Just Say ‘No!’ To Drugs

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Marijuana - Photo by atroszko from FreeImages

On March 31, 2021, then Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). According to the official State website, “The legislation created a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) governed by a Cannabis Control Board to comprehensively regulate adult-use, medical, and hemp cannabis. The OCM will issue licenses and develop regulations outlining how and when businesses can participate in the new industry.”

What does this mean?

Well, there are several gears in motion here. The first pertains to private use by adults. Here, the State says “The Office of Cannabis Management needs to draft and issue regulations to implement the law before adult-use sales can begin. However, while there Continue Reading “Just Say ‘No!’ To Drugs”

Busting The ‘If We Ain’t Growing, We’re Dying’ Myth

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Jacob Peter Gowy, Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsDaedalus carefully showed his son how to apply the wax to affix the feathers to his shoulders and arms. “These wings will work,” he said. “We will finally be free of this prison.”

Ironically, it was Daedalus himself who had created the Labyrinth, a vexing array of “intricate passageways and blind alleys” (at least according to Merriam-Webster). Anyone – or anything – imprisoned in this complicated maze found it nearly impossible to escape. Indeed, mythology claimed only Theseus was able to find his way out of Daedalus’ Labyrinth (primarily because Daedalus gave him a big hint).

Why did Daedalus build the Labyrinth? To imprison the Minotaur, a half-man/half-bull monster (whose origin story is not fit to print in a family newspaper). BTW, Theseus went into the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur (something to do with the ancient Greek version of Continue Reading “Busting The ‘If We Ain’t Growing, We’re Dying’ Myth”

Remembering Armistice Day and Celebrating Veterans Day

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Today is Veterans Day. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice between opposing sides formally ended the fighting of ‘The Great War.”  This was called “the war to end all wars” because the world realized the deadly nature of technology had finally convinced everyone that there was no romance of war.

Perhaps the fact that America learned this lesson a half century earlier in its own Civil War explains our country’s late entry into “The World War” (yet another name used to define the conflict that raged from 1914-1918. Indeed, it was William Tecumseh Sherman who Continue Reading “Remembering Armistice Day and Celebrating Veterans Day”

Abandon All Bond, Ye Who Enter Here

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Aston Martin DB5, thomas grayI don’t usually do movie reviews, but I when I do, I drink water. And I also usually write them immediately after seeing the film. I did that in this case. The editorial calendar, has the review coming out a month later. On the bright side, at least everyone who watched the movie will have done so by now, so I don’t have to warn you about spoilers.

For James Bond aficionados, there’s always been an obvious choice for “Worst Bond Film Ever.”

Following Sean Connery’s “retirement” after the box office smash You Only Live Twice, the film series’ producer Albert Broccoli had to look for a new Bond. It’s said he considered over Continue Reading “Abandon All Bond, Ye Who Enter Here”

A Memorable Week of Cottage Pranks

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The Cottage - Davenport College YaleBefore there was The Purge (2013). Before there was The Hunger Games (2008). Before there was Rollerball (1975). Heck, even before there was the Star Trek episode “The Return of the Archons” (1967), upon which writer-director James DeManaco based his movie The Purge.

Before all these fictional dystopian fantasies, there was real-life Bladderball.

Bladderball was (notice the past tense) a massive (thousands of participants) game played at Yale from 1954 to 1982. It involved a large (6-foot diameter) leather “exercise” ball and Continue Reading “A Memorable Week of Cottage Pranks”

The Italian-American Triumvirate: #3 – Family

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We begin our third and final installment of the Italian-American Triumvirate to honor Christopher Columbus and all descendants of Italia during October as we celebrate Italian-American Month.

The third item on the list has been known by many names. In fact, for those who remember football in the 1960s, may also remember the three pillars being defined quite differently (and creatively). Italian-Americans played a prominent role in this.

On June 16, 1970, Brian Piccolo, starting running back for the Chicago Bears, died. Only seven months earlier, on November 16, 1969, Piccolo scored a touchdown on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. He then surprised his teammates by Continue Reading “The Italian-American Triumvirate: #3 – Family”

The Italian-American Triumvirate: #2 – Country

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As mentioned last week, October is Italian-American Heritage Month. Not only do we take a day (either the original October 12 or the second Monday) to celebrate Christopher Columbus, the Italian that most influenced America, but, like other ethnic groups, we spend the entire month honoring those who immigrated to the United States centuries after the first Italian discovered a brand new world.

This is the second in a series of columns on “the Big Three,” the three institutions that, though to some extent describe all Americans, speak especially to the cultural heritage of Italian-Americans.

Recall the meaning of “Italian-American.” It represents an acknowledgment that you are Continue Reading “The Italian-American Triumvirate: #2 – Country”

The Italian-American Triumvirate: #1 – God

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Each October we celebrate Italian-American Heritage Month. The month is obviously chosen in honor of the Italian that most influenced America: Christopher Columbus. Of course, Columbus’ discovery of the New World predated the creation of the United States by about three centuries, but our country long ago adopted his journey as an inspiration for the nation.

Columbus has since been joined by many Italian immigrants who would become Italian-Americans.

That’s an important distinction: “Italian-American.” It recognizes that you are, in fact, an Continue Reading “The Italian-American Triumvirate: #1 – God”

Remembering Mike Francesco: A Community Builder

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Mike-Franscesco-photoAs I sat in the pews of St. Catherine’s last Friday morning, I couldn’t help but admire the courage and clarity of Andrew Boyce and Conner Boillat as they described and honored the very full life of Mike Francesco.

Mike touched the lives of many in our little neck of the woods, even those who may have never known him. He, together with his late son Michael, Jr., conceived and built what has become the hamlet of Mendon’s community cornerstone.

For almost four decades, I was one of those who was blessed to have experienced the wonder of Mike. While I can’t pretend to offer more than his family, I can share memories – and, more importantly, the context of those memories – that affirm their stories from a non-family perspective.

I met Mike and Rose in the mid-1980s shortly after I moved back to Mendon in the house I Continue Reading “Remembering Mike Francesco: A Community Builder”

Is Cattaraugus County Leading The Way To Greater Western New York Independence?

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Just because you may not have seen this in the news doesn’t mean it isn’t news. In fact, it could be big news.

Actually, it could be very big news, and it occurred just a month ago in the halls of the Cattaraugus County legislative chamber. What’s more amazing, and not really being reported, was how fast it all happened and the fact the origin didn’t start with an elected official, but with a group of concerned everyday citizens like you.

Cattaraugus County is located along the Southern Tier of the Greater Western New York region. It’s mostly rural with the largest city being Olean (the other “big” city is Salamanca, the birthplace of NFL legend Marv Hubbard, who played fullback for the Oakland Raiders). Cattaraugus County is also the home of St. Bonaventure University.

Known for its promotional nickname “Enchanted Mountains,” traveling through its picturesque hills full of never-ending green trees gives you a sense of what our region looked like to the pioneers who first settled Western New York shortly after the Revolutionary War. Seeing this unadorned beauty throughout our region, you can’t help but think Continue Reading “Is Cattaraugus County Leading The Way To Greater Western New York Independence?”