Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Last year I put up with all sorts of noise as they rebuilt the street, ripping and digging it up. On Halloween they were out there at night, paving. That made it convenient for all of the trick-or-treaters. I thought that the project was almost done. Just one more layer of tarmac and That’s All, Folks!

Today: the sun comes up. Let the jackhammering begin!

Check out the image of the men at work. Taken at 7:20 AM. Right outside where I live. Even closing all the windows doesn’t prevent the nerve-racking vibrations from entering my apartment.

OK, why are they tearing up the pavement? Didn’t they fix all the manholes last year?

And why are they doing this bullshit when two intersections downtown are still torn up? Shouldn’t they at least finish one project before they start another one? These guys are possessed gophers, driven to dig and drill and disrupt at any cost. Maybe some holy water laced with rat poison will drive them away.


This jerkhammering could have waited until noon, couldn’t it?

Maybe I should record that delightful din of metal pounding on asphalt, call up the mayor at this home tonight at 3 AM, and play back the relaxing sounds to him, sharing in the enjoyment.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Pair Of Tired Eyes

The Telemarketer’s Tale

In the old days a telemarketer would speak to you live on the phone, giving you his pitch in real time. Now he automatically calls up with a recorded message, still acting like your best friend.

I have an answering machine. This means I don’t have to pick up the phone to find a robot pseudo-friend on the other end. Usually I turn the sound off and don’t hear any of spiel. But I do end up with a frantically blinking red light telling me that a message has to be reviewed.

Just like skipping over TV commercials, avoiding telemarketer pitches is very beneficial for your mental health. And also like TV ads, the telemarketing come-ons are repeated over and over with the futile hope that on the tenth try you will cave in.

What follows is similar to my routine of reviewing answering machine messages as the weeks and months roll by.

* * *

“Hi, this is Karen McFriendly at Acme Debt Resolution. Don’t I sound perky and cute but sincere? I know that like most people you must have a lot of unpaid bills. Well, I can help you. Here at Acme Debt Resolution we can help you restructure and refinance your debt. Why do we do this? Because we care about you. Of course, we do charge a minimum handling fee to cover our costs, but if you call us at this toll-free number—“


“Hi, this is Karen McFriendly at Acme Debt Resolution. Don’t I sound perky and cute but sincere? I know that like most people you must have a lot of unpaid—“


“Hi, this is Karen McFriendly at Acme Debt Resolution. Don’t I sound perky—“


“Hi, this is Karen McFriendly at Acme Debt—“


“Hi, this is Karen McFriend—“


“Hi, this is Kar—“


“Hi, this—“






“Hello… this is Karen McFriendly… I’m sorry to bother you. Don’t worry… I’m no longer at Acme Debt Resolution. You see, because you didn’t fall for their scam, I was fired. Now I really have to prostitute myself. I mean, I offer physical therapy massages at your home… for a minimum handling fee. Could you please call me at—“


Friday, May 11, 2007

Stepping Up To The Problem?

So what’s going on with the entrance to the Plattsburgh Public Library? I’m kinda confused.

Here’s the article about the entrance that appeared in the Press-Republican on Wednesday, May 9, 2007, Page A5 (click on image for larger view):

As I mentioned in a previous post, all the city has done is to slap down some patch-up compound that falls apart in six months or less. The entrance looks like it belongs in downtown Baghdad. The PR article can be interpreted to say that the usual quick fix is all that will be done.

But I hear that a more permanent solution is in the works. The bidding mentioned in the article refers to a permanent fix, not the patch-up job. Of course, what kind of “permanent fix” the city comes up with remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, here’s an image from the latest downtown construction screw-up, the terraced seating being put in at the intersection of Bridge and Margaret Streets:

That looks like high-quality stonework. I wonder how much that stuff costs? Must be less than fixing the library steps, huh? Of course, there’s no restaurant on that corner; the spot has been taken over by a furniture store. So after this project is completed, all the drunks and dopers can sit there at night and marvel at the furnishings on display in the window.

All 117,000 of them per year.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Not The Usual

Scofflaw skateboarders. Construction screw-ups. Dogshit. I just keep repeating myself. Unfortunately, these problems just keep repeating themselves.

I tire of them. Time for a break. Thus this series of miscellaneous images. If you want a larger view, click on each one and it will open another window.

Someone asked me one time if I took “people” photos. So this set is for him.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Skateboarder Crackdown!!

As you can plainly see in the above image, the City of Plattsburgh is cracking down on scofflaw skateboarders who use Marion Street as an illegal skate park, endangering themselves and law-abiding drivers. Note how the police officer is giving all three skaters a stern warning, telling them that they will be ticketed the next time they are caught. This proves that kids don’t run downtown Plattsburgh.

Another Downtown Screw-Up

Until recently the west end of Bridge Street was two-way, allowing traffic to flow in both directions. This was working, especially for travelers on Margaret Street who wanted to turn down Bridge Street.

Of course, you know what that means. You can’t have convenience and logic. It’s got to be screwed up.

With the recent construction the west end of Bridge Street has been narrowed down to one lane. Apparently the plan is have traffic go one-way only, spilling out to Margaret Street.

There’s a surfeit of one-way streets downtown. What adds to the confusion are streets like Brinkerhoff and Court that switch from two-way to one-way after one block.

Also, the new construction is putting in more terraced seating. For what? There’s no restaurant on that corner. Very few use the terraced seating already built on the other side of the street. And with the narrower street, more parking has been eliminated. Once again the Plattsburgh Department of Waste Management has gone ahead with another unneeded project. (The Dept. of Waste Management makes sure that taxpayer dollars are completely wasted.)

Years ago the city screwed up main street by narrowing it and making it one-way. This made it easy to give directions to the mall outside the city. (“Go down one block and make a right.”) Margaret was eventually changed back to a two-way street but it remains too narrow in places.

Downtown Plattsburgh needs a better traffic flow and more, not less, parking. Prediction: wait twenty years and this terraced seating crap will fall apart. Then it will be torn up so that parking and a two-way flow will be re-established.

Meanwhile, at the Downtown Baghdad Public Library, more patchwork shit has been slapped down. I heard a rumor that bids are out to permanently fix the steps. Of course, the Bridge Street terraced seating will be completed long before the library entrance is fixed. Basic infrastructure ignored while pipe dreams are given the green light.