Sunday, November 28, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
How many dogs are licensed in Plattsburgh City?
And how many will be licensed after Jan. 1, 2011?
New York State is getting out of the dog licensing business, letting local communities handle it. More paperwork but on the plus side each community can keep all of the funds, no more sharing with Albany.
A municipality must pass its own licensing law before the new year begins. I might have missed any mention of it but has the Plattsburgh Common Council addressed this issue? I don't recall seeing anything in the local papers. I did a quick Google search and also searched the Press-Republican website; no hits on the change.
Of course, the Common Council has been involved with so many critical issues such as Halloween candy, fluoride in the water, and impeaching President Shrub. After all, local concerns like dog control and more funds for the city have to be put on the back burner.
Maybe Plattsburgh's new dog licensing law (if they're working on one) will also raise the fine for leaving dogshit in a public place -- like the middle of downtown sidewalk or anywhere on a park lawn. Saranac Lake nails scofflaws $75 for that offense. Plattsburgh's fine is a bargain at $25 -- that's if anyone bothers to enforce it. (See Plattsburgh Code, section 161-18.)
This a matter of public health and community image. Then again, maybe that's the image Peeburgh wants to project, someone scraping dogshit off a shoe.
For a city crying the blues for years about debt, one would think Plattsburgh would be at least looking at dog control, fines and licenses, from a financial perspective.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Why do some people spend two hours putting up Xmas decorations but won't take two minutes to toss a rotting Halloween pumpkin in the garbage?
Walk around Plattsburgh City and you'll see what I mean.
More putrid pumpkin images over at dogtown12901.blogspot.com .
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Nighttime. I'm walking along and spot an image. Trashcan on the corner with a metal ashtray on top. Manmade lights reflect off the silver of the ashtray's rim. I move in close, brace myself (slow shutter speed required) and snap a shot.
Young woman across the street, puzzled by my actions. "You're not photographing that trashcan, are you?"
No, lady, I'm photographing art.
Friday, November 12, 2010
“Hey, there’s a writers group in Plattsburgh.”
You’re looking through the arts listings, 8 Days A Week, in the Thursday edition of the Press-Republican. You call the telephone number in the item for more info. A recorded message tells you that the number you have dialed is disconnected or out of service.
You check with the Plattsburgh Public Library where the writers group allegedly meets. You find out there hasn’t been such a group for some time now. It’s kaput.
Thanks to deadwood in the PR arts listings, you have wasted time.
That’s because the PR doesn’t spend a little bit of time removing outdated listings. I did some checking; the Plattsburgh Writers Group (the second incarnation of it) has been dead since early 2009. But the PR keeps publishing the listing, too lazy to provide accurate information to its readers.
This is nothing new. For months it kept listing the Arts Council as if it was an active organization, even though it had faded away and was subsumed by the Arts Center.
Hyperlocal is the big buzzword is J circles. Since people can get their national and international news elsewhere – especially with the Web – to survive newspapers have to place more emphasis on keeping readers updated with local information – correct local information – that no one else provides.
The answer to the problem of the PR listings is simple. Have each organization or group send in a monthly update. No update, no listing. And don’t tell me that this can’t be done. I used to send in monthly updates for two different groups, including the original Plattsburgh Writers Group.
Keeping the listings fresh and accurate means that there’s more room for all groups. It should eliminate this stupid notice generally included on a weekly basis:
“Due to space limitations 8 Days A Week was unable to run in its entirety.”
Yes, when I want to use a listing, I want an incomplete one, especially one with deadwood items for dead groups.
After all, the PR is owned by Community Newspapers Holdings, Inc. Time to think about the community, huh? Put some work in staying connected with it.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Want to attract attention and stimulate speculation? Put up a dubious warning sign.
Yesterday I was walking along and noticed a sign posted by the parking lot for the Georgia-Pacific paper plant, home of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush bath tissue, rated #1 by Consumer Reports. A key word in the warning caught my eye: cameras.
It was along the same stretch of sidewalk I had been hassled for taking photographs two years ago. (Read about it here and here). A GP building was being torn down and I snapped a shot. A company pissant told me I couldn't take photos, even though I was on a public sidewalk and the building was in public view. And to add to the stupidity, the daily newspaper had run a front-page photo that morning of the same building being demolished.
After that incident, I've been keen on maintaining my rights as a citizen and writographer. With no pissant around to stop me, I photographed the sign, wondering why "cameras" were mentioned in the warning. While the sign didn't prohibit photography of GP property in public view, it was still disturbing.
The sign says: "All persons, vehicles, lockers, bags, briefcases, tool boxes, lunch boxes and other packages or containers on Georgia-Pacific premises are subject to search and inspection at anytime without prior notice."
