Handlebar imagery


Took the holiday eve and joined a bike gang to pedal around our fair city. It is always good for my twisted view to see stuff from the open air. It helps my outlook to be a part of something bigger that me and a pedal trip around the city is a favorite mode of centering.

Good looks and had I been in the car, might have missed them

Pause


I was caught at a slow traffic light on one of the busier streets in my city last week. I couldn’t help but notice that, across the street, an attempt at parallel parking was going on. A young woman, with plenty of room for her car, was trying to maneuver her car. What was revealing was her reliance on just the backup camera. She didn’t crane her neck at all or look out the windows, just purely stared at the camera. It apparently revealed all that she needed to know, gently guiding her in to tapping both of the adjoining cars, despite the vast amount of space there was with which to work. Focused solely on the camera, the driver did herself a great disservice. By forgetting that she had both windows and a moveable neck, she managed to “kiss” both the cars on the edges of the space she was attempting to fill.

Later that night, CNN screened “Roadrunner,” the story of Anthony Bourdain’s rise to media prominence and his all too early end. While most celebrity passings come and go for me, that one did hit me rather hard. I really liked his writing and religiously watched his television offerings. The common thread between the programs was just showing things, customs, cooking, life entirely. It didn’t seem that he was rushing to confirm a particular judgement, but to seem something completely. Hopefully a better understanding was the end result. He tried vegetarian cuisines. He shot machine guns with Ted Nugent. He chatted with both Trumpers and nontrumpers. The fundamental curiosity and the willing to find stuff out I knew drew me in and at the heart of it, that helps me fuel my critical thinking and outlook. i really appreciated his notion of seeing the whole thing, being curious enough to find out, to use all that was available from enjoying a meal to forming a notion.

That seems to have evaporated. I mean it is okay to not have a take yet, but it seems like we are skipping the duty of being interested in finding something out then we are in having a snappy comeback,

It would certainly make all the media dogwhistles that we hear a lot less effective. Now, that isn’t a media thing. It’s not like there is a big conference call every morning where all the media gathers and decides things collectively. It’s the how we react to stuff.

This has been on my mind a lot of late. An acquaintance posted about the recent nomination hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson. The acquaintance was against the nomination based mostly on the made for TV theatrics of Sens. Hawley, Cruz and Graham. The three stooges in their never ending quest for camera time ahead of time, you know, working, were trying to make a stink of the judge’s sentencing record. The hearing was filled with hysterically stated generalizations that didn’t take in account cases, legal nuances, charges or make much sense. I don’t believe they believe a word of it. They were just out to scuttle the nomination and screw up a president they aren’t fond of, the petty buffoons. The actual cases are too nuanced for those jamokes.

Ron DeSantis, in his quest to turn Florida back to the 1940s, got the Don’t Say Gay law put in place and is championing himself as the protector of the next generation. You do a little digging and find out that he didn’t win by much the last time, a little over 33,000 accordng to Politico. Maybe, I’m cynical…okay, I am. I don’t think he gives a rat’s behind about what gets taught. He certainly didn’t hold students in any high regard – berating those wearing Covid masks at a recent ceremony. He is trying to get apathetic voters to turn up to keep him employed. The Disney company admirably came out against the law with that pesky freedom of speech and DeSantis came out swinging against them. Facebook political “scholars” were cheering him on as he wants to take away Disney’s self policing of their Florida holdings. You did a little deeper and the bill the Florida residents would have to pay if this all actually came to pass should cause his impeachment. Good thing, it is all political theater.

I started writing this prior to the leak of the draft of the Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe versus Wade. While that potential is horrifying enough as it will endanger women for the sake of control over them (as well as reveal how the past three justices perjured themselves to get their jobs), I am thinking that leak might have come from Justice Thomas whose spouse really wanted to abuse her clout to overturn the the 2020 election.

We need to stop and think about that.

We also need to stop and act more for the consequences of the Buffalo shooting. As it sits about 1/2 mile from my residence, I’ve been trying to pitch in where I can either financially, with sweat equity or just making space. As the cameras are dissipating, the hole in the heart of that neighborhood is deep. The help needs to be there as the wounds run very deep. The city hasn’t done much to help things aside from getting the supermarket there in the first place. But more needs to occur as the history even leading up the shooting isn’t good. This is a good piece for perspective. Jefferson, Bailey, Genesee, Fillmore should be just as significant as Elmwood, Delaware and Main. Hopefully this all proves impetus for a positive direction guided by the people who call it home. It’s beyond disturbing that teachers and grocery store employees have to plot hiding places and escape routes. I admire our sports team for offering help, but I’m not really comfortable with commemorative t-shirts and their revenues going down untold paths when there are grassroots organizations doing the work

It happened two weeks ago, and already the horror isn’t even the freshest nightmare, If you weren’t sure what terrible excuses for human beings Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott were before, they certainly showed it. With musings like bulletproof school doors (Cruz) to insight like “it could have been worse,” (Abbott), they aren’t exactly distinguishing themselves as public servants, just buffoons prioritizing their NRA donations.

