Nov 29, 2011

The Diminishing Attention Span

The American Pie Tale is Debunked -- Once Again.

Coincidence? Nanoburgh Smells a Rat!

It seems that individuals' attention spans are increasingly being shortened. Two recent examples lead to such a conclusion:

The first is a viral video clip of a recorded CBS News piece, where an autistic high school lad is given the chance to finally shift from being the varsity hoop team's ball boy to getting into a real game for some real action. He then proceeds to nail three-pointers from all over the court in what truly is an exhilarating experience just to watch. You've likely seen it.

The problem is that this all happened several years ago. I even recall the kid visiting President George W bush as a result. But the peep's on Facebook are pushing this thing around as if it happened yesterday. Didn't they see if a few years back? My sense is that they did; it just didn't last for too many cycles in the old memory bank.

Example Two hits a bit closer to home. We read of the debunking of the local urban legend of Don McLean having written all or part of American Pie in the Tin N Lint saloon in Saratoga. It ends up that it really didn't happen. Someone finally asked Mr McLean, directly!

But lo and behold, guess what? Yes. Someone published this very same expose back in 2003, using the same "how about we just ring the guy up and ask him?" technique used by the intrepid reporter at the Post Star this week. The name of that original debunking journalist? Robert Millis, as published in the Tech Valley Times newspaper on July of that year,.

But the new kid on the block likely knew nothing about that story, right? Indeed, we'll give in on that, considering that the archive of the original piece is not online and subject to Google indexing.

BUT -- and there is the Conspiracy Theory in me at work -- this very topic WAS a very recent and lengthy discussion on the Facebook Group "You Must Be From Saratoga Springs If..." Yep, the point was made that Yours Truly called the bluffs on this bit of Toga folklore a decade eight years ago.

Coincidence? Well, it IS an open forum. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........


Nov 22, 2011

Bring Out Your Dead! Family Jam Nite

Hall of Fame inductee comes to Saratoga on Saturday, 11/26

Grateful Dead's Tom Constanten leads New Moon Revue into Putnam Den

Saratoga Trivia:

Question: Has a sitting member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ever performed in a Saratoga Springs night club?

Answer: No, but...

That will change on Saturday as former Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten plays the downtown Putnam Den as part of a newly-formed all star jam band ensemble.

Constanten, inducted with his mates in 1994, was a member of the Dead on the three late-60's albums that best signify its first of several musical transitions. His earlier years of having been a classical child prodigy and the training under European avant garde masters is often credited with his playing a major role in the group's shift from straight-ahead blues into an electric psychedelia that was heavy on instrumental improvisation and spaced-out lyrics.

From his perch behind the keys, Constanten had a first hand view of the Dead's rise from its Bay Area roots to a thriving national act, complete with its dedicated throngs along for the ride. Yes, he was there for the Acid Tests. Yes, that's him on the groundbreaking Live Dead. Yes, he played at the band's disastrous Woodstock appearance and was right in the middle of the Altamont mess. This guy no doubt has some stories to tell.

But by 1972, Constanten moved on. The Dead's next transition into what would later be called alt-country was of little interest to him; nor was the heavy touring schedule that was now stretching into Europe. His pursuits since have included classically-inclined solo releases, workshops, and in-residence posts at universities. But it was his running into a couple of east coast jam band vets that has TC back onto the performance stage in a live group format.

Vermont-based pedal steel and banjo master Gordon Stone – sometimes called the Phifth Phish for his collaborative work with that mega group – was in the mood for a new ensemble. He roped in Constanten, Rev Tor front man Tor Krautter and a rock solid rhythm section for what is called New Moon Revue. The group's style is a blend of rock, psychedelic jamming and countrified blues.

The Saratoga show is part of a short and linited Thanksgiving season run that has the group working a mix of materials from the extensive combined back catalog from each of the founding members.

Keeping with the Grateful Dead / Family Jam theme of the evening is the opening act, The Garcia Project, which recreates complete set as done by the Jerry Garcia Band.

(featuring Tom Constanten, Gordon Stone and Rev Tor)
w/sg The Garcia Project
(Recreating the Jerry Garcia Band Experience)

The Putnam Den
63A Putnam St
Saratoga Springs, NY
Saturday, November 26 - 9PM
$15 Online Advance / $18 Door

Discount Advance Tix Here

Nov 16, 2011

Flash: Bruno Conviction Tossed

Nov 9, 2011

Saratoga Election Recap

Predictions? So How'd We Do?

We stuck our necks out a few days back with our predicted results of the Saratoga Springs local elections, based strictly on the old gut feel methodology and without any scientific, data-driven science. And? Well, just like that old Meat Loaf tune: "two out of three ain't bad". Let's look at the tallies:

Mayor = Correct. Despite being told by everyone and his brother that Democratic challenger Wilkes was poised to topple incumbent Republican Scott Johnson, we didn't buy it. Johnson prevails, but not nearly by the margin we thought.

Commissioner of Finance = Correct. This was our upset special, where we predicted that Democratic challenger Michele Madigan would surprise sitting Commish Ken Ivins by a more-than-comfortable margin. Yes, indeed: right on the button.

Commissioner of Public Safety = Incorrect. Before we could even start bragging about that last courageous call, our not predicting the upset win by Democrat Chris Mathieson over incumbent GOP'er Richard Wirth acted like a bucket of ice cold water being poured over our heads. But then again; humility is healthy!

Election Analysis

The final numbers (after absentees) will likely show Johnson prevailing by some fig between 200 and 300 votes. The current place sitters that are in control of the city's Democratic party will spin this as being the difference between their having achieved a wholesale sweep, given its impressive wins in the other two council races. Further, they will also spin it as a signal to run hard and run deep with flying the Charter Reform banner into the future, what with Wilkes being the admitted poster boy for that very initiative.

They would be well-advised not to make such conclusions.

Mayor Johnson basically phoned-in this campaign, spending little effort and money on his race. His media buys were near-zip as he let it be known that he wasn't overly concerned about his chances; it was a lock. So, just like a jockey on a speed ball thoroughbred coasting on the front end and then relaxing in the stretch to win by a long neck, Johnson pulled it off with nary a bead of sweat being expended. This despite the full out, all hands on deck assault by his opposition.

But coattails are important, even in local races. Despite Saratoga's commission/council form of government (where the Mayor is just one of five votes), that post is the most high profile of the bunch in the public consciousness. So, Johnson's Missing Man act no doubt harmed the fortunes of his Republican stablemates Ivins and Wirth.

To give credit where credit is due, party chair Thilo Ullman assembled a functional campaign organization. Their initiatives, both admirable (ex: social media and non-traditional advertising) and not-so-admirable (ex: misleading sock puppet attacks)seemed well organized and effective.

Yet, they fell short in the mayor's race, even with that balls to the wall effort. Dead-year elections (those without national action) have low voter turnouts, and for this year's edition this was especially true. In that setting, candidates with a major gripe +/or who are sitting on a hot button local issue are at an advantage because their supporters are the ones that are all wound up and are the more likely to get out and vote. Wilkes was that candidate here; the face of Charter Change. Despite that perfect storm, he was beaten.

Given what Wilkes represented, the Dem's should conclude that they just witnessed the best-case tally for Charter Change -- everyone in town who wants it went out and voted for it yesterday. From there, the blue party should also conclude that this isn't the pony worth taking to the starting gate in the immediate years ahead. But the guess here is that they will.

Further, Mr Ullman's troupe remains weakened -- all these years later -- by the toxic divide dug by the vicious Keehn/Kim takeover a couple of elections cycles ago. Granted, this year's slate of candidates was an important step in unloading that heavy baggage -- with Ms Madigan especially acting as a bridge between the competing camps -- but the fact remains that its leadership (i.e., committee)is still loaded with supporters who somehow wax nostalgic for that nightmare era. Fresh blood is needed, particularly if that blood is not interested in fighting those old wars as well as it being representative of a wider demographic. Committee meetings tend to be absent of both under-40 and innovation class representation. If the Democrats wish to continue their forward momentum, they would be well advised to change those facts.

