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Last Visit 2013-07-09 08:56:20 |Start Date 2006-06-08 17:52:06 |Comments 398 |Entries 87 |Images 82 |Videos 5 |

06/20/07 02:56 - 71ºF - ID#39741

bag it

Intriguing article about people in Britain hopping on the "no-plastic-grocery bags" bandwagon, in part because of the screening of a new documentary showing the consequences of discarded plastic bags on marine life in the Pacific Ocean:

I'm of two minds on this issue (yeah, I always have this problem, there are too many shades of grey in this world). On the one hand, the plastic bags are often strong and can provide multiple uses before having to be discarded, and are usable for trash bags, etc. When I go to Wegman's and am asked whether plastic is OK, I almost inevitably assent. The fact is, I'm used to using them and don't have a good substitute for them in terms of household re-use.

On the other hand, as the article notes, the environmental consequences of ubiquitous plastic-bag use are substantial and discouraging. Sea animals choke on them, ingest them and have potentially fatal reactions to the plastic in their system, the bags typically are not easily degradable and will clog landfills for generations, etc. And to boot, they are petroleum-based, so they only prolong and worsen our dependence on oil.

One thing is for sure -- I don't think government action is the key to a positive change. Apparently in Ireland they imposed a tax on the bags, and use of them has plummeted. Effective, perhaps, but I don't think the US and especially WNY needs yet another tax. Rather, it would be spendid if folks would just start using more permanent canvas totes or nylon backpacks to carry their groceries. Unfortunately, I'm skeptical about thie prospects of this. I know that there is a dedicated minority out there who already use permanent bags, and that almost certainly includes some enlightened (e:strip)pers. But I just doubt that the majority of folks want to lay out even a little cash to buy those non-disposable Wegman's mesh bags, the Co-op canvas totes, or other stores' equivalents. (Is Tops offering a more permanent alternative as well? Haven't been in a while.) And I think that folks (myself included) who do try to use a permanent bag will lapse and forget and probably laze their way back into using the ultra-convenient plastic ones.

Apart from resolving to do a better job of avoiding plastic bags myself, is there something I should be doing to reduce the negative impact of these little buggers?

Perhaps I should buy the women in my life this product?

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Category: health

06/18/07 10:43 - 71ºF - ID#39716

being injured sucks

Ugh. based on my own research and on a conversation with a close friend who is an ER doc, I think I have patellar tendinitis in my left knee. Pushing off for sprinting/jumping, going up stairs, kneeling/pushing off from the floor, etc. all cause quite lovely flashes of pain in my knee. This has been going on for about 10 days now. Fantastic!

Naturally , just when I was starting to feel good about distance running, I get a repetitive stress injury. So, running 15-18 miles per week was great for cardiovascular health, physical endurance, weight control, and my mental health, but now it seems it has also sowed the seeds of its own demise. That is, the primary treatment for patellar tendinits ("jumper's knee" -- sort of like tennis elbow only in the kneecap area) is rest -- so I have to avoid the running that brought on the annoying affliction in the first place. This is KILLING me because the good weather makes me want to go tool around Delaware Park, but I can't, because I'll aggravate the knee and worsen/prolong the injury. I'd love to run in a 5k or 10k race, but that's a bad idea for at least a few weeks. (aaarggh!) And, interestingly enough, this type of injury is resistant to typical anti-inflammatories, so drugs won't help all that much. Yay! I so love being injured.

I know this is really no big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I needed to vent. :-P

On the bright side, I'm going to see Social Distortion at Town Ballroom in July. :-)
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Category: death

04/24/07 12:48 - 51ºF - ID#39024

Deathtroika this week

Who will die and complete the deathtroika?

1. Boris Yeltsin, former president of Russia

2. David Halberstam, Vietnam-era journalist and author

3. ?????
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Category: tv

04/12/07 07:59 - 36ºF - ID#38869


I haven't watched Jeopardy! in a long time, but a friend from high school just become the new champ. Chris was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper the year before I was. Maybe this means I'm in line to win $25,000 on Jeopardy! next year. ;-) If only.


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Category: hockey

04/08/07 09:38 - 29ºF - ID#38809

oh, it's ON, baby

Last-second heroics by Miro Satan, Viktor Kozlov, and Wade Dubielewicz in an overtime shootout in the final game of the regular season have propelled the Islanders into the NHL playoffs as the number-8 seed in the East -- which means the Sabres will be hosting the Isles in the first round! Woo-hoooo!

