Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Dream Interview: Dick Cheney at Ithaca Blog

We feel bad that Dick Cheney didn't get a wider forum when he said that terrorists support the Democrats, and kill people to make Republicans look bad, so the terrorists' friends the Democrats will win mid-term elections.

Vice President Cheney got to say this only on Fox News, because other media people might ask questions, which would garble his message.

So we imagined giving Vice President Cheney a chance to go a little further here on Ithaca Blog. It might go like this:

Ithaca Blog: Vice President Cheney, what other bad things are people doing so the Democrats will win?

VP Cheney: Here in America, people are continuing to go without medical insurance. This makes the Republican administration and the Republican Congress look bad when people die, or go bankrupt. It plays right into Democrats' hands.

IB: What else?

Cheney: Global warming. If it were true. It would be portrayed as a failure of Republican policy or will. Rather than something which, if it existed, would be a gigantic natural hoax for Democratic gain.

IB: Any connection between the terrorists, the Democrats, and the shoddy play in the World Series?

Cheney: Well, obviously, the Yankees and the Mets had the best seasonal records and deserved to be in there. It would have made for a better World Series and a more satisfying one for more Americans. So, whether there was some kind of terrorist activity that prevented that from happening, we can't say. But certainly the terrorists will stop at nothing, and infiltration of the New York Yankees roster for terrorist and Democratic gain would not seem out of the question.

IB: Some of the major business stories this year are record disparities of wealth in America, record profits for ExxonMobil, record profits for corporations in general, and stagnant income for working people. Does this suggest terrorist infiltration among corporate executives?

Cheney: Next question.

IB: Does your creation of this kind of rhetoric play into the hands of the Democratic party, by offending clear-thinking people who simply wish to exercise their electoral privileges by voting for peace, economic equity, and honest government?

Cheney: Time to go.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

'Detroit & St. Louis' Contest Answers

We extended our first World Series-themed Friday contest, about songs with a lyric about either Detroit or St. Louis (congratulations to winner Steve K.), with an extra, tougher question: name a song that mentions both cities.

Despite helpful hints, the question proved too tough, and there was no winner. The answer is "Back In the USA", by Chuck Berry:

"New York, Los Angeles, oh, how I yearned for you
Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge
Let alone just to be at my home back in old St. Lou."

Our subsequent contest, from last Friday, simply asked for a musician from either Detroit or St. Louis. The winner, selected at random, was Megan R., who also supplied the greatest number of correct answers, though all in one, big entry (multiple entries not allowed!). Megan mentioned John Lee Hooker and Eminem, of Michigan, and Uncle Tupelo, Chuck Berry, and Miles Davis, of Missouri. We also had in mind Bob Seger, and Mitch Ryder.

Thanks to all entrants, and congratulations to Megan, who wins a $10 gift certificate to Small World Music.

New contest every Friday!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 27, 2006

Weekend Contest

This could be the last night of the World Series (we say it will be), so we ask one final question tying this event to music for the Small World Music weekly quiz.

Simply name a musician associated with either Detroit or St. Louis. We will randomly select a winner of a $10 gift certificate to Small World Music, your garage of winning at 614 W. State St.

Send your entry directly to Small World Music at .

Good luck!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Weekend Activities, Oct. 27 -29, and slightly beyond

Friday: A chance to hear two staples of the Ithaca musical sensibility - old-timey and reggae - by two local purveyors. Broken String Band plays old-timey, country, bluegrass and, as they say, more. At the Chanticleer Loft, 101 W. State St, 9:30 p.m. Rastafrica plays old-school reggae - and, we're sure, more. At the ABC Cafe, 308 Stewart Av., 10 p.m.

Saturday: Divahn is a four-woman ensemble playing traditional Jewish songs in a global context. They sing in Hebrew, Arabic, and other languages, and play a wide assortment of instruments: tabla, cello, violin, didgeridoo, and others. The event is sponsored by Ithaca College and is free and open to the public. Muller Chapel, I.C. campus, 8 p.m.

Sunday: Gerard Burke plays brunch at the ABC. Three of our favorites. 11 a.m. .... Five2, I-Town recording artists, at the hot spot on the West End, Felicia's Atomic Lounge, 508 W. State St. 7 p.m.

Monday: All the way from Jamaica, introduced to Ithaca at the Grassroots Festival, the Overtakers. At Castaway's, Old Taughannock Blvd., 8 p.m.

