Sunday, November 15, 2015

Starry Starry Night

Every once in awhile, the blog comes out of retirement. No longer prolific, just a once-in-awhile commentary on things going on in this crazy world we live in... 

The lyrical genius Don McLean wrote the song Vincent after reading the biography of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, a genius in his own right. It's a very powerful song. McLean basically was puzzled by the fact that Van Gogh's paintings were considered mediocre until many years after his death. Since our days in grammar school, we've always been taught that Van Gogh was crazy. But in the following passage, McLean takes an unconventional stance against history's perception of the artist...

“In the autumn of 1970 I had a job singing in the school system, playing my guitar in classrooms. I was sitting on the veranda one morning, reading a biography of Van Gogh, and suddenly I knew I had to write a song arguing that he wasn’t crazy. He had an illness and so did his brother Theo. This makes it different, in my mind, to the garden variety of 'crazy’ . So I sat down with a print of Starry Night and wrote the lyrics out on a paper bag.”

An interesting take on an even more interesting person. Van Gogh, who suffered from depression his whole life, eventually could not take it anymore and took his life as McLean describes in another part of the song...

And, when no hope was left inside on that starry, starry night, you took your life as lovers often do
But I could have told you, Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.

A beautiful song documenting an incredible life. Here are a few facts about depression from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

-Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults in this country ages 18 or older, or 18% of the population.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.

-Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.

 If you're suffering from depression or you think you might be, don't be ashamed to seek help. You are certainly not alone. Call your doctor. Reach out to friends. Most people would love to help, but are just unaware. Hopefully, we can continue to learn more about this horrible illness and discover new methods to fight it. And we may even save a few people along the way. I am confident of this and I KNOW we will. 

(This post is dedicated to Billy C., Matt S., Mariya S, and anyone else going through difficult times. Your community will never forget you.)

So much heartache captured in one song...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Cold Shoulder

Kathy Hochul should be ashamed of herself. Here she is at the New York City Labor Day Parade. Her running mate's opponent (Zeaphye Teachout) tries to tap her on the shoulder to wish her good luck. Hochul turns her back and then completely ignores her. Teachout is completely liberal, but I'm going to break away from my political ideology and vote for her and her running mate (Something Wu). Hochul's behavior at this parade is both classless and rude and I'm glad someone's camera was there to witness it. It won't, but I wish this clip would go viral...

Ok, I admit, after hearing this song, I've been waiting for a reason to play it. Cuomo and Hochul have now given me one. "I wish that I could be like the cool kids"...

Monday, March 17, 2014

He has to go...

Unbelievable. Today, State Senator Tim Kennedy voted Yes on Governor Cuomo's so called Dream Act, which would have given $170 million to illegal immigrants in free college tuition. You read that correctly. Believe it or not, it is not a misprint.

Last week, when Kennedy switched from Pro Life to Pro Choice and voted in favor of Cuomo's Women's Act, he uttered the nonsense, "while he personally is pro life, he had to support what the people in his district wanted". Which leads us to the $170 million dollar question: Why would Kennedy now support something the overwhelming majority of people in his district oppose? What line of BS is he going to come up with now? Clearly, the struggling college students in this area and their parents would never support this ridiculous piece of legislation. The fact that Kennedy did, makes me think every State Senator should be immediately tested for drugs.

Here's what is going on behind the scenes: Kennedy, who pretends to be just a regular guy from South Buffalo, made a deal with the devil. He and a handful of other mindless State Senators have been offered something big by Governor Cuomo's to support every one of his proposals (including this one). So, when Kennedy loses in September, and trust me, he will lose in September, he will be given a nice cushy job from the governor. When he does lose, I will be immediately calling on him to get a job in the private sector. And we will also be monitoring the situation to make sure he is not given a politically appointed job from Governor Cuomo. Someone who sells out his own neighborhood needs to find out what it means to work an eight hour day for an hourly wage. 

So when the political blowhard at the end of your street tells you to support Kennedy this Fall, remind him that Kennedy voted to give $170 million dollars in free college tuition to illegal immigrants. Just think of how many better ways our tax money could be spent. And remember, that is our money they are giving away. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rumore wabbles and he does fall down

Buffalo Teacher's Federation President Phil Rumore is recovering in an Albany hospital after slipping and falling on some ice near his home. Rumore, who was carrying a friend's dog at the time, suffered fractured ribs during the unfortunate incident.

He has received tons of cards wishing him a speedy recovery as well as some wishing that his injuries had been more severe. The accident happened at Rumore's Western New York home. However, he traveled to Albany on business before realizing he needed medical care. Strangely enough, Rumore blamed the fall on the Buffalo Public School Administration's inability to offer the teachers a fair contract.

Kennedy's Desperation Tour continues

State Senator Tim Kennedy held a press conference today to remind residents to set their clocks ahead one hour. This marks Kennedy's 25th press conference over the last 27 days. Kennedy wishes to remind everyone that these are very serious topics he's discussing and not merely shameless attempts to get his name in the paper and his face on TV. Join Kennedy tomorrow on the steps of City Hall at noon as he holds another press conference to announce that it's Monday.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Happy Groundhog Day

It's Groundhog Day! You know what that means.  If State Senator Tim Kennedy comes out and sees his shadow, he will be Pro-Life for another six months. If he doesn't, then he might switch back to being Pro-Choice. Or maybe, he will be both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. You see, it depends on what stance he is told to take.

