Ithaca Blog

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our New Blog, Maybe Book

Our postings on Ithaca Blog have slowed lately, as we scheme on a new writing project we hope will eventually become a book.

Our idea is to use Blogspot for first inklings, as Nabokov used index cards.

The subject will be Brooklyn, a large metropolis and frequent literary subject. Some might say too frequent, and we're not sure that's not true.

Many recent books mythologize the place. Born and raised there, we know we lived no myth. We would like to write about the place and the people realistically. We wouldn't mind writing a book degreed people would read, but more than that we would like to write one that our family, friends, and old neighbors would appreciate. Them, and maybe Jimmy Breslin.

It's called "Brooklyn 3, New York", and the URL is

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog, etc.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Resolutions

Earth Day is a little like New Year's, in that we think about ways to make our lives healthier and better.

We saw a piece in the Huffington Post today that emphasized "real" (i.e., big) things you can do, along with turning out the lights, etc.

Three of these things impressed us as things that are part of the Ithaca lifestyle already, so hitting them a little harder now and in the future might be relatively easy, with support

1. Use cars less. Actually, HuffPost advised "give up your car," which of course is easy to say. But in Ithaca, reduced car use is easier than in most places, with the Carshare organization, and a good public transit system in TCAT.

2. Eat more vegetables. HuffPost emphasizes the amount of water used, and waste created, in meat production. Ithaca is about as friendly a vegetarian town as exists, with the Moosewood restaurant, and the Giving Tree (the new ABC Cafe), and Food For the Planet, plus vegetarian options at almost every eatery; and with no Golden Arches nor any other fast-food burger chain downtown. And, of course, there is GreenStar Coop, which emphasizes healthful vegetarian eating, and the Farmers Market.

3. Buy local. It helps your neighbors, and it helps the planet in reducing the use of fossil fuels to bring you apples, books, CDs, dentifrices, eggs, fans, gum, hats, etc. Ithaca has organizations promoting this concept, in Local First Ithaca, and the Ithaca Hours local currency system.

Keep your resolve, and enjoy you planet and your life!

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Big Day on the Commons

At Angry Mom Records/Small World Music, we generally open at civilized noon. Today it was 10, specially for National Independent Record Store Day. We were pleasantly surprised, arriving at about 9, to find a line of dozens of people waiting for opening. (We let them right in, of course, as "getting that party started" is our philoso-phee, generally.)

It was a big day all over the Commons, with the Cornell Marching Band visiting. They were right outside our store and chances are people thought we hired them. We do think they should record. We like the very specific marching band kind of repertoire ("Jesus Christ Superstar", "You Can Call Me Al").

We were too busy to visit, but 2 new stores opened today - one, in the old Juna's Cafe, featuring coffee and waffles; another, a few doors from there, featuring, we guess, high-end lifestyle accoutrements. All we know right now is what we heard from a customer, that they had a smoking device made from the jaws of a pirhana, that was quite striking and cost $500. He might have had it wrong, though. We will do our own research soon - of a limited variety, to be sure - and report it here.

We hope you had a good day, wherever you were, and if it wasn't here, that it will be soon.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog
and Small World Music (in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, with Angry Mom Records)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Free Coffee, Music, at 115 The Commons, Sat. 17 April

Maybe you are not the kind of person who needs a week's notice for free coffee.

But that's what the Owl Cafe, in Autumn Leaves Books, is offering on Saturday 17 April, to celebrate their new ownership.

April 17 is also National Record Store Day, and Angry Mom Records/Small World Music, also inside Autumn Leaves Books, will have plenty of specials and activities to celebrate, including sales, new releases, and live music.

All this takes place at 115 The Commons. Opening time is 10 a.m.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Anti-War Activist Cindy Sheehan in Ithaca Tonight

Cindy Sheehan, among the most strident and uncompromising of American anti-war activists, speaks in Ithaca tonight, at the Women's Community Building.

Ms. Sheehan's activism is personal. It began with the death of her soldier son in the line of duty in Iraq.

It continues, past George Bush, into the Obama administration.

Sheehan went to Norway to protest the Peace Prize award to President Obama. Last month, she created an encampment at the Washington Monument to protest continuing American presence in Iraq, and increased military action in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

More than twice as many Americans - 332 - have been killed in Afghanistan as in Iraq in the past year. The number is expected to escalate drastically as most of the 30,000 troops President Obama ordered to Afghanistan will be sent this summer.

Is it possible to be too strident against war? Decide for yourself tonight, at 7 pm.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Alan Greenspan Says It's A Funky, Funky System

The Financial Crises Inquiry Committee met this morning in Washington to focus on the subprime mortgage crises and the attendant collapse of many banks and other institutions, and the financial ruin for untold numbers of Americans.

Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman who presided over the whole thing, was there to make plenty of sense of it.

But he fell a little short of expectations.

The NY Times summed up his statements thusly: he "warned that preventing future crises would be nearly impossible."

How many degrees does a guy need to come up with a prescription like that?

It makes us wonder who ghosted his initial job application, way back when.

One lesson for us is not to trust experts who run big institutions. In the event they even know the right thing to do, they probably won't do it anyway, if it closes any doors on fast profit.

Instead, cast your lot with people you know and can trust. In Ithaca, we are lucky to have such opportunities, in the Alternatives Federal Credit Union, and the Ithaca Hours currency system. Check them out on the web. And put some good distance between yourself and guys like smart Al.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Monday, April 05, 2010

Spotlight in Ithaca on Women Political Writers

Naomi Klein, columnist for the Nation magazine and author of "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" and other political works, speaks at Ithaca College on Wednesday 7 April, 7 p.m., in the Emerson Suites.

Cindy Sheehan, who began speaking and writing against war in the Mid-East after the death of her soldier son, will be at the Women's Community Building on Saturday 10 April, at 7 p.m. The program also features music by the Grady Girls.

The Ithaca Journal announced today that it will begin regularly publishing the syndicated column by Amy Goodman, the host of the "Democracy Now!" radio and TV broadcast.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog