Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Choosing What Matters In the Long Run... With A Twist

Over the past two days, I've found out that I'm going to miss out on a chance to work with the press for when Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards comes to Chautauqua Institution. I'm a little bummed about it since it would have been a great experience in many ways, but I know that attending a life-long friend's wedding is more important. A short post, yes, but I don't think I need to say anymore.


My mom surprised the heck out of me. Well, not really, but I guess I was a little surprised. I will be the media volunteer person for the Edwards visit afterall. Basically it came down to the fact that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, there's a slight chance I might get paid (which is important when you consider my financial situation), and the fact that my friend and her family know what it's like to be looking for a job and then having something temporary come up that you can't turn down.

So I will have no life from now until next Tuesday. I'm headed back to the Institution this morning, with return home uncertain. I'll try to do some blog updates over the next few days because I'm sure there will be a lot of interesting things to tell you all about.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Excellent Editorial By Novelist Indicting Bush

This is a piece written by novelist E.L. Doctorow. It first appeared in the September 9th issue of the East Hampton Star/Long Island, New York. Link to Source:

The Unfeeling President
by E.L. Doctorow
I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the
death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eiscenhowerprayed to God for the
lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was.
Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of
survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this
president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him
joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to
find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the
roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving,triumphal, a he-man. He
does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied
during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and
speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their
country. But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an
emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no
capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand
dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be. They come to his desk
not as youngsters with mothers and fatheror wives and children who will suffer
to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and
the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life.... they come to his desk as a
political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the
arrival of their coffins from Iraq. How then can he mourn? To mourn is to
express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for
going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret
that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his
mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling
terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and
crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to
war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen
to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war
when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because
you want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be
difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He
knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for
only one thing --- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for
the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as
anything. You become a war time leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent
becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite,
he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children.
He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the
dead, he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty, he
does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does
not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people
he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their
bills --- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does
not feel. But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is
relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for
the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the
sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal
mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their
time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor
them by raising them into the professional class. And this litany of lies he
will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what
he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember
the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It
was extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that
transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the
only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world
most of the time. But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of
millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of
mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was
morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was
turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not
to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind
of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct,
who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the
nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national
soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our
lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image.
The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.
Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He
becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain
ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective
warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal
economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral
vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E. L. Doctorow is an American novelist. His works are noted for their
mingling of American history and literary imagination through the interaction of
fictional and real-life characters

Another excellent mid-day perusal: "If America Were Iraq, What Would It Be Like?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Taking Over Small Town America One Cup of Coffee At A Time...

The "big" news around here is that Starbucks is finally going to open a shop in the Greater Jamestown Area AKA in the town of Ellicott. While I've been saying for over five years that I would be thrilled if a Starbucks came to town, I'm feeling a little guilty since we just discovered that one of the local shops, Rider's Cup, is now open on Fridays and Saturdays until 10:30pm. They also offer free DSL hook-up for lap-top users whereas Starbucks charges for this perk.

Either way, it will be nice to have another choice in town, even if I don't like the coffee at Starbucks.

Here's the news story:

Starbucks Coffee Will Soon Be Brewing In West Ellicott


WEST ELLICOTT - Developers for Starbucks are getting ready to fulfill Jamestowners thirst for high-test java.

According to Ellicott officials, the internationally recognized coffee house chain will put up shop on Chautauqua County's commercial strip at the corner of Fairmount and Wicks Avenues - site of the former Owl's Nest gift store.

"We've known about it for a year and a half," said Pat Tyler, Ellicott town supervisor. "Starbucks is one of the originals that had expressed interest in that site. Anytime you can develop a site in the town, it's great."

Lamparelli Properties, Inc., is the Buffalo-area owner of the land and developer for the project which initially included a Starbucks and a Montana Mills bakery.

"We didn't know what was happening, but it was kept alive in all that confusion," said Randy Woodbury, Ellicott's code enforcement officer. He was speaking of the confusion that resulted from the changes in site plans when the second franchise withdrew. The developer is now clear for one building.

"They've been through the planning and zoning boards and through several appearances and several changes," Woodbury said. "There is going to be a drive-through with an entrance and exit off of Wicks Avenue. Their plan is code compliant."

Attempts to reach the company were unsuccessful. Minutes of board meetings indicate the company's agent, Fred LoFaso, has frequently appeared to answer questions before the zoning and planning boards on issues ranging from drainage to store hours for nearly a year and a half to satisfaction.

Woodbury said the finished building will be approximately 50 by 24 feet or 1,200 square feet excluding accompanying parking. Lamparelli Properties will also seek approval for more than one sign.

"They've chosen to have their sign on the building,'' he said. ''If they want a sign on a pole or elsewhere, they will need a variance."

Ellicott's zoning board of appeals is holding a mandatory public hearing on the matter at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in the town's office on S. Work Street in Falconer.

