Ithaca Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Most Self-Sufficient Guy in the World

Have you heard of this new non-fiction book listing the bare 100 items one needs in order to live?

100 seems like a lot to me. I do generally think of myself as a guy who doesn't need much. Not so much out of virtue, but because I don't know how to do much. The most useful thing I learned in school was spelling. I realize other people learned a lot from computer science, engineering, physics, etc., but not me.

Some friends of mine were discussing this book and decided to get it down to the real minimum, a challenge I relished. My answer - a source of water, and seeds - was definitive, I thought.

I never gave this answer, though, as the contest was stopped almost immediately by my great friend John, who knows how to do a lot, but requires little.

His answer was, "a piece of metal and something to sharpen it with."

If you have a worthier answer, please let me know. We'll print it here, and give John something to consider about paring down.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Food, Inc." at Cinemapolis

How can it be that a fast food hamburger costs less than a head of lettuce? That the poorest people in the U.S. are the most obese? That the local supermarket sells apples from New Zealand but not local farms?

It all has to do with a food industry that puts profit ahead of health, as documented in the new film, "Food, Inc."

In the style of Michael Moore's films about the auto, gun, and health industries, "Food Inc." points fingers - not just at industry irresponsibility, but at tax-supported public policies supporting it.

In the style of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," it provides potential remedies.

"Food, Inc." is showing at the new Cinemapolis theater.

GreenStar Co-op is a sponsor of the screening, and gives a 10%-off coupon for its stores to everyone attending.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Plenty of Music, July 23 - 26

The music hasn't stopped with GrassRoots. In fact, it's almost like the genie's out of bottle now for swingink summertime.

Thursday 7/23:
Radio London, free on the Commons, 6 pm.

The Small Kings at the Pourhouse in T-burg, 7 pm.

Wingnut, at Castaways. Keir Neuringer opens. 8 pm.

* * *

Fri. 7/24:
Hee Haw Nightmare plays happy hour at Felicia's, 5:30.

Kelly Birtch at the Scalehouse Brew Pub, 23 Cinema Dr., 7 pm.

Makepeace Brothers at Castaways. Keir Neuringer opens. 9 pm.

Urban Horse Thieves at the Lost Dog Lounge, 9 pm.

* * *

Sat. 7/25:
El Caminos and Purple Valley in a benefit for Hospicare, at the Haunt, 5 pm.

Talk Normal and Wingnut with Hank Roberts, Chapter House, 10 pm.

* * *

Sun. 7/26:
Mother Mallard celebrates their 40th birthday with a free performance at the Johnson Museum, 2 pm..

Real Life

Not the cars in commute
Not the keyboards and screens
Not the apps and the files
Not the Running Machines

But the birdsong at dawn
And the arc of the light
And the sweet evening kiss
And the dark sacred night.

- turn off, tune out, drop in -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Small World Music Is Moving (and having a sale)

Small World Music is moving - from 614 W. State St., to the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, on the Commons.

SWM will be in partnership there with Angry Mom Records, the new music franchisee at Autumn Leaves.

Angry Mom Records is upgrading the record department in Autumn Leaves, with 50,000 titles and new, high standards of curation and customer service.

SWM will join Angry Mom to sell new and used CDs of the most popular as well as hard-to-find varieties, as we have always done.

The move will be complete by the end of July.

Meanwhile, Small World Music is having a moving sale: 20% off everything.

Just mention this post for the sale price.

We hope to see you before we go - and after!

Steve Burke
for Small World Music and Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Small World Music Shuts (Mostly) For GrassRoots Weekend

Small World Music (home of Ithaca Blog) will keep only sporadic hours during GrassRoots Festival. Real sporadic, as in we don't know which. Probably it will be for the first few hours of each day - 11 a.m. til 2 p.m., or so.

We know from past years we will see a few visitors to town, here for the festival, but also wanting to see local landmarks, as it were.

Give us a call at 256-0428 if you need directions or details.

have fun -
Steve Burke
for SWM and Ithaca NY Blog

Monday, July 13, 2009

Advance GrassRoots Tickets Still Available at Small World Music

Advance 4-day tickets for GrassRoots are still available at Small World Music on Tuesday 14 July, until whatever time GrassRoots comes to pick them up, which might be some time on Tuesday, or might be Wednesday.

Call Small World Music for details and odds at 607/256-0428.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

No Confusion About McNamara

There seems to be a lot of unwarranted confusion about the legacy of Robert McNamara, secretary of defense during the Vietnam war, who passed away this week at 93.

How could one among the so-called Best and Brightest, an elite of the meritocracy, have contrived such a misguided, murderous morass? McNamara perpetuated the undertaking long after he recognized -privately - that it was indefensible, and probably illegal.

The reason is simple. He hoped against hope to win -or, more accurately, annihilate his opposition - to avoid prosecution and punishment.

He came close to saying so in his emotional, public appraisals of Vietnam in the last decade of his life. He said he had realized since World War II, when he helped orchestrate the bombings of Japanese civilians, that often the only difference between a crime and a strategy in war was winning. The winners don't face charges.

So there is the simple answer for the years and years of violence in Vietnam, beyond mercy or sanity. McNamara feared for himself and the people he worked for. "Peace with honor" really meant violence until the victims were so broken they could not respond even with calls for accountability. They would consent to simply being left alone.

McNamara is dead and there is no joy in that. As the saying goes, when God puts his hand on a man, we should remove ours. Still, we have a responsibility to know the truth, and learn from mistakes and sins.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

ABC Cafe Stuff For Sale

Ken Hallett of the ABC Cafe is selling objects from the cafe - from the functional to the collectible. (Among the collectible, a handmade flier - by the performer's own hand? - for a 1992 Ani Difranco show at the cafe ("308 Stuart Avenue"), and the cafe's neon sign).

Call Ken for information: 793-3560.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, July 03, 2009

Visual Arts in Ithaca On Display: "First Friday Gallery Night" Tonight

The visual arts are on display tonight in Ithaca, with another monthly installment in the First Friday Gallery Night series.

Ten downtown galleries, all within easy walking distance of one another, sponsor an "artwalk" of receptions and new exhibits.

The event is from 5 - 8 pm. Information available at

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ithaca Fireworks Are On, As Of 6 PM

We just heard the "boom" set off at the top of every hour if the fireworks show is still in the works.

Of course, things could change by 9:30. But soon the buses will be running (see previous post for details on getting to the show). And they'll be there to get you back, no matter what transpires.

See you there -

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fireworks, If Weather Works, Thursday 2 July

The forecast is forbidding for the Independence Day fireworks display scheduled for Thursday night in Ithaca.

We don't know the actual chance of rain - we only know it feels like 100%, lately, any given day.

TCAT provides bus service to the show at Ithaca College from the Seneca Street parking structure. Service starts at 6:30, with a bus every 15 minutes. Return service starts immediately after the show and continues until 11:30.

TCAT is definitely the quickest way to and from campus, with priority lanes for bus entrance and exit.

The service is free, though donations for the show are encouraged.

The rain date is Monday the 6th.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog