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The Dog Ate My Homework, er…. Petition

Otto Golden Thief

Otto, Petition Destroyer

 It’s Designating Petition time again for New York politicians.   This sacred ritual plays itself out every year for the thousands of elected officials in the Empire State.   In general, these petitions are the vehicle for office holders and seekers to get their names printed on the millions of ballots consumed in party primary and general elections.   Ballot access requires approximately 5% of the voters registered in each political unit (county, city, town, ward, etc. ) to sign an otherwise meaningless document so that the person(s) listed at the top can run in a party primary.   If there is only one candidate, there is no primary and the office seeker proceeds to the ballot in the November General Election.   There are now eight political parties in New York, and candidates can run on all lines if they wish, so they often have multiple petitions.    The Democrats and Republicans have clouds of registered voters, so 5% can be a big number and the election law has minimum numbers like 500, 1000, and 2000, …. to make life easier.   With the smaller parties, like the Working Families Party (line #6), the number of required signatures in a county legislative race will only be about 20.   Sounds easy, but there are few people eligible to sign, scattered over a large geographic area, and the inconsiderate suckers are never home when you knock on their door.   This means a petition sheet with ten signatures is a valuable document intended to become official on filing with the Board of Elections.   Don’t have enough signatures or otherwise screw up your petition or filing and you don’t get the party line.   Very important for the Dem and Rep  lines, less so for smaller parties, but still highly sought after and prized.   Many elected officials would not be in office, but for the votes they got on the Conservative, Independence and Working Families lines.    And if you have the line, your opponent doesn’t.   Enter Otto, the Petition Eating Dog, who decides to chew on your precious piece of paper a few days before the final filing date, and you have a big problem: 

Chewed Pet Page

Not to worry.   While these petitions are important documents (What good is your vote if you don’t have anyone to vote for?), compliance with the numerous requirements of the election law is only required to be “substantial” and rules are liberally construed consistent with the prevention of fraud and proper administration of the election process.   In English, this means you can screw up a little as long as you are not committing fraud and the Board of Elections (or the courts) can figure out what you are trying to accomplish. 

So break out the glue pot and an  iron, grab a blank petition, and create a Frankenstein which preserves as much of the original  petition (particularly the signatures) as possible.   The result presented below, may raise some eyebrows, but it’ll get you on the ballot.

Fixed-0001

When you think about it, the only important part of the original which you cannot rebuild is the voter’s signatures.   If you could do signatures on your own, you could do this on the kitchen table.   So no harm, no foul.   The Board of Elections can still see who signed for you.   Initial any obvious changes and you are on your way to a career as a grinning, tax eating politico.

Politician


Build the Damn West River Bike Path Already!

Please Dont Bike

After attending a meeting of pro-Parkway partisans on Thursday night, taking a few drives, and finding out that there was a simultaneous pro-Bike Path meeting last Thursday, I decided to film a drive-by of the subject park lands. Councilman Mike Madigan tells me there is no way to build a bike path on the River, but instead wants one between two redundant two lane roadways.   Apparently, Supervisor McMurray favors converting the existing Parkway into a bike path, but the Parkway really isn’t on the river either.  

I am a biker, a scenic walker, and a cross country skier.   If I am going to transport to Grand Island for any such activity, I want to be on the Niagara River, not trapped between two roads, staring at some houses.   I can stare at houses in Amherst, North Buffalo or Clarence.   I don’t think anyone would build the West River Parkway today.   Neither the current pro environmental, anti-automobile attitude, or the traffic load would allow it.   But the Parkway is already there and a riverside bike path is not.   If the Parkway is a scenic route, slowing it down to 35 MPH from the present 55 would make it even more enjoyable.   But that won’t make it a safe pedestrian walkway.

My generation sent a man to the Moon and brought him back safely to Earth, using what now seems like Stone Age technology.   Therefore, in an effort to inspire the current local and state leadership, I have set my Parkway drive-by video to music and sound from the movie, The Right Stuff.  I begin with the clip of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 which was built just across the river in Wheatfield.   Click the movie box to see what the current situation is like from Buckhorn Island Park to the houses north of Beaver Island.   I think there is no real reason why a bike path cannot be built between the Parkway and the river, but you decide for yourself.   (If you look closely, at about 1:50 of the drive-by, you can see that there already is a bike path along the river for some distance.)

The Right Stuff 

Conversations with West River Parkway Homeowner’s Association President, Frank Greco, reveal that Parkway land owners have state permits for temporary docks and vegetation management.    

