Saturday, April 06, 2019

Art Pops Up For An Evening

By Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY - April 6, 2019

Usually the space at 30 City Hall Place is empty, waiting for an event.

This evening City Well was filled with horses, rabbits, owls, giraffes and lions, the vivid art of Liz Droege.   She attended the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY.  After graduating in 1984 she was too busy with her family to pursue her interest in art until two years ago.  Even though she learned graphic illustration in college she found herself bringing animals to life with acrylics and water colors. 

Usually she doesn't pre-visualize her work.  Instead she paints as she goes, expressing her emotion with an impressionistic style.

Her favorite animal subject?  Lions.  Liz is concerned that mankind is destroying animals with poaching and climate change.

Artist Liz Droege.
Mixed Drinks and Mixed Media sponsored the event.  It previously held a pop-up group art show at the same spot.  Building owner Ben Clark transformed the ground floor space into City Well, an adaptable location where a variety of events could be held: music performances, plays, dance classes, activities reflecting community interests.

To contact Ben for more info on City Well you can contact him at . 

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Worm Super Moon Over Lake Champlain

Pink Super Moon Rising

Still too cold for earthworms to poke up though the ground.  They're still in suspended animation down inside the frozen terra firma.

Super Moonlight On Ice 

Super Moon Framed

Monday, March 18, 2019

Angry Asshole Harasses Writog

© 2019 Luke T. Bush 


Study the above photo.  What do you see? A clear shot of a car?

Around 12:40 PM today I was picking up a sandwich at a Clinton Street eatery for a friend who was working through lunchtime.  I noticed a light pattern in the street created by sunlight reflecting off windows.  Suddenly someone from an open second story window started shouting at me. 

"Stop taking photographs of my car!" Apparently he was referring to a car parked in the street, whatever one it was. 

I looked up and told him I wasn't photographing his car but instead light patterns in the street. 

He insisted: "You're photographing my car!"

I told him I could photograph anything in public view. 

While I waited for the order inside the eatery I noticed the angry idiot across the street staring at me.  He asked his roommate/friend to come to the window so he could point me out.  Then they disappeared inside. 

During my argument in the street I told the asshole if he had a problem then call the police.  The police never arrived. 

But I made sure to call the PD to file a report in case another incident should happen. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Light That Faded

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


For years I wondered about the black metal "octopus" standing on the roof over 39 Clinton Street. What was its function?  Some sort of ventilation piping?    An odd structure, a sphere with radiating curved arms 

By chance I came across a reference to the structure on Facebook.  Someone mentioned it had been a lighting array.

Checking a telephoto shot I could see white (ceramic?) sockets on all of the arms.

I asked Matt Boire of the Greater Adirondack Ghost And Tour Company if he had any details on the structure.  He explained that a hotel called The Arcade was housed in the same building.  Located on the corner of Clinton and Marion streets the hotel boasted in Plattsburgh City newspaper ads it was the only first-class hotel in northern New York State.

There was a first class restaurant on the first floor that featured fresh oysters, little neck clams, and partridges that could be washed down with a good bolt of O•borns Old 45 Whiskey.

Plattsburgh Daily Press -- 09/28/1897

Mr. A.P. Gauthier opened the hotel in 1899 and acted as proprietor until his death in 1907.  Various owners operated the business until it finally closed a decade later.

All that remains of those days is an odd rooftop structure that causes me to pause and wonder what it looked like with lit lightbulbs in the night.   Did  they just cast a bright white/yellow glow or did the lighting display ever go multi-colored?

A detail lost in the dim past.

Crow Crap Great For Car Paint


It's reassuring that Plattsburgh City is looking at banning plastic straws.  After all plastic straw litter is so disgusting and unhealthy.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hey, Press Republican

There's a crow problem downtown.  Splattered sidewalks.  Are the crows the only ones providing coverage?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Vampiric Chain, Desiccated Newspaper

CEO David Bonner, Retirement Systems of Alabama

By Luke T. Bush


Hear that giant sucking sound? That's the lifeblood being drained off the local newspaper.

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. (CNHI) is drawing money away from the Press-Republican (PR) for the benefit of the Retirement System of Alabama (RSA). Does CNHI or RSA care about journalism? Sure, as long as the returns are good.

RSA CEO David Bonner just loves journali$m. In one article (Alabama’s One-Man Pension Show) the reporter declares Bonner's office rivals that of governors in larger and wealthier states. And in an opinion piece (How an Alabama state employee built a billionaire’s lifestyle in a taxpayer-funded job) the reporter chooses the adjective "palatial" to describe Bonners' executive digs.