Tuesday: Chad Crumm with the Hogwarshers, at Maxie's, the other hot spot on the West End, 635 W. State St. Chad doesn't play out much, so generally people don't realize that he is as integral to the Ithaca sound as Donna the Buffalo, the Horseflies, Johnny Dowd, or anyone. This is a great gig, part of the Tuesday dinner series at Maxie's, with a special southern-style plate at a special low price. 6 p.m.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Slugfest for Sheriff: Candidate Forum, Thursday 26 October

The race for Tompkins County sheriff heated up today with a pretty big blast on incumbent Peter Meskill by Tim Little, one of his two challengers. Just in time for the candidate forum tomorrow, 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 215 N. Tioga Street.

The candidate forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and will also include candidates for the races for State Assembly and County Clerk. But the race for Sheriff is shaping up as the most contentious by far.

Meskill is a two-term incumbent, and the Democratic Party candidate. Doug Robison is the Republican candidate, and Tim Little, a deputy sheriff, is running as a candidate of the Citizens for a Safe Tompkins.

Little's salvo came in today's Ithaca Journal, which printed pieces by all three candidates on alternatives to incarceration.

Meskill and Robison played it pretty safe, but Little said, "I am a strong supporter of ATI and know more can be done." He went on to criticize Meskill's record and sincerity:

"The current sheriff has had eight years to develop this program. He was not concerned with ATI while he was receiving variances to house more inmates. He was not a supporter of Offender Aid and Restoration in the past and conveniently has given them support in this election year. I will be a leader in the efforts, not a Sheriff that just gives support during election years."

You can hear the follow-up live tomorrow night. If you can't attend, the forum will be shown on local TV, Cable channel 13, at the following times:

Wednesday, 1 November, 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, 2 November, 9 a.m.
Saturday, 4 November, 8:30 p.m.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

(Many) Downtown Movies Closing This Week

Scramble, movie fans, as there is a lot of turnover in the downtown theaters this week.

Cinemapolis is cleaning its slate completely. Gone on Friday are "Iraq For Sale", "Little Miss Sunshine", and "U.S. Versus John Lennon".

"Iraq For Sale" was a special, limited presentation with the Tompkins County Workers Center (see previous post). It is a fundraiser for the Center. Admission is $8.00. Ithaca Hours provided a grant for the showing, and Hours are accepted 100% for admission. 7:15 pm showings only.

"Little Miss Sunshine" is moving across town to Fall Creek Cinema. Hopefully the same might happen to "U.S. Versus John Lennon", which seemed to be here a woefully short time (that means, we like John Lennon, and we missed it).

Replacing these films at Cinemapolis will be "Catch A Fire" and "Running With Scissors".

Leaving Fall Creek Cinema is "Shortbus", which the New York Times praises as "an ode to the joy and sweet release of sex", which makes one wonder why it isn't showing still. "Infamous", another movie about Truman Capote (somehow) arrives on Friday. "The Science of Sleep" remains, and we will leave you to ponder the relative popularity, then, of sex and sleep.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Deer -Car Collisions

October through December is the time for deer to migrate and, well, meet. You don't want to meet them with your car so this is the time for especially attentive driving.

Pennsylvania is the number one state in the nation for deer-car collisions. New York, however, is not even in the top ten. Maybe the deer are smarter here, which we wouldn't doubt, but also wouldn't count on.

Triple A says there is not much you can do except to be keenly aware of their roadside presence. Deer are most ambulatory around dawn and dusk.

Swerving to avoid one is not a good idea, particularly on a wet or, especially, snowy road, as you might lose control of your car.

So maybe simply slow down, which is not bad advice, anyway.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Conte$t Answer & Winner. Plus : Another Chance to Win !

With a tip o' the hat to the World Serious, last week's question asked for a song that mentions either Detroit or St. Louis in its lyrics.

The winning entry, selected at random, was from Steve K. of Ithaca, who nominated "Meet Me in St. Louis." He gets a $10 gift certificate from Small World Music.

"Meet Me in St. Louis" was tied for most oftened mentioned, with "Dancing In the Street", by Martha and the Vandellas ("can't forget the Motor City").

Ironic that St. Louis and Detroit tie in our series. Not in the W.S., though.

Other songs we had in mind were "St. Louis Blues", by W.C. Handy (and Louis Armstrong), "East St. Louis Toodleoo", by Steely Dan, and "Detroit City", a country classic by Bobby Bare ('by day I make the cars/ by night I make the bars").