It's merely a another step on the road to future development - a trend Tyler hopes to continue.

"Anytime you have a choice to do things'' they go at them, Tyler said. ''New businesses bring new money. We keep pursuing them."

Going Home...

This weekend, Matt and I are traveling back to Rochester for the first time since the beginning of July for an early celebration of my mom's birthday. When we arrive Friday night, the current plans are to go bowling and then have a few drinks with Heidi, Ryan, Sean, Anne, Beth, Jeff, Ben, Susan, and possibly Courtney if she gets out of work at a reasonable time.

Saturday, the only plans set are going to The Reunion with my parents and my Aunt Carol and Uncle Don for dinner to celebrate my mom's birthday and belatedly celebrate my Aunt & Uncle's 30th wedding anniversary. Afterwards is dessert, featuring the most delicious ice cream cake from some bakery in Webster. My dad has been getting this cake for my mom for over 20 years I believe. It's a layered cake with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream; next to layers of frozen, crushed pineapples and strawberries.

Sunday, I hear the "boys" are going golfing while the women are going down to Naples for the Annual Grape Festival.

Truth is, I miss "home". I got that pang of homesickness when I saw the featured photo of the O'Rorke Bridge. At least I'll be back there again next weekend as well for a wedding, so hopefully I can get in some of my favorite things to do while in Rochester over these two weeks.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Next Day..

On the flip side of my whine/bitch day, I do have to comment that we've had an unbelievable string of fantastic days here in Western New York. Aside from the deluge we experienced for all of two days when remnants of Frances swept through, the month of September has been spectacular.

It's also been a mite quiet at work, so I indulged myself a little and dreamed over different music play lists on WBER and essential music lists on Amazon. If there's one thing that could easily bankrupt me, it's my addiction to music. Here's a list of some of the albums I've recently acquired:

Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash
Depeche Mode - Music For The Masses
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
Howie Day - Stop All The World Now
Junior Senior - D-D-Don't Stop The Beat
Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue
Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
The Smiths - The Smiths
Thornley - Come Again
Tori Amos - Tales of a Librarian

Coming soon to my mailbox:

Keane - Hopes & Fears
The Killers - Hot Fuss
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

Top 5 Must Have CDs on My Wish List (in alpha order):

Beastie Boys - To The 5 Boroughs
John Linnell - State Songs
The 6ths - Hyacinths & Thistles
The Cure - The Cure
Various Artists - Future Sound For America

Honorable Mention: Oasis - Definitely Maybe

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Some Cheese With This?

Okay, this is probably going to break down into a huge whine/bitch session, so be forewarned.

I'm done.

I'm done with campaigns. I'm done with politics as much as possible. I'm just done.

I've spent the past 3 years and 5 months using up every ounce of sanity I have supporting numerous candidates, successful and unsuccessful for political offices; working in a job that tries to balance a severe line between politics and working for the good of the people, and having to dedicate huge amounts of my personal free time toward political causes, political committees, and political events.

I'm done.

I have less than 3 months in this job that has been a part-time job since January. I have applied for five jobs, some I was over qualified for, some I didn't have the experience needed, in an attempt to find employment before my status at work ends. I had one interview. I'm competing with many people in this area with similar experience, who are looking for similar jobs, in a seemingly, increasingly tight job market. I can't move, or look for employment in other cities, because my husband has a good job with excellent benefits where we live now.

I guess the let down of last night and the fact that I'm facing some potentially hard times after years of good luck in the job market is a little bit of shock to the system. I even missed my turn off to get on the expressway this morning on my way to work, only noticing after I had driven nearly two miles past the entrance.

I know I'm not as bad off as other people in this area and around the country, but I can't help but take some of it personally. For those who know the background of more of this, you know why I say that. I'm just hoping that something, anything, comes up in the next couple of months.

Addendum: Post-election/primary day is always a crash. Phew. Somewhat back to my normal self. It's all good.

And This One Ends...

Well... my boss didn't win the primary. And so it goes. Life may or may not get a little quieter for the next few weeks. Just a little tired after working hard the past weeks on this effort. But what can you do? It's just too bad I'm not the most enthusiastic supporter of the candidate that won the primary.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Where The Buzz Started..

I took a quick break to finally add a picture to my profile on the right. I took this picture in Java's back in May 2003 after seeing A Mighty Wind. I have many other older pictures from the original Java Joe's, but since our scanner needs to be stomped on and tossed out, I doubt I'll be uploading any of them any time soon.

Otherwise, my last note until tonight, perhaps, is to urge you to get out to vote if the party you're registered with has a primary today.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Childish Antics In Politics

When the opposite side resorts to hair-pulling to get demonstrators away from a rally, you have to wonder about their maturity and if they have brains.

