Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Way To Tackle The Problem

No, I'm not a fan of Big Brother. But it seems this is one of the few practical ways to catch or ward off violators.

There was an arsonist on the loose some time ago. When he started a dumpster fire on Protection Alley -- the same street where the above images were taken -- security cameras were used to catch him.

This is crossposted at my "bad" blog, Dogtown 12901, which you can access here. WARNING: Some images over there not safe for either work or mealtime.

No Injuries

Dreaming Of Hawaii

Friday, February 26, 2010


More disgusting stuff posted over at my bad blog, Dogtown 12901.

Bringing History To Life With Guitar And PowerPoint

History. Boring.

Traditional presentation: Professor drones on at the lectern in the oversized college lecture hall.

History. Engaging.

Untraditional presentation: Jazz musician sits down with a group of about thirty people, his tools an acoustic guitar and a remote-controlled digital projector.

Ray Kamalay brought to life key events in the long fight for equality during his presentation at the Plattsburgh Public Library Tuesday evening.

The program, "Slavery, Haiti and the Roots of American Music: A Storytelling and Music Lecture," also traced the influence of African music on such American genres as jazz and blues. Ray interspersed his presentation by playing a few songs and riffs that illustrated his points.

The program included images that helped to explain the history behind slavery. The image on the projection screen dates to ancient times, symbolizing the power of the slave owners over their slaves . Slavery, Ray explained, was part of the spoils of war, the victor enslaving the vanquished, a system that was at first not based on skin color.

Projection screen image: Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia). He was a corrupt secular leader during the Renaissance, said Ray, who had a great impact on slavery when he divided up the New World between Portugal and Spain, allowing each nation to have a "fair share" of the enslavement market.

Black slaves brought musical influences from their native countries. But due to discrimination black people were hindered from performing in public before white audiences. Minstrel shows, explained Ray, came about in part because white audiences would only accept black-faced performers in a comedic setting.

But over the years black performers gained more acceptance. Pictured on the screen is jazz and blues singer Ethel Waters. Ray wrapped up his program by playing one of her songs.

For more information about Ray, his research and music: .

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Neighborhood Association Thinks Green

Paul Bardis, Networker, Every Day Earth Day Committee

Grab a garbage bag, walk down your street, pick up the trash.

Paul Bardis of the Every Day Earth Day Committee spoke to the Plattsburgh Neighborhood Association about tentative plans for community involvement as part of local Earth Day observances. During the Wednesday evening meeting, Paul explained how he's networking with various groups to sponsor a walking trash sweep and other such activities.

The sweepers would all meet up in downtown to deposit their bags into one large container.

Nancy Monette, NA Coordinator

This proposal led to discussion by the NA members about keeping Plattsburgh neighborhoods cleaner. Coordinator Nancy Monette said she would be interested in working with Paul's committee but she did have some reservations how such a sweep would alleviate the chronic problem in the long term. Picking up after litterbugs wouldn't change their behavior. It was suggested that the city should do more by raising awareness of the problem through public service announcements and other such venues.

The Neighborhood Association provides a forum for citizens to voice their concerns about problems that need attention. For more information about the group, call Nancy Monette at 561-8225 or email her at nmonette[at]charter[dot]net .


"You're the guy that posts pictures of dog litter on your blog."

Actually, there is more to this blog than dogshit. But the canine waste images overshadow everything else for too many people. I try to cover the good, the bad, the ugly, and the stupid.

Sometimes I have held off posting bad images to be fair to the artists and others that I spotlight here. Obviously someone who works hard to create a nice quilt doesn't want to be juxtaposed with the end results of a dog owned by a rude human.

At the same time I don't want to ignore the chronic problems of litter, garbage and decay in Plattsburgh.

So I've created another blog for the seedier side of the Burgh: . I'll mention here when I've posted images at that blog while sparing you the visual assault. Three posts are already up over there.

Of course, the bad images of dogshit, rotten pumpkins, dirty diapers, etc., become repetitive after a while. But by showing that repetition maybe Plattsburgh's Powers That Be will do something like enforce the law.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

100% Read This

Weasel words. Beware.

Like the shopping center that announces a "reduction" in its customer shuttle service between two malls. Read all the way through the memo and discover that it's completely eliminating the shuttle, a reduction of 100%.

Yesterday I spotted a display ad in the Press-Republican that could be described as thought-provoking. Directed at local businesses interested in advertising, it shows the upper half of a TV set with the statement: "THINK YOU'LL BE SEEN? (NOT LIKELY.)"

This ad challenges the "doom and gloom" story that local newspapers are suffering circulation declines and certain death. If you want real doom and gloom, it says, look at TV.

The ad makes its argument against TV advertising in a series of points in bold print. For example:

"Prime time broadcast network television viewership is down 50% since the 1980s."

So what could this mean? It's ambiguous without proper context. By broadcast television, do they mean receiving network programs only by antenna? Many people have switched to cable and satellite services, ditching their antennas. That could result in a 50% drop in how viewers watch but not the overall audience. Broadcast networks can still be accessed by other means than over-the-air.

Or maybe that point means that broadcast network companies (NBC, CBS, ABC, etc.) are facing increased competition from cable channels since the 1980s while overall boob tube viewing has remained the same or is even greater. That doesn't rule out running an ad at your local cable TV company on one of its popular channels to reach customers.

Here's another point that raises questions due to its ambiguity:

"In the past week, the Press-Republican print and website audience totaled over 74% of all adults"

But what does "all adults" mean? Shouldn't that read "over 74% of all adults [in a specified group or area]?" Does that percentage refer to a portion of all adults in its circulation area? Or only to the adults that work in its newsroom? Or just the adults in the publisher's home (including pets)?

Maybe I'm reading too much into this ad. After all, they say a person only uses about 10% of his potential brain power. To calculate a percentage you must know what 100% is. So what is 100% brain power? Who out there has complete mastery of his mental potential? Ask an "expert" at your local newspaper.

So watch out for weasel words. The title of this post is a prime example of such words in action. Before I wrote this, it didn't exist. But as soon as one person peruses it, the readership has jumped from zero to one hundred percent.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Historical Plaque Links Past And Present

It was a peaceful ceremony about a turbulent era in Plattsburgh's history.

Around thirty people braved the gray sky and winter cold on Tuesday evening, February 16th, for the dedication of a historical plaque recently erected on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church.

With words and pictures the panel mentions key events in the anti-slavery movement in Plattsburgh during the 19th century, explaining the connection to the Brinkerhoff Street church. This connection was discovered by Don Papson, president of the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association (NCUGRHA), during his research into the activities of the underground railroad in this part of the state.

Slavery was abolished in 1827 in New York State but tensions still ran high between the two sides of the slavery issue. Some of the leading families in Clinton County had owned slaves.

At first a group of abolitionists was denied the right to meet at the Presbyterian Church. But that situation eventually turned around.

As the historical plaque explains:

"It was a moment of change in the community when the Clinton County Anti-Slavery Society convened in the First Presbyterian Church of Plattsburgh for its first annual meeting in August 1837. When the delegates arrived for the meeting, they had to enter through a doorway tarred by opponents of their cause. Just a few months earlier a prominent member of the congregation circulated a petition to protest against any abolitionist gatherings in Plattsburgh."

NCUGHRA and the leadership of the Presbyterian Church joined together during the ceremony to explain and comment on the history behind the interpretative panel.

Reverend Virginia Murray, right, interim pastor for the First Presbyterian Church, leads the gathering in a prayer giving thanks to those who fought for equality.

President of NCUGRHA, Don Papson, speaks about the protests
during the first annual meeting of the Clinton County Anti-Slavery
Society in 1837 at the Presbyterian Church. Two boys sang "Jim Crow"
beneath the windows and a retired judge proclaimed
that slavery should be perpetual.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Timeless Clock

This Durkee Street clock sure fits in with the 1890s motif of downtown Plattsburgh. But as I've mentioned before, IT DOESN'T KEEP THE CORRECT TIME.

