in the early '70s, I wallowed in Watergate. The first time it really impinged upon our consciousnesses was while we were on a camping trip down near the Pennsylvania border, and we picked up a local newspaper and read the first of what became a flood of stories tracking the hubris of the Nixon administration. When PBS began to televise the Senate hearings, I watched almost every minute raptly. We read virtually all the books that were subsequently published.

Coming almost 10 years after the assassination of JFK, it completed the gradual transformation we had undergone, from trusting our government and politicians to cynicism about authority in general. I do not believe that all politicians are corrupt, but I no longer give them an automatic benefit of the doubt. Nowadays, they have to prove that they can be trusted.

Deep Throat has finally been revealed, and, as expected, cable news was all over the story. It may seem odd, but the revelation doesn't have the impact on me that I once thought it would. It just doesn't seem relevant anymore, although all the tv pundits will no doubt try desperately to make it seem so.

There appear to be two sides to the issue of Mark Felt's historical status. Either he was a hero for being, in effect, a whistleblower, or he was dishonorable and disloyal. My opinion as to his disloyalty is that the FBI, being a supposedly independent organization, should not be manipulated or abused by the President, as seems to have been the case. If a member of the FBI feels uncomfortable with the President's actions, he or she must speak out against it. There is an element of dishonor in how Felt went about it, but what he did for the country, I believe, outweighs any opprobrium that may attach to his actions. The American people must absolutely be able to expect that their government will act in an upright and forthright manner toward them.

The other bit of nostalgia was a screen shot of the original Pac-Man. In the small town in which I grew up, the main center for teen gatherings was the bowling alley (oh, yeah, and the drive-in.) The alley had a full range of pinball machines, and I was an early devotee. The machines gradually began to incorporate more electronic than mechanical components, and were vastly entertaining. Suddenly, in the very late '70s, a new animal appeared among the pinball machines. It had a tv-like screen and a joystick, and these odd little creatures moving rather sedately around the playing field. I put in a quarter, and I was hooked forever. I sometimes wonder if my life would have been different had I never encountered that particular addiction.

Well, thanx for strolling down Memory Lane with me.


Sunday, May 29, 2005

. . .and to the republic for which it stands . . .

Happy Memorial Day.

The flag is only a symbol, but our lives, consciously or not, are frequently intertwined with symbolism. Over the more than two centuries that constitute the lifetime of our nation, many courageous Americans have given of themselves, often given all, to defend and preserve the freedom which this symbol represents. Please take a moment to remember their sacrifices and ponder what it is that they fought and died for. Cherish our freedom and liberty, and let no politician subvert them in the name of security.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Crosses to Bear

Three pernicious, vile and malicious acts occurred Wednesday night in Durham, North Carolina. It seems the embers of the Ku Klux Klan still burn hot in some places in this country. What purpose can burning a cross serve, except to terrify and intimidate? Jesus Christ died on a cross. Burning the symbol of Christ's agony is unspeakable. And to attempt to corrupt this symbol by using it to commit a hate crime is unconscionable. The animals who perpetrated this atrocity do not deserve to enter the next life.


Monday, May 23, 2005

O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay!

Be still, my beating heart!

President Bush is expected to arrive at the Greater Rochester International Airport Tuesday morning.

He is scheduled to arrive at Greece Athena High School, where he will discuss plans to reform Social Security, at 11 a.m.

It is impossible for me to fully express the excitement, elation and enthusiasm that I felt upon hearing this news.

OK, I lie. But I'm going to forego my normal viewing habits to watch (all 4 local stations will be carrying the speech live.) I'm hoping he'll make some egregious* mistake that I can report (although lately his wranglers have done better at rehearsing his speeches.)

I hope you all have a good day tomorrow. Me, I'll be in hell.


* Lexicon Award to Queen Big O.

I Love New York

There are some reasons why New York may not be a wonderful place to relocate to (not that anyone does.) Here's one of them:


Albany, N.Y. (AP) - Scores of convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in New York have been getting Viagra paid by Medicaid for the last five years, the state's comptroller said Sunday.

