We Need High-Speed Broadband, Now!

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“I would long since for the time that no votes buy our cares;
For people that once possessed command, high civil office, legions and all else,
now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.”

– From Satire X, Juvenal, ca. 100 AD

When the Roman satirical poet Juvenal wrote these lines centuries ago, he meant it as an expose of government corruption. It also represented a warning to a populace too eager to sacrifice freedom for immediate delights.

Unfortunately, rather than a cautionary alert, Juvenal’s “bread and circuses” has become a blueprint from which every dictator since has built his empire.

You can now add Andrew Cuomo to the long sorry list of power-mad rulers seeking to Continue Reading “We Need High-Speed Broadband, Now!”

Fandemonium: Passing the Generational Torch

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I can’t understate how many times people asked me the following question in the past week: “Chris, did you get tickets to the playoff game?”

For those of you who didn’t go to St. Catherine’s Church when people still went to church, the Carosa family has a certain reputation. Each Sunday – football season or not – one or more of us (usually more of us) stood in line for communion resplendent in official and unofficial Bills attire.

Those were our Sunday clothes. It became such a tradition that, on those rare occasions (usually in the summer) when our garments didn’t sport a Bills logo, people would notice.

This “worship” of the Buffalo Bills began long ago. My father, however, was too young to remember the original Buffalo Bills.

Incidentally, did you know the first version of the Buffalo Bills appeared in the All-America Continue Reading “Fandemonium: Passing the Generational Torch”

What 2020 Revealed About Us (And Maybe You, Too)

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“The Sea Rises,” 1894, an engraving in The Writings of Charles Dickens, volume 20, A Tale of Two Cities

It began as the best of years and ended as the worst of years. Did it?

Or perhaps it was the best of years and it was the worst of years.

If that second phrase sounds familiar, you’re either an astute historical observer or you’re well versed in Victorian literature (or both).

In 1859, Charles Dickens published A Tale of Two Cities. The novel opened with the following:Continue Reading “What 2020 Revealed About Us (And Maybe You, Too)”

What’s Your Favorite Christmas Special?

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Burgermeister Meisterburger. Why can’t I get that name out of my head? Like every kid who ever watched Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. I despised this character who hated toys.

But, to this day, I can’t shake that name. Burgermeister Meisterburger. You just can’t stop saying it.

Here’s the thing about Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, it was produced by Rankin/Bass. They’re the same folks who made the famous Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

I liked Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I hated Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the silly premise of the story. Maybe it was the goofy looking 1970s style young Kris Kringle. Maybe it was the fact it premiered on Sunday, December 13, 1970 on ABC.

Could this be because I had to make a choice between watching this Christmas special or Continue Reading “What’s Your Favorite Christmas Special?”

Would You Rather Experience Joy or Satisfaction?

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Now that you’ve exploded your stomach celebrating Thanksgiving, here’s something that will explode your mind.

Don’t be afraid. This is a good thing, for what grows back will be stronger. You’ll be stronger. There’s a reason for this. After you discombobulate your brain, things settle in a way that reveals greater understanding about you and about life in general.

Let’s start with a couple of simple definitions.

Definition #1: Joy. According to Merriam-Webster, joy is defined as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.” It is akin to such words as “delight,” “gaiety,” and “bliss.”

Definition #2: Satisfaction. Merriam-Webster defines satisfaction as a “fulfillment of a need or want.” It is reflected in words like “contentment” and “gratification.”

These two definitions sound very familiar, don’t they?Continue Reading “Would You Rather Experience Joy or Satisfaction?”

1620 – A Quadrennial That Defines America

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Without 1620, there would be no 1776. There would be no United States. There would be no us.

As we sit down at our Thanksgiving Day tables – which this year includes grandma and grandpa joining us via Zoom – we should consider not just what we are thankful for, but what it took to get us here.

We can turn to the Pilgrims for inspiration.

Long persecuted for their beliefs, they put their trust in their faith and ventured into the Continue Reading “1620 – A Quadrennial That Defines America”

A Look Back (Part II): A Pre-Civil War (1855) View Of A Village On The Rebound

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Last week we took the time machine all the way back to 1841, just three years after the Village of Honeoye Falls was officially incorporated. This week we skip ahead a little more than a decade. In that span, the City of Rochester, viewed as a collaborator in 1841, apparently had proven itself a formidable competitor.

Things didn’t look good for Honeoye Falls… until 1853.

That’s when what ultimately became known as “The Peanut Line” (the Canandaigua & Niagara Falls R.R.) came through. There’s little evidence of that game changing event today, save for a single monument in the shape of the limestone abutment smack dab in Continue Reading “A Look Back (Part II): A Pre-Civil War (1855) View Of A Village On The Rebound”

A Look Back (Part I): An Early (1841) View Of A New Village

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Here’s an annoying problem I discovered while researching for the book Hamburger Dreams: there’s a lot of people and places that come up when you search the words “hamburger” or “hamburg” that have nothing to do with the delicious sandwich that spawned a trillion-dollar industry.

This required me to be both creative and patient as I sifted through hundreds of century old newspaper articles. It eventually worked, but it took a lot of time. In the end, it proved worthy.

The same thing is happening now as I complete my research on the Masonic Temple/Wilcox Hotel/Wilcox House/Falls Hotel (yes, that one building has gone by several names during its nearly 200-year existence). It turns out Continue Reading “A Look Back (Part I): An Early (1841) View Of A New Village”

A Hero Has Fallen

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Say what you will about cinematographers, but they’re literally responsible for what we see in movies. Ultimately, save for a few choice lines, it is these images we remember most from the classic films we cherish.

It was the cinematographer’s use of a soft lens in critical close-ups that told more of Ilsa Lund’s backstory in Casablanca than any flashback could. We see a hint of it when she first enters Rick’s Café Américain, a popular casino. There, she’s introduced to Captain Renault.

But it is the extended close-up when Ilsa asks Sam to “play it for me.” There, the lens embraces the wholesome beauty of Ingrid Bergman and the sweet alluring yet Continue Reading “A Hero Has Fallen”

Thoughts on Andy Griffith, Mayberry, and Our Wonderful Community

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If you’re of a certain age, you grew up watching certain TV shows. Sure, the same thing happens today, but back when there were just three primetime networks, everyone watched the same shows.

Those weekly episodes defined your youth, your community, and our nation. For better or worse, we were all one.

It was a great feeling. To be part of one united community, no matter where our ancestors came from, no matter our differences, no matter our race, color, or creed.

It was an era when E Pluribus Unum wasn’t just an archaic phrase on our money. It was more than a mere motto; it was our unabashed philosophy.

We were all one.

And that meant something.

Something important.Continue Reading “Thoughts on Andy Griffith, Mayberry, and Our Wonderful Community”