The Republicans, on the other hand, will lick their wounds and be back for another round in two years, well-armed. One of their obvious moves will be to (like Johnson), do nothing and let the now-governing Democratic newcomers repeat their crash & burn act of incompetence and in-fighting, just like in those old Val Keehn days. All of that is possible, especially given the party's alleged "deals" it made with the city's public sector unions that will turn the upcoming budgeting battles into full-out circus shows.

We can foretell the script already: Mayor Johnson and Accounts commissioner John Franck will play the part of fiscal watchdogs, while incumbent Public Works head Skip Scirocco and the incoming Mathieson are both committed to the empire building of their massive, union-heavy departments. All eyes watching that upcoming drama will be on Ms Madigan, who despite her lover-dovey campaign whispers to those unions, is charged with shaping the fiscal debate with the initial budget suggestions.

Reality can sometimes suck: Ms Madigan will find that out very soon. As a result of that messy process, she will probably be making some enemies out of friends she currently has. Being the bearer of band news is never pleasant.

She can just ask Mr Ivins about that.

(In other races: congrats to the Lake George Citizens Group for their rousing victory. We were glad to have played a small, last minute role in that success.)

Nov 8, 2011

Elections Day: Upgrade, Please

We don't need "more people" voting.

Instead, we need "more informed people" voting.

Elitist? No.

I just have a pretty good knack for identifying the root cause of problems.

Nov 7, 2011

Meet Commander Cody (if not familiar)

Saratoga's most interesting person? Maybe, just maybe...

The Commander orders up a hometown celebration for Nov. 19

“I just got married, so that means it's time to party!”

Saratoga's increasingly newbie population may or may not know of fellow resident George Frayne. If they do, it is mostly likely because of his prominent place in the city's visual arts community; a result of his strikingly colorful paintings and sculptures adorning galleries and private collections about town.

But what most don't know is that Frayne holds a legacy of having headed-up one of the most popular and prominent live-music acts in America, back in rock and roll's glory days of the early and mid- 70's'. That band was the rollicking Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen.

How prominent were they, one might ask? How about this: they produced one of the most recognizable hit singles of the period (Hot Rod Lincoln) and one of the Top 100 Greatest Albums of All Time (Live from the Heart of Texas), as deemed by Rolling Stone magazine.

Frayne will don his Commander Cody persona for a special one-night performance in his adopted hometown, a 9PM show at The Parting Glass Pub on Saturday, November 19. Advance tickets for the affair --- which is doubling as the informal post-wedding reception for Frayne and his new bride Sue --- are available at the venue's website ($16) or at the door on show night ($20).

Formed in the University of Michigan scene of the later 60's (while Frayne was completing his Masters in Fine Art), Cody and company soon thereafter made their way to the left coast's Bay Area, recruiting new group members upon arrival. Their piano-driven boogie woogie-meets-western swing offered up a fresh new twist for the emerging roots-rock movement of the day. Local shaker Bill Graham plugged them into the orbit of contemporaries like the Grateful Dead and (later) their cosmic cowboy cousins the New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the party was on.

In 1971, the group debuted on vinyl with Lost in the Ozone, which included the radio friendly Hot Rod Lincoln. From there, the touring road became their constant companion. The Dead heads, college kids and even the outlaw country crowd all bought into the traveling circus of mayhem and merriment. The bus kept rolling thru five more highly acclaimed albums and hundreds of concerts, finally coming to a dead halt in 1977. 'Unscrupulous management' is to blame, according to Frayne.

The Airmen scattered to various parts and careers, some musical, some not. Guitarist John Tichy, for example, went on to become chair of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering (yes: you read that right) at RPI in Troy. Frayne himself dipped his feet in two different buckets, reviving his somewhat dormant painting and sculpture career while at the same time continuing to hit the stage as the Commander Cody Band (without the Lost Planet Airmen), albeit on a more limited schedule than back in the day. Reunions shows with the originals have popped up over the years, however.

