Monday, July 30, 2007

It Was The Best Of Times...

Sorry for not keeping up the posting schedule, but I'm having one of those occasional "Why do I even live here?" periods. This usually happens when I meet up with friends that are in town visiting relatives, because they provide a telling perspective on just how hopelessly screwed our area, and the state as a whole, actually is. And every time it happens I move a little bit closer to finally giving up.

I wonder how many other people are going through the same thing? How many times do you have to have your friends tell you "There's nothing here, dude. Come to Austin!" before you finally give in and accept that it really is the best thing to do?

I desperately love a lot of things about our area, but how long can that balance out all the negatives?

Is sunrise in the Adirondacks really worth living downstream from a constant flow of sewage?

Is the fun and excitement of events like the Great American Irish Festival worth having to pay almost as much in property taxes as I pay for a mortgage?

Does being close to my extended family make up for idiocy like the Hotel Utica? Idiocy that's been going on for years? Decades, if you consider it's just the latest chapter in the whole sorry "Charlestown/Boston Store/How can we get them to pay for it this time" saga.

Why do I insist on living someplace that claims a third of my income just for the pleasure of being here?

How many times a day do people just like me ask themselves if it's still worth living here?

And how often do they come to the sad realization that the answer is "No"?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Why Settle For The Lesser Evil?

While the Mayor's race in Utica isn't lacking for entertainment value it does have a dearth of anyone with new ideas.

The mayor's race is a mess. You have five candidates, and the more I think about it, they are all old faces. They have all been in bed together at one time or another. Sullivan doesn't stand a chance in the primary. Roefaro and Trevisani should be interesting but in the end I think Roefaro wins. Then you have Ed Hanna. What the hell is he doing?

In November I predict you will see Julian on the Rep. and Ind. lines, Roefaro on the Dem and Con lines, and "possibly" Hanna on the "for the people" line. That makes for a hard to call three way race. But does it really matter who wins that one? The more I think about it, I just "may" pull for Julian in that one. It becomes picking the one of the three evils; I'll stick with the one I know, and live to play another day.

Have any of these people articulated a vision of what their administration would do to make the city a better place? More importantly, have they shown even a hint of interest in breaking away from the business-as-usual attitude that is slowly driving the most productive residents out of the area?

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Long Weekend Has Begun

Midnight rapidly approaches and I'm just getting in from the first night of the Great American Irish Festival. Despite the questionable weather there was a nice crowd, the music was good, and the beer was excellent. Yeah, it's the Americanized version of proper Imperial beer, but that's what makes it good. That, and the refrigeration. Why those poor sods insist on drinking warm beer is beyond me.

From the mailbag:

"Ha! You're being used by the Democrats!"- I assume this is in reference to the Julian photo which, I might add, provided a wealth of entertainment tonight. It took about ten minutes for someone to realize the boys looked exactly like Bill and Ted flogging their band, so "Wyld Stallions!" became the punchline for the night.

But I digress.

I'm shocked, simply shocked at the suggestion the photo might have come from someone that wanted to open both Mr. Julian and a member of his own party to mockery. Well, duh. So what? That makes it less funny? I'm not a fan of unquestioning tribalism, hence my merciless criticism of Republicans whose actions I find objectionable, and I'll take good material anywhere I can find it. An ass-munch is an ass-munch, whether he's riding a donkey or an elephant, and most of our local politicians are ass-munches first and party loyalists second. Anything that helps to make that more obvious is a very, very good thing.

Speaking of which, you should have seen the shameless schmoozing going on in the VIP tent tonight. There's nothing like an election year to turn a music festival into a full-blown political event, with enough facile back-slapping and glad-handing to make you reach for the hand sanitizer. A situation made even funnier because people were taking the "VIP" thing oh-so-seriously, as though it was a reflection of their actual importance. Believe me, if I could get in the bar was set pretty damn low.

Note: The timestamp reads 8:49 because of my clock settings, but this went up at 11:49. Over ten minutes to spare to make the daily deadline!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Photoshop Phunnies Phodder

"I told you it was on!"

"Pwned! OMFG! LOLrsk8tz!"

"See, I told you Arcuri saved all this stuff on tape."