Audits by Comptroller Alan Hevesi's office showed that between January 2000 and March 2005, 198 sex offenders in New York receieved Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions. Those included crimes against children as young as 2 years old, he said.

Hevesi asked Michael Leavitt, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in a letter Sunday to "take immediate action to ensure that sex offenders do not receive erectile dysfunction medication paid for by taxpayers."

A call to Leavitt's office was not immediately returned Sunday.

According to Hevesi, the problem is an unintended consequence of a 1998 directive from federal officials telling states that Medicaid prescription programs must include Viagra. His office discovered that the state was helping sex offenders pay for Viagra by checking Medicaid pharmacy expenditures against the state's sex offender registry.

New York's two senators said Sunday the problem should be corrected.

Well, yes, I should think so.

This demonstrates the utter chaos of bureaucracy in action. The Democrat and Chronicle has for some time been running editorials on how dysfunctional Medicaid is and how we the taxpayers are being hurt by it. Here's the proof.

And what possible aim is being served by giving ed medication to sex offenders? If they're in prison, they probably are better off without it, and if they're free (and single), it is a disaster in the making.

The kicker is, the same thing may be happening in your state, because this is a federal policy.

Sometimes you get government, and sometimes government gets you.




Sunday, May 22, 2005

They Grow So Quickly

Here's the latest photo:

  <Photo courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.

As you can see, all five are alive and kickin' (well, sort of.) Mariah has given up trying to cover them; they move around too much anyway. The nest is a lot messier now; the remains of many meals can be seen. In maybe another week their darker feathers will begin to grow in, and banding will follow shortly thereafter (and one will most likely be fitted with a transmitter.)



. . . just in between

Megalocephalism and melancholia. The north and south poles of my little world. And how short the distance between the two, how swift the transition! To go from the top of Everest (Qomolangma) to the depths of the Marianas Trench, one would think, would require a goodly quantity of time. But ah! - I apparently possess the most up-to-date of mental motion technology, and so it takes almost no time at all.

 Ideally, I prefer to spend my time at the equator, but that is like trying to balance on the edge of a razor (and similarly futile.)

I apparently possess the dubious faculty of being able to have a part of myself step outside and dispassionately analyze the emotions which I am undergoing. It is not a separate personality; I'm tempted to call it an intellectual construct, but I freely admit I have no idea what I'm talking about. It is not an out-of-body experience; I once had such an episode while I was sleeping, but it was quite disappointing in that all that occurred was that I floated above myself and stared down at myself. I did not undertake an astral journey, I experienced no paranormal phenomena, I was not abducted by aliens; it was very pedestrian, like looking at myself in a mirror, albeit a room-sized mirror. After the initial amazement, quite boring.

Bonnie and I have learned to warn each other when melancholia rears its ugly head. It is helpful that we each understand something of what the other is undergoing, and know to be helpful while at the same time backing off slightly. It does smooth the edges a bit. Neither of us cares much to take medications; they can be useful, but the resultant zombie-like state of equanimity is stultifying.

Well. Enough of this. I prefer not to burden others with my constant complaints, so if I disappear occasionally, I hope you will understand why.

If you're not bored with fun facts from the Democrat and Chronicle's Lauri Githens Hatch, here's a few more:

Fun fact #18:

"At some point, almost everyone here has either been carried out of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Q from too much beer, too much pork or both; out of a local winery from too much reisling; or out of a Dady Brothers concert on St. Patrick's Day from too much St. Patrick's Day."

Rochester has three large European contingents - the Irish, the Italians and the Poles (along with a smaller but still healthy segment of Ukranians.) This does not pertain so much nowadays as when we were young; multidiversity in Rochester proper is in full swing.

(Neither Bonnie nor I have ever been carried out of anywhere; I may have crawled out of a few places when I was young, but I don't do that anymore.) The Dinosaur BBQ sauce is sold in jars in some of the large supermarkets; we consider it to be adequate but unexceptional.