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West Parkway Homeowners President Frank Greco

 

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Vegetation Management Permit-0002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Greco also demonstrated that the river bank was not conducive to public  access in many places and he produced documentation for the claim that permanent docks can be maintained by those owners “and their linear descendants” for 99 years from July 31, 1991.  

Permanent Dock Mangement Policy-0001 Permanent Dock Mangement Policy-0002

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the above lead me to ask:  What is all the brouhaha about?   Isn’t the simple solution building a bike path/multipurpose walkway along the river?   Where are state bureaucratic and elected officials on this matter?   What about Chris Jacobs and Amber Small?   Where is Assemblyman John Ceretto?   What is short time Senator Mark Panepinto’s position?

Somehow I have the feeling that, if someone would just buy a keg of beer at the local fire hall and call a meeting, all this could be worked out pretty easily.   What am I missing? 

pillow_fight_club_sf

 

 


Thai guitarist Ekachai Jearakul returns to Kleinhans

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ekachai Jearakul

On Tuesday March 22 at 7:30pm, Thai guitarist Ekachai Jearakul will perform a solo recital in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall co-sponsored by the Castellani Andriaccio Guitar Duo and the BPO. Jearakul is a three-time semi-finalist and a two-time finalist at the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, placing second in 2014 and third in 2012. Jearakul is also the 2014 winner of the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) Competition, where his prize included a 50 city recital tour and a solo guitar recital CD on Naxos.
Michael Andriaccio, co-artistic director of the Falletta Competition says: “Don’t miss Jearakul’s return performance – he is truly Thailand’s monarch of the guitar. Audiences around the world have marveled at his virtuosity and elegance and he is a favorite of our Buffalo audience”.
Jearakul’s program includes two works, including Magic Beams, arranged for classical guitar by William Kanengiser, from a suite written by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the world’s longest reigning monarch, who is also a prolific composer. The far-ranging program includes works by Joaquin Turina and Rito de los Orishas by Leo Brouwer, as well as a piece composed for him by Steven Goss.
Tickets: $10, or free with the purchase of a ticket to the JoAnn Falletta Guitar Competition finals on June 11. Information: 885-5000 or www.bpo.org


Ekachai Jearakul returns to Kleinhans

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ekachai Jearakul

On Tuesday March 22 at 7:30pm, Thai guitarist Ekachai Jearakul will perform a solo recital in the Mary Seaton Room of Kleinhans Music Hall co-sponsored by the Castellani Andriaccio Guitar Duo and the BPO. Jearakul is a three-time semi-finalist and a two-time finalist at the JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, placing second in 2014 and third in 2012. Jearakul is also the 2014 winner of the Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) Competition, where his prize included a 50 city recital tour and a solo guitar recital CD on Naxos.
Michael Andriaccio, co-artistic director of the Falletta Competition says: “Don’t miss Jearakul’s return performance – he is truly Thailand’s monarch of the guitar. Audiences around the world have marveled at his virtuosity and elegance and he is a favorite of our Buffalo audience”.
Jearakul’s program includes two works, including Magic Beams, arranged for classical guitar by William Kanengiser, from a suite written by King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, the world’s longest reigning monarch, who is also a prolific composer. The far-ranging program includes works by Joaquin Turina and Rito de los Orishas by Leo Brouwer, as well as a piece composed for him by Steven Goss.
Tickets: $10, or free with the purchase of a ticket to the JoAnn Falletta Guitar Competition finals on June 11. Information: 885-5000 or www.bpo.org


The Great Irish Boycott

Filed under: Allentown, Events

Charles-boycott

While many will be headed to pubs with shamrocks pinned to their jackets to celebrate all things Irish, there is one contribution from Ireland that bears a toast (or two!): the boycott.

Coined in 1880 during the Irish Land Wars, the phrase refers to Captain Charles Boycott, a land agent for Lord Erne. It was a rough year, harvests had been poor, and the tenants had petitioned for a 25 percent rent reduction due to hardship. It had been refused. Boycott attempted to evict 11 tenant farmers. Outraged, the rest of the community began a social ostracism campaign, shunning the captain, refusing to help harvest his crops, and non-cooperating with his eviction efforts.

Irish author George Moore reported: “Like a comet the verb ‘boycott’ appeared.” Within six weeks, newspapers as far away as New York City were using the term.

According to Wikipedia, a “boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for social or political reasons. The purpose of a boycott is to inflict some economic loss on the target, or to indicate a moral outrage, to try to compel the target to alter an objectionable behavior.”