We're going to keep the contest open with a special twist. Name a song that includes BOTH Detroit and St. Louis in its lyrics. It was a radio hit in 1959, and again in 1978 (by another artist), and inspired a Beatles semi-parody in 1968.

Send your entry directly to Small World Music at

Good luck!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ithaca Weekend Activities, Oct. 20 -22

Friday: Urban Horse Thieves, I-Town recording artists, at Micawber's happy hour, 6 p.m. 118 N. Aurora St.

"The Departed", Regal Pyramid Cinema, Pyramid Mall. A well-received new film, notable for the first-time collaboration of Jack Nicholson and director Martin Scorsese. No period piece nor high-minded oeuvre, just a movie about good guys, bad guys, honor, and betrayal, from two of the masters, with a great supporting cast. (Note: two and a half hours long. So get the large popcorn and Mountain Dew. Due to the length, evening showtime is at 8 pm, and 11:20 on Friday and Saturday. Matiness at 1:00 and 4:30.)

Saturday: Burns Sisters CD release party. Castaways, 413 Old Taughannock Blvd., 8 p.m.

Cindy Kallet and Grey Larson. Presented by the Cornell Folk Song Society. Original songs, traditional Irish music, Scandinavian fiddle duets, and old-timey American folk. 8 p.m., 165 McGraw Hall, Cornell U. Tickets $17 at the door, $15 at Small World Music.

Enjoy -

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Weekend Conte$t

As usual, this weekend's contest, sponsored by Small World Music, is ostensibly about music, but aims towards inclusiveness even towards the non-musically minded, taking its cue from current events.

The St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers advance to the World Series tomorrow, having defeated the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, respectively.

Name a song lyric or title about either St. Lou or the Motor City (hint, hint), and win a $10 gift certificate from your garage of winning, Small World Music.

Send your entry directly to Small World Music at The winner will be randomly selected from entries received by Monday, 23 October.

Good luck!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Clarifying Lombardi

New York partisans are dour today, as the baseball season has officially ended for the two home teams, the Yankees and the Mets, who shared the best record in the majors this year, but failed to advance to the World Series.

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi (famous for his championships with Green Bay, but first a coach at Fordham University in the Bronx, and born in Brooklyn) once said, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing."

That might have sounded stirring and bold once, and maybe slightly boorish today. But actually Lombardi was right - if you consider the meaning of winning.

He didn't say "Outscoring your opponent is the only thing." He said winning.

Winning doesn't mean scoring points in a game. Winning means working towards goals, taking pride in your efforts, and satisfaction in your achievements, large and small.

You can't let failure to meet your goals obscure what you did on the way. That is losing. That's what Lombardi was trying to banish. Not a deficit of points on a scoreboard.

Hopefully it is obvious, for those not interested in sports (if anyone not interested in sports is reading a piece obstensibly about Vince Lombardi), it's not just about sports. It's least about sports. Like all the world, these fields are merely stages.

Meanwhile, for those of you who enjoy the stages these lessons are presented on, it is gloomy in New York. But take heart in possibilities, and shift your delight tonight to something else fun with a friend or a loved one.

And, of course: wait til next year.

Stephen "Red" Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Downtown Movie Closing This Week

Only one of the movies showing downtown closes this week. But it's a good one, so you might want to catch it before it is replaced Friday at Fall Creek Cinema (by "Shortbus").

The picture is "Half Nelson". It's a "little movie", about very real-seeming people and dramatic situations in Brooklyn. An idealistic grade school teacher - a young white man working primarily with children of color - is a great mentor, role model, and educator, except for one big, troublesome secret, which is discovered by his most promising student, who hardly needs any more insecurity and pain in her life from fouled-up adults. Great performances from the two lead actors.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Public Service Corner: Information on Stringing Up Coyotes

This isn't our usual beat, but we don't know whose it is, and we got a call, so we're answering.

An Ithaca Blog reader, new to the area, asked if we could find out what the legality is around here about stringing up coyotes in front yards.

On Sunday she was driving through the town of Candor, on Route 96B, on her way to Binghamton. She screeched to a halt at the sight of what she thought was a dead German Shepherd strung up by its hind legs from the limb of a tree in the front yard of a house, maybe 10 yards from the road.

It turned out not to be a dog, but a coyote.