Frayne setup camp in the Spa City (Gansevoort, technically) in 1998, giving in to the the prompting of his native second wife and figuring the area's central location made for easy trips to the nearby major markets. He's been there ever since, blending nicely into the burgeoning arts scene underway and in-flight there. As examples he has a sculpture on permanent display at the Saratoga Auto Museum, is frequently curating his own works at local group and one-man shows, and yes—he painted one the city's beloved thoroughbred sculptures a few years back. Did we mention he is also an acclaimed video artist and art-book publisher?

But lest not forget the music, for that performance bug will never fade away. In his own words, George Frayne and his alter ego are “still trying to pound that piano into submission.”

Commander Cody Band
In Concert
A Special Hometown Celebration of George & Sue's Wedding
Saturday, November 19
9PM, All Ages

The Parting Glass
40-42 Lake Ave
Saratoga Springs NY 12866
$16 Advance Tix / $25 VIPs Tickets : BUY THEM HERE

Read of Cody's encounter with Hunter S Thompson, here in an interview on the very kewl Free George blog.

Nov 6, 2011

Samyn hangs up the reins

Jockey Jean-Luc Samyn, a fixture on the New York Racing Association circuit (Belmont, Aqueduct, Saratoga) since 1976, today announced his retirement.

The French-born rider won of 2,613 races, which included countless stakes wins. His prowess on the grassy turf courses made popluar the wiseguy angle of "Samyn on the Green".

But most importantly, Samyn was the regular rider for the ponies that Team Nanoburgh? would parade to the track under its separately-named stable banner.

Jean-Luc looked might spiffy in our green and red silks, even if it was rarely on the front at the wire. And we'll always remember how one of our more ornery geldings didn't want any part of walking back to our Clare Court stable after having breezed at the faraway Oklahoma course one AM, thereby taking an unforseen forty minutes out of J-L's day and losing him at least two other works (and possible afternoon mounts) as a result.

We'll sure miss seeing him in the irons next year at the Spa.

Nov 5, 2011

Ron Paul: The Unwanted Party Crasher




In school, we'd occasionally throw keggers. It is assumed that the reader knows or can guess what the general gist of these gigs was all about. When convened, they would tend to be massively popular. That massive part is what sometimes caused us problems.

Three distinct tribes of the local population would show up at these pow wows. The majority of the frolickers were the expected and welcomed college crowd, whether they were close pals, the folks you kind of knew from a class somewhere and the friends of a friend of a friend types. But on the fringes lurked two not-so-welcome groups of strangers: those we called townies (local kids) and jet heads (primarily Okies from the nearby Air Force base). The townies were usually crashing the party for the free beer buzz, while the flyboys were there on a mission to kick some ass and steal our women. It was a toxic three-part mix.

For some unknown, reason, that thought hit me when reflecting on the Occupy Wall Street movement. In observing the actual gatherings, via both media coverage and having swung by lower Manhattan on two occasions for an eyewitness view, I see the same type of dynamic in play. The vast majority of the protestors are of the expected type; looking the part, holding the right signs and voicing the proper slogans. But just like those old townies and jet heads from my carefree youth, out there on the fringes are those “what exactly are you doing here?” and not-so-welcome characters that seem very much out of place.

Communists, anarchists, Native American radicals, back-to-the earth extremists and similar; they're all down there. Sure, all these people have some skin in the game, but they really didn't read the OWS playbill before heading downtown, now did they? Worse, they provide ammo to the right wing media's scheme to conveniently file the whole shindig into one of these pigeonholes, all with a goal of alienating Middle America. I think we're all on to that game by now.

Most confusing to observe, however, were several small spatterings of Libertarians, with the requisite Ron Paul for President, End the Fed and Get Gov't Off My Back signage. These folks, even more so than the above mentioned groups, either totally missed the memo or took the wrong train to the hootenanny.