There is hardly a nonviolent movement around the world, out of hundreds of case studies, that has not used some form of a boycott! Think of Gandhi’s spinning wheel and concurrent boycott of British cloth imports, the American Independence movement’s boycott of tea, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the United Farm Workers’ Grape Boycott, the boycott of white-owned stores in South African townships during the anti-apartheid struggle: the examples are numerous. So, this St. Patrick’s Day, while you’re celebrating leprechauns, shamrocks and all things Irish, lift a glass and raise a toast to one of Ireland’s greatest contributions to a more just and equitable world: the boycott.

Sun Rivera


Lake Effect Furies Open Up 2016 Season With A Statement Win Over Roc City

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The Lake Effect Furies wasted no time asserting themselves on Sunday at their 2016 Season Opener, kicking off the bout on a 113-0 run before the visitors Roc City could even get on the board. From beginning to end the Furies were dominant and by the time the dust settled they skated away with a 406-52 win, giving up only 9 points the entire bout 5 on 5. The win was exactly what skaters, coaches and fans were hoping for to start this season and this type of performance will need to be repeated throughout their remaining sanctioned home schedule against Ithaca, Green Mt. and Killamazoo. 

The win becomes the highest Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) score in Furies history (461), their 3rd highest positive point differential (+354), their third highest all time single game increase on Flat Track Stats and pushes them to their all time highest Flat Track rating (770). Controlling the game with 86% lead jam percentage, Roc City was forced to make up 43 of their points off of 6 Furies jammer penalties. Their jammers played with a lot of heart and determination, but the Furies blockers ground them down from start to finish. 

Roc City played without star jammer GO! (Flu) and missed veteran blockers like Lethal Lorelai dearly in this bout. Ranked 76th coming in with an average WFTDA score of 233.76, Roc City come away with a lot of bumps and bruises and only 87 WFTDA points. Last year, almost to the day, they came to Riverworks and challenged the Furies to closer a 213-105 loss that netted them a 207 WFTDA score, above their 191 average at the time. This is the ruthlessness of the WFTDA ranking system though and Roc City is unlikely to gain any sympathy from the Furies – especially not after the Furies got to experience what playing Gotham feels like last year and while they will carry the 95 WFTDA score they received from that game around their neck like an albatross all season. 

The Furies mental toughness in this bout was superb. There were no runs or momentum swings for Roc, they played clean and took fewer penalties than their average last year, and while giving up 7.1 points per power jam is still a bit high that is much less than last year. Panic didn’t set in, blockers dug in and did their job regardless of how many of them were on the track. The bout pointed more towards the finer points – jammers taking that extra second to shift their weight as they hit the pack, that extra second on re entry to leave the referees with no doubts. Ending the bout on a final jam with a 4-2 pack advantage for Roc and InSINerator taking a penalty was the first sign of slippage, but the rest of the game was so overwhelmingly positive and dominant it is hard to nit pick. The Furies actually increased their share of total points in that 2nd half – there was no let up.

The Furies jammer statistics go from huge to nuclear – Murphy with a +7.3 per jam, Miss Fire going 70/10 with 7/8 leads, Sin going +10.7 per and 90% of total points and Librawlian putting up 145/6 with 11/11 on leads and +12.6 per and 96% of total points. Sin had a 35-0 jam, Brawl 30-0, Murphy 25-0 and Miss Fire’s highest were two 14-0 jams. 

Let's go Lake Effect Furies! Thanks for having us! @qcrg #rollerderby #qcrg

A video posted by IGers Buffalo (@igersbuffalo) on

 

As dominant as the jammers were this bout was more of a coming out party for the Furies blockers. Locked into to a system that looks tighter and stronger than last season the Furies blockers held Roc jammers for full 2 mins on their initial passes multiple times – creating massive jams and a nice test of their own jammers endurance. Bricks Hit House looks absolutely terrifying on the track for the Furies right now and their overall communication, reforming and timed offense is all greatly increased from D1 Playoffs in October last year. The video above shows a nice assist from Furies blocker Midnty Maniac as Librawlian pushes through the Roc blockers and Bricks holds a Roc blocker as a “goat.” 

This is great news for the Furies, and a great statement game, but they now have under two weeks to prepare and keep this going as they head to the Quad City Chaos Tournament in Toronto, On (Canada) on March 19th to face more familiar foes – Tri City Roller Derby and Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power. The competition will be stiffer and it will be up to the Furies to stick to the gameplan they executed in this game while lead jams become more rare and penalties may increase. With WFTDA weights of 2.56 (Toronto) and 2.43 (Tri-City), the Furies need a good showing against these teams to propel themselves back up in the rankings and into Division 1 Playoff territory.