I lub anonymous emailers. Click through for the full size version. I welcome any other suggestions for possible captions.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Calm

An anonymous emailer tells me that the subject of Mayoral marital misconduct will indeed be a campaign issue this fall, despite pious protestations to the contrary. We can only such public-spirited inquiries extend to other elected officials from the area.

Oh, and Ed Hanna won't be on the ballot when November rolls around, but he'll be intimately involved with the election.

Although "intimately" might be a poor choice of words in this case.

Good News, Bad News

First, the good news. Utica has found a new tenant for the marina restaurant.

The city will lease its building at the Utica Historic Marina for $2,500 a month to a company operated by National Hockey League player Robert Esche, city officials announced Tuesday.

ED Ventures LLC, which is operated by Esche and business partner Alicia Dicks, will operate Aqua Vino Restaurant & Catering at the facility. The site was occupied by Kitty's on the Canal restaurant from 2002 until June 30.

The city chose not to renew the occupancy agreement with Kitty's on the Canal, whose owners owed back rent and a portion of utility payments to the city. There are no outstanding parties scheduled by Kitty's on the Canal that would have to be picked up by Aqua Vino, officials said.

This seems like a great deal for the city, particularly the fact that it's a straight-up lease with monthly rent and utility payments. The deal the city had with "Deadbeat" Dave Morgan was, to be kind, less than optimal. As the studios in Hollywood regularly demonstrate, and any accountant can verify, basing your payments on a portion of the profits is a losing proposition. Just ask Peter Jackson, the director of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. While the films made billions of dollars in movie theaters and on video he's still waiting to see his cut of the "profits".

Now for the bad news: the canal adjacent to "Aqua Vino" is an open sewer. It's contaminated with human waste, and will continue to be so thanks to County Executive Anthony Picente's deft handling of the DEC consent order for the defective Sauquoit Pumping Station. Every time it rains millions of gallons of raw sewage is dumped into the Mohawk River and hence into the Erie Canal via the lock located about 800 meters west of the restaurant. Mr. Esche may not be aware of that, but I don't think it's a coincidence that he plans to glass in the restaurant's deck.

I'm also a bit disappointed that the city didn't accept my proposal for the facility- "McFloaty's, home of the Jalapeno Plopper!". Someday they'll recognize that my vision of a sewer themed eating establishment was brilliant.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Only Need One

I sweat and I slave to come up with a daily dose of snark and what does everyone want more of? My toys. This is a copy of the "Golden Gun" reproduction I mentioned over the weekend, produced by SD Studios in the late 90's. You can just barely make out the "007" inscribed on the bullet in the picture.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Be thankful that last Friday's final night of baseball for the self-proclaimed New York State League of Professional Baseball, brought to you by Congressman Michael Arcuri, wasn't at his normal rates.

Monday, July 16th, 2007

A night at the ball park with Congressman Mike Arcuri (NY-24)

RFK Stadium

2400 East Capitol Street, NE

Washington, DC

Time: 7:05 PM
Requested Contributions: $2,500 PAC Host, $1,000 PAC Friend , $1,000 PAC Friend, $500 Individual Friend

I assume hot dogs and beer were extra.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

You're Outta Here

The final nails have been driven into the coffin of baseball in Utica.

New York State League of Professional Baseball commissioner Jay Acton announced Saturday morning that the Murnane Field-based league has ceased operations after less than three weeks.

Acton would not comment on the decision, saying only that "a press release announcing the league is folding is being released."

Players met at Murnane Field on Saturday morning to turn in their jerseys, hats, belts and socks. By 11 a.m., some players had emerged from the clubhouse with their first -- and last -- paychecks.

Don't feel too bad. You can still buy a copy of Jay Acton's informative book on how to make money from minor-league baseball at Amazon. I'm guessing this means it won't become a bestseller.

Update: It's good to see some of the money from Mr. Arcuri's $500 breakfasts was put to good use.


Friday, July 20
Herkimer vs Oneida • Utica vs Rome
Congressman Arcuri Community Night-FIREWORKS!

Eight Random Facts

Someone emailed me the "Eight Random Facts About You" meme that's been floating around for a while. You know how it works- you get to read eight facts about your friends or acquaintances and then they use peer pressure to get you to do the same.

Initially I was just going to ignore it and send it off to the trash bin because, one, I'd much rather gossip about other people, and two, I like my anonymity. Then I realized there isn't much material in the news to write about today, encouraging people to attend next week's Great American Irish Festival is a poor excuse for content, and I need to update daily if I actually want anyone to keep reading this thing.

So here are eight random facts that will help you while away the next few minutes of your life. Emphasis on the "random".

1. I've had two articles published in scholarly journals with really long names. The first on deep immersion naval technology and the second on the use of barrier creams for diving in extreme water conditions.

2. I recycled most of those two articles for a game that had some measure of popularity throughout the 90's. A lot more people bought copies of the game than ever read the serious articles.

3. I didn't learn to swim until I was 24.

4. I have a third nipple. So does my oldest son. That is why Francisco Scaramanga from "The Man with the Golden Gun" is the coolest Bond villain ever.

5. I have a hideously detailed reproduction of Scaramanga's Golden Gun on my fireplace mantel. It disassembles into a functional lighter, cigarette case, cufflink, and pen just like the original movie prop. Sadly, it can't fire the fake 4.2mm golden bullet included with the gun.

6. I paid for my non-scholarship college expenses by driving a bulldozer. The cockpit of a bulldozer in the summer sun is the hottest place on earth.

7. I once spent a night behind bars because I matched the description of a gun smuggler. The Border Patrol was extremely apologetic when they realized I wasn't the man they were looking for.

8. My father died when I was very young. Two years ago I discovered he wasn't my father after all, and I have no idea who my real father is. On the bright side, now I know why I'm a foot taller than my siblings.

Update: Someone emailed to find out where they could get one of the "Golden Gun" reproductions. Unfortunately, the makers of the gun, SD Studios, went under after only producing a limited run of the prop in the late 90's. A few come up on Ebay every year, so that's probably your best bet. If you're interested in other spy props you need to pay a visit to The Spy Boys for their incredible selection of items. I'll warn you ahead of time that once you go there you can kiss your next few paychecks goodbye.


Get your tickets now, because there's less than a week to go till the Great American Irish Festival. Music! Beer! Dancers! And that thing they call "football" that they, like, totally ripped off from soccer.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Exclusive: Major New Tenant At Griffiss Business and Technology Park

Flash! In the next few months Rome's Griffiss Business and Technology Park could become home to a major new tenant that would dwarf anything there now. Who is it? The entire United States government! Rome will be the featured capital of the post-nuclear US if CBS executives order additional episodes of "Jericho".

10:45 am: "I don't think any of us thought it would come back when the decision was made [to cancel it], because it only happened one time before," says Barbee, who adds that the Season 2 story will focus solely on the happenings in Jericho. Had there been a full-season pickup, part of the action would've been set in New York.

I bailed on the show after about ten episodes, but I followed the advice of friends and gave it another chance after it's initial cancellation. By then the show was off the air, so I watched the last six episodes of the season, and at time the last six episodes of the show period, via CBS's website. Amazingly, the show somehow turned itself around and was actually pretty good. Even more interesting was the fact that Rome became the "temporary" capital for the most powerful government faction after the country was devastated by a series of nuclear detonations.

After a highly successful campaign by fans upset by it's cancellation CBS ordered seven additional episodes of the series. If the new episodes do well in the ratings the network will commit to another 15 episodes that would, presumably, include the hi-jinks going on in Rome.

If you want to check out the show you can view every episode from the first season over here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tinkerbell Dies, Again

Professional sports in Utica has failed once again, and it's all your fault.

After just three weeks, the New York State League of Professional Baseball appears to be ready to cease operations after Friday's games, although founder and commissioner Jay Acton said that isn't certain.

"The league will shut down as of Friday due to a lack of fan support," said Dave Cash, the Utica native and former major league second baseman and coach who is manager of the Utica Brewmasters...

There are four teams in the fledgling league - the Brewmasters, the Herkimer Trailbusters, the Rome Coppers and the Oneida Barge Bucks - and all games are played at Donovan Stadium at Murnane Field. The league drew 2,677 fans on opening night, July 3, but attendance has never topped 100 since, Acton said.

"The other night we had 13 people (in the stands)," Acton said. "I had 18 people playing baseball."

