Our car exploded in a plume of steam in the Elmwood Village. Fortunately, we were on our way to meet the Bettys, who came to the rescue with a AAA membership, gourmet coffee, dinner at a Mexican place and a ride home to look at my purple bike and refinished floors. It was an adventure.
Well, downtown Niagara Falls has had the misfortune of drawing the short straw in Mr. Softees this Summer. The Mr Softee owner has taken his cool retro nice truck and gone somewhere else. We had his son for a while at the end of last year- but he sucked.
Then we had the Angry Mr Softee last summer. He was great. He was really dirty with curly hair and he always had stories to tell us. His girlfriend broke up with him “cause he spent too much time on the damn truck”. Two days later, his girlfriend was riding around with him. I guess when she figured out there was nothing to be jealous of, she gave up. He was a nice guy. Took extra time to tell us the best chocolate milkshakes were made with vanilla ice cream. Being Mr. Softee was an art to him. He took pride in his soft serve shaping on the cone.
He was a buddy. He’d pull up in front of the house at cruising speed and wave- then shrug to ask, “You want ice cream today?” If we said no, he’d wave to us anyway and we’d see him the very next day.
Things went bad for the fun Angry Mr Softee this year. First of all he had a really bad truck. He told us the owner gave the good truck to his “fat ass son” and he had to drive that ridiculous truck. It said Mr. Soft Serve. Can you believe it? Yah, I believe it. Life’s crappy. This summer started off bad. In Highland, Mr Softee was attacked. Some kids jumped on the truck and attacked him, trying to steal the money box. He fought back though, and they ran. He had a gash on his face. He was real proud. He said the cops were impressed. He kept driving and didn’t fear the kids or gangs- but the damn truck was always a disaster. Then the ice cream machine started breaking.
Then Mr. Softee owner made a terrible mistake. He took Angry Mr Softee for granted. Suddenly we had Really Old Mr Softee who drove the truck down the street- no shit- at 45 miles per hour. He wasn’t in the mood to stop for anyone. As soon as you hear the Mr. Softee song, the truck was gone.
We got him once. I ordered two large chocolate shakes. The price on the truck said $2.75. The bastard charged me 11.50 for two shakes.
On several occasions, I chased him for the poor children across the street who were crying because he passed them. I couldn’t catch him. I even tried running down a cross street to intercept him on another block. As I was waving my arms and yelling for him, he sped right past. One day I really wanted to buy my kids ice cream.
I heard him. I dropped everything. I screamed! Catch him! Catch him! Bring me money I’m going after him! I ran out onto the porch and he was just approaching. He just sped past my house. Not even looking at me. I screamed WOAH WOAH WOAH at him. Then my kids showed up with the change purse. But he was gone.
That mother fucker. He only speeds down our street every week or two. We haven’t been able to catch him. But we did buy a milkshake machine that sits on our kitchen counter.
I wonder sometimes, how is Angry Mr Softee doing? Did his girlfriend take him back? Are those bad kids leaving him alone? Is he making any money? I hope he’s having a nice summer. We miss him over here.
I need to have a sewing table for my workshop- (under renovation). You will be hearing about my workshop soon.
So, with my budget being about $10 or less, I scavenged around in my basement. I found an old white table that we have used previously. I think it’s from the 20’s with a cute little silverware drawer, but has lost it’s value as an original piece due to slight warping of the top, multiple layers of paint and some sort of plastic tacked to the top.
In addition, I found an old white kitchen chair from the 20’s. I had a couple of them in my basement for just this reason.
I brought them up to the sunny backyard, and went to my reserves of spray paint. I decided on ocean colors that would sort of go into my workshop’s new wall color- and then anchored it with a warm chocolate brown.
I didn’t want to make it striped, or too busy.. but I did want to make it whimsical. I made just one of the legs a different color than the others, as you can see.
In addition, so as not to be too boring, I spray painted a big heart on the seat so that your butt can have some love when you sit on it.
I got it into my workshop and I’m not sure that I am sold on the idea. My workshop is otherwise a little more toned down. I may put this table and chair up for sale.
I saw this interesting item on the shelves at Big Box Imperialist Store the other day and thought I’d give it a try at home. Sorry to report I already forgot the price- but I think it was about $3-$4. And, by the way, might I say the “air freshener” aisle is getting larger and larger and larger???
The folks that made the tacky little cones of smell jelly are now making reed diffusers and faux scented battery operated candles. They are now called aromatherapy. Or junkotherapy. Or something like that.
Anyway, my product review. The Febreze came home with me just on the heels of wrapping up a reno project in my house. Half of the house smelled like polyurethane and just-purchased window treatments and the other half of the house smelled like wet dog hair and fried onions.