Be very careful in watching the way The Buffalo News is treating this issue. They are CLEARLY in the pockets of Tim Kennedy and more specifically, Congressman Brian Higgins. They are totally downplaying Kennedy's switch as if it were a personal decision and not based on politics. The switch was made based on Kennedy losing the support of the Conservative Party  and his attempts to gain favor with Governor Cuomo. Things were a lot easier for Tim Kennedy when all he had to do was lick envelopes and put up campaign signs for whatever machine backed candidate he was told to. That's what happens when we allow unskilled political frauds to get elected.

Put aside your feelings on abortion for a minute and ask yourself this question? Do we want to be represented by a leader who bases his stances solely on which lobbyist puts money in his pockets? I believe Tim Kennedy is underestimating the old Catholic ladies at Bingo. As soon as the word gets around about his change in policy, these women and their husbands will crucify Kennedy in September. But, as the Buffalo News seems to believe, Kennedy will only be facing one primary opponent this September, Betty Jean Grant.

This shows once again how clueless and out of touch the Buffalo News is. They have no idea what goes on beyond East Amherst and Williamsville. I'm hearing several unconfirmed reports of a third potential candidate emerging. A dark horse. A shadowy figure. He has no connection to the greedy lobbyists, but does possess the ability to think for himself. He has little money, but plenty of access to the voters through social media. So he's got that going for him, which is nice...

Artificial stupidity

Mr Kurzweil believes that in the future computers will be able to tell jokes, recount stories and even flirt

As if you're weekend coming to an end wasn't bad enough, now there's this: Google Director Ray Kurzweil predicts that in 2029 robots will officially become smarter than humans...

The 66-year-old entrepreneur and futureologist believes that in 15 years' time machines will be able to crack jokes, tell stories and even flirt.

He also predicts that robots will be able to hold conversations and learn from experience. That's scary because most of us can't do half of those things now. 

Scientists say Kurzweil's prediction echoes the plot of the Oscar nominated film Her, in which some loser falls in love with his computer operating system. However,  the phenomenon can actually be traced back to this pivotal scene from Rocky IV...

Check out the full article at this link...

West Seneca group home protest

It's always nice when neighbors get together to engage in peaceful protest. And I think the best way to get their message heard is through homemade signs displaying subtle messages...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Be careful what you wish for

Dwayne Feguson, arrested for bringing a gun to Harvey Austin School, is a well-known community activist.

You have to love when a guy lobbies Albany to create a new law and then is one of the first people arrested and charged with breaking his own law. It must feel like when you step on a metal rake and the wooden end pops up and hits you in the face...

  Dwayne Ferguson was among local activists who stood with Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes last year lobbying for a law that would make possessing a gun on school property a felony. Prior to New York State’s adoption of the SAFE Act last year, in response to the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, it was a long-established state law that guns could not be brought onto school property. The only difference was that the crime carried less punishment as a misdemeanor.

In an ironic turn of events, Ferguson was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon under that law for Thursday’s incident. The law carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison.  
In fairness to Ferguson, he has a valid permit for the gun and I don't believe he had any malicious intent. Someone, probably a political foe, knew he carried a weapon and "dropped a dime" on him. I don't think what he did warrants a felony, but that will be up to Judge Wapner to decide.

An old man turned 98
He won the lottery
and died the next day...

You can read the full article here...
Associates defend man who had gun in school* 

Friday, February 21, 2014

West Seneca sex offenders

Many West Seneca residents were shocked to hear that a house for developmentally disabled adults on Leydecker Road was being used to house seven registered sex offenders. The state was in error for not notifying residents as to who their new neighbors would be. However, had they notified them, the residents would never have allowed it to happen. The bigger question is, why did the state decide to place the seven men in such a residential location in the first place? I have to side with the neighbors on this one.

Having said that, I don't think it was necessary for the Front Page newspaper to post their pictures on the front of this week's paper. One of the guys had a huge smile, as if he was getting his picture taken for his birthday. 

I've worked with developmentally disabled adults for the past twelve years and I believe I know the population pretty well. The seven from this house are different than the pervert down the street who knows what he is doing and plots his illicit activities. The developmentally disabled are often unaware of the severity of their actions, until they are caught and punished. Then, they find out real quick. In fact, at my last agency, there was a house like this way out in a rural area. Everyone wanted to work there, because they had extra staff and there were hardly any behavior incidents to deal with. The residents were well behaved and it was an easy gig. But this house wasn't near any schools or parks, which made it a good location for the agency.

Although I'd bet these seven men are not as dangerous as advertised,  I wouldn't want them to live next door to me, either. All it takes is one incident. The agencies are always saying that the developmentally disabled are people like everyone else and should be treated the same. This works both ways. Society would never approve of non-disabled sex offenders living in their neighborhood. Why should disabled sex offenders be treated differently? Although their intentions might not be as malicious as the former, the result could end up being the same. It's not an easy group to place, but these are decisions that the higher ups get paid the big bucks to make. I think it's best to error on the side of caution.