A conversation at a Candor gas station revealed no information and no concern from anyone, other than to note that coyotes are quite a hazard, and maybe this person was making a point. Certainly it was a lesson to this particular coyote. And possibly its fellows, too, which are known to be observant, if not exactly analytical.

No one seemed to be concerned that it at least looks bad, and maybe even nightmarish to children. The thinking seemed to be that it is not as nightmarish as the coyote catching you.

So we were asked to get to the bottom of it, the legality of the practice.

We spoke to officials at the county and state level. They said they weren't aware of any regulations that would prohibit this practice.

We mentioned the aesthetics of the practice. The county official said yeah, but people do it with deer all the time. To let them dry (or whatever hunters call it).

We said yeah, but at least there's a purpose to that practice, and people are aware that deer get hunted, and aren't likely to mistake a strung- up deer for Fido.

The county official said there might be a practical purpose to this too, that the guy who killed this coyote is preparing to take its pelt, and "hanging it in a tree keeps varmints from getting at it." Yeah, well, too late for that.

We have friends in the country, and know coyotes are a fearsome problem. Maybe this fellow thinks passers-by will sleep better, knowing guys like him are on the coyote case.

I don't know. Maybe they are sleeping worse.

Maybe there's a line to be drawn around violence, even violence deemed necessary, to distinguish it from barbarism, and to keep it in its place - which, even when justified, should not be a place of jolly roadside pride. Should it?

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Contest Winner

The song title or phrase we were looking for, in our Friday the 13th contest, was "If It Wasn't For Bad Luck (I'd Have No Luck At All)".

Chris A. from Spencer was the winner. He said he knew the song from Albert Collins, not Ray Charles.

He had the luck (with the knowledge) to win the $10 gift certificate from Small World Music.

New contest this Friday -

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 13, 2006

Interview: Pete Meyers, Tompkins County Workers Center

Pete Meyers works for the Tompkins County Workers Center. The TCWC, in collaboration with Cinemapolis, is presenting a week-long screening of the new film, "Iraq For Sale", starting on Friday, 20 October (see previous Ithaca Blog post).

Ithaca Blog phoned Pete for a quick conversation about this event, and the work of the Workers Center.

Ithaca Blog: How did this collaboration between the Workers Center and Cinemapolis come about?

Pete Meyers: We worked with Cinemapolis last year to show "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices". "Iraq For Sale" is by the same director and became available in the same way for community showings. So we approached Cinemapolis and they said yes.

IB: The Wal-Mart movie is obviously relevant to workers' issues. How about a movie on Iraq?

PM: This is a little step in a new direction for the Workers Center. Personally, I've always approached activism from an anti-war position. But we have shied away sometimes in the past from anti-war issues, and focused on things everyone agrees on. Anti-war activity is obviously not that. But, now, obviously, this war is wrong. Workers think it's a bad thing. Military people are workers, and they're getting hurt directly. Other workers are getting hurt indirectly.

There's a web site called It shows the monetary cost of the war. It's at about $334 billion right now. They also break it down by locality. I think for Tompkins County it's around $122 million. For the city of Ithaca, $23 million. Obviously, this hurts workers. It's money we could be spending on health care and education.

IB: What do you see as the highest priorities for workers right now?

PM: Health care and wages. We've been doing a lot of work on health care. We had a rally when Spitzer was here to debate. The top health care advisor from the Spitzer campaign came to meet with us. He will probably become the health commissioner under Spitzer, and he believes in a single-payer system. And wages, obviously wages need to be higher.

IB: Anything in particular you would like people to know about the Workers Center?

PM: We used to be the Living Wage Coalition. We have an active committment to get more people. We need critical mass. We're a member organization now. People can join for one hour's wage per year. We have a web site where people can find out more.


Ithaca Blog went to the Workers Center web site by searching for Tompkins County Workers Center. The actual address seems to be

- Thanks to Pete for his time for this interview, which involves a certain amount of paraphrasing, due to a dead tape recorder battery. -

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Weekend Conte$t: Friday the 13th

Ray Charles had a blues song about bad luck that starts with the lines, "I woke up this morning / I felt pretty good / I stretched and I yawned / Just to see if I could."

It turns out that would be the high point of Ray's day, which turned out to have as much bad luck as any Friday the 13th.

Friday the 13th is not part of the song, but "bad luck" is in the title, which went on to become a catch phrase, or more likely, already was. What is it?

Hint: bluesman Albert Collins had a hit with a song with the same name, though a different rendition.

The prize: a $10 gift certificate to Small World Music. One winner selected at random from correct answers, and one from incorrect answers. We reward not just expertise, but effort.
Contest open through Monday. Send your entry directly to Small World Music, at, or phone in it, 256-0428.

Good luck!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Weekend Highlights, 13 - 15 Oct.

Ithaca Blog's picks for a fun-laden weekend:

Friday: Jennie Stearns at the ABC Cafe. Jennie has been writing great songs for a good long time. The ABC is a comfortable and welcoming spot for performances like this. Maybe someday Jennie will come back to Ithaca from big nation-wide tours to play at places like the ABC for old times sake. But then it might be hard to get in. Tonight might be, too, so go early and have something to eat. You'll be happy. 308 Stewart Av., 10 pm.

Saturday: Corey Harris is a big-time blues player. His recordings for Rounder Records (Daily Bread, Mississippi to Mali, Downhome Sophisticate, and others) hit the bedrock of rootsy blues, but also place the music in the vanguard of world music currents. His collaborators have included Olu Dara and the late Ali Farka Toure. At Club Euphoria, 115 N. Cayuga St., 8 pm. Tickets $15 at the door, $12 in advance at Small World Music.

Sunday: Pamela Means, at Felicia's Atomic Lounge. Pamela is a fiery, poetic singer & guitarist who has developed a large and dedicated following in the northeast. The New York Times calls her songs "strong and defiant". 508 W. State St., 7 pm.

Have fun -

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Iraq For Sale" Screenings at Cinemapolis: October 20 -26

"Iraq For Sale" is a new film from Robert Greenwald, the director of "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price." It will be screened at Cinemapolis from Friday 20 October through Thursday the 26th, at 7:15 each night. The screenings are a special presentation by Cinemapolis and the Tompkins County Workers Center.

The film examines the machinations that led to the invasion of Iraq, the profits made by cronies of the Bush administration, and the costs to the rest of us.

"Iraq For Sale" is an important step forward for democratic citizen activism. It was financed by contributions from thousands of individuals, recognizing that mainstream media companies increasingly fail to provide information and ask questions in our increasingly repressive political climate.

The effort around the film also provides information on institutional change for the fight for American democracy. For example, it promotes legislation by Senator Patrick Leahy, Representative Henry Waxman, and others to create explicit penalties for war profiteering.

For more information on the film, see

For information on local efforts, contact Pete Meyers of the Tompkins County Workers Center. The week-long presentation is a fundraiser by the Workers Center - and, Pete says, "a way to raise issues vis-a-vis the war as relates particularly to workers' issues."

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Free Local Money For You (with Dessert!)

Ithaca Hours, the local currency system, welcomes members new and old at its annual membership meeting, at 7 pm, Wednesday 18 October, at the GIAC building, on Court and Albany Streets.

Ithaca Hours is a local currency system that issues a local money for people to spend with each other, and at participating businesses.

Currently there are about 600 members, and over $100,000 in Hours in circulation.

Hours is owned and operated by its members. Annual membership costs one Ithaca Hour, or ten dollars. Members receive an annual disbursement of two Ithaca Hours, or twenty dollars. So you make money just by joining.

If you join (or renew) at the annual membership meeting, you take advantage of a special offer that doubles your disbursement. You get 4 Ithaca Hours for signing up at the meeting. This means you make three Ithaca Hours, or thirty dollars.

The organization benefits from this by having a lot of people sign up at once, saving time and effort. It also wants people to come together and meet one another.

That's why there are also free desserts, from great local eateries.

You can find out more about the meeting, and Ithaca Hours, at Hours' website,

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Sports Bar Report

Last Friday, we had a well-rounded night in Ithaca, first at a free screening of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" at the St. Paul Methodist Church, and then watching the Yankees and Tigers (see Friday's posting).

We noted on Friday that although we have TV at home, for just such occasions, occasionally it is fun to go out and root in public, and to have a beer and a sangwidge or something, amongst activated partisans.

We also noted that we had never been in either of the downtown venues for such events, Benchwarmers and Uncle Joe's, and that we would file a brief Ithaca Blog report on our findings.

