Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Sketchy Spot

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


For too long the chasm between Koffee Kat and Heritage Printing has been dead, empty. Decades ago a fire had destroyed the building that once sat there at 100 Margaret Street.

But thanks to the efforts of Joe Ferris the vacant lot is seeing a rebirth. On Thursday evenings at 5:30 PM (weather permitting) he conducts a free al fresco figure drawing class. A hay wagon is being transformed into a performance stage which allows Joe to pose for his students. This evening only one student is in attendance but it takes time to build up a following.

Joe aims to create a nexus for local artists. He feels there's a need for artists to meet each other and share their interests. That's why the figure drawing class is free, opening it up to more people to participate. Students just have to bring along a drawing pad and pencils.

He begins his lesson by telling his student to quickly draw him posing to get the essentials of the image, not to concentrate on details at first. Even I helped when he quickly sketched me standing, waiting to take another a shot, for his student. He pointed out to her how I was leaning more on one leg than the other.

The student sat in a folding fabric camp chair, comfortable as she sketched. The setting is informal, a classroom without walls except for a towering neighboring building on each side. Sawhorses, plywood, and piles of two-by-fours evince the area is a work in progress. In one section a barbeque set up stands, waiting for the next time when Joe and his parents host another cookout with reasonable prices.

Joe poses on the stage: fists clenched in a boxing move, standing with one arm pulled back as if throwing a football, kneeling with his hands together in prayer. At one point he locks into a position for abut five minutes allowing the student to take her time to draw in the details.

Next week there will another another free drawing class. And as the word spreads, the group of like-minded creators should grow.

For more info: You can learn more about the drawing class and also the Saturday barbeque.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Got An Eye On You

Attack Of The Nanny State

Is this person a criminal? I don't think so.

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


Cigarette smoking killed my mother and two friends. I've witnessed over the years how cigarettes have addicted people to the point they can't stop even though they're killing themselves.

I'm allergic to tobacco smoke, probably caused by being exposed indoors to my mother's second hand smoke. I don't smoke.

That said I've found that the reaction to cigarette smoking recently has gone to inane lengths here in the city.

I have no problem banning cigarettes from indoor settings, especially in an apartment building where a careless tenant can cause a fire. But now Plattsburgh City is trying to ban public smoking through a local law it passed in February.


1. Definitions. The term "Public Property" means public buildings and adjacent grounds, streets, sidewalks, parks, and other publicly owned property, including vehicles owned by the City of Plattsburgh. The term "Tobacco Product" means cigarette, cigar, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery system (e-cigarettes, vaping, hookahs) in which tobacco or electronically delivered nicotine is the main ingredient that are intended for human consumption or use.

2. It shall be a violation for any person, including any person under the age of eighteen years, to use or possess a tobacco product or electronic nicotine delivery system (e-cigarettes, vaping, hookahs) on public property.

3. Each instance of Smoking or Tobacco Product use in violation of this Law shall constitute a separate violation. An offense may be prosecuted by the issuance of an appearance ticket under §150.20 of the Criminal Procedure Law."

I don't see the problem when someone is smoking by themselves, away from others, on a street or sidewalk or in a park. As long as someone respects the rights of non-smokers there should be no problem. We don't live under an enclosed Winooski dome with restricted air flow. There's plenty of fresh air outside.

Criminalizing all forms of tobacco will not make smokers stop. And I wonder what the police think about being directed to enforce such an asshole law.

I'm overweight. What's next. The Plattsburgh City Common Council will pass a law for every citizen to meet an arbitrary BMI (body mass index) standard? Will I be required to report to a weighing station to make sure my own body is in compliance?

Some busybodies have complained to the Common Council that the law isn't being enforced. Enforce that law and you'll see public backlash that will guarantee the mayor and certain councilors to be butted out of office.

One councilor suggested that signs should be posted around the city to remind everyone of the law. Sure, signs and fines will solve this health crisis.

Crows are coming back. Last winter they covered sidewalks and cars with their smeary feces. Concerned about public health? Do something about the crapping crows and also the defecating dogs.