05/25/09 08:42 - 64ºF - ID#48754
Come see the new house!
Sorry for the short notice everybody, but we'd like to invite you all to our house this Saturday May 30!!! We're having a big summer party at our new digs.
Come see what we got for $46,000!!
Starts around 2-3, and goes till late. Come for a few hours or hang out all night. 178 Altruria St. South Buffalo, off South Park near Tifft.
We're inviting family and friends. Hang out for a backyard picnic, and stay till whenever. We'll have some food and drinks for everyone, but you can always bring something to contribute. Tour the house, check out the vegetable garden, we'll have a fire outside later on... come hang out.
Location: Buffalo, NY
04/28/09 09:19 - 49ºF - ID#48531
First Weekend of Summer
Wednesday and Thursday we hung out at our neighbor's house next door, had some food and drinks. We've met a lot of our neighbors already, it seems like summer is going to be full of activity. It was nice to spend some time, and get to know the 2 families in the house next door.
Friday 2 friends came over after work. We hung out in the yard, enjoying the excellent weather. We assembled our fire ring, but we got hungry and didn't end up lighting our first fire. But it was the first time we've actually hung out in the backyard with friends. We had a little dinner party, with some pasta and homemade sauce. I do make good pasta sauce, instant gourmet :)
Saturday, Mr Softie in the hood. Parked right outside my house. There are a ton of kids in this neighborhood.
We went for bikeride. We had no perticular direction. First we dropped by a friends house to see their newborn baby, passed a hotdog stand on South Park Ave so we stopped for a bite to eat. Passed a street musician after we left, playing guitar at the bus stop by the library. Then mom's house, we found her outside gardening, of course :) Finally we rode around Cazenovia Park, and then around South Park Lake too. We saw a saxophone player outside the Botanical Gardens too. Such a nice day for a ride, it's like the whole neighborhood was in bloom.
I love Hot Dog stands, woodside and South Park :)
Dudes Fishin' at Caz Park
South Park Lake
Outside the Botanical Gardens
Later we showed off our new house to one of mom's out of town friends. Then we all went out to dinner at the Blackthorn. Mom's friend in a Buffalo native who is actually moving back to B-lo from North Carolina because she misses the people, cheap living, and the friendliness.
At around 8 we went to a friend's birthday party in East Aurora. we stayed outside on the back deck and the porch, except to refill our wine glasses, and use the piano, she has a player piano, one that plays those song scrolls. Fun stuff.
Rockin' the Player Piano, that cabinet in the back is full of scrolls.
I worked outside, starting my vegetable garden in the back yard. We had dinner at mom's house, backyard barbeque! Enjoyed my first corn on the cob of 2009, along with sausage, veggie-burgers and pasta salad. Cooking on the grill, lovin' the outdoors.
Molly says hi :) Actually she wrote some of this post!
Location: Buffalo, NY
04/16/09 10:00 - ID#48410
Taxed to Death??
Anyway, I'm not going into detail here. but one slogan I saw a few places.
"Born Free, Taxed to Death"
There are a lot of ways to die... That's one of the reasons we have firefighters, and police, and traffic signals, and Medicare, Social Security, and the Food and Drug Administration.... you get the idea.
In many ways, we actually pay taxes to protect ourselves from death. Because paying $25 per year to help fund a Police force is a lot simpler, cheaper, and easier than hiring a private security force, or detective, or getting a gun or a baseball bat and going all vigilante style.
Maybe that's going a little too far, according to the Buffalo News Tea party Protesters "said they favor spending on the military, police, roads and other critical infrastructure,"
But... "social welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicaid had few fans."
"...yea... fend for yourselves.. you over 65 socialists, we don't owe you shit!!! One for.. me, and ... all for .. none... or... All for me, and none for you!!! whatever, Hows'it go?...."
I guess it sounds good. "I work hard for my money, I deserve to keep it all. And if somebody's got more money, i guess they just work super hard, and they deserve it too."
my point is this; if we worked together, we wouldn't have to bust our ass all the time just to get by.
"Yea! screw Social Security... I should be able to put my kids through college, pay medical expenses, insurance costs for my car and house, oh.. pay off that student loan. and have plenty left over to retire!... Yea!! freedom!!!!!"..../ what the fuck is that shit.
If we didn't spend so much time worrying about the future, worrying about illness, college loans, retirement... I know I'd have a lot more freedom.
We have to work together. It's patriotic, and human to care about your neighbors, your family, the citizens your country. It's supposed to be "all for one, and one for all" We should look out for each other.