Given that the AR-15 is the en vogue weapon of choice and there is absolutely no reason for civilians to own one (no, not even you, Joe Sportsman), perhaps look at making them tougher to get for disturbed 18 year olds.

This is not who we are goes the refrain. Sorry, but it exactly who we are. We need to be better to aspire, genuinely aspire to be better.

I was hard on myself for what I’ve done to help with efforts here in Buffalo as they felt a little lacking in my mind, but I know I’ve contributed more that either of those two jamokes will to better the situation in Texas.

In a world of Abbotts, be a Beto

Niagara


It is pretty easy to get a little blase about anything that you are too familiar with, that you see too frequent. I don’t have much stomach for the busy tourism influx when it does hit Niagara Falls. In the preseason like we are in now, when the chaos is a few weeks away, you can let the quiet allow you to be refreshed by the actual magic.

With the call, here’s RJ


There are certain folks who just have a way with words. You know what is happening and are forming a mental picture based on their description. By way of example, I have never seen a “coffee-colored cadillac.” I know what it looks like from the way Chuck Berry sings about it.

Certain broadcasters have that gift. Outgoing Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret has that gift. As he closes the book on an incredible run of 51 seasons, I am very appreciative he hung in there. The team is showing some signs of life, but the decade of meh hockey squandered time from one of the great enthusiastic voices. Both he and Ted Darling deserve eternal gratitude for their roles in building out Sabres hockey. Both fostered enthusiasm, belief, joy and fun.

Long before even he knew that mama hid the cookies on the top shelf, he spread the news.

When television was still a bid of an oddity and Sabres games were televised maybe a dozen times in the year, RJ painted an amazing picture and you saw it, you saw the expression on the face of the fictional kid from Peterborough who caught the puck as it went over the glass.

They used to have the regular sunday night starts and my clock radio brought many an epic battle onto my mental tv. You can take your pick.

I get that perhaps there might be some who might not be a fan, but the joy of the call of this one lives like it happened a few moments ago.

and got to have your cookies.

One of the best wastes of money I ever spent was dropping $10 for a copy of “Roll the Highlight Film” a cd filled with the best calls to that point by a seriously gifted broadcaster. I placed the contents on an ipod and now my phone as it is a treat to hear a song, then RJ describing a Gil Perreault led rush then back to the music.

His enthusiasm fed ours through great times, amazing times, even through the past decade where being a hockey fan wasn’t always very easy.

Thanks, RJ, it really has been fun.

Should We Talk About the Weather (hi, hi, hi)


This stuff isn’t good.

A path created by stomping feet, not shovels

We got over two feet of snow to start the week. It isn’t a hoot. I never considered that among the supply chain pandemic induced shortages would be snow removal. The sidewalks in my apartment complex and the above ankle snapping path pictured above have footprints, but no shovel prints three days after the storm passed.

This stuff is such sudden quantity isn’t a winter wonderland as some tired copywriters insist on hauling out. It’s not a ripoff if your area only got four or five inches. It’s a chore. Four days after the snow stopped, started to melt, and then quickly refroze is my microcosm of a complex taking on a chore of cleaning up. Given the volume of snow, they got a day ahead of them. The place is finally taking some initiative for being a better neighbor and less of a liability hot bed. When the next door nursing home has their sidewalk down to bare pavement and you are sporting the above, it’s not a good luck. But we weren’t alone. In a city where the parking rules have puzzling inconsistencies, the deck gets stacked among what plow drivers there are. The suddenness of it all took everybody off guard. Buffalo talks a good game, but we could stand to back it up. I chipped in and help push a couple cars out of unplowed snow divots. While there are some autos whose owners did indeed make some questionable choices, we don’t deserve a councilman says it is all the residents’ fault.

We do have some whackdoo parking timing around here and I bet that does cause some havoc in plotting plow routes, assuming they are indeed plotted. Given the volume of snow, a zone defense would surprise me.

I used to have a long commute to work that took me to the next county and when snow fell, simple travel took on whole new meaning. With one exhausting trip home, I was exiting a thruway onramp to a highway back into the city, when I saw a car zip zagging in and out of my rear view mirror. Not that I wanted anything bad to happen, but i was praying the driver would find a snow bank before anything serious happened. Thankfully they safely did. I cringe about hearing “we need to practice our winter driving skills” on local news. Living where we do, we should just have them.

