Thursday, April 13, 2017

I like this TU writer. He championed the village in the Save Our Stewarts advocacy and I am forever in his debt. However, I disagree with this column. A policy may have more than one goal, in this case supporting middle-class college students and keeping college graduates in the state. There will surely be consequences of this policy, and some may be unintended. One can debate the merits of the residency requirement, but trying to avoid being an exporter of our most skilled workers is hardly an evil justification. Making a deal that is palatable to both the Assembly and Senate is difficult. And, full disclosure, this will be good for SUNY, my undergraduate and graduate alma mater and where I have worked for nearly thirty years.

On a completely different subject, in honor of my father's 90th birthday, I am sharing this story I wrote years ago that was published by the Daily Freeman in 2006. Happy birthday to Daddy, one of the best storytellers I know.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This is a tragedy, and a crime.
The Nicholaus building was adjacent to the former Olender Mattress building. Before the Olender was razed, historic preservationists called for an in-depth review of how demolition might affect the Nicholaus building. At the time, Schenectady Heritage Foundation Chairwoman Gloria Kishton said she believed the demolition would "extremely endanger" the Nicholaus building, and called for an engineering plan to be developed that would ensure its structural integrity.
That this was not done makes all involved culpable for this shameful act of historic destruction. Makes me sick!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A comment on the United Airlines passenger assault.

Full disclosure:

  • I am not much of a traveler (call me provincial, but I just don't like it much. Also, when you decide to have a weekend house, all extra resources go in that direction. And finally, I favored staycations before that annoying term was coined)
  • If I was a traveler, I prefer trains and would not be an air traveler (can you say "carbon footprint?")
  • I am not big on being publicly embarrassed or physically injured. So even if I had initially refused to leave the plane, I would have immediately done so the moment the cops arrived. No screaming. No dragging.
That stated,why didn't they increase the incentive until there were enough willing takers? The bad PR (and eventual lawsuit) from this will cost them way more. Stupid!

It was fun to see the Airplane! clips floating around social media, though. Love that movie.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Finally hit my stride in my toleration class this semester. It was a rough start because the room is just awful - small, crowded & very structured, and discussion is difficult at best. The registrar was either unwilling or unable to find me new space. So I've been suffering (tolerating, lol). One change I've made is to rely somewhat less on in-class discussion (I'm using online discussion instead). I decided to go in-depth into a subject rather than taking a mile wide and an inch deep approach, so since March 9 we've been focused on a single topic (classroom simulations). We've seen a documentary (A Class Divided), read a novel (The Wave), written a paper, had an all-class discussion of the paper executive summaries (by creatively re-arranging the desks) and it has so engaged them that I decided to stick with the focus another week. At their request, Tuesday I purchased (from amazon) and showed another excellent documentary called "The Lesson Plan" about the actual "Third Wave" class experiment.
I have three reactions to the ridiculous Pepsi / Kendall Jenner thing (what else to call it escapes me).
  • Two minutes is ridiculously long for a cola ad.
  • This is a faux controversy, generated for publicity by the company and the model.
  • The most irritating part: It's hawking soda! EWWW. Nobody should be drinking that crap.
OK, this is unrelated. Because of weeding my FB feed of all political posts, it is now almost exclusively nice photos and funny memes from friends, or atrocious stories about animals. Yesterday there was one about a teenager stomping a Chihuahua to death. Currently NYS is negotiating a late budget, and one of the roadblocks is "raise the age" legislation. I tend to think 16 & 17 year olds should not be prosecuted as adults, but yesterday after reading that appalling story, I thought, prosecute him as an adult, or better yet, forget the trial, and let a mob stomp him to death. (And this is coming from someone who doesn't support the death penalty.)

Monday, April 03, 2017

I don't visit the Times Union's website as often as I once did, mostly because the screen seems to now be optimized for phones or tablets, and I only use my devices for email and social media or rarely, a google search. But I do visit by clicking links in Facebook when I am using a desktop computer. Today while I was there reading about a college student who died after a pancake eating competition, I looked at the list of "most popular" stories and noticed one about the TU's integrity, or rather, lack thereof. It was a post from the blogs section (from a lifestyle blogger I've never read before). I read it, and laughed. Not to dismiss what seems like the blogger's genuine outrage, but it was re-hashing the same tired subject that has been visited and re-visited numerous times over the years, about the unfairness of TU policies regarding non-staff, community, unpaid bloggers. That history was not detailed (and possibly is not known by the current crop of volunteer bloggers), but having read the TU blogs quite a bit years ago and every so often more recently, I would need more than ten fingers to count off the number of times the situation has arisen. The TU does something to offend such as edit or delete, a group of bloggers cries foul, one or more depart (willingly or unwillingly), other bloggers defend the unfairly treated blogger(s), and commenters also defend or sometimes fight each other. URLs to the new blogs of the departed are shared. The controversy gets a lot of attention for a couple days, generating clicks on the TU website. The TU will eventually recruit and promote new community bloggers who are naive and flattered by the offer of the TU platform. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