Cash, a multi-sport star at Thomas R. Proctor High School in the 1960s before going on to a 13-year major league career, expressed anger at the lack of support from area fans.

"I'm disappointed to say the least," he said. "I just can't believe people didn't know what was going on."

With all due respect to Mr. Cash, he's blaming the wrong people.

It's never, ever the audience's fault when something fails. The league's collapse can be directly traced to the fact it felt entitled to the support of the community. Why, they just had to hire some players, play some baseball and..TADA!..they'd be a huge success. The area was obligated to show up because, dang it, it was baseball!

Sadly, that's not how reality works. In the movies you can bring Tinkerbell back to life just by wishing really, really hard that it happens, but no matter how much the backers of baseball wanted it too succeed it wasn't enough. Good wishes and happy thoughts might be able to bring a fairy back from the dead, but they don't fill the stands with bodies. Marketing does. "We didn't get the support we expected" is just a lazy way of saying "We didn't have an effective marketing plan" or, in this particular case, "We didn't have any marketing plan".

Update: Strikeslip makes the connection. Heh.

Ten Million Questions

A poster in the OD's Storychat brought up a great question in response to the Common Council putting the kibosh on the new parking area for the County Office Building. What happened to the $10 million the city received over a year ago for a new multi-level parking garage in the same area?




I hope the money isn't just sitting in an account somewhere, since I was under the impression that grant monies had to be used for their specified purpose within a limited amount of time.

Not to worry. I'm sure the money didn't just...vanish.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

For Everything There Is A Season

First I find out about the "Say No to Dave Roefaro" blog and then I discover the Justice Denied13501 blog is once again active.

Bring on da noize!


The supporters of at least one candidate for Mayor of Utica have launched a new blog. And they're already posting the kind of juicy stuff I love.

How interesting it is to look at Tim Julian's financial disclosure reports. Under the individual donaters there are some interesting and familiar names (Democrats). Again, you will find some intersting names under the Corporate donors (i.e. L.B. Security - Dan La Bella President, and Nick La Bella - "The Best Dan Sherrif's" father). Interestingly enough, L.B. Security's donation was just given on 6/14/07.

Rob Palmieri, the one time Democratic mayoral candidate that vowed to run no matter what, and pledged that Julian was terrible for the city, has now given twice to Julian. Most recently on 7/2/07.

Now I'm confused because appearently Dan La Bella has a deal with Roefaro. La Bella is supposed to be the new Public Safety Commissioner if Roefaro gets elected. Is La Bella hedging his bets, or is he just an "unfaithful elected Democrat?"

What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to decieve. There is much more to come about the intertwined financials of the Republicrats. As they say..."Follow the money".

The only suggestion I would make is that the author provide a link to the financial disclosure report in question.

That said, I think it's pretty obvious that our local politicians are more interested in solidifying their positions as members of the political class than actually serving the ideological interests of any party, or most voters for that matter. There's little difference between the Republicans and Democrats when it comes to the cheerfully corrupt, tax-and-spend, get-mine-while-the-gettings-good attitude we see on a daily basis.

Home Sweet Home

WKTV has a blurb on a Reader's Digest article about Utica's amazing success as a refugee destination.

The August 2007 issue of Reader’s Digest magazine features a six-page article on the City of Utica, titled “Second Chance City.” The article profiles Utica’s emergence as a new home for refugees from around the world.

“Reader’s Digest has captured the essence of how important the influx of refugees has been to our economic and social revival,” said Mayor Timothy Julian, who was interviewed for the story. “Utica has truly become a place for refugees to get a second chance at life.”

Without the massive influx of immigrants from the late 80's onward the Utica/Rome metro would be a ghost town today. Those immigrants, and their families, now make up over twenty percent of the county's population and over fifty percent of the population in some districts. They are, quite literally, the only thing keeping our area viable.

That's not to say the situation is all sweetness and light. The average immigrant is a net drain on the county's financial resources for the first six years of thier residence, but after that they increasingly generate more tax dollars than they consume. In some cases that break-even point arrives even faster thanks to the rapid growth of small businesses like nail salons, restaurants, ethnic grocery stores, carpenters, and metalworkers. Just take a look at the business incorporation announcements in the paper and you'll see that they're fueling one of the few bright spots in the local economy.