You know teachers work hard, so do farmers, so do computer programmers, and so do your parents... and we all couldn't get by without them. But they each make different amounts of money. And it's not because they don't work hard enough, most of the time it's just cruel luck.
You also don't need to be greedy to work hard. or to contribute to your society. I think that selfcentered individualistic bullshit is un-American. How about soldiers? They're some of the most selfless, hard working people you'll meet. totally not motivated by greed. they want to help people.... imagine that, motivated by an urge to help. Not so hard right? I think it's just human nature to want to help.
"E pluribus unum" it's on our money, a motto adopted at the founding of this country, it's Latin for "Out of Many, One," it means we're all in this together.
The essential point of government is to help us work together in an orderly way. Government is not the problem, selfcentered politicians have betrayed us.
PS. my Father in-law is in the paper, the last 4 paragraphs, about the counter protester with the Veterans for Peace Tee Shirt
Location: Buffalo, NY
04/15/09 10:39 - 50ºF - ID#48396
This couple, Mr and Mrs Stevens, they've got 7 kids, they moved to Buffalo's East side from the country. They own a home on the Fillmore ave on the between Broadway and Sycamore. They have 2 acres of open lots behind their house, all of which are owned by the city. They requested to buy the lots and turn it into a farm. The city said no. Here it is in the Buffalo News
Here's the land
Behind Fillmore, between Broadway and Sycamore.
What do you guys think?
Should farming come back to the city? Without a huge increase in population, what will happen to abandoned neighborhoods? People keep sprawling homes over farmland, and the city is left with abandoned homes to demolish, how can the city rejuvenate itself? The East Side, how does it get better, where can it go. I don't think you can ignore the East Side and expect the rest of Buffalo to Recover. So where is the east side headed, and how can it be positive?
The area around the proposed farm was a dense, popular Buffalo street at one time, a central Business District for the East Side. Broadway Market is still there. But now it's one of those places you drive around and get depressed. The once magnificent buildings on Fillmore and Broadway just look like death. and most of the people who live in the area would rather move. It's a shame. I get furious when I think of how we let our cities rot. First they went to Cheektowaga and let Broadway rot, now they move further out and toss Cheektowaga out like a half eaten happymeal. Back in the 60s it would have been easy to help the East side, and all of the city, now look what we've got.
I'm pretty familliar with the East side, went on the Tour de Neglect twice, that's about 7-8 hours riding my bike around, and used to drive out to MLK park every other weekend.
The way I see it, the City is absolutely foolish not to allow people to turn acres into farmland. The one thing the East side has going for it is the open space, nature has reclaimed areas, and it's a beautiful thing. You can look as some buildings and businesses as assets, but as a whole, the peaceful open spaces are the strength of the East side.
The Mayor would rather see new houses constructed there. Like there's a shortage of homes. Yea, I know, new homes, people like those. Well, I've seen plenty of them abandoned and boarded up too, on the East side and in South Buffalo. I don't think the houses that were there were the problem, it's the neighborhood that nobody wants. new homes can be wasted just like the old ones if the neighborhood has no heart.
I got tons of links on this, the city seems to be getting a lot of bad press, even that Buffalo News article, on the front page, big picture, titled "City Says E-I-E-I No" There's stuff in Artvoice Buffalo Rising WNY Media is doing video, oh, and there's a Facebook group I joined, it's getting close to 400 members
the non-profit Broadway Fillmore Alive has links to a bunch of different stories
oh, by the way, there is a farm in the City FYI Mayor Brown, it's about 4 blocks East of Main St. Queen City Farm Saturdays at 9 you can volunteer.
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/30/09 11:10 - 32ºF - ID#48237
Drug Companies, money for Ads, not R&D
Check this one out
Drug Companies spend Twice as much on marketing and advertising than they do on Research and Development, about one third of their revenue.
from Families USA
Just one example of how we are getting ripped off despite the huge summs we are paying for our healthcare.
Drug Companies are the third most profitable industry in America.
Why so much Profit? Instead of creating new drugs, they spend a lot of time tinkering with old drugs just so they can get a new patent and have a monopoly for 20 years on the production of something, then they spend their money marketing some new form of Prozac with a new patent and a different name.
Anyone else get annoyed by the TV commercials out there telling me to "ask my doctor" about such and such wonderpill? I don't feel like I'm qualified to guess what kind of perscription I need, that's why I'm going to the doctor in the first place right? If I know how to handle it, I wouldn't be going to the Doctor. And didn't they spend about 13 years in school learning this stuff?
