Ithaca Blog

Monday, March 28, 2011

Race For Mayor Begins

The race for mayor of Ithaca began today with the announcement of her candidacy by Pam Mackesey.

Ms. Mackesey is a county legislator who previously served on the city council.

Local electoral news has been dominated by lately by incumbents declining to run again, including the current mayor, and 4 council members, or maybe 5.

In the wake of the mayor's announcement, we thought about what kind of person would want to be mayor. There are two, maybe: professional politicians (or semi-pro, at least); and renegades.

For any other kind of normal person, the job would be a drag. You would never be able to shop peacefully at Wegman's again.

For a professional politician, the job of mayor probably looks pretty good. You don't have any peers. You have a certain authority and autonomy. You will get a certain amount of blame for things, but also praise, when things go well; you can work at spreading the blame around, while keeping the praise as yours-all-yours. So if you like that kind of thing, and are convinced you can do more good things than bad, you might want the job.

The renegade is the other type who might want it. If you believe in change, revolution, foment, or just progress of a marked nature, being mayor would get you heard.

Our sense is that soon, right soon, there will be 4 or 5 more candidates, and you'll be able neatly to divide them in these two categories. It will be an interesting race.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Real Favorite Word

We saw an on-line feature today about the 10 Favorite Words of people in the U.S.

We looked to see how they determined this, but found it was a silly promo listing a bunch of whimsical words, and if there is anything we do not like in general it is whimsy. We don't even like the word whimsy.

But it reminded us of a real person with a real favorite word, for a real reason, our friend Anne.

Anne asked us out of the blue one morning whether we had a favorite word. It was one of those questions you ask when you would like to be asked it yourself. But we bit and didn't mind; we like Anne and she doesn't normally talk that much, and we like to encourage expression.

So we said,

- No, Anne, do you?

- I do.

-What is it?

- It's the word "muffin."

We pondered this and thought of a couple of possible reasons why, neither of which we hoped was the reason; so we asked. Why muffin?

"Because," Anne said. "Because there is the word 'muffin,' I don't have to say, 'I eat cake for breakfast every morning.' "

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Record Store Day at Small World Music

We interrupt normal broadcast here at Ithaca Blog to smallcast to the many people who are sent to this site each day lately by searching for "Record Store Day Ithaca" and, apparently, getting some outdated information along the way, from the "Record Store Day" site, which we should correct.

The "Record Store Day" site gives splendid information about Small World Music that is still true, except for our location.

(We say "our" because we, that is, I, do both Small World Music and Ithaca Blog.)

SWM is no longer at 614 West State St. in Ithaca, but at 115 East State St., on the Ithaca Commons, in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, sharing space with a wonderful enterprise called Angry Mom Records.

You can check for disinterested reviews of just how wonderful it all is. Meanwhile, know that the newly-combined, power-packed force of Angry Mom/Small World makes Record Store Day in Ithaca a crazy day of greatness for all music lovers.

We invest plenty of money and time in this event, which is a co-op enterprise of independent stores all over the country. We will have all the cool products that great artists and labels are offering specially for the day. We will have live bands in the store. We will have give-aways and contests.

For all who didn't know about it yet, check it. Record Store Day is a big celebration and getting bigger every year. There's a reason we are here, and thriving, and Borders is gone. You know?

Record Store Day is Saturday 16 April. Angry Mom Records/Small World Music usually opens at noon, 7 days a week, but on Record Store day we open at 10 a.m.

Steve Burke
for Small World Music/Ithaca Blog

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ithacan Travels to War to Hear Children Talk of Peace

Have you ever noticed that whenever you see Arabic people in the media, they are screaming, holding weapons, or near something on fire?

You never see community groups in a meeting room, or hear voices of individuals, from countries being occupied or strafed with bombs.

That would remind you they are just like you.

Our friend Clare Grady, a peace activist, is going to Afghanistan as part of an international group to listen to peoples' voices, beseeching peace - specifically, young people.

The delegation was invited to Kabul by a group called Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.

The young people of the group have never known life without war.

They are sponsoring a project called Live Without Wars. There will be talking and listening, a multi-ethnic walk, and planting of trees in Kabul.

The event takes place the weekend of March 19 - 21.

Clare leaves tomorrow. We made a donation to support the trip and hope you might, too.

Donations can be sent to Ithaca Catholic Worker, P.O. Box 293, Ithaca NY 14851.

More information is available at

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grady Girls Play Music Against Militarism, Sun. 13 March

The Grady Girls play a benefit concert on Sunday night against drone warfare by the U.S. government in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Drones are mechanized aircraft that drop bombs without personnel on board. In other words, they are completely automated killing machines.

The people on the receiving end of these bombs can't possibly conceive of them as anything but the ultimate weapons of terrorism.

The U.S. government uses them, ostensibly, to kill political foes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They kill a lot of innocent civilians, too, but no one in the upper reaches of the U.S. government seems to care about that, as long as nobody notices or says anything.

Well, the Grady Girls do, and they want us to, too.

The Girls are playing their fine Irish music in support of a walk by local peace groups next month to Syracuse, where the drones are maintained.

The event is at Delilah's on Cayuga, 112 S. Cayuga St., Sunday 13 March, at 6 p.m. It runs until 11:00. It's loose, so come by any time. If you don't know, the Gradys and their compatriots are a wonderfully convivial conglomeration; you will have a wonderful time.

There is no set fee, but it is a benefit for a big effort, so please contribute nicely.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Monday, March 07, 2011

2 Free CD's For You Today At Angry Mom Records/Small World Music

Tuesday is the day that I (or, I and I: maker of Ithaca Blog, and partner in Angry Mom Records/Small World Music, on the Commons) work in public all day at my music store in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, at 115 The Commons.

And every Tuesday in a while, while I am there, we do this: offer you, Ithaca Blog reader, not one, not three, but two free CD's, from our multiple shelves of many hundreds of CD's bargain-priced at $3 and less.

Of course, some of them are crazy and unheard-of; but some are quite reet. Anyway, you can't go wrong at the price of free, not to mention the number of two.

No purchase necessary. We want to entice you to the store, and thank you for reading the blog.

To avail yourself, simply mention this offer to me, or to charming Mr. Lee, who also staffs the store tomorrow. We will be happy to serve you, and meet you.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog
and Angry Mom Records/Small World Music

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Prominent Readings at Buffalo Street Books

Buffalo Street Books is pretty busy for a place scheduled to shut.

Ithaca's oldest independent book store announced in February that failing business would force it to close.

Immediately, Ithaca rallied around an effort to save the store. Over $200,000 has been pledged for that goal. Details are available at

Meanwhile, the store has notable readings scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Monday's is by Leslie Daniels, from her book "Cleaning Nabokov's House." The reading will take place at 6:30 p.m., not at the store, but at the Kitchen Theater, now located on W. State Street.

Tuesday's is by Tea Obreht, from her book "The Tiger's Wife." It is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the bookstore, but we wonder if it might have to be moved somewhere bigger. Ms. Obreht was featured this morning on "Weekend Edition" on National Public Radio.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Dimanche, Lundi, & Mardi Gras at Maxie's

Maxie's has evolved over the years but is essentially a New Orleans-inspired restaurant, and so they don't let Mardi Gras go too easily.

The restaurant has free music events scheduled for each of the next three nights.

Sunday, it's Jorge Cuevas and the Caribe All-Stars. Monday, Johnny Dowd and friends. Tuesday, the Chicken Fried String Band.

There are dining and drink specials, and special decor, and beads, of course.

Go and help the good times roll.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca BY Blog