I like how "persons" are lumped in with various containers. So without prior notice a GP guard can tell you to bend over while he snaps on rubber gloves?
The whole thing smacks of post 9/11 paranoia and security kabuki. Are terrorists going to target the local GP facility? If Plattsburgh's paper products plant perishes, will brave US soldiers be forced to wipe with old issues of Stars And Stripes?
OK, I can understand that you don't want certain items in the workplace like illegal drugs, firearms, and alcoholic beverages -- no problem there -- but why are cameras included in the list of the forbidden?
What is the problem that GP seems to have with cameras? Will an employee be fired if he walks in with a smart phone with a built-in camera? I wonder if there is a concern about industrial espionage, i.e., the secret of the quilting pattern with its #1 buttwipe product might fall into enemy hands.
When I encounter challenges to photography beyond what is reasonable, I begin to think that maybe someone is trying to hide something -- and I don't mean a bath tissue trade secret. It wouldn't surprise me that GP, under the guise of anti-terrorism and workplace safety, is worried that a union or OSHA rep might visually document a possible problem or violation.
Of course, that's just speculation, but when I see a sign prohibiting cameras from the premises, it attracts attention and creates conjecture.
If you say Weed Street, you're wrong. Weed Street looks a lot better than this, even though it's a side street, not a main drag like Margaret.
Maybe Plattsburgh City wants to greet visitors with this jungle jamboree to show how "green" it is. First impressions are so important.
Friday, November 05, 2010
The Ghost Effect By Gharan K. Burton
At first you recognize the building in the painting -- and then you do a double-take. What is that long stairway doing there? The sign on the building says "Lily Pond," a store that specialized in selling works by local artists. But where the street should be are broad steps. Huh?
The artist, Gharan K. Burton, is playing around with your head with his work, "The Ghost Effect," an oil on canvas puzzler. Blame it on a fortunate mistake that inspired him to blend two images into one. One time he accidentally made a double-exposure with a film camera; the resulting image showed him the potential of overlaying one scene over another.
"The Ghost Effect" mixes Plattsburgh City Hall with a building on the corner of City Hall Place and Bridge Street. If you're familiar with those locations, you become disorientated, trying to force both images into one. Are the steps a reflection in a water puddle or window?
This work and others are now on display this month at the Great Adirondack Soup Company, 24 Oak Street, across from the Plattsburgh Public Library. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM. Call (518) 561-6408 for more info.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
At its website the Press-Republican allows comments to be posted about various articles. But there is this warning:
Don’t use profanity. This includes the term “tea bagger.”
Fine. Then if that applies to article comments, how did this Speakout item slip by the editor? (You can read it online here.)
To the schmuck who wrote Fires on 10/25; I do believe smokers are already outside, and the real "whiners" still aren't happy...
That's nice. Check out this source:
schmuck — n slang ( US ) a stupid or contemptible person; oaf
OK, nothing wrong with that by itself but there's more to the story. At the above link is an explanation of the word's origin by the Online Etymology Dictionary:
"contemptible person," 1892, from E.Yiddish shmok, lit. "penis," from Old Pol. smok "grass snake, dragon."
This source also notes:
In Jewish homes, the word was "regarded as so vulgar as to be taboo" [Leo Rosten, "The Joys of Yiddish," 1968] and Lenny Bruce wrote that saying it on stage got him arrested on the West Coast "by a Yiddish undercover agent who had been placed in the club several nights running to determine if my use of Yiddish terms was a cover for profanity."
Below that source is this listing from the Slang Dictionary.
a jerk; a repellent male. (Also a rude term of address. Yiddish.) : Who is that stupid schmuck over there?
a penis. (Yiddish. Usually objectionable.) : If I hear that joke about a camel's schmuck one more time, I'm going to scream.
Yup. According to PR logic, Tea Bagger is profane but schmuck/penis isn't.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
A while ago I wrote about the Press-Republican website and its annoying pop-up ads that would interfere with your reading:
So the PR did away with that crap and decided to try the sneaky pop-under ad ploy. As I've mentioned before, it has one for local car dealers. When you close any windows you had open before signing out, this nagging page is waiting for you:
Well, let me share this item from Speakout, the Press-Republican's sound off feature for its readers, dated Oct. 31, 2010:
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Can the Press-Republican please stop the pop-up full-page ad of the cars for sale— It's bad enough tossing the drop out ads stuffed in my daily paper, but taking over my computer with unwanted junk goes too far. Actually, I shouldn't be asking, I'm telling you. Stop it!
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I spoke to someone who said he called the car dealers in the same ad and told each one that he would never buy a car from them.
Pissing off readers -- that moves the merchandise.