I always hated those drug commercials, I always felt like they were just increasing my cost and providing nothing of value. Now that I know the actual numbers... This is so much worse than I thought.
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/24/09 11:17 - ID#48189
I guess the basic idea is that, in America we've slowly lost our sense of community, and that may be our biggest problem.
I probably worry way too much about America, and our problems. But you know what... in my frantic search for solutions, I often come back to the idea that we are all a little too isolated, a little too fearful, and a little too detached from one another.
That really is the the path to a better world, and a better life in your own skin.
Somewhere along the way, we were fooled into thinking that if we could just take more and more for ourselves, we would be happier. But I think the opposite is true. You have to give, in order to be happy. Cause you'll never have complete control, the world is disorderly, life is unpredictable, and if you think you can take enough from the world to make you happy, you're missing the point. Rich people can be miserable, and the dirt poor can be joyful. The thing that matters, is the people in your life. And if the people around you matter, then selfishness has no place.
Fear of eachother, and self-centered values. I'll bet that's hurt our society more than anything.
Yea, we moved out of our towns and cities. So we could get away from all those people. Get our own grass, our own pool, our own swingset, our own everything. But self indulgence has not made us happier, and fuckin'a we worked so hard to get it.
I think we're starting to come full circle though. Technology drove us apart, but now it's starting to bring us together again.
You know, I make eye contact with anyone I walk by. I want to know my neighbors. And sitting home alone I can relax, but I need people in order to have fun.
By the way, thanks (e:strip) for bringing people together, thanks paul for making it exist and enviting us to your house. And for improving the site all the time. I won't let you launch the new site without sending you a donation. I'm a cheap bastard, but I put my money where it matters.
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/22/09 11:12 - ID#48160
Simplifiying the Stupid Economy
So much of our way of life is unsustainable, but it seems like our politicians are trying to preserve all of it. As if they think a lifestyle based on importing chinese crap, exporting weapons, moving our manufacturing to Mexico, building McMansions on farmland, running our lives on credit, saving zero dollars as a nation, shrinking the middle class, letting our cities rot, and leaving our healthcare up to insurance companies instead of doctors, is something we should be fighting for.
I thought we had finally hit bottom, but now I'm not so sure. Corruption runs deep. There are a lot of people making money off of our misery. I was hopeful that we'd finally see some progress now that the people on top are hurting too, because of the Stock Market. But these bailout proposals look like free cash for Wall Street.
And why the hell does big business think they're entitled to free cash and aid from the government without penalty? Oh, right, cause there's no such thing as a free market, we always bail out the fat cats, that's the way it's always been.
two big issues are bugging the shit out of me. Healthcare and the Economy. I've decided to start with the Economy.
2 Opinions about the economic problem
There seems to be two general opinions on what the problem is in the Stock Market.
1) the first opinion is the Tim Geitner, Paulson, Wall Street perspective
2) the second opinion is the Krugman, Stiglitz, Robert Shapiro, Richard Freeman, and dcoffee perspective. Along with all the others who support wasting as little money as possible, protecting the public, and letting the lying gamblers on Wall Street who got us into this mess go broke.
1) the first opinion;
The main problem is that investors are scared. There is too much instability in the market, and nobody has confidence that they can make money. But things are fundamentally sound, the assets and most of the companies are OK, they're just undervalued because nobody is buying right now. But eventually things will go back to normal.
2) the second opinion;
Some of the money that people had on paper never existed, or it was grossly inflated because of the crazy housing bubble and other bundled debt that was sold. So actually there are 2-3 trillion dollars missing from the stock market, and it's not coming back.
these two ideas are not really compatible. Sure there is a crisis of confidence, that is obvious, but the money either exists or it doesn't. And if it doesn't exist, we'll have to find out what's worthless sooner or later. Or we can let the government buy the trash and save Wall Street's ass.
1) the first opinion supports the idea of giving 'aid' and 'relief' to financial institutions to help them get through this troubled period. Everything will go back to normal eventually, but right now the usual investors are just acting irrational. Maybe the government could buy the worst assets that nobody really understands, and nobody wants. Then it's our problem, instead of Wall Street's, and wall street can at least go back to normal.
2) the second opinion says that, there was a lot of gambling going on in the market, there was a lot of deception, and everybody lost money in the end. Now the public as a whole is in danger because our money was in that corrupt system. The government is the only one who can stabilize the market for the sake of protecting us all. This involves firing the people who got us into this mess, taking control of all the assets from that institution, not just the 'toxic assets'. The government reestablishes confidence by figuring out what all that stuff is really worth, and sells it back once we've made sense of it. We've done this in the past, in the 80's during the savings and loan crisis, maybe you forgot about that crisis, cause the nationalization plan worked damn well.
1) you might call the first option, cash for trash. Or a Bailout.
2) you might call the second option, detox. Or Nationalization.
The fundamental disagreement is weather the money exists or not. Call me crazy, but I don't think people on Wall Street can't accept that the money is gone. If you're on Wall Street you cannot be objective, because you want that money, you expected it, and the fact that it's gone is just impossible, no matter how much research you see to the contrary.
What happened to the money? A lot of it was based on mortgages and other debt. Everyone assumed that housing prices could only go up. So you got a big mortgage, and bought an amazing house. Your house was like a huge credit card that not only had a big credit limit, but its value went up, and eventually you could sell it and make a profit, or at least pay off a chunk out of the debt you owed on it. You wanted an expensive house, so even lame houses became expensive, and you didn't care, cause the value could only go up. At least, that's what everyone said.
The money was based on all of our debt, and we had a shitload, we still do. But we're not so sure we can pay it back, and neither are the banks, cause unemployment is rising. When you take out a 20-30 year mortgage at 4% - 5% you end up paying double, that's right, double, go ahead do the math. So that means the banks, as soon as they gave you that mortgage, they acted like they had cash in their hand. They figured about a quarter of the overall money they were owed wouldn't be paid back. So you get a $200,000 loan, they double it to $400,000, and subtract a quarter, and they guess they're going to make $100,000 from the interest over time. so they took that money, and used it on the stock market.
Add our consumer debt to that pile. And you realize this money is not coming back.
There's a hole in the market, that money is gone. The part that bugs me is that this problem was created on Wall Street, and they expect the taxpayer to bail them out. We should bail ourselves out, and put the greedy crooks who crashed the system in jail.
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/19/09 12:18 - ID#48121
NYS Rockefeller Drug Laws, more news
Also Rod Watson takes on the Drug Laws in NYS for 2 reasons;
One the laws target Minorities. 90% of the people in NYS who are locked up for non-violent possessions charges are black or Hispanic, though whites use drugs just as much. Here's a statistic "blacks made up 53 percent of drug offenders in state prisons nationwide, while comprising only 13 percent of the population."
Second reason is the waste of money. "it costs $45,000 to $50,000 to lock someone up for a year. That compares with about $30,000 for residential drug treatment, and about $14,000 for outpatient treatment."
I'm glad we're getting some sane discussion on this issue. In the past just questioning the drug laws could make people label you some sort of self centered hedonist, who values nothing except being in a drunken stupor, and doesn't care about somebody's children.. or something like that. It's a ridiculously simple and shortsighted argument, but a popular one that tends to stop rational discussion.
Least Compotent Criminals .or. Not My Neighbor Anymore
Another Article in the news is about an idiot in South Buffalo who used to run the Moose Lodge on my corner. Apparently he fired bullets into a house because the guy inside was going to testify against him about breaking a somebody's nose in a bar fight. So instead of an assault charge, now this moron has felony witness intimidation, reckless endangerment, illegal possession of a firearm, and a host of other stuff. And he's unemployed, cause he was booted from the moose lodge. So good riddance to him. But it does make me wish that our Prisons were better at being 'correctional' facilities.
One Bit of National News relating to the AIG bonuses and the public uproar they are causing.
The public has a right to be pissed. We definitely talked about this issue when the stimulus was being discussed a month ago, and as far back as the election, "Golden Parachutes" was the term being used them. So it should be no surprise that the revelation of these bonuses and others in the industry has caused an uproar. So now some people are trying to use this anger in a political way. I saw Cantor on the TV trying to say "this is exactly the reason why no republicans voted for it". Personally I do think people should have had time to read the bill before voting on it. not that I think much would have changed.
Anyway people are looking for some scapegoats and political windfall from this. So I wanted to dig a little deeper. Chris Dodd (D) chair of the senate banking committee, has been named as a culprit. I looked into it a bit, and I don't think he deserves any of the blame. You can see a video here it's on Huffington post, but the pest part is the 8 minute CNN interview where he sets the record straight.