Granted, one can counter that there really isn't a clearly defined OWS playbill or memo, and that is a fair enough point. But there does at least exist a near-universal consensus that the general Occupy Wall Street rallying cry orbits around the central tenet that the delicate fulcrum balancing America's state interests and its commercial interests has swung too far in the direction of the latter — and that needs to change, pronto. Given that, we can easily conclude that this is not the Libertarians' garden party.

Their waaaaaaaaa'mbulance can he heard backing up to the back gate right now: where is the individual's interests (liberty!) in all this, they will ask? A fair question, but one that is misguided because it doesn't understand (or accept) that the individual is embedded throughout the above equation, on both sides of the divide. To help by way of example...

Joe Everyman, in exercising his liberty on any given morning, might take advantage of a state-financed water & sewer system, roadway and sidewalk to get to the office, where he then wages battle on behalf of a corporation for the next eight hours. This inter-meshing continues all day and night and into the weekend. Our citizen hero is a vested party not in one side or the other, but in the whole system.

Libertarians reject this reality. Instead, they choose sides and frame the push-pull as being the state vs the individual, with the commerce side either getting a free pass or being folded into the same anti-state union (hello Citizens United ruling). But both the Free Pass and the Damn That Big Gov options seem to be nothing more than convenient distractions for not being able to explain the natural end-game of their beloved laisse-faire's calamities; i.e., the ugly excesses of the financial industry, the recent mortgage/banking crisis,consolidation, monopolies, political influence, and so on. After all, if the central dogma is to get out of the way of business, how do you prevent all of the above nastiness? If anyone out there can buck that trend and tell us, please do so and get back to us. You have the address.

Back to our Joe Everyman, again. As he jumps back and forth between the State and Commerce camps, we can make a few predictions on how he would react to the possibility of being forced to move various aspects of his life from one to the other. It seems safe to assume that he thinks it best to let the EPA regulate drinking water quality, and not to force him (via the closure of that agency) to build a lab in his basement to test the H2O coming into his family's household. The same likely holds true with his being asked to now become a cell biologist in order to determine the safety of of the 100's of medicinal options for treating his daughter's nasty cough; he'll rely on (and appreciate) the FDA for that research, thank you very much. And he probably wouldn't take kindly to being forced to use one (the only one) cell phone provider, after all the previous competitors exercised their Libertarian rights and merged into one big monopoly.

The spirit of OWS says that all of that is pretty bad stuff. It would then conclude that the primary cause of our current economic dilemma is our having tasted a few chapters of this Libertarian KoolAid – of moving that fulcrum towards the right-hand or commerce side of that spectrum. Whether you agree with that logic or not is one thing, but there should not be any doubt as to how the so-called 99% feel about it.

Why, then is the Ron Paul crowd down there in Manhattan? An honest misinterpretation? An attempt to co-opt the movement? A hankering to just rile things up? The guess here is that is is confusing OWS's “Clean Up the Fed” cry with its own “End the Fed” stupidity. Again, those are two very different goals: most OWS'ers would think that requiring banks to maintain a certain level of assets in reserve (and regulating them, in general) to be a good thing, not a bad thing.

It is easy to see how the Libertarian philosophy has it appeal. After all, that rugged frontiersman knocking down those trees to build his home in the virgin woods is part of the branded American iconic legacy. But America has voted with its feet, as they say: today, 92% of the population lives in urban areas. That old frontier epic, now transformed into its current replacement of a delivered home along side a county road fifteen miles from town and six miles from its nearest neighbor, is out of synch in dealing with the modern day reality.

Now someone please tell that to Ron Paul and his blind mice.

Mr Rooney Hits the Finish Line

"Who do ya like?"

There's a question asked several hundred times each day at the Summer Place to Be, aka Saratoga Race Course. On this afternoon circa 1985, it was coming in my direction from a gentleman in the next box. I recognized the guy with his elbows leaning in my direction as Mr Andy Rooney.