It's quite amazing how defensive people get when you criticize television. They don't want to be seen as a TV person, but don't you dare threaten it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Recently we binge watched the amazon original series "Catastrophe." Once we got through Season 1, I remarked, "it is a vulgar show." We started Season 2, and it went from kind of vulgar but funny, to very vulgar and quite offensive. We bailed before the first episode ended. Really? Their banter about their baby's penis made me think "pedophiles" and the treatment of the dog was what led to us bailing. No thanks. Not funny or worth the time.

Friday, March 17, 2017

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm sharing this story from my book "A Visit with Mimmie: Catskill Mountain Recipes."

All four of Mimmie's grandparents immigrated from Ireland. She was proud of her Irish heritage, and had no patience for tired jokes about being Irish and drinking. Her mother, she said, would not touch birch beer or root beer either, just because of the word “beer.”

On the card for my 18th birthday she wrote:
“Want to wish you Happy Birthday for Tuesday. Hope my card gets there on time. Eighteen is a lovely age to be isn’t it. Just think you are now your own boss. Have a Happy Birthday Tuesday and don’t drink too much (champagne). Suppose that is spelled wrong, but guess you will know what I mean. That horrible tasting drink that they always have at weddings.”

Years later, I noticed Irish Soda Bread being sold at the Kiwanis Club barbecue at the firehouse. and many restaurants serve it on St. Patrick's Day. I was not really familiar with it, so was wondering if Mimmie had a recipe for it. I looked, and couldn't find anything. However, the 1926 Old Book begins with a recipe for Irish Wedding Cake. Mimmie wrote on the page: “I started this cookbook in 1926. My first recipe was given to me by Gladys Fox.”

Irish Wedding Cake
Flour 2 cups
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon
Butter 1 tablespoon
Cinnamon 1 teaspoon
Cloves 1 teaspoon
Egg 1
Molasses 1 cup
Boiling Water 1 cup

Sift dry ingredients, add remaining ingredients and beat all together. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes in loaf pan, or recipe can be used to make layer cake. Use white icing.
Here's Mimmie's Irish Apple Cake recipe; this one is not from the 1926 notebook, but from the little 1970s mod recipe file box:

Irish Apple Cake
Flour, sifted 3 cups
Sugar 3/4 cup
Salt ½ teaspoon
Egg Yolks 3
Butter 1 cup
Lemon Rind, grated from one lemon
Applesauce 1-3/4 cup
Cinnamon ½ teaspoon
Cloves 1/4 teaspoon

Mix flour, sugar, salt, egg yolks, butter and lemon rind. Divide mixture in two parts. Press one part in bottom of pan. Mix applesauce, cinnamon, cloves, and spread over mixture in pan. Sprinkle rest of mixture over applesauce. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased 9x9x1-3/4-inch pan for 40 to 45 minutes. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

 Ann Kathryn McSpirit Eckert (1904-1993) at about age 17

Monday, March 13, 2017

Today is the calm before the storm. We are supposed to get hammered with snow tomorrow. Mid-March is famous for these big storms.

Friday, March 03, 2017

This was a momentus week! Rosie's fifth gotcha day, the 15th blogversary of Gully Brook Pess, and The Store opened at the old Stewart's (and it is much nicer)!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Clearly not doing too well with that goal of posting here more than in 2016! The 15 year anniversary of this blog is coming March 1, so I better get busy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Starting the year out with a post here to say, I'll set a goal to post more than I did in 2016. When I started this blog nearly 15 years ago in 2002, my goal was to write once per week. I easily hit that number in every year besides 2016. Bob came in from the car on Saturday with a set of colored pencils, handed it to me and said, "I bought this for you for Christmas and just found it in the trunk." I saw the sets at Ocean State on Sunday for $2.99, LOL. But I picked up a new sketch pad while there (I think the one I've been using I've had since high school). So that bodes well for Nileston News too.