After reading a little more about this, I think you can fairly blame Timothy Geitner for loosening the restrictions. And maybe Lawrence Summers a bit though he technically doesn't have as much power. But I think Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Obama are fine. They all wanted a tougher bill, and they seemed compelled to change things in the compromise. I never really liked Geitner, and there was some article a month back, in Politico I think, about him getting heat, getting laughed at, and argued with, when he was pushing the market's interests in a meeting where most people were most concerned about taxpayers. I think Geitner got what he thought was best, and not it's bitten us all in the ass.
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/18/09 12:19 - 48ºF - ID#48095
I just watched Harry Potter Order of the Pheonix, and I am so glad I read the book first. This movie was awful! absolutely terrible. It was stupid, it made no sense. My wife went to bed cause she didn't know what was going on. It was so fast that it was totally clumsy and confusing.
I'm so glad I started with the book. It was so interesting that I read it within 2 weeks, and I only spent about 7-10 of those days actually reading it. Yea, it's the type of book you can read for 6 hours straight and go to bed at 2am.
I liked the story way better in my head, I almost want to reread the book just to put the thing back together again. The book is long, and there's some stuff that obviously didn't need to be in the movie, but really I could summarize the movie in about 3 paragraphs.
I saw the first Harry Potter movie and thought it was a lot of fun, so I watched the next 3 too and enjoyed them. I started reading more and after the 4th movie I thought that the story was about to get complicated, and I should read the book, the books are really popular so I might as well try reading one right? I'm glad I did, and from now on I'm reading the book first, I don't care how long it takes.
Ok, I'll just talk about one part. This evil wench comes to take control of the school, she's from the governing board of wizards, which is currently corrupt. She acts all nice to everyone's face, but really she hates students and just wants them to obey orders and take tests, rather than do anything practical, kind of like our system. Point is, she's a bitch and you totally hate her, really bad. So finally she gets some control over the school and the students revolt, they're creating chaos, magical fireworks and swamps in the hallways. She's a weaker wizard and has no idea how to handle this stuff. All the students seem to be competing for "troublemaker in chief", and you enjoy watching the wench lose control cause she totally deserves it, you spend the first half of the book learning that she is evil. Even the teachers don't care, cause she likes power so much, let her be in control of dealing with it the havoc she inspired. The movie totally ruins it, maybe it's impossible to recreate I don't know, maybe they don't want kids setting off fireworks in school, whatever, but when they got to the scene it was a total buzzkill, I was looking forward to the special effects and it was totally wrong. And Professor McGonagall is supposed to be the wench's opposite, a strong woman, who knows how to teach and how to keep children in line, but is willing to give you credit and can recognize an unfair situation. I think she had one scene and two appearances in the movie, lame.
Dammit, I'm writing too much again.
Anyway, the first couple movies are quite good, I'm sure the books are good too. But whatever you do, make sure you read the Order of the Phoenix,
I was going to mention some of the other good books I like, but I gotta go to bed. see ya.
Location: Buffalo, NY
03/15/09 09:09 - 44ºF - ID#48063
St Patricks Day Pictures
Just wanted to show everybody some pictures from the Parade on Saturday. Yep Saturday, the one on the "Old Neighborhood" down in the valley, at South Park and Elk.
It was sooooooo fun! I had a ball, it was so authentic and comfortable, and there was a huge crowd, the parade went on for about an hour and a half. Then we went to the Valley Community Center afterword for some corned beef and potatoes. Plus live music and dancing. Did I mention it was a lot of fun? I was so satisfied I didn't even bother going to the parade on Delaware today.
I wanted to post these pics yesterday but my computer has been giving me a hard time, it keeps freezing. But it's happy now, so I better hurry up and post something!
This is how we started our day, 10:30 we're on the front porch and we see this festive pickup truck plating Irish music just 3 houses down the street from us. Molly says 'maybe there's a parade?' So we look it up online, shove some food in our face, fill a plastic bottle with red wine and hit the road.
These dudes are seriously riding motorized coolers! I gotta build one of these.
These kids were so cute, running around collecting candy in their little bags.
This little guy was so excited about the loot he collected, but I really just wanted to take his picture cause he has a green mohawk :)
Old neighborhood parade
This is where the festivities ended, classic Irish party at the Valley Community Center. Lots of kids, live Irish music, corned beef, potatoes, $2 beers. Molly got a sweet hoodie for $10. I talked to some local politicians and block club people.
I'm even more proud to be from South Buffalo now. What a fun crowd. You guys should go next year. Sure there's parties all over the city, but this just has a unique charm. and it's a great excuse to drink beer at noon :)
Location: Buffalo, NY