On this list David Bonner is #1.
Meet Alabama’s highest-paid state employees

And befitting such a man Bonner has access to two private jets used by RSA.  (The RSA General Counsel states this saves money for the State of Alabama.) Meanwhile some Press-Republican employees have to make do with their aging personal cars, keeping up with insurance payments and repair bills. Maybe Bonner will fly to Plattsburgh City and give these employees a thrill ride on one of those jets.

When it comes to air travel RSA uses this type of private jet
Such adequate transportation saves money.

Let's not forget those in Bonner's circle who slave hard for low pay as detailed in articles like Dr. Bronner’s newest $200,000 employee and Retirement Systems of Alabama pays $370,000 in bonuses to investment staff.

With his deep interest in journalism I wonder if Bonner ever heard of the news desert. The University of North Carolina - School of Media and Journalism - Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (Got that?) has this definition: a community, either rural or urban, with limited access to the sort of credible and comprehensive news and information that feeds democracy at the grassroots level.

The University of North Carolina etc., etc. has another term it uses: ghost newspapers referring to papers that still exist but are shells of themselves.

So how did the PR end up getting the lifeblood sucked out of it?

According to the 2018 The Expanding News Desert report by the University of Carolina etc., etc. RSA decided to get into the newspaper business when things were going well. Most papers in non-competitive markets were operating with margins of 20 to 50 percent. (I heard in the PR's heyday its profit margin was about 50 per cent.) Time to buy up local newspapers, creating a profitable chain. But online competition like Craig's List ate into local newspapers' classified ads. Add the 2008 recession and print journalism went into a deep decline.

Thus began the cost cutting. Putting employees on one week furloughs per quarter -- you know, a wage cut. With fewer reporters the PR has to fill in its newshole with oversized photos, some of them submitted for free by readers. The paper also gets free "news" by quoting reader comments from its Facebook page. ("Jeezum Crow, that Trump is the man!")  Lately sharing news articles from other regional papers like the Glens Falls Post Star keeps the cost down. So how local is local news?

What stories aren't being covered by PR reporters? It's been a while since the PR has published anything resembling investigative reporting. From what I hear there are stories to be uncovered so the excuse for news not being there is invalid.

Corners cut means stupid typos and dumb layout mistakes like an advertisement covering up part of an obituary. The quality drops and only older readers keep with the newspaper habit. Like the joke says: If you want to see the latest subscription cancellations for the paper read the obits.

At one time the PR was locally owned until it got "chained." The best bet for its survival is to unchain itself from CNHI. Keep the money at home instead of spending it on private jets for rich guys living in luxury in Alabama.

So what does the future hold for the Press-Republican?

Summing up its take on CNHI The Expanding News Desert report says the chain is facing declining profit margins, causing RSA to push for better returns on its investments. CNHI newspapers are up for sale, meaning that those not sold will be shut down.

Who wants to buy a hollowed out husk?

That is, a ghost?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bright Creativity On A Dull Winter Afternoon

By Luke T. Bush


Outside gray clouds rule with a dismal rain.  Inside various colors are applied to tiles,.  changing patterns and hues.

This afternoon Community Art Group Coordinator Audra Green is showing how to create art with small square white tiles.  Each participant expresses individuality by selecting different paint colors and how they are applied.

Folding tables form a large rectangular seating area.  Sometimes Audra gets up from her seat to provide more supplies from the large rolling cabinet nearby.  The cabinet is a familiar sight from the days when the group used to meet at the ROTA Studio and Art Gallery.  Each large sliding shelf has an array of materials, paint: pens, colored markers, whatever is needed.

Community Art Group Coordinator Audra Green
creates along with the other participants.

Years later the group is still going strong but it now meets on the Plattsburgh Public Library second floor, 2 PM on Thursday.  The Community Art Group is one of the public outreach programs under the auspices of NAMI-CV, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Champlain Valley.

Popular projects in the past include wood burning, collages, even decorating wine bottles.  All skill levels are welcome.  Audra explains the group is for relaxation, just getting together and creating.

The Community Art Group Facebook page provides more info about the program or you can contact Audra at  NAMI-CV sponsors other programs during the week like creative writing and board games.  More info at its Facebook page .