Fun fact #19:

"Similarly, most locals have acted half their age amid the toys at the Strong Museum, in full view of a family member or important date. In fact, when you go, it's mandatory."

The "Strong Collection" has a long and intriguing history; before Margaret Woodbury Strong died, she owned what we called the Strong Mansion on a street called Allen's Creek Road (yes, there is an Allen's Creek) and it was huge; it was set waaaaaay back from the edge of the road, but what could be seen of it through the trees was awe-inspiring. (If any of this interests those of you with children, be sure to check out http://www.strongmuseum.org and you may be amazed and delighted.)

Fun fact #20:

"Most of us are two degrees of separation from someone who's been a cashier at Wegman's (and been called out to the parking lot to mediate standoffs between minivans, rookie cops, teen drivers and nuns.)"

This is true. Bonnie and I each have at least one niece who used to work at Wegman's; also the daughter of friends (and probably others of whom we know not.)

I will post only occasional photos of the chicks for now; I'll post one later so you can see the alterations, but day-to-day nothing much changes.

We hope you enjoy the day.



Thursday, May 19, 2005

We just saw a new Kool-aid commercial. The latest incarnation of the destructive pitcher is clad in shorts.


Creator forbid we should have to be exposed to a naked pitcher of Kool-aid. Aren't we carrying this decency crusade a bit too far?

If you want to see for yourself, go to:



Sunday, May 15, 2005

I'm On The Dark Side of the Road


Thank you all for dropping by for awhile. May the Creator bless you with happy, healthy lives.



Saturday, May 14, 2005

. . . pictures on my mind

 <Courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.

Morning repast. (Aren't they cute?)


 <Courtesy Associated Press

"We have got an important agenda here in Washington. It's an agenda to keep this country prosperous and safe and free."

Speech to National Association of Realtors, May 13, 2005


A Few Words . . .

Communication - Silence

Compromise - Partisanship

Concern - Indifference

Flexibility - Rigidity

Gentleness - Violence

Life - Death

Love - Hate

Politeness - Rudeness

Reliability - Irresponsibility

Respect - Disrespect

Selflessness - Selfishness

Tolerance - Bigotry

Veracity - Falsehood

Peace - War



Friday, May 13, 2005

Gone Fishin'


Wednesday, May 11, 2005


One more show I'd like to see (I used this on Albert's World of Artsy Fun, but I hate to waste material; I have so little of it):

American Idyll - Contestants compete in various rural challenges; losers have to stay down on the farm, the winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to Paree.


(Please! No More of Those) Peregrine Pictures

Well, ok. Just one.

 <Courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.

Four chicks protect the last unhatched egg (the inevitable runt of the litter.)

Fun fact #17: (remember fun facts?)

"Rochestarians eat white-hots and red-hots (aka locally made hot dogs), yet no one can rightfully say what these are made of. At barbecues, don't-ask-don't-tell regularly applies."

Rarely do I get straight lines from anyone, so thank you, Lauri Githens Hatch of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Our hots are indeed made locally, by an outfit called Zweigles. Their products are justly famed far and wide; every eatery within 50 miles of Rochester routinely serves nothing but Zweigles hots. If you haven't had them, I weep for you.

As for the ingredients, I doubt it applies to Zweigles, but I can't do any better than that immortal line from the movie 'Summer Rental':

One raccoon to another: "Don't you know what those are made of? Lips and assholes."


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Shows I'd Like to See

The Amazing Race was  . . . amazing.

Shows I'd really like to see someday:

The Amazing Pace - Teams stride from Bangor to San Diego on foot. Whichever team arrives first wins.

American Idle - Children of the filthy rich vie to see who can accomplish the least and spend the most in the time allotted.

America's Next Fop Model - Another girl crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man.

Extreme Takeover - Whoever conquers a small, militarily backward country with the least personnel, ordnance and funds gets to rule the country.

Fanny 911 - Need I say more?