All the more sweet because it sends Darcy Tucker, Mats Sundin, and the other Leafs packing. hehe

OK, so who's got first-round playoff tickets? :-D

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Category: irritants

04/07/07 05:18 - 27ºF - ID#38788

the third sure thing in life...

Ugh, time to file tax returns. Because of the move, I have to file NJ, NY, and IRS. Oh, bother.

Oddly enough, I received tax forms from Pennsylvania (I worked there in 2005, but not in 2006)... but not from New York (hello?!) and not from New Jersey (wtf?). Go figure.

So I've been printing tax forms for the last hour or so. It's almost as exciting as watching paint dry. Somebody kill me.

I could deduct some moving expenses but that would (I believe) mean itemizing my deductions, which I have never done before (no kids, no home ownership, no investments, etc.) and do not particularly feel like doing for the first time this weekend or next.

It is ironic that I hound my students about not procrastinating when it comes to papers and studying for exams, and here I am filing my taxes during the last 10 days before the deadline. I made my bed, now I gotta sleep in it.


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Category: buffalo

03/29/07 09:54 - 41ºF - ID#38689

Bass Pro is coming after all...

Well, like it or not, Bass Pro is going to be the anchor for the redevelopment of the Buffalo waterfront:

It took $25 million in public funds to lure (har-de-har-har) Bass Pro to sign on the dotted line (ouch!) but I guess you have to give to get. I'm sure it will be all over the news on TV tonight and in the papers tomorrow.

My question: what sorts of tax breaks and other behind-the-scenes incentives were dangled in front of Bass Pro to get them to commit?
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Category: tv

03/29/07 08:36 - 43ºF - ID#38687

Office Marathon -- in progress

I know tv is so uncool (except maybe the A-team, right, (e:brit) ?) but NBC is launching the new Andy Richter show (God help us) by nestling it within a marathon of classic "The Office" reruns. I know it's the American spinoff of the original Ricky Gervais britcom but hell it's still funny. Runs until 9:30 pm and then picks up again 10-11 pm.


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Category: food

03/27/07 08:45 - 61ºF - ID#38657

West Side good eats

I'm not well-schooled in Buffalo eateries outside the well-traveled neighborhoods: Elmwood, Hertel, Allentown, downtown, University Heights/UB Main St. But a colleague took me down Connecticut to the Armory Restaurant, near the corner of Plymouth and Connecticut right near D'Youville. For the uninitiated, it's an unassuming, old-school Italian-American joint with an old, low-slung wooden bar with two taps, odd collages of old black-&-white photos on the walls, and a few four-tops with red-&-white checked cotton tabelcloths. It was not exactly hip, but it was clean, there was very friendly and attentive service (we were there around 1 on a Monday) and the food was delicious.

I was alll set to order lentils and macaroni but then the waitress started describing the specials and I knew the lentils would have to wait. Beans-n'-greens just sounded way too good. My friend got the sausage giambotta (jyum-BOTT), which looked really good. The waitress warned me that the beans-n'greens typically came with some shells -- no problem there. She served it up steaming hot, in a huge bowl (even I couldn't finish it) along with fresh Italian bread. She mentioned that the hamhocks had stewed in the broth for a day (days?) and the smoky goodness in the bowl said she was no liar. The mix of pasta, beans (black-eyed peas and one or two white bean types), greens (escarole?) and slightly garlicky, smoky broth was sooooooo good.

The two entrees plus a Bud bottle for each of us came to $17. If you're in the mood for old-school Itai-American, try the Armory Restaurant for lunch (it's lunch-only I think) and tell me what you think.

For that matter, tell me your favorite low-rent traditional Itai-American joint. I really like Caffe Garangelo on Hertel, but the Armory's beans-n'-greens is giving me a second thought. What do you think??

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Category: news

03/23/07 04:30 - 53ºF - ID#38594

Roswell/BGH Truck Fire

OK, actually this is yesterday's news but I thought the pics were interesting. (e:chicoschica) had to evacuate yesterday morning because of a truck fire that threatened to catch the enclosed walkway between RPCI and BuffGen. Nobody was hurt and no significant damage to the walkway or the buildings, but OMG look what happened to that truck.

Smoke from truck fire; with a little imagination, the scene almost resembles a small-scale terror attack (car bomb or something)

The remains of the truck (Kelley Blue Book value = $0.00)

Photos courtesy of a coworker of (e:chicoschica), please do not reproduce
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