Lovely Lettuce and the Motor Crash

September 12, 2008

Yesterday (Thursday, Sept. 11) whilst I was counting auto parts at the NAPA store on Military Rd. in Niagara Falls, I got a call from the Lovely Lettuce.

“Hi, dear,” said she, “Don’t panic, I’m ok but I was just rear-ended by some <expletive-deleted> old man.”

It seems that this old man was in  a hurry to get somewhere and tried to pass her on a gravel shoulder while she was the third car stopped waiting for the first car ahead of her to turn left into a driveway.   It ended up being a 4 car chain reaction. She’s ok physically but a bit bruised from the seat belt.   Emotionally, she is still angry.

The police officer who handled the accident told her that the 79-year-old man who ran into her was at fault. One would think that on a clear and sunny morning, he would be able to go around (however illegally) a group of stopped cars without hitting any of them. And one, in hindsight, would be wrong.

Lettuce’s 1997 Saturn SL2 was her first car. She had to buy a car so she could get to her job at the Western New York Developmental Disability Service Office in West Seneca. The place is nowhere near a bus line. And now, her car is not drivable because, in addition to the more or less superficial but expensive to fix damage to both the front and rear bumper, the drivers seat was damaged in the impact and will not stay in an upright enough position for driving. Based upon the age fo the car, I reckon that the old man’s insurance company will total it instead of trying to fix it.

Despite its quirks and problems, Lettuce was quite fond of her “blue bitch.” The car was her “blue baby” until the transmission fluid started leaking. Ironically enough, on Wednesday, she finally got her transmission leak fixed. A nice mechanic at a Valvoline oil change place figured out that her “slip on” transmission filter had some pinholes in it (probably from gravel or stones on the road) and the fluid was leaking out of them while the car was running. A new filter was installed and no more leak. I knew she had a compression leak because the transmission didn’t really leak when the car was not running. But I didn’t even know that it had a transmission filter. I’m older and wiser now.

Sam Hoyt won’t get my vote

September 7, 2008

Here in Buffalo’s 144th Assembly District, Sam Hoyt is running against Brabra Kavanaugh in a bitterly fought primary battle. Neither side seems to mind campaign material by third parties full of innuendo and half-truths directed against the other. But, oh, when it is directed against them, it is another matter entirely.

In the last two days, I’ve gotten 3 mailings from “Citizens for Sam Hoyt.” Here are the first two:

Sam Hoyt campaign mailing Sept 2008

Sam Hoyt campaign mailing Sept 2008

sam hoyt campaign mailing Sept 2008

Sam Hoyt campaign mailing Sept 2008

As I told the nice campaign worker who came to my house last month, I’ve voted for Hoyt before and I was probably going to vote for him again. In general terms, I like his position on most issues. And I saw llittle in Kavanaugh that would make me want to vote for her instead of him.

I was even going to vote for him despite the relevation that he had a extra-marital affair with an intern. I think that cheating on a spouse is wrong (unless, of course, said spouse gives a priori consent – i.e., an open marriage). Ultimately, it is a matter for the people involved. If Hoyt’s wife didn’t hold it against him, why should I? And, I told myself, at least she wasn’t his intern and she was over 21. Even more amazingly, it wasn’t even illegal at the time. I felt a wee bit dirty but I was going to vote him anyway. I tend to think that politicians tend to be sleazy under the best of circumstances. And, anyway, to paraphrase Randy Newman, he may be sleazy politician but at least he is our sleazy politician.

I was going to vote for Sam Hoyt. I got the first 2 mailings on the same day. I was not impressed. I don’t want to hear how the other guy sucks. I want to hear how great my guy is. Negative campaigning is a real turnoff for me. I told myself I was still going to vote for Hoyt unless I got another nasty negative campaign mailing supporting Hoyt before the primary.

Snakes Alive!!! What did I find in mailbox the very next day? Yes, you guessed it. Another missive from Citizens for Sam Hoyt:

hoyt campaign mailing Sept 2008

Sam Hoyt campaign mailing Sept 2008

Congralutions, Citzens for Sam Hoyt, your campaign literature has convinced me not to vote for him. Now, I have a problem. I don’t think I want to vote for Kavanaugh instead. She, too, is the beneficiary of a third party negative campaign by “Mothers and Fathers Demanding Answers” Citizens for Sam Hoyt claims that Tom Golisano, the owner of the Buffalo Sabres, is behind the negative campaign against Hoyt. Update 09/08/08: Apparently the Golisano political action committee is Responsible New York It seems that Hoyt has more than one enemy.

I can’t show any campaign mailings from Mothers and Fathers Demanding Answers or Responsible New York since I didn’t get any. I’m told that they are just as nasty the ones against Sam Hoyt in their own way.

I just don’t know what to do on Tuesday. Maybe, I’ll just stay home. I really wish we could vote for “None of the Above.”

My Mom’s 69th Birthday

August 25, 2008

Today is the my mom’s 69th birthday. Unfortunately, she is not alive to celebrate it. She died of lung cancer surgery complications in October 1999.

My mom circa 1970

As far as I know she was only in the Buffalo area once when she visited Niagara Falls in 1970.