They take back to the track at Riverworks this coming Friday with a mash up Expo of Buffalo’s two travel teams – the Furies and the Subzero Sirens – to work on their in game fitness and also have some fun.

The Sirens also came away Sunday with a dominant win taking the Roc City B Sides for a spin with a 290-94 win. The first Sirens bout for Queen City Junior Roller Girls graduate Veggy Cowgirl, she looked perfectly at home in the Sirens deep jammer rotation. Her, Dana Scullcrusher, Celery Stalk-HER and Double Barryl were relentless all game. The Sirens put up 145 points a half and only allowed 39 and 53 points for the B Sides. Undefeated this season, the Sirens move to 3-0 and the win shows that much more progress as they never had a momentum lapse in the 2nd half as they did in their first two bouts this year. Like the Furies they kept the pressure on from start to finish. 

Tickets for the Mash Up Expo are available at http://www.qcrg.net/event/lake-effect-furies-opponent-tbd-8/

 


Mad Max: Fury Road, is a sequel in the works?

Filed under: Film

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Title: Mad Max Runs Over the Oscars

The 88th Academy Awards came and went and actually managed to pass without too much controversy or scandal. Chris Rock did an exceptionally capable job of hosting, remaining true to himself and speaking truth to power without making things too uncomfortable for the Hollywood elite in attendance. There were some winners and losers and some definite surprises and upsets (looking at you, Ex Machina for Visual Effects), but overall we were rather pleased with how our favorites performed.

One of the biggest stories from the awards has to have been the success of a little flick you may have seen called Mad Max: Fury Road. The Australians won big at the Oscars this year with George Miller’s Fury Road taking home six awards out of its 12 nominations, easily earning more than any other film of the evening. The awards were all in technical categories, though the movie was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Director. The success at the Academy Awards was remarkable for such a mainstream film, especially one that focused so much on action and style. This recalled the success of other Oscar-winning mainstream franchises/films such as The Lord of the Rings, Avatar and, Gladiator, and they have more in common than you might think.

One of those similarities would be belonging to the esteemed pantheon of Oscar-winning films that also boast their own video game adaptations. Among these are classics like Lord of the Rings and The Godfather, which received perfectly acceptable, if somewhat mediocre, adaptations. And then there’s E.T., which is responsible for what is largely considered one of the worst video games of all time. In fact, thousands of copies of the E.T. game went on to inhabit a New Mexico landfill (an occurrence that led to a documentary of its own).

Gladiator took home five Oscars, including Best Picture and notably Best Actor for Aussie thespian Russell Crowe. Interestingly enough, Gladiator went the safer route in gaming, as its own title exists on a casual gaming and casino platform. It features everyone’s favorite Romans and continues to capitalize on the on the renewed interest in the “sword and sandals” genre that the movie (re)popularized. Mad Max can also count itself among this company with an ambitious open-world game based on the post-apocalyptic franchise. It was released last fall to surprisingly positive reviews for a licensed movie game that tasks players with drive through acres of dystopian desert.

Given the critical and commercial success of the renewed cult franchise it only makes sense that Miller and company would try to repeat the feat. We have our fingers crossed that a sequel won’t be too long in the making. Apparently, the highly anticipated follow-up to the award-winning movie is currently in production. It will concern the backstory of Imperator Furiosa (played by the egregiously snubbed Charlize Theron), and Tom Hardy is also already confirmed to reprise his role as Max. Miller has gone on record that he has finalized the storyline for the sequel, but he also said it might be some time before we’re whisked away to the wasteland once again. He has also hinted at wanting to make a smaller, less intensive film for his next project.

Follow the success of his surprise cinematic gem, we agree that Miller has definitely earned himself a bit of a break. However, we can only hope that the 70-year-old director won’t stay away for long, because more Furiosa would surely be fantastic.


Dollies Pull Off Thrilling Last Jam Win Over the Saucies

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Guest Post By Vile Love It 

The Queen City Roller Girls home season has seen some super tight games and this past Wednesday’s rematch between the Suicidal Saucies and the Devil Dollies didn’t disappoint. With more lead changes than you could keep track of, the Dollies squeaked out a 161-173 win in the exciting last jam.