The Pretender - Whichever humbug manages to use the most fraudulent means to win is elected President.

Rob and Amber Get Divorced - a 2-hour special.

The Wimple Life - Paris Hilton and friend get themselves to a nunnery.


(Just Can't Get Enough of Those) Peregrine Pictures

I had to show this midday sequence (you know this is my whole life at the moment - how sad)

Kaver rests on a camera support and keeps an eye or two out for fresh meat while . . .

 . . . Mariah tries to corral those frisky young'uns (must . . . be . . . free . . .)

Good! Here comes Dad with some food! I get to stretch my wings!

Yay! Lunch!

(Y'know, I could have sworn there were only two.)

The egg in front has a spot - number 4 will be hatching shortly.

I must be giving ftp fits. This photo was timed 12:01. Anyway, here they are, fed and (very momentarily) alone. Mariah returned a minute later.

All photos courtesy of Eastman Kodak Co.

I'm going to go lie down now. Peace.



(I Hope You're Not Tired Of) Peregrine Pictures

All photos of falcons are (of course) courtesy of Eastman Kodak Co.

It looks like the third chick has hatched and is receiving an early morning feeding.

The next group of pictures will be smaller.






More Peregrine Pictures

Here are a a few more photos from yesterday (all is quiet today, so far)

The babies seem to be awaiting their meal.

You are being served.

Their first day in the new world.

What must they be thinking?

There are more photos to come, but I want to put them in a different entry (they take so long to upload/download.)


Monday, May 9, 2005

Birds of Prayer

I was sleeping! Damn! (But anyway . . .)

All photos courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.

Our first look at the new arrivals.


Dad gets a look at his babies.

Mariah flies off as Kaver inspects the babies.


Babies' first mealtime?

I've got 3 more pictures, but I want to see how this looks. More to come.


Sunday, May 8, 2005


Demagoguery. Demonization. Democrats.

I watched James Carville and Mary Matalin on "Meet the Press." Exasperating. Mary used to be a thoughtful Republican, but lately she is a parrot for the party line. Democrats are demonizers and demagogues. Feh.

A Modest Proposal:

Democrats. Please. Stop trying to accomodate the Republicans. They have gone so far overboard recently that eventually the voters will have had their fill and turn them out of office, but only if you explain clearly to them that you are allowing the Republican agenda to take its course because the voters seem to prefer it that way, and that you do not want to be used as cover when it becomes clear that their policies are inimical to the vast majority of voters, and they begin searching for scapegoats.

Republican policies favor corporate interests and harm the average wage earner. Sooner or later voters will  reach the conclusion that their best interests are not being served. If Democrats refuse to play along with Republican games, there will be nowhere for the Republicans to hide when voters discover that they have been royally had.

Just a thought.


Yet Another Peregrine Update

 <Photo courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.

The time for hatching may be very close now. The small white spot on the center egg may mean that a chick is working at the inside of the shell. Further updates to come.




"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" was/is an excellent film, and (I thought) stayed true to the book. The book series and the films derived from them have a lot of lessons to teach, foremost among them (imho) that it is sometimes necessary to break rules in order to attain a desirable outcome. This, perhaps more than the so-called 'witchcraft' aspect, may be threatening to some people who espouse 'strictness' and 'absolutism' as philosophies. Just a thought.

No further tea experiments yet; I may add more dried apples and cherries just to see how much it actually takes to give the tea substantiality - I know already that my frugality will prevent me from buying these products again. Orange tea is definitely in my future, and (dare I try it?) perhaps grapefruit.

Fun fact #14:

"One in every four Rochesterians claims to own (or has a family member who claims to own) a piece of the True Cross or a vial of water that was too blessed by the Pope."

Personally, I have a pebble that smells slightly of gall and may have come from the crown of Golgotha.

Fun fact #15:

"Rochester is home to 36-year-old WCMF-FM (96.5), not just one of the nation's longest-running rock stations, but also one of a shrinking group that has never changed its format or call-letters since sign-on."