My mom visiting the Falls in 1970

My mom visiting the Falls in 1970

Throughout her life, people often underestimated her age. When I was growing up, many thought that she was my sister because she looked way too young (at least to their eyes) to be my mom.

My mom and me at a reception in May 1974

It surprises me that I still miss her as much as I do almost 9 years after she died. Even though all those years have have passed, some days it feels like she been gone from my life for days and not months and years.

Rest in Peace, Bozena Krystyna.

One of my favortie photos of me and my mom

One of my favorite photos of me and my mom

Cameras and Increased Patrols

August 21, 2008

Oh, Lordy, it seems that Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Rep. Brian Higgins don’t want visitors to the Buffalo waterfront to be victims of smash and grab crimes. From the Buffalo News:

“We are aware that several cars have been broken into in the area as well as at Erie Basin Marina,” said Mayor Byron W. Brown, announcing plans to install the cameras.

“We will not tolerate this type of quality-of-life crime, which ruins the experience of the Buffalo waterfront,” he said. “We are installing these cameras to ensure the safety of the visitors to the waterfront.”

“With the newly opened Greenbelt pathway and the Outer Harbor Parkway currently under construction, we are going to see an increased number of visitors along this stretch,” said Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo. “This camera provides added protection for residents looking to take in a safe and enjoyable waterfront experience.”

In addition to the cameras, the Buffalo Police Department has increased patrols in the area.

Perhaps I’m full of myself but I would like to think that I helped in some small way to bring this problem to the attention of the media and the City of Buffalo.

Buffalo Waterfront Crime Update

August 20, 2008

I decided to contact the Buffalo News about the Buffalo Waterfront Crime Wave. Even if they did nothing, I would feel better that I tried to do something to make my fellow Buffaloians aware of the risk of leaving valuables visable at the new greenway trail.

Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article in the Buffalo News about the break-ins. Of course, it could be co-incidence that a Buffalo News reporter decided that these crimes were worth writing about.

Even more surprising was yet another article in today’s (Wednesday) Buffalo News about another “smash and grab” on Fuhrmann.

I’m not sure what cops could do other than stationing cops in each parking lot and increasing patrols along Fuhrmann to stop this from happening.

I think that signs advising greenway users not to leave valuables in sight would be a good idea.

Welcome to the Buffalo Waterfront

August 16, 2008

The City of Buffalo opened a new greenway on the waterfront just below Downtown on Thursday. By this morning, the criminals have already found it to be a great place to do crimes.

This morning the lovely Lettuce and I decided to go for a walk on Buffalo’s newest trail. As I was pulling into the newly-created Bell Slip parking lot, a Canadian car with bikes on a rack couldn’t decide where to park. To avoid fuss and a possible accident, I parked in a spot closest to the road.

As we were walking towards the trail, we noticed some broken auto glass in an empty parking space. Both Lettuce and I didn’t pay it much mind figuring that the break-in happened overnight. We certainly didn’t even consider the possibility that a car could be broken into during the daylight hours next to a well-traveled road.

We walked on the trail for about 45 minutes. As we were almost back to the parking lot, we noticed that a couple with a toddler in a stroller was standing next to their yellow SUV and the woman was obviously upset and yelling. Lettuce first thought that the couple were having a fight. Then we both thought that perhaps something happened to the toddler. It wasn’t until we heard the phrase “credit cards” and saw broken auto glass next to their vehicle that we realized what happened.

Apparently the thieves took the woman’s diaper bag that, unfortunately, contained her wallet with credit cards but, fortunately, no cash. The man asked me if I had a cell phone that he could to call the police. Of course, I gave it to him. The woman was still very upset and Lettuce gave her a hug and tried to comfort her.

The man ended up calling 911. At first, there was some confusion as to the exact jurisdiction the parking lot was in. Unfortunately, the parking lot was still within the city limits of Buffalo and the man found out that it would be at least 45 minutes before a police officer would arrive. The City of Buffalo Police Department has a reputation, deserved or not, that they do respond to property crimes promptly.

We waited with the couple for about 30 minutes and the police still hadn’t come. In the for what it is worth department, Police HQ was about a 5 minute drive from the parking lot.

I asked if they wanted to use my phone to call anyone else before we left. As fate would have it, the woman’s parents were on a trip out of town so they didn’t really have anyone that they could call.

We wished them luck and left. I hope that everything is ok with them.

Lettuce also blogged about this incident

Walt Not Walt Begats Linux Not Linux

August 12, 2008

I’ve decided to start a Linux-oriented blog because I’ve been writing a lot more about Linux here than I first imagined.

I will continue to write about “my own personal ‘I'” here.

Knoxville Church Shooting

July 28, 2008

I used to live in Knoxville, TN before I moved back north to the Rust Belt. Yesterday I was watching CNN while washing dishes and I saw a tease for a story about the church shooting in Tennessee and my jaw dropped. From what I could see it looked like a church in Knoxville that friends and acquaintances attended. When CNN came back from the break, I was shocked and dismayed to find out that it was the church I thought it was. As near as I can tell no one that I know directly was injured or even there Sunday morning.

The shooting was during a youth performance of the musical “Annie”.  Those poor kids.  Those poor adults.   What a sad, sad situation.  I hope everyone can work through the trauma and the pain of this horrendous experience.

Avoiding Trauma?

June 10, 2008