Personally, I think one of the biggest benefits immigrants provide to our culture as a whole is their unique perspective. Someone that spent five years in a communist re-education camp in Vietnam has a much firmer grasp of what "tyranny" and "repression" actually is, as opposed to the candy ass "I'm inconvenienced, hence repressed" definition most native-born Americans have. There are people walking the streets of Utica today that can offer a personal take on what "torture" really is, and how casually it's used in the rest of the world. And you can't really appreciate how luxurious American "poverty" is until you've talked to someone that once counted themselves lucky to have a wooden stick.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More Crap

Strikeslip has more on just what the sewer consent decree is going to end up costing.

The dirty little secret is revealed today about who pays for the Consent Order -- though it was couched in vague terms.

On July 12: "Picente said the burden will likely land on the taxpayers of the part county sewer district, which includes New Hartford, Paris and Whitestown." ...
"This is a problem everybody knew about and nobody wanted to deal with it," Picente said. "The towns and villages knew about this — it's a violation issue and we're responding to that."

On May 24: "Within the next week, Picente said he also is planning to meet with representatives from the towns and areas affected, which include areas in the villages of New York Mills, Yorkville, Whitesboro, New Hartford and Oriskany and in the towns of New Hartford and Whitestown."

Today we discover:

"Ratepayers in the sewer district, not all county residents, will have to pick up the tab if state or federal grants can't be found to defray the costs of what could become a $66 million project."

I think this whole fiasco is eventually going to end up costing something north of $100 million dollars to clean up. Most municipalities in the state already require dedicated sewage treatment facilities for major projects, but that option doesn't even appear to be on the table. Instead, we're going to end up subsidizing the new construction of a massive wastewater infrastructure with taxpayer dollars. An expense that will far outweigh any potential tax income from those same projects.

Get Your Tickets Now

If you haven't already, get your tickets now for the Great American Irish Festival. In just three short years this has grown into one of the largest musical events in the state thanks to the hard work and dedication of an immense number of people. I don't even like Irish music and I've always had a great time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Voting With Their Feet

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has a great article about why people are fleeing upstate in droves.

Garcia is among the 30 percent of residents between the ages of 25 and 34 who have departed upstate New York during the past decade, according to Gov. Eliot Spitzer's office. A survey of 1,000 graduates of State University of New York campuses during the spring found that two-thirds of students from upstate preferred to stay in the region, but less than 40 percent of them had been able to find jobs, and less than 30 percent expected to be living in upstate New York in 10 years.

I'm sure you'll be shocked to discover that high taxes are one of, if not the, primary motivator for people leaving the state.

Karen Joba, who moved from Hamlin to North Carolina with her husband, Bruce, in 2005, said New York would continue to lose residents until significant changes are made, "especially tax-wise." The Jobas pay about $1,400 in property taxes on their $200,000 home in Hendersonville, N.C., compared with $5,000 in property tax on a $147,000 home in Hilton.

When your property tax bill is in the same league as your mortgage payment there's a serious problem.

Once again, people aren't leaving the area because there aren't enough parks, or because the Stanley doesn't host enough Broadway shows, or because there aren't enough coffee shops, or because there aren't enough sidewalk art shows. They're leaving because the tax burden of living here far outweighs any possible benefit derived from the quality of life.

Onward And Upward

The Rebellion against the Empire grows.

New Hartford, N.Y. Online and Concerned Citizens for Honest & Open Government have joined forces.

In addition to our blog, there are now 2 websites to visit for information relating to the Town of New Hartford.

This is good news for both New Hartford and the area as a whole.


Strikeslip has started an excellent explanation of the sewer system consent order over here. Read the whole thing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Utica, 1941

More amazing footage from 1941, posted by a Youtube user that I think is Lou Barile. This one features some great scenes from the Matt Brewery.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Walesville Incident

I'm a complete skeptic when it comes to the paranormal, but I find the subject fascinating nonetheless. Particularly when the stories have a local angle like this one.