Bonnie & I got married the year WCMF first graced Rochester's airwaves, and we have been listening to it throughout our matrimonial existence. It truly is in a class by itself, and we have a BIG soft spot for it. If you want to know more, visit http://www.wcmf.com.

Fun fact #16:


"Three critical things to know about its gravelly voiced morning man, Brother Wease:

1. His Saturday morning show 'Radio Free Wease' features, essentially, whatever he takes it into his head to play. 'Fat Man in a Bathtub' by Little Feat, live? OK. Elvis Costello followed by Elvis Presley followed by cajun, blues and Zappa? Fine. As you know, this is virtually unheard of anywhere except Europe.

2. Almost everyone here has either won something from him on the air, gotten into a fight with him on the air, or been called 'honey' by him on the air (male or female), and enjoyed it.

(Yep. Won a Rush audiotape.)

3. He did two tours of 'Nam; is married for the third time (who's more romantic than someone who would marry three times?!); has a lot of kids and a wife from Long Island who takes utterly no s#!t. This has made him a debater of the highest order. Engage at your own risk."

Brother Wease has always lived his life on the air, sometimes (I suspect) much to the discomfiture of certain of his family members (one of the reasons he's been married three times.) As far as I know, no one has written a biography of Wease yet, but his devoted listeners know so much about him from listening to him that any one of them could produce a 900-page tome, and be guaranteed to have a best-seller.

Two notes: When Howard Stern brought his show to town, he threatened to take Wease down. Without going into detail, Wease is still here and Howard is gone.

Wease is currently recovering from radiation treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and in 6 weeks he'll learn whether it was successful. His wife Doreen has been doing some limited broadcasting, because right now he's in pretty bad shape. Ironically, Wease has been a huge supporter of Camp Good Days and Special Times, a facility set up to help children with cancer. All of Rochester and environs is praying for his speedy and complete recovery.


Saturday, May 7, 2005

A Magic Night

The countdown to 'HP & the Chamber of Secrets' has begun. We are fully stocked with microwave popcorn, noxious cheezkurlz and our favorite beverages.

(BTW, the apple and cherry teas, using packaged dried fruit, have been tested. Subtle flavors indeed. Increasing the amount of fruit to attain fuller body would be prohibitively expensive. Oh, well. At least I tried.)

Fun fact #10:

"You'll undoubtedly be told that the sprawling Wegmans grocery in Pittsford is a world-class garden of culinary magnificence, and it is. What's long been rumored, though, and never confirmed, is that on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and at dinnertime most nights, local law enforcement use the swarming parking lot to test rookies' defensive driving skills and crisis-negotiation tactics with irate minivan moms."

As you can plainly see, this edifice is truly massive; almost a small town in itself. It bemuses me to consider that we live only about 4 or 5 minutes away, yet it can take us 20 minutes to find a parking spot.

Celebrities have visited this store, but the only one I can remember offhand is Cher. Before it became too difficult, I went inside this store, and the size and layout beggar description, so I won't try.

One notable event that occurred a few years ago concerned a woman who went shopping at Pittsford Wegmans with her three small children, checked out, then calmly drove to a bank in Pittsford Plaza (contiguous to Wegmans), whereupon she tried to hold up the bank. We think she may have paid too much for her groceries.

Fun fact #11:

"Another rumor: Schools use the space for driver's-ed tests, during which teens must park twice; do three loops around the lot without dinging a vehicle or customer; and speed-reverse in order to beat a church bus full of nuns from getting a space near the entrance. Also unconfirmed."

Fun fact #12:

"Just about everyone knows the eat-from-your-palm birds at Mendon Ponds Park are now so swollen with seed that they pretty much plummet from branches to your hand - but they take visiting relatives there anyway, and say, 'Isn't this awesome?'"

Completely true.

Fun fact #13:

"Then they take them to the Pittsford Wegmans and say the same."

Have Lauri Githens Hatch and I convinced you that you MUST come visit Rochester yet?

