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June 2004

June 21, 2004

Prince: Godspeed my friend
A Great Dog is put to rest
posted by Rick Gagliano

We put our dog down today. I say "our" dog because he was a friend to all. Prince, a 14-year-old yellow lab, was not only a good dog, but as my father so often pointed out, a great dog. He originally was my brother's dog, but as life worked out he became more my father's dog, and I believe, his best friend, confidant and a constant source of happiness and love.

My father would pick Prince up from my brother's house every weekday, as my brother worked and Prince hated to be alone. He became very accustomed to the routine, so it was only natural that when my brother moved to New York City, Prince moved in with my father and mother.

Over the course of the past three years, Prince began to decline, especially over the past year. Arthritis and hip dysplasia began to take their toll on him. First, it became difficult for him to get up into the car, to go for his walks in Seneca Park that he loved so much. After a while, he could no longer get up into the car, even with my father's help. So, the walks that both of them enjoyed so much came to an end.

Soon thereafter, Prince began having trouble getting up and down the two small steps to the back door, and he began to stumble and fall. He would always get back up, but the frequency of the falling and difficulty of getting up both increased during the first months of this year. As winter turned to spring, Prince no longer could navigate the steps himself and needed assistance ascending, though he still - brave and uncomplaining soul that he was - managed to descend them himself in a stumbling, haphazard way.

But as April turned to May and May to June, Prince's condition worsened and it became apparent to all that he would have to be put down, if only to ease his pain and suffering. He could no longer do what dogs love to do - run, or at best, go for walks, explore and be free. His body was failing, though his mind was still sharp, his demeanor still gentle and loving, his heart strong and willing.

We put Prince to rest today, June 21, 2004. Prince is running now.

Prince is running,
In the clouds, through the brush and between the trees,
His white mane flowing with the breeze.

Prince is running without pain,
And he will run to us again.

God bless you Prince. You were a joy to all.

--FR


June 15, 2004

My New Little Neighborhood
Life Drifts Away in the Ferry Flower City
posted by Don Bravo

Daily Drift for Thursday, May 13, 2004

Being that Rick has turned a one-day hiatus into a semi-permanent siesta, I've taken over the enviable duty of writing the Daily Drift. It's not that the Drift is such a prime assignment, but it almost assures one of unbridled anonymity and a vaguely noble sense of non-noteriety. I'll almost certainly be forgotten by everyone unborn, living and dead, and especially, I hope, by my creditors.

Bye, bye blues, bills and Budweiser!

I've chosen today to write the Daily Drift entirely with my eyes closed, and combined with the blaring of the radio from next door, with earplugs installed as well. Rap music and six minutes of commercials is so conducive to concentration. Ah, well… I have a theme - my neighborhood - where life mixes with fantasy in a seamless cacophony of futility.

Take, for instance, the neighbors to the East, ensconced in a side-by-side two-family, cozily whiling away the hours in ignorant, unexpurgated, pregnant-and-barefoot bliss. One the one side, the family with the single mother and three, no four, no, five kids, all of whom are high school age and noisy, general half-wits, and the one baby who is barely three and seldom sees the out-of doors. Poor kid - he doesn't know that he's being bred to be a miserable clod.

On the farther side are the two sisters, black, so they could be sistahs, but I'm not going to venture into that particular briar patch, who haven't seen the need for any kind of utilities since the weather turned warmer a week ago. Not that summers in Rochester are necessarily a picnic, but one doesn't need heat. One wonders why they bother to buy all that microwave popcorn, though.

These two saunter in and out of the place like it's a summer cottage and they are the Hilton sisters. I find the attitude more than merely amusing, but profoundly insane. They are breaking the law as they also keep three youngsters in the home. Their nights end early. I suppose they will begin breaking up the furniture for campfires later in the season. Odd, nobody seems to give a whit - or a rat's ass - about their situation, including them. It's a nowhere-going, to be sure. No good will come of it. Yet they have their cars and cell phones. Just no hot water or lights. Bohemia lives, kind of.

This neighborhood, hard off the intersection of Kodak layoffs and endless construction, sits near the nexus of Ridge Road and Lake Avenue, the latter of which has been under construction for so long that the old Yogi Berra-ism applies (in which Yogi quipped about a popular restaurant, "It's so crowded, nobody goes there anymore."). Lake Avenue is now so completely degraded it's become a non-congested drive.

Now, the road construction on West Ridge is another thing altogether. They are widening the expanse now that Kodak workers won't be traversing regularly, so one wonders why they have planned this major development at just this juncture of time. I need to insert a row of question marks to signify my indigent stupidity on the issue.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Done.

Indeed, traveling by automobile around the area is a chore not for the light-hearted. It is slow and laborious, noisy, dusty, smelly and inconvenient. I would walk, but the sidewalks have been obliterated completely.

The neighborhood, like all others in the city of Rochester, is a ghetto-in-waiting. The city overtaxes, constructs, destroys, reconstructs, mouths, taxes, guffaws, huffs, puffs and eventually succumbs to the wrath of society. The deterioration is ceaseless, careless and omnipotent. No government, especially the impotent one under whose thumb we now toil, can stop it. As they say in the tooth world, you cannot stop decay, you can only hope to contain it. This neighborhood is no exception. People talk the talk, but they cannot walk the walk. The wreckage is everywhere and overwhelmingly evident. Time marches on.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Venturing into the most colossal stupidity in the area, the Fast Ferry beckons. This hulking mass of metal and fiberglass has thus far proven to be a comedy even the redoubtable Neil Simon could not have penned. Besides being completely unnecessary, the foibles of the ferry have to this point included incurring a million dollars worth of damage after smashing into a pier in New York harbor, scraping through the locks in the St. Lawrence Seaway, the city of Toronto seemingly unaware of the imminent arrival of the ship and having not built even a customs station for it, delay after delay after delay and now the spat over customs fees.

This is rich, though highly confounding and confusing (I was going to say cunfusatory, but the dictionary on my lap leapt up and slapped me silly.). Apparently, Canada expects to be paid $1.5 to $2 million a year in customs fees. CATS, the owner - but hold on, they're not the real owner yet - wants the Canadian government to pick up the customs tabs. How convenient!

There's more. Like I said, CATS (Canadian American Transportation Systems) is still negotiating with Austal, the ship's builder, over ownership. CATS will pay a daily fee. Hahahahaha! And there's the requirement for piloting the ferry which will run over another $1 million a year. The costs just keep adding up. At this rate, the ferry will break even in the year 3675, but, and here's the best part, the original owners and politicians and other dumbasses involved will be long dead and never have to claim responsibility for one of the most egregious wastes ever perpetrated. Long live the ferry!

There's a very good article on the Democrat and Chronicle website, here.

So much for today. The sun's rays are beginning to filter through the effervescent Kodak pollution clouds (it's only STEAM!) as another day draws nigh upon a close.

I leave you with these words of wisdom from one Shaquille O'Neal (otherwise known as Shaq) on why his teammates should be getting him the ball when he's shooting 68% from the floor: "If you don't stick with simplicity, you'll die a horrible death." The Pistons are 3 1/2-point favorites for tonight's potential close-out game. A sure sucker bet if I ever saw one. The Lakers will not go quietly. They'll cover and probably win. Simple.

Yours,

Don Bravo


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