Dollies jammer McCreadie pulled her team to within 2 points of the Saucies in the second to last jam and then both teams’ clutch jammers:  Rosi for the Saucies and Double Barryl for the Dollies lined up on the track. Unfortunately for the Saucies, Rosi headed to the box early in the jam leaving Double Barryl on the track to calmly gather up the winning points.  She cemented her team’s victory and then hung out in the back until the period clock wound down and the Dollies maintained their 2-0 record against the Saucies this season. 

This was an important game for the Saucies. They lost to the Dollies in the home season opener (179-113) the largest point spread of any home game this season. The Saucies then went on to beat the Alley Kats 174-158 on February 3rd. 

The Dollies, on the other hand, have fallen to the Kats twice. On January 13th they lost by 3 points in another last jam win (164-161) and then again on February 13th 133-115.

In the Saucies mind, it might have been: we beat the Kats, the Kats beat the Dollies, so therefore, we should beat the Dollies. But it just doesn’t always work out like that. First, the Saucies were down several players.  Maggie de Sade is out with an ankle injury. TeKill’ya Sunrise is also injured.  Fresh Slaughter Pearl, Poisonous Peaches and Chet UpStandUp sat out Wednesday’s game due to a variety of issues. The Saucies did pull up Veggy Cowgirl and Emma Dilemma from the Queens Court to fill in and they both made quite a difference.

Veggy Cowgirl is the first Queen City Junior Roller Girl graduate to skate in the adult league and she has made an immediate splash. She has skated games with the Queens Court and recently made the Subzero Sirens travel team. Veggy skated with the junior league for four years and is the eldest daughter of QCRG co- founder Sissy Fit (who herself used to play for the Saucies) so suffice it to say, she’s been skating since before she could walk. She also played on the Junior World Cup Select Team in 2014.  She is a versatile player and was effective as blocker (sometimes pivot) and jammer. 

Emma Dilemma also filled in as a Saucie on Wednesday night. She is a recent transfer from Toronto Roller Derby where she played with the Gore Gore Girls for 5 seasons including 2014 when that team won the prestigious Canadian Beast of the East Tournament.  She was quite effective as a blocker and looked at home in her hastily made red t-shirt.

The Dollies remain under the strong coaching of Senor Wiener assisted by Assistant Coaches and Lake Effect Furies players Ivana LeiHerOut and LiBrawlian (who is also co-coach of the Subzero Sirens). Senor Wiener crafted a team of a select few of anchor veteran blockers including Chickadeemolish, Lip Service, LaBatt Bruise and Bully Holiday and then packed in a solid group of rookies and second year skaters. His rookies, however, aren’t all “technically” rookies.  Double Barryl played for Watertown before she took a year off for knee surgery and a baby. McCreadie and May Bringdowndahaus were with Niagara Roller Girls before they came south.

The Saucies relied heavily on Rosi, Flame Throw-Her, Sigourney Cleaver, and Veggy Cowgirl as jammers (with both Rosi and Veggy playing double duty as blockers). 

The Dollies were down regular jammer Jules Burns and so spread the jammer love around to SlamUwell Jackson, Erin Go Braless, Nic Nugget along with regulars Double Barryl, McCreadie and Raspoutine. 

The games started out a defensive battle with “hit it and quit it” jams where few points were scored. Eight minutes into the game the score was only 13-10 with the Saucies in the lead. Although there were jams where one team was ahead by 10 or 15 points, neither team dominated for more than a jam. At the half the score was Saucies 60, Dollies 59.

When a game is this close it is difficult to point to a statistic that won or lost the game for either team.  The Saucies had a total of 8 penalties in the first half but then doubled it for a total of 24 penalties. The Dollies had 16 penalties in the first period and 15 in the second. Dollies caught lead jam slightly more often than the Saucies, but they couldn’t always capitalize on it.

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Chris Kalisiak (CK Photographic Systems). Shot at 1/8th Second.  

One fan said the score board resembled a basketball game, back and forth, back and forth but in the end, the Dollies were able to keep their winning record against the Saucies. Fans can see the full bout footage from the game here on QCRG’s youtube channel

The home teams are taking a break during March as the Lake Effect Furies and Subzero Sirens take center stage at Riverworks. The Lake Effect Furies open their home season against neighboring Roc City All Stars with the Subzero Sirens playing against Roc’s B Sides on March 6th and follow that with a Subzero Sirens + Lake Effect Furies Mash up Expo bout on Friday April 11th. You can always find ticket at qcrg.net/tickets.  

 

 

 




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