On 1105 LST 2 July 1954, F-94C aircraft 51-13559 took off on a routine training mission. GCI requested the aircraft to change mission to intercept an unknown aircraft at 10,000 ft. The pilot identified a C-47 aircraft by tail number, and was then requested to check a second unidentified aircraft that was at low altitude and apparently letting down to land at Griffith AFB. The AF account states:

As the pilot started a descent, he noted that the cockpit temperature increased abruptly. The increase in temperature caused the pilot to scan the instruments. The fire warning light was on and the pilot informed the radar observer of this fact. The fire warning light remained on after the throttle was placed in "idle" so the engine was shut down and both crew members ejected successfully.

The aircraft crashed at the "Walesville Intersection," and was destroyed. The aircraft struck a house and an automobile, fatally injuring four persons.

The above account is from the official USAF accident report ("Summary of Circumstances"). There is no Blue Book file because no UFO was involved.

From one point of view this was a tragic accident caused by a false radar return and a faulty cockpit light.

From another point of view it's evidence that an unknown object, presumably an alien spacecraft, used a directed energy weapon against a pursuing jet from Griffiss AFB, leading to the deaths of four innocent people.

The fact that people believe either version could be true appeals to the writer in me.

Update: Here's a CNY UFO sighting from within the last month.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Da Law!

The DEC/Oneida County consent order is now online. There's some interesting stuff in there, including the revelation that the defective pumping station is overflowing an average of 7 times a month, sending 24 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Mohawk River every thirty days.

Oh, and this fiasco has been going on since 2003. Let's give Joe Griffo a big round of applause.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I just spent twenty minutes blogging the Rome-Sentinel's story on the DEC/Oneida County sewage agreement, only to have Blogger eat the damn post. I'm too lazy to rewrite the whole thing, so I'll jump right to the end:

Picente said the $66 million figure is a "guesstimate, if you will." It could be higher or lower than the preliminary number compiled based on projects elsewhere.

Crap. Less than a day has gone by and I already have to revise my graphic.

Keeping Secrets

As the ongoing Fecal Follies demonstrate, our area is afflicted with a political class that prefers to operate in total secrecy. There's no legitimate reason why citizens should have to deal with endless legal appeals and FOIL requests just to find out what their government is doing. Public disclosure is the cheapest and most effective way to insure government does it's job, which handily explains why our politicians are so enamored of secrecy.

After reading our appeal letter, four of the five board members agreed that since legally they are required to give us a copy of the assessment database, they were in favor of releasing the information. Everyone voted "aye" except Ward 1 Councilman Robert A. Payne, III who vehemently voted "no" even after the town clerk made it clear that Robert Freeman, Executive Director of the Committee on Open Government, agreed that legally the information should be released to us. Our appeal even included an Opinion of Counsel from the ORPS website that said that the information was FOILable. But Ward 1 Councilman, Robert A. Payne, III apparently has a disdain and disrespect for the law and he continues to choose to place his personal vendetta above doing what is legally required of him in his job as Ward 1 Councilman. Strange that this would be the first time in almost two (2) years that Councilman Payne chose to vote no on any resolution, particularly given all the shenanigans that have been pointed out on this blog.

It only takes three mouse clicks to burn a data CD. It's taken months of wrangling to get someone to make those clicks.

Anyone see the problem here?


More details about the secretive sewer agreement between the DEC and Oneida County have started dribbling out. It looks like the residents of the area are going to be stuck with a $60,000,000 bill.

A deal was reached yesterday between Oneida County and the state concerning repairs at the Sauquoit Pumping Station.

Fixing the pumping station will help the entire county, but only nine municipalities using the station will have to pay.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said the reason is simple: “It’s the law.”

According to Picente, the nine municipalities which include New York Mills, Town of Paris, and Whitestown, among others, entered into a pact 42 years ago forming the part county sewer district.

The sewage flow problem arose from excess storm water overburdening the pumping station. The waste then goes to the water treatment center, and discharges into the Mohawk River.

Wednesday, Picente announced a deal the county reached with the state that will lower fines levied against Oneida County and give it three years to study the problem, and four to fix it.

The cost is estimated to be around $60,000,000, much of which will be paid by those in the Park County Sewer District.

I hope you folks living there really enjoy all those big box stores, because you're now subsidizing them to the tune of $545 dollars for every man, woman, and child. It's another Big Win(TM) for Oneida County!

The Fecal Fountain, Having Flown, Flows On

Smell that? That's the smell of Oneida County's "government". And you're going to be smelling it for at least seven more years.