A product of Albany and well on his way to being a pop legend of the little screen with his Sunday night WTF? segments on 60 Minutes, Mr Rooney was a regular in the Spa's upper clubhouse, just a short trek from his home down in nearby Rensselaerville. Of interest was that he sat in the company of a Roman Catholic priest that day.

"I like the 3, on top of either the 6 or 7,"
was my reply after lifting my head out of the Form. "But don't take it to the bank."

But he did, given he gave me a thumbs up after the 3 nipped the 7 at the wire for a handsome exact.

"What are you drinking? I owe you one," he growled over.

I passed, telling him that I tend not to drink when doing serious handicapping -- which was and is a (mostly) true statement.

"You just might be the smartest guy in the house," is what I got back.

Good thing he didn't see my bankroll at the end of the day. If I recall, I think I gave it all back. Today's news makes me harken to that brief interlude with Mr R, and wishing I had taken him up on his gracious offer on that warm sunny day.

I don't remember seeing him over the last ten or so years at the track, however. Most likely, the fame part of the game - which he detested and made mention of in his last TV show -- chased him away. If so, that's too bad, for he played the part well of your typical race track character.

Nov 3, 2011

Saratoga Election Predictions

The crystal ball says...

City Mayor:

S Johnson (R) def. B Wilkes (D) +16 pts

Comm. of Public Safety:

R Wirth (R) def C Mathieson (D) +14 pts

Comm. of Finance:

M Madigan (D) def K Ivins (R) +10 pts

The remaining four elections are non-contests, as the incumbents (Franck, Scirocco, Yepsen, Veitch) are running unopposed. So, we predict all four will win!

Note: these are not endorsements. They are gut-feel, non-scientific predictions.

No polling was undertaken. Why not, you ask? For some unexplained reason -- and despite its near perfect track record in the nailing the last four years of regional elections (seriously) -- none of these campaigns hired the NANOBURGH POLL for its strategy, modeling or planning. So: no pay / no play! Go figure.

The Local Library: Doomed or Just Acting a Little Bit Different?

Amazon Announces Plan to Wipe out 2/3 of Librarians

Take One Out for a Drink: She'll Need It After This

Some Libraries to Remain / Most Will Fade to Memory

Move over, movie rental stores and record shops: you're about to get some company. Public libraries are set to join you on the near-extinct species list as digital tech continues to run wild with its viscous stablemate, the rampaging beast commonly called Creative Destruction

The proverbial straw that will break this camel's back was unveiled today in Seattle, with Amazon announcing that it will start renting books. Pay $79 to join their Prime program, which acts as a sort of new wave library card where you can then download e-books to your Kindle on a "you don't own it, you're only using it for awhile" basis. Yes, the selection is limited at this time and it is limited to one title per month, but take our word for it: this will change.

We are likely looking here at the new standard of book publishing. Some free advice to library boards across the nation: start working on a shut down plan.

This will start (+/or accelerate) discussions of the role of a local library within a community. Founded on the most noble of intentions -- to offer up a substantial subset of the written word to the masses -- we are now at a point of asking whether "its time has passed."

In addressing that query, it is first necessary to analyze the ways in which the typical local library functions today. Is it still providing that initial mission? If not, what mission IS it fulfilling? Let's roll the tape...

Last week, I spent time in two distinctly different localities in upstate New York: Saratoga Springs and the Village of Lake George. The former is a small city with a busier-than average downtown area while the former is already a winter season ghost town. In both places, I spent time in the library.

One was big, the other was tiny in size. One was busy, one was empty. You can guess which is which. One had a fairly decent selection of new and legacy titles, the other had a small inventory of mostly long-forgotten titles. Ditto, ditto. A staff of 15+ manned Saratoga, while a single friendly individual was more than enough to (wo)man that ship in L-G. Those were the differences.

