Archive for December, 2010

Preacher Man

Friday, December 31st, 2010

So, in a bold move that highlights the typical foot-shooting of the Buffalo populace, an East Side pastor has been sworn in to replace an economics professor as the representative of one of the poorest parts of the city, the Ellicott District. I would think that keeping someone with a background in urban renewal would be helpful, but what do I know?

Hopefully “you’ll get your rewards after you’re dead” won’t become part of the city’s official customer service mantra.

Family Hauler

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Some friends of ours decided the time had come to buckle down, grow up, and buy a family car. They have a son, and a house, a white picket fence, and all the responsibilities and duties that go along with it all. They needed a practical car, one that would haul groceries, run to soccer practise, do carpools, etc.  It had to be reliable, safe, and good on gas.  And thus it was, after much consideration, they decided on and purchased the best vehicle for the job:

A 1965 Plymouth Valiant station wagon.

Parking Fees

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Apparently, the city is upset because parking lot operators downtown have raised their prices during a major international hockey tournament.

Two thoughts:

1. If you’re going to claim that hosting these sorts of events will bring millions of dollars into the local economy, you can’t complain when businesses try to actually collect some of that money.

2. If the prices are too high, people won’t park in the lots. If the lots are charging $40 a day and they’re full – the price isn’t too high.

HSBC Tower

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

It looks like HSBC, the largest tenant in the HSBC Tower in downtown Buffalo, is looking at moving out. And that’s going to be a disaster for downtown real estate.

Essentially, HSBC will build new office space for themselves as part of the waterfront restoration project. They move out of the tower. Other downtown business tenants move in, because “class A” space will become much cheaper and more available. So all of the “class B” space will be wanting for tenants.

(The obvious solution is to bring in more businesses. But with this being one of the highest-taxed counties in one of the highest-taxed states, we are not popular.)

Awesome. Because having an abandoned hotel across the street from City Hall wasn’t embarassing enough.

A Gift from Cracked

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

The 7 Dumbest Things Ever Done By Airport Security

Just for you guys to enjoy on Christmas.

Mangia!

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Christmas Eve
8:30AM. Awake. Breakfast. Cereal. Berries. Cranberry nut bread. Juice. Drink coffee and chat for 2 hours.
10:30 Head over to Grandpa’s. Eat Italian cookies and pastries I cannot spell and can barely pronounce. Drink coffee for 3 hours.
2PM: Back to parents’ house. Eat shrimp, clams, conch, trout, scallops, tuna, and calamari. Assist in the emptying of 4 bottle of white wine. Blackberry pie (South Carolina blackberries). Coffee for 3 hours.
7PM: Mass. No food consumed, other than a small round crispy wafer, for an hour.
8PM: Christmas party at cousin’s house. Cannot recall all that was eaten, but remember chestnuts wrapped in bacon, pepperoni bread, cookies, meatballs, sauce, dips, spreads, cheese, and manhattans.
10:30: Come home. Pass out into food-induced coma.

Here’s to Holiday traditions of the gastronomical variety!

Thermos Bomb

Friday, December 24th, 2010

In addition to salad bars, the TSA is now apparently concerned with Thermoses. (Thermi?) Sorry this blog posting will be linkless, but I’m sure you can just do a Google(tm) search for “terrorist thermos” and come up with a zillion links to this new threat to our national security. Much like the 1/4″ sheet of C4 that it turns out the new full body pat down privacy violation machines can’t detect, a roll of plastique will fit nicely in place of a thermos’s insulation layer, and probably blow up a 747 full of peanut-deprived fliers. At least, according to the TSA’s latest “intelligence”.

So, what’s the over/ under on everyone who boards a plane having to strip down to their skivvies, go through an X-ray machine, and not being allowed to carry anything except a TSA-issued tissue, toothbrush, and tube of toothpaste on board the airplane? 5 years?

Personally, I really don’t understand why they are focusing on airplanes so much. Its still very possible for any nutjob to rent a U-Haul for $40, fill it with fertilizer, diesel fuel, and propane tanks, drive into a city center, and blow thousands of people to smithereens.

Snow Sprint

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Campus Wheelworks is sponsoring a Snow Sprint – a bicycle race around the Delaware Park Ring Road next month, including some off-road snow trudging.

Anyone interested?

Food Poisoning

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

What’s the latest fear-mongering that Homeland Security is passing down on us? Now that they’ve spent all that money to make the airport security theater looking so good, it turns out that Al-Qaeda wants to poison our salad bars.

  1. All 4 or 5 dozen people who eat salads are very scared.
  2. Is the TSA going to find some way to take over Ponderosa?
  3. Is Ponderosa still around?

Lexington

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

We managed to bug out of Duncan, SC about 4:30 yesterday afternoon. Heading towards the SC-NC border on 85, we stopped for a quick tank up on dinosaur bones at exit 102 and then kept on truckin’. We made it all around Charlotte on 485 and then hit some pretty D.C.-esque traffic on the 485-77 merge.

I should seriously like to impale the incompetant civil engineer who designed this interchange. 5 lanes turns into 3 in about 150 feet, with thousands of insane Charlottians jockeying their F350 duallies for that spot ahead of you.

Above Moorseville traffic finally cleared out and we were able to maintain…some unknown constant velocity. The speedometer on my Dodge crapped out a few months ago, with the odometer preceeding its demise by a few more months. So we had no idea how fast we were going, or how far we’d gone. I wish I could say this was atypical of what I usually drive, but sadly, I can’t. At least the fuel gauge works.

Sometime around 8PM 77 merged with 81, and by about 9:30 the road weariness had set in so we decided to truck on to Lexington and call it a night. Lexington, one of a string of picturesque little towns north of Roanoke on I-81, is also the home to a spattering of colleges, so we figured food and libations would be available even at this late hour.

We were correct. I eased our rig (yes, a 22 foot long pickup hauling a backhoe and towing a 20 foot trailer does contitute a “rig”) around the narrow, ice covered, and fortunately empty streets until we found an open double spot. The Palms, apparently a very popular hangout for college aged persons of the frattish and sluttish persuasions, provided us with both draft beer and tasty burgers- Mine Hawaiian, hers Portabello. After dinner we found a suitably shady Best Western (at definitely un-shady prices) and dozed.

Today’s itenerary consists of finishing the trek to Sykeville, MD to visit some friends and deliver their backhoe to them, a day’s galavanting in the D.C.-Baltimore area, a trip to see an 8 wheeled race car I will be driving sometime in 2011, and dinner with the above-mentioned friends. We’ll spend the night there, and finish the trip up to Macedon Thursday.

Merry Christmas, and safe travels to all you other road warriors!