Anti-Bush Demonstrator Gets Hair Pulled Posted by Hello Source: AP

On a political note, if you live in the 27th Congressional District and you're a Democrat, don't forget to get out to vote in the Congressional Primary on Tuesday, September 14th. Polls are open from 6am to 9pm in Erie County and 12 noon to 9pm in Chautauqua County. Anyone see the inequality in that? Damn the Republican Election Commissioner who refused to acknowledge that and send a bill to our Republican State representative to have the Chautauqua County hours made equal to Erie.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

I'll Take What We Get Here...

With Hurricane Ivan now a Category 5 hurricane with winds topping out at 160 mph, I am even more resolute about not moving too far from Western New York. Sure we received over 4 inches rain in some areas of the county due to remnants of Hurricane Frances, but even that's not so bad.

Someone even suggested that it wouldn't be so terrible if that rain had been snow instead. The figures this acquantance presented was that 4 inches of rain equals 12 inches of heavy, wet snow and 20 inches of light-weight snow. If someone can find me the science behind this, please leave a note in the comments section for this post.

Either way, the result is generally good downhill or cross-country skiing. Four inches of rain? Can't have any fun with that! At least that I know of around here.

Take that Florida!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

You Know You're Getting Older...

Sometimes you're just going along with everyday life, thinking nothing of it, when it hits you. You've gotten older. Now this is not anything unusual. It happens to everyone until something stops that process. Death is usually that something. Plastic surgery and botox don't count.

Today, my "wow, you're getting older" moment happened after I reflected on a conversation I had with some co-workers. We were discussing a new home that had been built on the lake, the square-footage, and the rumor that it had been assessed at one-third its actual value. Three years ago, half that conversation would have sounded like adult gibberish to my brain. Today, a nice watercooler conversation.

Anyone else find this unsettling?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Bush/Cheney Sloganator

The most hysterical things I've seen in a day or two: Bush/Cheney Sloganator.

"In the backwater swirling..."

Okay, the subject line isn't dead on word-wise, but it's what came to mind when I heard that Southern Tier Brewing has a new line of beers coming out called the Blackwater Series. The Beer Guys at the Democract & Chronicle did a story about this hefty new line. Too bad I don't like stouts, but Heidi tells me it's a meal in a glass.

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are...

On my way to work, I caught a news story on the radio about an air and land search that was going to take place this morning in the Chautauqua Gorge-area for a missing Jamestown woman. The mass of law enforcement agency personnel had gathered for a briefing at a small airport I pass by on my way to work. Seeing this large, international group (some had come from Missisauga, Ontario) gave me an ill feeling. Most of the people I've talked to the past couple of weeks assume that Yolanda Bindic is dead.

A quick study of the case: 25 year-old Yolanda Bindics, a mother of four, went missing August 10th after leaving her place of employment at The Dollar Store. Her van was found in an Arby's parking lot down the street. The FBI is investigating and two people have been named "persons of interest" including Jamestown Police Officer Michael Watson and a former boyfriend and father of one of Yolanda's children, Clarence Carte. Officer Watson was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation is taking place. Mr. Carte is considered a "fugitive of justice" as he is wanted in Florida for violation of probation on a robbery.

Obviously the locals have a lot of speculation about the case. Even Chautauqua Word editor Michael Salamone jumped into the fray in an August 19th post on his blog that wondered whether there was more to this story than what was being reported. Allusions were made in that post to a book, Ripe For The Picking, about the investigation and failed trial in the 1988 murder of Jamestown woman Kathy Wilson. I picked up this book after selling my chick lit for store credit at Barbara Berry's Bookshop yesterday.

I skimmed huge chunks of the book, mostly because it was information I had already read. Living in this area, it's an odd feeling to read a book that talks about people that I know and work with. I told Matt he should read it. I would consider saying that I have doubts about the information presented in the book, but you really can't dispute the simple questions the author raises about the investigation of Kathy Wilson's murder. The main question I would have is why law enforcement officials never compared the fingerprints found on the van Mrs. Wilson was last seen in to two men who could be considered suspects in the case. One of those men actually confessed to killing Mrs. Wilson, but according to investigation files police never followed up on that lead. Odd stuff.

So now we wait and see if the search that's to take place today just 8 miles from where I sit will reveal where Ms. Bindics has been these past 23 days.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Selling The Drama...

In an hour and a half, I will be embarking on a trip to see if I can sell off some of the chick lit I've been acquiring the past two years. These are the kinds of books I've bought in various airports or at Target in anticipation of a trip, and then read the entire book over the course of a 3-hour flight. Yes, these books are that fast of a read. Of course, I also read the last Harry Potter book in 8 hours, so I'm sure it depends on the reader.

Why the sell-off? Well, money is partially a reason, but another main goal is the on-going de-cluttering of our house. After the wedding, I realized we have a lot of stuff. It was getting to a point where I was almost ready to call in TLC's Clean Sweep team! While a garage sale will have to be put off until next season due to a shortage in free time, Matt has promised to help me do the whole Toss-Sell-Salavation Army routine sometime before October.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...