To all the ladies in the audience, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! tomorrow.


Friday, May 6, 2005


(Did I just feel something move?)

 <Photo courtesy Eastman Kodak Co.

Kaver checks on the eggs. What a good father he is!

Fun fact #8:

"Enjoy lively debate? There are two topics guaranteed to set off disputes of almost Talmudic intensity for your enjoyment. Here's one: 'Which version of Hell would be worse: Being stuck for eternity on the old Can of Worms, or on Jefferson Road during the LPGA?' Listen to that, and you'll learn everything there is to know on how to get around town."

A little explication is needed: the "old Can of Worms" was a system of over-underpasses that connected the east and south suburbs with downtown. It made "over, under, around and through" sound like coherent directions. It had so many on- and off-ramps (and made a cloverleaf seem like simplicity itself) that half the time it was a gamble as to where you were going to end up. They finally 'fixed' it back in the '90s; it's still fiendish, but at least now you can be assured you'll get where you're trying to go.

We have, on the south side of Rochester, a golf course (one of 58 public courses - we LOVE golf here) named Locust Hill Country Club, where the LPGA comes to play every year. Jefferson Road is a MAJOR thoroughfare - need I say more?

Fun fact #9:

"Here's the other. Which is the best Italian bakery in town: Gruttadauria's, Savoia's or Martusciello's? When the fists have stopped flying, you'll know just where to go for bread, biscotti, pizzelles and cakes you'll want to lie down and roll in."

I hang my head in shame. I've only ever heard of Gruttadauria's; as I said, I don't hang downtown, nor am I Italian. We have a nice little bakery nearby called Leo's, and it's good enough for us.


Just Tea for Two

Since the price of coffee has risen to the point where it might be the first beverage to orbit the Earth (oh, wait, that was Tang,) I have cut my consumption to one pot per day and am drinking tea for the balance of the day.

100 cups of coffee = 250 cups of tea (my sense of parsimoniousness is satisfied.)

Tea without accompaniment can pall quickly, so I have been experimenting with various additives. I like real lemon (not the stuff in the squeeze bottle) a lot, so that was an obvious choice. Less obvious, but intriguing, was lime. I like it, but it becomes somewhat astringent quickly, so I've been making lemon-lime tea. Quite good, actually. (I'd like to call it 'Sprite' tea, but I think there's a little matter of a trademark or copyright or something.)

I plan to branch out to apple, cinnamon-apple, and cranberry tea (and if Bonnie can locate some dried cherries, hey, why not?)

If anyone has any recipes for tea that they care to share, I'll be glad to try them out.


All You Need . . .


Love is caring and sharing.

Love is being apart and being a part, at one and the same time.

Love is always - always - being there for the other person in your life.

Love is caring enough to leave that last slice of pie, or feeling free to take it, because more can always be gotten.

Love is a smile, a touch, a kiss.

Love is a feast for the senses.

Love is a competition between partners to see who can do more for the other.

Love is sharing vulnerabilities.

Love is realizing that if you fall, there will be someone there to catch you, and carry you if necessary.

Love is knowing and not caring.

Love is velvet and steel.

Love is speaking without saying a word.

Love is knowing yourself so that you may know others.

Love is understanding that you must care for your partner before you care for yourself.

Love is having your own space, your own possessions, and being secure enough to share them.

Love is best at its quietest.

Love is communion.

Love is sometimes a journey from the heights to the depths and back.

Love is forgiving but not forgetful; it adjusts.

Love is one of the highest accomplishments you will ever attain, and is one of the hardest to achieve.

Love is and love shall be.

Peace and love.



Thursday, May 5, 2005


For those who haven't seen Survivor, I'll be brief and vague. There was a betrayal of sorts during the reward challenge, and the winner of the challenge made choices that may come back to bite.

An alliance was made, and the producers chose to inject an element guaranteed to drive wedges into the Koror happy-happy joy-joy ambiance.

Next week's show should be quite interesting.