Our unequivocal conclusion: Benchwarmers is the spot. We went first to Uncle Joe's, and didn't stay even for a drink. The game was on various and sundry TVs, but there was also loud music playing, and I mean very loud, like shouting to be heard over music. Okay for NFL maybe, but not for the national pasttime, a game that encourages rumination and conversation. It seemed like Uncle Joe's couldn't decide if it was a sports joint, or a pickup joint.

So we went to Benchwarmers, and found a conducive atmosphere. The game was on, and while not everyone was locked into it, and there seemed to be a certain amount of pickup action here as well, everyone seemed comfortable in their personal pursuits.

We found the Benchwarmers service friendly and capable, and the food and libations more than satisfactory. We were left peacefully alone in our comfortable booth seating even after we were finished, but the game still had a ways to go.

So, our number one ranking goes to Benchwarmers. See you there this weekend, maybe, for the Mets and Cards.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Contest Answer and Winners

Last week's contest question from Small World Music: Who is the oldest person to have a #1 release on the Billboard music charts?

The hint was that the release is on the charts right now. So no need to delve back into history.

The answer: 65-year old Bob Dylan, for his new release, "Modern Life".

There were two winners. Remember, we select one winner from the correct answers, and one from the incorrect answers. We reward not just expertise, but effort!

Winners have been notified through email. They are Jeff F., and A.G.

We won't say who had the correct answer, and who the incorrect. But the incorrect answer was a good guess: Tony Bennett. Mr. Bennett is in fact older than Mr. Dylan, and has a current release in the charts. But it hasn't made #1 .

Thanks to everyone who entered. Next contest appears on Friday, 13 Oct.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ithaca Weekend Highlights

It is a relatively quiet weekend in Ithaca, but by no means devoid of edification and exceptional entertainment.

Friday: "An Inconvenient Truth", Al Gore's landmark documentary about environmental degradation, enjoyed a long run on various screens downtown and at Cornell. Tonight it is presented free at St. Paul's United Methodist Church, on Aurora and Court Streets, followed by a discussion by a panel of scientists and alternative energy specialists. 7 pm.

Yankees vs Tigers , at either Benchwarmers or Uncle Joe's. Okay, okay, it's not edifying local entertainment! But it's the national pasttime, its championship baseball, it's New York (although the truly soulful New York franchise plays tomorrow, against L.A.), and it's Friday night! Come on! Root, root, root! Even if you have TV at home, it's still a big bunch of fun, and a kind rare enough to come by, to indulge this completely engrossing, equally silly, passion with a group of worked-up, effusive partisans. Which is the better venue for such an outing, Benchwarmers or Uncle Joe's? Not sure, but as diligent journalists, we will endeavor to sample both environs, and report the critical findings for future dates.

Rastafrica. A new, local reggae band, playing a sweet, soulful, roots rock repetoire. At Micawber's, 118 N. Aurora St., 10 pm. No cover, and they advertise their Happy Hour as 10 pm - 1 am.

Saturday: Musafir, the far-out, far east Indian band that was the sensation of the 2006 GrassRoots Festival, returns to town for a show at Club Euphoria, a new venue in the old Masonic Lodge at 115 N. Cayuga St. Tickets are $15 at the door, $12 in advance at Small World Music.

Sunday: Kelley Birtch is a guitarist and composer from New York. She can play loud, she can play soft, she plays and writes very well, and she sounds different from most music in Ithaca. At Ithaca's best Sunday brunch, at the ABC Cafe, 308 Stewart Av., 11 am. Free.

The wonders of blognology allow us to announce a late change in Maxie's "Shuck'n'Jive" show for this Sunday. Scheduled, but unable to perform, was an ensemble called CandyFloss. Filling in will be the Hogwarshers, a new old-timey combo that promises fiddle tunes at break-neck speed, with a few wistful waltzes mixed in. From 8 - 11 pm. Free.

Have fun!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

This Weekend's Conte$t

Here's the music quiz question for the weekend from Small World Music. A gift certificate of $10 goes to the winner, randomly selected from the correct replies.

Who is the oldest person to have a #1 release on the Billboard music charts? (Hint: it is still on the charts right now.)

Send your answer to Small World Music at Contest is open through Monday.

Good luck!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Amy Goodman on The Colbert Report: Take 2

Yesterday we reported that Amy Goodman of Democracy Now was appearing on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, at 8:30. But it turns out that the 8:30 show is a re-run of the previous night's show. The fresh show for the day airs at 11:30.

