Monthly Archives: August 2008

Save the bunny!

Do you live in Fairmount Hills? Did you lose a black bunny? He/she has been seen hopping around Glenview Drive near Kimberly. (See map) The bunny is in danger of becoming lunch for a cat, or roadkill for a car; so if he’s yours, please be advised he’s on the loose. This has been a public service announcement brought to you by NYCO’s Blog.

The things we tell ourselves

James Howard Kunstler (yeah! I got his name right!) has a feature on his website called “Eyesores.” He’s a little too harsh on the vintage kitsch, but this particular entry took me aback. Here’s the official description of the Paragon Prairie Tower:

“Located in the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area, the Paragon Prairie Tower was designed to represent the Midwestern work ethic of saving and harnessing our abundant natural resources. It will combine state-of-the- art technology with old world materials and craftsmanship. A colorful shimmering scene will be created on top of panels of pre-cast concrete using hundreds of thousands of individual fragments of glass. The glass mosaic will depict the Iowa prairie with a field of wildflowers, including Coneflowers, Black-Eyed Susans, Daisies and Clover amidst bluestem grass. When complete, the scene on Paragon Prairie Tower will be approximately 5,000 square feet, which to date will be the largest known mosaic glass tile mural in the U.S.”

Say, wait a minute… saving and harnessing our abundant natural resources is our unique Central New York ethic! What about our Jolly Green Hotel? But I guess we’re not even the first ones to enshrine that ethic by constructing a huge phallic totem made of colored glass. So how many other depressed regions around the country are telling themselves the exact same things? It’s like we’ve all been visited in turn by the same Elmer Gantry.

And… Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area? (“No other region shares our rich agricultural legacy…”) Hey, whatever you need to tell yourselves, folks. At least we have the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor… although on Onondaga Road, it’s now called the Erie Analway National Heritage Corridor, thanks to Beavis and Butthead and some brown spray paint. (Yeah, the same kids we’re desperate to keep here in CNY.)

No laughing matter

The NYT has a story today featuring Gov. Paterson’s renowned sense of humor and the political uses thereof. I’d have to say that my favorite Paterson quip (not recounted in this particular story) was the one where he asked Harlem’s newly-opened DMV office to give him a driver’s license, promising he would have all the local drug dealers cleared off the streets in no time.

The one compliment I would give to Paterson without reservation is that he is fundamentally serious about being governor of a large and ailing state. I don’t know if he has sufficient political will to get things done, or how sincere he is about some of his public statements, or even how dedicated he is to some progressive issues. But he appears healthily worried about the job, something that nobody in Albany ever is. By the time a politician rises that high, they are usually thinking (often unrealistically) about going to Washington. Maybe Paterson’s unusual ascent to the office makes him toss in his political bed at night, or maybe he’s just a natural worrywart who uses humor to defuse tension. But in hindsight, that’s what always pissed me off about Pataki. The man was governor for three terms and never broke a sweat.

A tax on both their houses

Just wanted to highlight two recent posts elsewhere about the predictable squabbling about Paterson’s proposed tax cap. The cap might very well harm education in this state, but I am inclined to agree with many who say that it’s time for the usual heeldraggers to start getting proactive instead of reactive. See this post at Daily Gotham for the basic lines of the current debate. I also agree with some of the commenters who point out that tax cuts tend to hurt the most disadvantaged. But isn’t it time for progressive factions with power — like the unions — to start being political leaders on the greater systemic problems that are affecting education and property taxes in this state? They need new ideas.

Roatti, a regular contributor at The Albany Project, has some good points about deeper issues that they could start being concerned with — preferably before a governor wants tax caps or cuts (although it’s probably too late for that now, and we’re in for a lot of unproductive nastiness ahead).

Known unknowns

Bored? Feeling a little too proud of yourself? Want to feel stupid? Take this series of hardcore geography quizzes. I think in America we assume that a lot of people around the world have an inkling of where our 50 states are located. I’ll bet more foreigners know where U.S. states are located, than any of us know anything about theirs.

Incredibly sad that I got a higher score on the India quiz than on the Mexico quiz. (For those concerned about the war in Georgia, I recommend the Russia quiz.) To know what you don’t know; is that not knowledge?