From the D&C's Lauri Githens Hatch:

Fun fact #6:

"Jazz musician Chuck Mangione is from here; but what's really wild is, almost everyone - even those for whom it would be chronologically impossible - has a story about having either watched him play a totally killer set/bought him a drink/jammed with him/seen him without his hat."

Yes! We have seen him without his hat!

Fun fact #7:

"Foreigner's Lou Gramm is also from here, and while Mr. Rock Star could have lived anywhere, he still lives here - and what's more, not in some Corleone-style compound with dobermans outside."

We've never met Lou, but he does live in the town that we grew up in, and deserted when we got married. Perhaps if we had stayed . . .

However, our one brush with greatness was having attended the same school (and been in classes with) the inestimable (whatever happened to) Wendy O. Williams of Plasmatics fame.

Peace (and rock out.)



Wednesday, May 4, 2005

More Fun Facts

Continuing my one-man Chamber of Commerce gig:

More fun facts about Rochester, NY by D&C staff writer Lauri Githens Hatch (by now she should be paying me a promotional fee):

Fun fact #3:

"The Garbage Plate (the after-bar cuisine to end all after-bar cuisines, consisting of two hot dogs or burgers plopped on a heap o' home fries, cold macaroni salad and baked beans, smothered in meat sauce; onions, mustard, ketchup and hot sauce optional but urged) actually is consumed about once a year by locals - once a month by college guys and devoted patrons of our many fine thirst parlors."

I don't know if any of my adventurous readers has ever tried (or even seen) one of these concoctions - if you have, please let me know - but they look truly toxic. I have had a few (if you live here, you MUST have at least 2 in your lifetime, or forever hang your head in shame and ideally move to Buffalo or Syracuse) and they are inexplicably tasty, even if your circulatory system suffers permanent damage.

The next two facts are related to #3, so here we go:

Fun fact #4:

"The original G(arbage) P(late) is at Nick Tahou's downtown, but every decent diner has a pretty good version.

Recently a local establishment known as the Lodge at Woodcliffe caused a ruckus when they began to heavily market an upscale version of the Garbage Plate (I have to start saving these articles; the only thing I remember is that the burgers were made with bison meat ((probably a subtle dig at Buffalo)) and the potatoes were properly fancied up with some secret herbs & spices.) The Lodge called it 'Le Plat du Refuse.'

Nick Tahou's has never before gone after a restaurant for copying the idea (unless said restaurant used the actual term 'garbage plate') but, I guess because the Lodge was so blatantly hoity-toity about the whole affair, Nick's went after it and the Lodge had to back off and agree not to use the name.

Fun fact # 5: 

"No one expects anything of you the day after you've eaten one. Say 'I had a Plate last night,' and you will be left in peace. True fact."

If you can even mumble the words "I had a Plate last night," you're a local.


Thank You, Mr. President

My favorite exchange, taken from the meeting at the Nissan plant yesterday:

Mrs. Smith: "Well, what I'm concerned about is my son and my daughter and their two sons. Will there be anything left -- my son will be eligible to retire -- well, he's already retired, but he can't draw Social Security for nine years. And my daughter is already --"

The President: "This is a man who retired early."

Wow, Mr. President, you were on the ball yesterday! Nothing gets past you, does it?

Another fun moment:

The President: "Senator Trent Lott, head of the Budget Committee and a great friend, is with us. Thank you for being, Senator."

Yes, I, too, would like to thank Senator Trent Lott for "being." Why not?

And here's a couple of passages that ought to make his position Windex clear:

The president: "You know, you hear all this talk about benefit cuts; we're talking about making sure benefits grow at the rate of inflation -- that's what we're talking about. You've been promised something; it ought to grow at the rate of inflation. Today, if you're an upper-income worker, it grows at the rate of wage growth. What I'm telling people is, is that ought to be applying for younger -- lower-income workers, but not all workers, so that the system can take care of those at the lower income scale. That makes sense to me." . . . . .