The show is pretty funny. They must need those extra hours to fine-tune it.

Sorry for the bum steer. But it means you can see the rebroadcast of Amy Goodman's segment tonight at 8:30. We think.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Cars Versus A Long, Healthy Life

In the Ithaca Blog archives, you can find a series we did on the benefits of lessening dependency on the automobile.

Saving money is the most obvious, in the age of the $3.00 gallon (it will be higher after Election Day).

Another is lessening the greenhouse effect and global warming, which are primarily caused by the countless tons of carbon dioxide produced by burning gasoline.

Another is reducing emissions from automobile tailpipes, which increase the incidence of lung cancer, leukemia, asthma, and other ailments. Automobiles are the source of 60 - 70% of urban air pollution.

And now, a new study by the National Institute on Aging suggests that the main cause of frailty that robs the elderly of their vitality, and even their lives, is a lack of simple exercise, such as walking a quarter-mile a day.

The science is somewhat complicated, though it is well presented in an article in today's New York Times, "Old But Not Frail: A Matter of Heart and Head".

Check the Times for all the details. But suffice it to say that the old advice is well-heeded: walk your dog twice a day, even if you don't have a dog. And new, related advice might well be: lose the car keys, even when you know where they are.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Amy Goodman tonight on the Colbert Report!

Journalistic worlds collide tonight, when Amy Goodman of Democracy Now appears on The Colbert Report, with Steven Colbert, on Comedy Central.

What will happen when the honor student and class president of contemporary journalism sits down with the class clown? Tune in to see.

The Colbert Report airs on Comedy Central at 8:30 p.m.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ithaca Hours in Ithaca Times

Last week, Ithaca Blog wrote a feature on Ithaca Hours, the local currency system which puts new, real money into the hands of Ithacans - money that stays here, helping local people and businesses.

Today, the Ithaca Times wrote a feature on Hours, which appears in its Business Times section. The Times focuses on how Hours are used by well-known businesses such as the ABC Cafe and the Alternatives Federal Credit Union. It also mentions specific Hours programs which benefit businesses and community groups: an interest-free loan program for businesses, and a grants program for the community. Recent recipients of Hours grants include Catholic Charities, and Fall Creek Elementary School.

You can learn more about Ithaca Hours, including how to join and the benefits of membership, in the Ithaca Blog article from 28 September, "Beating the Drum for Local Currency", and from Hours' web site,

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Musafir: Public Service Announcement (for them and ourselves)

Ithaca Blog has been receiving a lot of hits from web searches for "Musafir, Ithaca", "Musafir, Club Euphoria", and the like. So we want to do an explicit announcement about the Musafir concert this weekend so that these searchers will find the information they want.

Musafir was the surprise hit of the GrassRoots Festival this year. The band is from Rajasthan, a desert area of northwest India, probably as far away on Earth as one can get from Trumansburg. But Musafir spanned the gap with a passionate show that proved the power of music to communicate and excite, despite differences and distance.

The band got a rousing reception not just for its performance, which was hip-deep with flamboyant flourish, but for the sense of joy they conveyed at being part of the GrassRoots event. The band played with Donna the Buffalo, in a memorable east-meets-west set, and bandmember Chugge Khan has spent the past few weeks in Ithaca, sitting in at performances by Burke, Burke, and Bone at Maxie's, Ti Ti Chickapea at the Chapter House, and Old Crow Medicine Show at the State Theater.

Musafir performs at Club Euphoria at 8 pm, Saturday 7 October. Club Euphoria is in the space last occupied by the late club Odyssey, in the Masonic Lodge, one block from the Commons, at the southeast corner of Seneca and Cayuga Streets (115 N. Cayuga St.).

Tickets are available at the door for $15, or in advance for $12 at Small World Music. Small World Music is at 614 W. State St., between Meadow and Fulton Streets, across the street from Kinko's, in a garage behind the house.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Contest Answer, & Winner

The answer to last weekend's weekly contest: the Granny Smith apple was the pomological model for the Beatles' Apple Records label.

Ithaca Blog received a number of correct submissions from apple-savvy Ithacans on Apple Harvest festival weekend. The winner, randomly selected, is "the rockin' Alternatives drive-thru team". And rockin' they are. Congratulations! Ithaca Blog contest winners receive a $10 gift certificate from Small World Music.

Thank you to all our entrants. Another fresh contest this Friday!

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca Blog