But what they had in common was this: most people coming thru the doors didn't go anywhere near the bookshelves. Those locations were dead zones. Similarly, few (if any) seemed involved in nose-to-the parchment research at the seating areas. What, then, were the patrons (as library folks tend to call their facility's users) doing in there? Here are some of the common observations:

1. Reading papers and magazines

2. Using broadband

3. Staying warm (homeless, bored, elderly or unemployed people)

4. Waiting for their parents to pick them up on their way home from work (doing homework or socializing with friends or playing video games in a special room designed for just that).

I'm sure the library industry (or their local membership) will deny my observation as being valid, but I would challenge them to show me the figures that say otherwise. Sure, you have a lot of books being borrowed, you counter? Maybe in Saratoga (because of its unique characteristics and facility), but not in a small one-room schoolhouse type of setting like Lake George or many thousands of others scattered in Smallburgh, USA. But even Saratoga would have a hard time convincing me that most people are in there hunting for books.

Assuming that my observations are, indeed, valid: we are faced with a Truth in Advertising dilemma here. Given that libraries are primarily funded thru their own local property tax assessment, are we sure of true transparency here? Are the taxpayers/voters aware that they are subsidizing not only book purchases and salaries, but are also funding certain aspects the city/town's off-the-books homeless services, net access and teenage daycare needs?

I watched a woman basically set up her virtual office and go about conducting a full plate of business (including a VoIp phone call to a customer!) while I was sitting beside her. All in a comfy chair in a private cubicle at 75 degrees with full access to power and WiFi. How does the 75yo homeowner on the other side of town feel about subsidizing this activity, or subsidizing the kids downstairs playing Guitar Hero?

The nut is this: the game has changed, so the library profession has needed to change the rules of engagement to justify its existence -- and staffing, salaries, facilities and operating budgets. With the "come check out our books" service offering now being met with a lack of demand (for a lot of reasons, not just Kindle and Amazon), the metric is now foot traffic. So, the kid coming in the door at 3PM to swap spit with his girlfriend in the corner is of value (two bodies counted right there). Same with our one-gal corp in the cubicle and the homeless guy taking a bath in the sink. They are contributing to the new numbers of merit.

Yes, the role of the library has changed. For good or bad, it has adapted to survive AND re-designed its own report card. Some of the more progressive ones (like Saratoga) have moved to fill the place with a full calendar of community meetings and events in its various public rooms. This changes its role to more of a community center than the original "words for the masses", but it is still of community value. But let's just be honest about it and face the new reality.

Meanwhile, the small outpost in Lake George doesn't have a chanceof succeeding in that new definition. It doesn't have the meeting space -- heck: it doesn't even have the local demand for those spaces. Nor does it have the space for the latchkey kids in the afternoon and those plugging in their notebooks to put in a day at the office are just running up their NiMo bill. It therefore remains stuck in the old paradigm of book lendng with Amazon today basically saying "thanks, but we'll take it from here".

Repeat for every similar library in begone communities on the map, and another piece of Americana has just been flushed downtown.


Like A Recurring Skin Rash

Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio called on President Barack Obama to release the microfiche of his birth certificate in an interview Tuesday with the Phoenix New Times.

The White House released Obama's long-form birth certificate online in April. Prior to that, the Obama campaign released a copy of his certificate of live birth online.

Despite that evidence, Arpaio wants to see the microfiche of Obama's birth certificate. Read more, if you must.

Notice the this guy's job title is Sheriff. Not former Sheriff. Sheriff. In other words, some yahoo from the craziest state in the Union (after Texas) is derelict in his duties as an elected official, given he is wasting his time, energy and effort on harassing the President of the United States.

If he had been caught surfing porn, he might be fired. Why not here?

Nov 2, 2011

Tracking the Bad Guys

Today, Occupy the Boardroom and The Yes Lab helped launch a new tool in the fight against the one percent: a deck of most wanted playing cards that can be used to help track down the bad guys.

The cards aim to let more folks know what these guys look like, so that they can identify them in public, and join thousands of other people in personally letting them know how they feel.

Deal NANOBURG? in on this game!

For more info, see the kickstarter page: For info on Occupy the Boardroom: