Monthly Archives: July 2008

Is summer over?

I can’t help feeling that this summer is coming to a premature end. I’ve been noticing that some of the trees around my house are looking like they want to start on the fall color now, especially a maple the next street over which, unbelievably, is half red now, and it’s not even August yet. Anyone else noticing anything like this?

Or maybe it’s because my summer trips are pretty much finished, ending with last week’s loop in the southern Adirondacks. This was supposed to be a trip to West Virginia that somehow got whittled down to something closer to home. Just the usual Old Forge-to-Blue Mountain Lake-to-Speculator circuit, but I hadn’t been up there for about 10 years, so it was comforting to see how little has really changed. (I also had a great concept for a new line of perfume: Adirondack Monsoon. The intoxicating scent of wet nylon and DEET. When I make my first million, I’ll be able to afford a real camp up there.)

Sean Kirst blogged about his favorite old-time hardware store. It’s not a hardware store (well, not exclusively), but I would include Speculator’s Charlie Johns supermarket in that general category of an establishment that doesn’t seem to have gentrified at all. If wealthier tourists from downstate even knew where Speculator was, there’s no way this establishment would have remained what it is — it would have been Starbucked long ago. It even still has 1981 Adirondack food prices, which, oddly enough, are comparable to 2008 Wegmans food prices. And, unlike most other groceries in the Park, it’s not 1981 food!

Governor’s speech today

Gov. Paterson will deliver a speech at 5:10 p.m. today, focusing on the (dire?) state of New York’s finances. Obviously meant to be covered live on your local newscast, but probably meant to send a message to Albany. Well, you can’t say that Paterson graduated from the Spitzer school of (non-)communications.

Updated: Paterson’s speech was a placeholder, a publicity shot-across-the-bow with no specifics, but not an empty gesture either. This is the thing about blunt, in-your-face communication that Spitzer never understood – that tough talk is mostly wasted behind closed doors. Tough talk makes for lousy interpersonal communication with your friends (I guess in Albany, that would be “frienemies”), but excellent public communication to your enemies. We can only hope that Paterson thinks he has enemies.

News news

New York Media Guide is your one-stop shop for links to New York newspaper websites (both daily and weekly). A highly useful resource, even if it does bear somewhat of a visual (not political) resemblance to the Drudge Report. Take a look.

Syracuse B-4 is a blog that digs up old Syracuse news stories and looks at them in hindsight. An interesting concept, and I hope there are more posts to come.

Meanwhile, Gatehouse Media, a company that owns many newspapers across the country — including the Utica Observer-Dispatch — is in serious financial trouble, and CNY Snakepit is following the implications of this with several posts.

Crying all the way to the bank

The Joe Bruno era ends today in anti-climactic fashion as the old man exits stage right stage left through the trap door with all of the hefty retirement benefits that New York State employees have come to know and love. Blogging about Albany just won’t be the same without him. His righteous indignation. His stupid quotes. His slight but nagging resemblance to All My Children‘s David Canary. Am I the only one who always wondered if he was Adam, or if he was Stuart? Indeed that was probably the reason for his great longevity in office. You could never be quite sure if he was a scheming Machiavel at heart, or just your dotty old uncle.

His constituents are left with “The Joe” and with the delicious memories of pork picnics to which they will probably never be invited again. The rest of us above Westchester are left to wonder what the hell happened. It all was so clear last year at this time. Sure, the constant sniping was unproductive, but at least it was familiar. Now there’s no Eliot and no Joe. No Upstate Czar, no President Hillary Clinton, and it feels dangerously like no one is in charge of this vast outback. Just a few “Wall-E”‘s left behind to compact the trash and stack it.

Maybe in 700 years, something wonderful will fall out of the sky. Until then, maybe we’ll just have to cannibalize each other for spare parts as we break down one by one.