How much did the city -- I mean, taxpayers -- pay for this nice-looking but practically useless clock? Function should be more important than form. Then again, when was the City of Plattsburgh that functional?

One Of Three

I encountered two other splats like this one while walking around downtown Plattsburgh on Sunday, Valentine's Day. You don't have to look for them; they're scattered all over. Evidence of another weekend of excessive beer intake followed by extreme expulsion.

I wonder why not that many people, especially tourists, visit downtown on a Sunday. Maybe they're intimidated by the neatness and cleanliness, don't want to spoil the natural order and beauty.

Many years ago the city tried to promote downtown with a TV ad featuring what it had to offer. The ad wrapped up with some cheap-rent singers blaring: “Downtown Plattsburgh – Yours To Explore!” Again, taxpayer money well spent.

It's time to update that ad.

Downtown Plattsburgh. Yours to vomit on.


A church in downtown Plattsburgh puts up this sign, complete with a visual aid that any idiot could understand.

In the foreground of this second image there is a patch of low-lying shrubbery. Notice those round objects? They ain't dog berries. You'll find them scattered all over the church lawn.

Apparently rude idiots who own crappin' canines don't care.

Hope God gets ya. Rubs your nose in it in a religio-metaphysical sense.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Punk Pumpkin

It's February. Time to throw that Halloween pumpkin in the garbage can.

I don't know what it is with some people in Plattsburgh who let their pumpkins rot in plain sight. Maybe they enjoy seeing entropy in slow motion, the prolonged organic meltdown during the cold winter months.

Or maybe they're just lazy pigs.

Take Pride, Plattsburgh!

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Some media traditionalists vilify bloggers for being lazy, unprofessional. These critics carp about everything from factual errors to typos. They say we need outlets like old-fashioned newspapers or the world will go to crap.

Oh ya?

Take a look at this headline from today's Press-Republican:

Huh. US troops were "ambused" in Afghanistan. How did that slip through? Someone was too lazy to run that headline through a spellchecker program that would've quickly flagged that typo. Such dumb mistakes happen too often at the PR, even though it's a "professional" media outlet.

Do I make stupid mistakes with spelling? Of course. That's why I run my posts through a spellchecker program, despite the fact I'm a blogger, not a "professional."

REVISED 2/26/10 to fix typo (changed thought to though in fourth paragraph). See comments.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Gallery Sews Up Space For Textile Artists

Textile. One usually associates that word with utilitarian items such as clothes and blankets. But don't forget art.

Fabric art -- quilts, collages, and weavings -- has its own place in the visual arts. Proof can be found at the Textile Gallery located in the second floor of the Plattsburgh Public Library. On display through April is a collection of quilts by various artists.

Sue Donohue and one of her quilts.

Textile Gallery Coordinator Sue Donohue welcomes submissions by local artists. To be eligible to display the artist is asked to join the PPL Friends of the Library. She adds that there is a limit how large a work can be for hanging.

Sue, a retired art teacher from Ausable Valley School, belongs to the Champlain Valley Quilters Guild. She enjoys stitching quilts by machine or hand.

Why would someone stitch by hand, avoiding the modern convenience of a sewing machine? Sue explains that handstiching can be more free-form, allowing the artist to improvise. Also, it carries on the tradition of quilting that predates the existence of the United States of America.

Sue Donohue points out the details of a quilt while discussing the differences between machine and hand stitching.

For more information on the Textile Gallery, contact Sue at 562-9474.

Besides the quilting display, PPL is featuring two other exhibits: the paintings of artist Bill Amadon (until March 31) and works by members of the Friends of the Library. Questions? Contact the library at 563-0921.

“You Lookin' At Me?”

I'm waiting for warm weather. That means the return of tiny critters. I can get some interesting close-ups while engaging in a staring contest with a bug.