Archive for July, 2011

Garden Walk

Friday, July 29th, 2011

It’s that time of year again – the Buffalo Garden Walk is this weekend, and we’re getting tons of national press about what has become one of the biggest garden tours in the country. Not bad for a city that people think is locked in snow and ice year-round.

Nostalgia is Poisoning the Present

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Governor Cuomo had a timely message for Western New York yesterday: “Stop living in the past“.

Damn straight.

The steel mills aren’t coming back. Manufacturing isn’t coming back. There’s still plenty of life left in this city, but people need to internalize the fact that we will never again be a city of millionaires like we were when McKinley visited. There’s nothing wrong with being a smaller city – but being a smaller city that’s still run like a large city is a path to heartbreak.

BPD Bike Auction

Monday, July 25th, 2011

So, Kevin and I went to the bike auction this weekend. I was hoping that the Escalade would show up – I even had a fresh copy of the police report with me, just in case. Sadly, it was not to be. Kevin scored a few good deals, though, picking up some BMX bikes and even getting quoted on the news station’s web site. Nice work, Hollywood.

As usual, it was a feeding frenzy of people with no idea how much a bike is actually worth. Huffy and Pacific mountain bikes with a lot of wear and tear were going for almost a hundred bucks, which is about their price brand new from Wal-Mart or Target. People are weird.

Religious Intolerance

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Yesterday, before the shuttle landing, a commercial came on the radio for a local church. Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, to be specific. As I lay there listening to it, I wondered if I was imagining what I was hearing. It was really incredible. This church had purchased what must have been a minute-long radio spot for their Reverend (Carl Robbins,¬†according to their website) to denounce Catholicism. I won’t get into the specifics of what he said, but sufficed to say, it was the same tired, bigotted, anti-Papal garbage I’ve heard from those who for whatever reason hold a grudge against the Catholic Church.

Now, I realize that I’m in the South, now. And Catholics here are a distinct minority. But for this “Reverend” to come on the radio and badmouth Catholicism would be akin to giving the Grand Dragon airtime to voice his opinions on people of color. I was really offended- and I don’t offend easily.

When Katie and I went to talk to the Deacon at St. John the Babtist (the Catholic Church we attend), we were fearful that her being from a non-Catholic background would present a special hardship for our marriage celebration. Quite the opposite. The Deacon told me, “We all love and serve the same Lord.”

Quite a contrast to the vitriol spewed by the local Presbyterians.

Apple Stoer

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

First, Apple outsourced manufacturing to China.

Then, the Chinese started making off-brand clones of Apple products.

Now, they’ve replicated an entire Apple store, from the building to the inventory to the stupid name tags and t-shirts for the disinterested dorks who work there. Who all think they actually work for Apple.



Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Today being my mom’s birthday, and I, being the good son, I called her on my way to work this morning. (Coincidentally, we’re both early birds.) I mentioned to her watching this morning at 5 minutes to six as Atlantis, the last of the space shuttles, touched down. As it turns out, this wasn’t the only space mission that occurered around my mom’s birthday, and she recounted the story of her 16th birthday watching the television with her friend as the astronauts walked on the moon.

Its interesting the things we remember from our childhood. It seems like everyone of that generation remembers the events surrounding the moon landing. For me, watching the pale white shuttle flutter to the ground in the ghostly gray shroud of early dawn, my mind recollected that other, more ignomious day in space and shuttle history back in 1986. I was 8 years old. We’d pushed the old TV/VCR cart into the classroom at lunchtime back at St. John of Rochester elementary to watch the Challenger launch.

Dumpster Drive

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Dumpster Drive is a Mac OS X application that makes that “trash can” icon a little closer to it’s real life analogue. When you delete a file by emptying the trash can, it vanishes from your local computer – but it is uploaded to a central server, where other people with the DD application installed can pick through the trash looking for potential treasure.

I don’t know how useful this is, but it’s kind of a neat idea.

Buying Trust

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Looks like the days of getting intrusive pat-downs and backscatter radiation are over with. Well…for a price.

The TSA is looking to roll out Known Traveler Passenger Screening this fall, where people can “opt-in” to divulge an enormous amount of personal information in order to expedite the screening process for flights.

If we can confirm a person’s identity and learn a little more about them through information they opt to provide, and then combine that information with our other layers of security, we can strengthen air travel security for all Americans while at the same time speeding up the screening process for those participating in the pilot.

Okay, so it’s an attempt to refocus resources and help the process. I’m inclined to say it’s a decent idea, though I’m cocking an eyebrow at its execution. It smells pretty heavy of the schoolyard bully saying, “If you give me fifty cents in the morning I won’t have to take a dollar at lunch.” Except, you know…it makes us safer…I guess.

Fifth Amendment

Monday, July 18th, 2011

The EFF has filed a friend of the court brief in a Colorado federal courtroom, asserting that compelling a defendant to reveal the password to her computer’s encrypted hard drive is a violation of the Fifth Amendment. This will be an interesting legal precedent; I don’t think that the British tactic of holding someone in contempt until their password is revealed has been used here in the USA.


Monday, July 18th, 2011

I’m sure that we’re not the only city seeing this, but it appears that banks who hold mortgages on some houses around here are quitting on the foreclosure process halfway through. They kick out the previous owner, realize that the house is worth less than it will cost to unload it in a short sale, and then let it rot. Nice.

(I’ve actually been going back and forth with my city councilman about a house on my street in this situation – the owner left three years ago, and it’s been in limbo. In those three years it’s gone from “needs paint and a couple of windows replaced” to “massive structural problems due to neglect”.)