Old Father 2010

I’m no more, or less, disillusioned by politics than I was last year.


So what kind of year was 2010?

I’m still sad that my local YMCA closed. I was a member there from December 1982 to April 2010. I played racquetball there, and occasionally volleyball as well. My attempt to play racquetball elsewhere proved unworkable.

My bike was stolen; majorly bummed by that.

The blog I do for the Times Union newspaper got excerpted in the print edition at least a half dozen times this year. The problem with that, of course, is that the blurb may be confusing to the reader out of context. Still, people actually recognize me from this, which, I guess, is a good thing. I’m notorious enough to be asked to participate in that To Kill A Mockingbird readathon.

I’ve been attending my current church and singing in the choir for 10 years. We got a new choir director this fall. After eight years of stability, the last couple years was full of transition in the leadership of the choir; hope this guy sticks around a while. I’ve been a Presbyterian for eight years Continue reading “Old Father 2010”

Roger Answers Your Questions, Shooting Parrot, Tom the Mayor, and Rose

Albany is the right size for me.


I’ve been to the blog of Shooting Parrots, and have yet to see any dead or maimed birds. Regardless, he asked:

With most blogs, you get a sense of a life, but not necessarily a sense of place, apart from hints here and there. Could you describe the area where you live, what you like and/or hate about it, its history, the places you like to visit and things you like to do? Pretty much a blank cheque really!

Yikes, this is tough! So open-ended. Well, OK.

Albany is the capital of New York State. One of the things that kinda annoys me about that is that people from other parts of the state say we have to “fix Albany”, when they mean state government. It’s like “fixing Washington”, when referring to the US federal government.

Not that there aren’t things to fix in the city itself. Part of it has to do with bizarre urban planning. There is something generally called the Empire State Plaza, or the South Mall, which was built in the 1960s, apparently as a result of the then-governor, Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, being embarrassed by Albany’s allegedly parochial look when some Dutch royalty was visiting. This involved tearing down dozens of houses, and made the city’s downtown less walkable and vibrant in many ways, though it did provide it with its distinctive skyline. Continue reading “Roger Answers Your Questions, Shooting Parrot, Tom the Mayor, and Rose”

Traveling to Canada?

I was the target market for the Enhanced DMV card, but I declined.

My family will be going to Canada, specifically Ontario, in the summer of 2011 for an international reunion of my wife’s people. This will be the fourth quinquennial event – in 1996, it was in Fargo, ND; in 2001, in Binghamton, NY; and in 2006, in eastern Washington state.

As it turns out, my passport expires about a month before the trip. Initially, I was interested in getting those Enhanced Licenses and Non-Drivers’ IDs for the daughter and me from DMV, which would meet the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative guidelines. Only four U.S. states have actually done this, and, shockingly, given the inertia of Empire State government, New York State is one of them, along with Michigan, Vermont and Washington, all border states with Canada.

There was an article in my local newspaper in early June, indicating that sales of new enhanced driver’s licenses had fallen far below projections. The theory was that the card failed as a result of “the poor economy and reduced travel to other countries.” That’s not why I didn’t get a couple of them.

Rather, there were two other factors, especially the latter:
1) getting the enhanced card would have involved actually going to DMV, whereas renewing my old card, which expired on my last birthday, I processed either by mail or online.
2) The enhanced card is specifically designed for cross-border travel into the U.S. by land or sea.

This means no air travel, only entry by car, truck, train, boat, or presumably, on foot. Thus, if we were to fly to Vancouver, British Columbia in the near future, the daughter and I would STILL need our passports. (So would my wife, but hers doesn’t expire for a few years.)

I was the target market for this product, and I declined, not because I’m homebound, but because the product simply proved insufficient for my needs, unfortunately.
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Meanwhile, there is the G-20 meeting going on this week in Toronto. The U.S. President wants the other governments to spend more to stimulate the ecnomy, but at least the G-8 leaders are looking like the Republicans in the U.S. in opposising more spending, the tension over which is currently doing a job on the stock markets.

I’m a big supporter of protest – peaceful protest – but I’m unclear as to the efficacy of breaking building windows and setting at least one police car on fire. Maybe someone can explain it to me.
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HAPPY CANADA DAY!