The Oneida County Board of Legislators had one day to see a revised state-and-county agreement crafted to address a $66 million sewer problem, but the short time frame didn't stop legislators from unanimously supporting the deal.

Although County Executive Anthony Picente could have signed the agreement without the board's consent, he said he wanted legislators to be involved. They voted 29-0 to support the terms of the deal at their Wednesday board meeting.

Some legislators, however, questioned whether they had enough time to properly review the problem and order before voting.

"We should have been allowed to have more time to review this," said Legislator William Goodman, D-Whitesboro.

It's absolutely amazing how quickly these folks can work. Of course, raw sewage flowing into the Mohawk River is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible...which is why we need to study it for three more years. Then we get to fiddle around for another four years figuring out how to actually, you know, fix the problem.

You know what the best part of this "deal" is? It's going to pump even more feces into the Mohawk River. Oh, and it's going to make the already serious surface water problems in the Whitestown/New Hartford area even worse.

Yes, you heard that right.

From the terms of the agreement, such as they are:

•For new sewer permits and those that were pending, the county has to show the state that for every one gallon of wastewater that will go into the sewer system, five gallons will be removed.

The problem being that the new connections to the defective sewer system will be pumping "black water" into the system. That's water contaminated with human waste.

The "five gallons" of water the County plans on "removing" from the system? Since none of the permitted projects are installing their own own waste treatment facilities that water is going to be "grey water", essentially rainwater and surface runoff.

Which means that every time the defective Sauquoit pumping station overflows it will be dumping sewage with an even higher concentration of feces and urine into the Mohawk River than ever before. The grey water? Instead of going into the pipes of the sewage system it will have to be diverted to surface holding ponds and ditch works. The residents of the area that have already seen their back yards, driveways, and landscaping washed away by uncontrolled surface flow can now look forward to having even more water to deal with.

Another fine bit of work from our talented government officials in Oneida County.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What's Up With Christian Garramone?

Since Friday I've had over twenty search hits for "Christian Garramone". I assume they're looking for Judge Garromone's son, since they also use search terms like Utica, but I haven't a clue why everyone would be so interested in him now. Did his case go to court last week without any publicity?

Utica, 1941

This is some amazing black and white film footage Utica's WIBX from 1941. The comparison between what the radio station was then and what it is now is is illuminating. Sad, but illuminating.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


The suspense is killing me.

Update: No, it's not a spelling mistake. I'm told that's what the actual tape is titled.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Doldrums

Back when a trans-Atlantic trip was something that took months and had a very high likelihood of being fatal, as opposed to the "Thank you, sir. Gate 4. Would you like the chicken or the veal for your in-flight meal?" convenience of today, the center of the ocean was inhabited by a merciless killer: the doldrums. Stick to the northern or southern reaches and you could rely on a more-or-less continuous wind to propel your fragile little conglomeration of canvas and wood across the waves. Wander off course and you risked straying into a nightmarish stretch of ocean where the wind was a weak and whimpering beast, unreliable at best and dangerously absent at worst.

Today we call it the Intertropical Convergence Zone, but to the leathery scallywags who sailed the seas back then it was a death sentence. Get becalmed in the doldrums and your carefully laid-up month long supply of food and fresh water suddenly had to last five weeks. Or six. Or...well, that was the trouble. You never knew how long you had before Boreas finally took pity on you and blew a gust your way. After a few days the hot, unrelenting sun would turn the fresh water in pitch-sealed barrels foul, making your already un-palatable diet of hardtack and salt beef impossible to digest.

And still the wind refused to blow...until the moist, fatty thighs of your crewmates started looking awfully tasty.

I doubt we'll have to resort to cannibalism, but the inconvenient presence of the 4th of July smack dab in the middle of the week has surely taken the wind out of our sails. It's hard to work up any momentum when you know you'll crash into the holiday emptiness of Wednesday, and on Thursday...well, it's practically the weekend, isn't it? Worse, the doldrums mean there isn't anything other than the Boilermaker really making news, and even that reporting is the usual "Rah, rah!" bring-everyone-together and isn't-it-wonderful stuff we've read for at least the last decade.

It's enough to make a man want to head out of state and smuggle back some illegal fireworks, just to liven things up. Bwahahahaha!