Voting machines

Radio Interview – Weds. Aug. 3, Re: NY Voting Machine Issues

VOTING MACHINES -Which ones will New York end up with? Is touch screen voting in our future? Aimee Allaud, election specialist, for The League of Women Voters of New York State, in a twenty minute interview, answers questions and provides information New Yorkers need to hear about the process of choosing voting machines for their state. Decisions will be made without our input if we are not informed! Tune in tomorrow, August 3, 7:30-8:30 a.m. to WRPI-Troy on 91.5 FM.

Copies of the interview may be obtained for replay on your local radio stations. Contact Helena Kosorek.

Mixed Bag CD Blog Intro

I’ve mentioned this Chris “Lefty” Brown Mixed CD thang (May 23) I’ve been doing with some two dozen bloggers. I even reviewed one whole CD. But I’ve been negligent in recent weeks. And since I can’t file them into the collection until I review them, I’d best get to it.

Before I do any specific reviews, I should make some general observations:

None of them I hated, as in “Get that thing out of my stereo,” though my wife looked askance at me when I was listening to a couple of them. Some folks did some fancy graphics, while others were a 5″ X 5″ piece of paper, and while that didn’t matter much to me, a couple of covers were particularly outstanding.

Thank you to those who indicated that some of the material may not be suitable for the office. I mention this because I played every single one in the office first, just to get a feel. (Kudos to Tony and Eddie, who put warnings on the package; also, Fred indicated the same in an e-mail to the group.)

I’m reviewing these in a particular order: as of July 27 – first the folks that listed their CD tracks on their blogs, then the folks that Lefty listed their CD tracks on HIS blog, then everyone else who had tracks listed by others, then the ones where the tracks aren’t listed anywhere. Within those categories, I’m reviewing these in the order in which I received them.

I developed a matrix by which I’ll address each of the discs, more for my ease than anything. I was discussing with Fred Hembeck a while ago how difficult CD reviewing can be because I don’t always know the lingo, so at least the formula will allow me to touch on certain aspects more or less consistently. (You’ll be able to tell a librarian did this.)

The first pair of reviews tomorrow.


Silk boxer shorts

The oppressive heat has broken in the Northeast, and it was a beautiful weekend. I just got back from Oneonta. I took the bus home to Albany, and was sad to hear that the line is going to be discontinued after September 6 for lack of ridership. (Less transit=more individual cars=more gas consumption.)

Anyway, I went to two minor league baseball games in Oneonta on Friday, and one on Saturday in Cooperstown. In the first Friday game, Oneonta won 12-1, scoring 5 in the first, 2 in the 2nd, and they were never headed. But then Tri-City came back in the nightcap, 8-4. On Saturday, in historic Doubleday Field, Oneonta won 11-1. Both teams had 11 hits, but Tri-City had all singles and hit into 4 double plays.

All the games were free, thanks to sponsorships. The Cooperstown game was paid for by Coke and Key Bank, not particularly surprising. But the Friday games were sponsored by Rural Three for Tobacco Free Communities, a “coalition of individuals and agencies, representing Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie Counties, dedicated to reducing the use of tobacco in our communities.” There were young people getting folks to sign petitions chastizing the movie industry for promoting cigarettes in film. I thought it was unusual for a not-for-profit to sponsor a game, but they did get a lot (2200 patrons) of visibility.

Going to see a minor league ballgame, one gets a sense of what music has passed over into the popular sports culture. At least in this town, It’s A Beautiful Day (U2) and Hey Ya (Outkast) have joined Glory Days (Springsteen), We Will Rock You (Queen) and Blitzkrieg Bop (Ramones) in that musical pantheon.

In Oneonta, if a player has to go to the bathroom during the game, he has to go into the fan section in order to access the locker room. But in Cooperstown, it appears that he actually has to actually leave the stadium and use the same facilities as the patrons near the entranceway. I’m in favor of old-fashioned – Cooperstown doesn’t have lights, e.g. – but there are limits to my desire for nostalgia.

The bus from Oneonta to Cooperstown costs $1.30 for a 20-mile ride. It is far more economical than driving into Cooperstown and parking in the lots of churches, offices, even on people’s front lawns for $5 to $15, usually at the higher end of that range.

When they are playing at home, the Oneonta players get prizes for special accomplishments, such as making a great defensive play (bagel sandwich dinner) or winning a game. An extra base hit (double, triple, home run) gets a couple submarine sandwiches. A triple or home run also gets a couple pizzas. A triple gets a chicken dinner; this was a smart marketing ploy on the part of Brooks Barbecue, because triples are fairly rare, though one was hit in each of Friday’s games. In addition to the food, the home run hitter gets a $25 check from the team and a pair of silk boxer shorts from a local retailer. The mention of this never failed to engender many giggles, and lots of “oooh”s.

There is a player named Michael Hollimon who has five pair of silk boxer shorts. That means he has hit five home runs at home this season, including a grand slam late in the first Friday game. That might not seem a lot, but given the fact that the season began around Father’s Day, that they played some on the road, that Damaschke Field is not a park friendly to home run hitters, so that the SEASON record for an Oneonta player is 13 (he had 9 as of Saturday), it’s pretty impressive. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes it to the big leagues by the end of the next year. Or not- it’s really difficult to judge whether single A talent will translate to major league success.


I’ve been blogging three months. Given the fact that some folks have been blogging three years or longer, it ain’t no big deal to anyone but me. But it has been a real learning experience:

1) Can I be disciplined enough to post something, however slight, every day? So far, the answer, surprisingly (to me) is yes.

2) Will this allow me to “get in touch” with buried stuff, exhibiting existential angst in the public marketplace? Well, yes and no. I’ve certainly learned stuff about me (and you have, too.) But I DO have an edit button most of the time. So whatever salacious stuff you’ve seen, know that there’s even worse stuff in my head that you haven’t seen (and may never see – or you will, someday, maybe.)

3) Will anyone actually read this thing? Well, apparently, yes. To gauge that further, I’ve changed the settings so that any strange person can reply to my messages, rather than any strange person registered with Blogger. I reserve the right to alter that again, of course.

4) Will I get sucked up into this blogisphere, checking out other sites? Well, some.
The only site I visit every day without fail (unless he posts after my bedtime) is Mr. Hembeck’s. He suckered me into this, after all. Besides, occasionally I can get a mention in his column
(July 23, plus some JEOPARDY! plugs)

Often, after I have posted, I hit the Next Blog button in upper right of my page. Sometimes, I find sweet pieces like this one. I almost ALWAYS find a plug for Texas Hold ‘Em. Want a Spanish-language review of the movie Sin City? How about a political rant of a total stranger? And how the heck can I possible hit the same blog twice, given the number of new entrants into the arena?

At Mr. Hembeck’s suggestion, I’ve been regularly going to News from Me by Mark Evanier, a very newsworthy source. And he rants about the same political stuff that irks me, only he does it better. Also, I read one of my favorite comic writer’s blog, one Steve Gerber.

I’ve been checking out the folks involved with Chris Brown’s Mixed Bag CD exchange (May 23), and some of them are quite entertaining. But I have to make special mention of Greg Burgas, who has two daughters, at least two blogs (one about his aforementioned two daughters), and inexplicably but happily, too much time on his hands.

In re: the Mixed CD folks, one of the goals for the month will be to start to review those tunes, probably two discs at a time, once this week, then twice a week until they’re done. I’d say Wednesdays and Saturdays except that I’ve already foreseen some exceptions to that rule.

Oh, and if there are issues you know that I know about that I haven’t written about, please let me know. I may decide that now’s not the time, but I will keep it “under advisement,” as they say.

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