Monday, January 21, 2019

Bad Juxtaposition Fixed - Sorta

On Google News there's a different photo accompanying a Press-Republican drug bust story.  As mentioned previously next to the headline had been an obit photo, not an image of one of the perpetrators.  This photo shows one of the arrestees while the headline still mentions two men.  You have to click through to find out two women had also been arrested.  I hope no one assumed the Google News photo was supposed to be a man.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Bad Juxtaposition

This screencap from Google News shows a link to a Press Republican mobile site article about a drug bust (1/20/19).  On Google News there's a photo next to the article.  Since the headline mentions two men being busted one could easily assume the man in the photo was one of the arrestees.

But if you click on the article's link and scroll down on the PR site you discover the real story behind the photo.  It's from the obituary section.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Without Good Caws

Raucous crow hordes add to the musicality of downtown Plattsburgh City.  Such soothing sounds at night.

Nothing To Crow About

I went for a walk this evening and even nighttime couldn't take the edge off the white splatters all over the sidewalks. When is Plattsburgh City going to do something about the crow hordes? Crows have outcrapped dogs at City Hall and other places.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Fit For A King

I love lugging on foot an oversized bulky box all the way home from the post office.  As you can see in the accompanying photo the original packaging was shoe box sized.  When Adorama sent my order they were concerned that my camera holster would be crushed inside a too small shipping box.  Ergo they took extra caution.  Or should I say extra extra extra caution?

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Durkee Parking Lot Redevelopment: Street Talk

Prime Companies Vice President Todd Curley answers a question from the audience
during the Durkee Street Parking Lot Redevelopment Forum.

(C) 2019  Luke T. Bush

PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- Jan. 8, 2019

Pull in or back in?

I didn't think of the question until I returned home after the meeting.

The forum held at City Hall Tuesday evening dealt with the proposal by Prime Companies of Cohoes, NY to renovate the Durkee Street parking lot as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant.

Todd Curley, Prime Companies Vice President, handled most of the questions from the audience.  Projected behind him on the big screen was an aerial view of the Durkee Street parking lot area superimposed with renderings of proposed structures, the redevelopment eliminating most of the public parking spots.

His company received considerable public input regarding parking and his company listened to those concerns.  More parking was added to the proposal including angled/diagonal parking on Durkee and Bridge streets which would add more spots.

I noticed one detail about the diagonal parking.  No handicapped spots.  I asked about access to the disabled community, that two parking spots were needed so that someone using wheelchair could easily disembark from a vehicle.  To add those spots would reduce the total number.

Todd agreed, saying that this was a proposal and changes would be made as needed.  He stated the redevelopment project would be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.

 A commenter in the audience pointed out delivery trucks use Durkee Street, sometimes double parking.  That could mean someone in the angled parking spots could find themselves trapped until the truck moved.

I asked Todd about how much disruption the construction would produce especially with the traffic flow.  He replied there would be one dedicated entrance to the site and that traffic would only be affected when deliveries were being made.

As I mentioned there's the question pulling or backing in with angled parking.  Pulling in would mean the vehicle would have to back out into traffic when leaving.  Backing in would be safer because loading the trunk would be done from the sidewalk.  When the vehicle left the driver would have a better view of the street.

One time the city tried angled parking on Court Street and at the Post Office on Miller Street.  It didn't work and the diagonal lines were covered up.  But like a ghost haunting the present some of the lines are showing through on Court Street, conflicting with the newer stripes.

Would angled parking work a second time?  A roundabout confused some drivers when it was first introduced in the city.  They kept circling, trying to figure out how to exit.  Car sickness ensued.  Education would be needed for angled parking or improper parking will result. Headaches for everyone.

Failure haunts Court Street.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Another Reason To Hate Film

After a lot of work it still looks washed out.

By Luke T. Bush

The quality of this set of photos (link below) from the year 2000 is sub-par.  With film you don't know if there's a problem until the negatives are processed.  After I shot this local rock/punk show in a church basement I discovered that the poor image quality was due to fungus growing inside my Sigma lens.  None of my other lens have turned fungoid.  I won't buy Sigma again.

The fungus obscured detail in each shot by degrading details with its filmy layer and also by creating glare to further reduce details.  And to add to the fun the fungus shifted the color to crap. I converted some shots to black & white because I couldn't correct the color.  As before I had to frequently use the clone-and-heal stamp to remove dust threads and particles.  More time was added from trying pull to out a halfway decent digital image with each neg.

At least I was able to salvage something out of this fungoid fuck-up.

The complete set can be found here