"By the way, the idea I laid out the other day about growing benefits at the rate of inflation for lower-income workers -- rate of inflation for upper-income workers, and rate of wages for lower-income workers, solves most of the problem, long-term problem."

Why, yes - now I understand completely! How could I have been so blind? Benefits should grow at the rate of inflation! But benefits grow at the rate of wages for upper-income workers - now. So benefits should grow at the rate of inflation - for lower-income workers . . . no, wait, upper income workers. And benefits for lower-income workers should grow at the rate of wages, the way benefits grow for upper-income workers now.This, if I read it right, seems to be predicated upon the notion that the rate of wages will be higher than the rate of inflation, so that benefits of lower-income workers will be higher than the benefits of upper-income workers. And I'm sure the President will do everything in his lame-duckish power to make certain that the rate of wages forever stays higher than the rate of inflation. . . . . . Won't he?



Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Nice Guys Always Finish Last

This is my first attempt at reality commentary, so it will probably be a dismal failure - but that never stopped me before, so -

Amazing Race

Our favorite old couple is gone. Long live old couples (well, stands to reason, doesn't it?) We're still trying to figure out why Gretchen & Meredith went for the 'brawn' instead of the 'brains.' (Sigh.)

Bonnie makes the observation that the detested Rob'n'Ambah don't argue like the POW & the diva. And we think it should be against the rules for a couple to avail themselves of local help in such an extensive fashion as R&A have done on at least 2 occasions.

Our last hopes are pinned on Joyce & Uchenna (Joyce ought to win based just on the fact that she lost her hair) but we've seen enough of these to figure that youth generally wins out.

One last thing: when the theme is played, one word is spoken. Now it may be due to my bad ears, but to me it sounds as if the word is 'something.' This leads me to imagine the following conversation:

Speaker of word: "Where's my script? What am I supposed to say?"

Producer: "We don't have a script. I don't know. Say anything that comes to mind. Just say SOMETHING!"

From the D&C's Staff Writer Lauri Githens Hatch:

Fun fact #2

(Related to ff#1) "Want to fit in even faster? Refer to the small private school or the college as 'Nyyyyaaah-za-rith.'"

The institutions to which she refers are known collectively as Nazareth (as in the Biblical Nazareth.) I personally have never heard it pronounced as she would have it, but I make it a point not to hang around downtown.

Be well. Peace.


Fun Facts about Rochester

Every year or so, in a giddy burst of civic boosterism, our local newspaper, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, publishes a supplement, Living Here, to inform recent residents and visitors as to what our fair city is about.

The first page of the publication includes a series of 30 fun facts that Staff Writer Lauri Githens Hatch has put together. With her presumed permission, I would like to present 1 of these facts per day (this should keep me going for another month, in case I run out of topics upon which to expound.)

Fun Fact #1:

"Natives, fascinatingly, say this city's name like no one else: 'Raaachst'r.' If you want to blend in, send that first syllable right through the nose 'til you sound like Felix Unger clearing his sinuses. If someone makes that vowel sound even remotely like an 'O,' they're from elsewhere and think they're just passing through but eventually wind up staying. And saying 'Raaachst'r.'"

(If we locals catch anyone saying 'Raw-chester,' they quickly find themselves swimming in the Genesee.)



More Tips

Malcolm's Tip of the Day #2:

Upon further reflection, this second tip comes to mind: Cajole your better half into putting away the groceries. You will then hopefully be far out of harm's way when the inevitable accident occurs.



Malcolm's Tip of the Day:

This tip is especially for anyone who has peripheral neuropathy - when putting a gallon of milk into the refrigerator, it is always better to place it upon a flat surface instead of standing in front of the open refrigerator door with the gallon still in the bag. The cheap plastic bag is sure to tear, dropping the gallon of milk directly onto your foot, causing you to roar like the adult Simba and disturb neighbors for miles around. Plus, your foot will swell up like a balloon and will make walking doubly difficult.

This has been Malcolm's Tip of the Day, #1 in a planned series.