The Buffalo streets commissioner looked so weary and I empathize but given that we are dealing with the second significant snow fall in as many weeks, we should be learning, walking the walk to back up our talking the talk. Maybe he should order up a few of these to ease movement.

The truck, not the mural or me

It’s great that we are watching out for each other and all, but overall planning shouldn’t be so ad-libbed. I dig the four seasons but this one shouldn’t be our boss.

Now I can settle back in to important tv watching without wondering if that plow is headed for me.

Chickens are good people


1 = 1 =5. Perfect math for these disconnected times. It comes from a meme that really rang true for me. If you want to believe 1+1 does equal 5, I’m not going to try to dissuade you as I’ve come to realize what folly that truly is. People are arguing on social media based on emotions and the confirmation of their preferred narrative not the facts.

Where do you start? So many things to be mad about but I fear for my overtaxed outrage, The Texas anti-woman crusade? Uncle George Carlin from almost twenty years ago put it right

Pretty much says it right,

We do seem to be a pattern of instead of addressing an issue proactively, we seem to fight about it. That law is about control, not about actual behavior, the healthcare, but control. The need of some backwards cromudgeonly cromagnon old white guys (who as George notes, nobody wants to mess with anyway) asserting control in an area where the governor wants ignore the pandemic. Apparently the virus has more rights in Texas than the female citizenry.

You wouldn’t think people would have the capacity to not see the wrongness here, but somewhere, somehow, there are jugheads arguing about it. Gp get ’em, Merrick Garland. This needs repair not pointless internet arguing.

We don’t look for facts, we look for preferences.

It’s not Facebook’s fault that people aren’t getting covid shots, but that does seem to be a battle front where the line between barstool philospher and infectious disease expert seems to be pretty hazy (maybe that is a side effect). A year and a half into the pandemic, nobody really has an absolute. We all just think we do. What I think, getting vaccinated doesn’t necessarily absolutely cure or keep Covid completely away, but it seems a good step to take to reduce the severity if it landed, a good step to take, but you do you, or don’t.

I can’t help but wonder if there has been a bit of ripple effect in the workforce from 700,000 people dying from Covid. People have fought about nobody wanting to work because of the supposed great living you made during the expanded unemployment benefits when those were around. Sure, there are folks gaming the system. I can think of 535 of them in the house and senate. Given the extraordinary nature of the pandemic where nobody could be certain of anything, maybe folks reprioritized, maybe some postings were exposed to not be that great, maybe some employers aren’t worth hiring, maybe years of being in hospitality didn’t prepare you for being a mask or vaccination police person (see that poor woman attacked by customers at her NYC restaurant for doing her job), maybe years as a flight attendant didn’t prepare you for self-righteous buffoons attacking each other and you in flight, and maybe some places are depending on the vicissitudes of hiring algorithms to fill postings. I’ll check my resume for keywords. Anyhoo, it’s a complex situation that doesn’t have easy answers that will never get properly addressed in any facebook status update arguments.

I’d rather my city have a mayor with a few parking tickets than one whose office gets raided by the FBI. And while I am at it, socialist programs do not mean Trotsky is a coming. Most of the new deal was socialist programming. Social security, farm price supports, unemployment, bank deposit insurance, streets getting repaved, hell, anytime government does something for anybody fits the definition. People are running from a word without bothering to look it up. Perhaps they can research it while they are looking up their vaccine research.

I can’t help but wonder if anybody is even doing that, researching their vaccine, and if they did, do they know what they are looking at? Unlikely, but give em a meme to post and they will admonish anybody who doubts.

Witness the all the partisians on facebook now that are choosing sides as Congress continues to screw around with bills that are designed to help people, keep social security payments, pay the military, trivial stuff like that, invest in roads and bridges and each party is so hell bent on screwing the other, it is going to be the citizenry who is going to lose, yet apparently the country came here for an argument once more.

We aren’t fixing anything. With so much broken you’d think that might be job one, but no, it’s easier to throw spitballs from the back of the internet, shouting your possibly baked notion louder than the next, not to any real end other than to be louder than what you don’t want to hear.

It reminds me of the belligerently written posts to raise awareness or post this on your wall or I know real friend will posts, I hate those things they do nothing than serve as vehicles for attention. Everybody likes to posit that social media is an evil, but never stopping to consider a paraphrase of Pogo: “We have seen the enemy and it is us.”

Let’s fix something. Get it fixed and at the bar when the job is done we can toast how it should have been.