A week later, after a good cleaning day, I rediscovered this item in the cupboard and gave it a few sprays into the air. It smelled great! I sprayed it on the curtains, and throw rugs, and little bit here and there.. and my home was filled with the comforting smell of autumn spices like cinnamon and maybe a little clove. It’s interesting- this scent smells not only like pumpkin pie, but warm apple cider too!
I was kind of impressed by my purchase. It did make my house smell like one of the quaint country boutiques you go to on vacation. The kind with very expensive candles? Yup- that’s the smell. Like I spent a few hundred bucks on candles… hahaha.
I was happy enough with it that on my next trip back to the store, I noticed the “limited edition” supply had dwindled so I bought another can to keep me for a little bit. It’s definitely the scent I’d like to keep in my home this Autumn season.
I’ll put it aside until maybe September or October. (It’s scent is great but doesn’t really match the hot summer days).
Well! I have been writing about Dirty Tops for over a year now and today it appears that they may be trying to pull their act together after all!
Taken over by new ownership about two years ago, progress at our location has been slow, invisible or perhaps in reverse. This week, though, what appeared to be a big repaving job took place in the whole gigantic parking lot- which even serves as a connecting street between Portage Rd and Main St.
One of the reasons for repavement has been discovered! A brand new electronic shopping cart system! This is just what we NEEDED here.
I’ve been commenting about the errant shopping carts in this area for six years. At one point, I tried to get the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center to sponsor a Shopping Cart Derby- but I think they thought it may be in poor taste. I have seen shopping carts moving furniture, laying sideways in a snow bank, hit by cars, being used as basketball hoops, barbecues in a cart, you name it! It is not unordinary to see a house with 4 or 5 shopping carts parked at it.
I’ve woken up to find one in front of my building! I’ve shoved them out into the street in anger, and politely parked them on the corner for the shopping cart whisperer to come by and corral. (I wonder if he is out of a job now?)
Okay, I won’t hold the suspense any longer, dear readers: Dirty Tops has installed an electronic device under their parking lot that causes the front wheels of the cart to stop moving if the cart is taken past yellow lines at the edge of the lot! WHAM!
That’s right! I walked in there today and carts were lined up all in a ROW. They were NEW. They had CUPHOLDERS. Just like the real Tops stores! I felt like a REAL PERSON! No more snow plow banged, rusted up, burned up, dented up carts.
Of course, this means I will lose government funding for my shopping cart Tag and Release program… but I am OKAY with that. After all, the safest and healthiest place for these carts is at Tops!
The Tops company did itself a big favor. Shopping carts are costly and drive down profits. They probably drive up grocery prices! No more paying the Shopping Cart Wrangler. He’d drive down the street slowly, quietly, in his 70’s vintage pick up truck… arm folded on the driver’s window sill, he’d spot an errant cart from houses away… swoop up on it, grab it and take it back the store. All the other captured carts lined up in shame in the back of his truck.
And don’t give me any CRAP about people who can’t afford a car or some other such bullshit nonsense! Listen to me… because you are poor does not give you reason to be a thief or a slob. Do you realize people much POORER than me take the damn taxi to the grocery store? (A luxury I could not afford). And I’d like to point out that the foldable shopping carts are available for PURCHASE for like $20. Maybe they can buy it with their cash portion of the food stamp benefit program.
Let’s take first things first. The Niagara Gazette has recently reported that ten teachers have been given their notice of termination from the Board of Education for failing to comply with the residency requirement. Now the teachers are angry and threatening action against the city. Someone claimed the residency requirements violate their civil rights!
OH BROTHER! These are our children’s role models? They lied to their employers and now they feel wronged.
This reminds me of the guy that gets a job knowing that there is a drug test- and then gets pissed off when he fails the drug test and is terminated. His defense is that marijuana should be legal. His defense is that it’s on his own time. But those aren’t valid defenses because he knew the company’s requirement and agreed to it when he was hired.
And sure enough, you betcha our teachers in the City of Niagara Falls knew that they were required to live in the city. They signed an agreement stating as such upon their employment!!! And, WKBW of Buffalo recently reported that the NFCSD Human Resources Office said that many of the terminated teachers have had this residency issue come up in the past- so they shouldn’t be surprised.
Is the residency requirement unconstitutional? (I don’t know but I doubt it). Is the residency requirement good or bad for us? (I’m not sure but I tend to believe it’s good for the city).
HOWEVER; teachers, those points are mute because YOU AGREED TO IT!
You know what’s really outrageous? I own an apartment building and when I have an apartment for rent in the paper, I usually get a call from someone wondering if they can “rent” the address only to fulfill a residency requirement in the city. One was so bold to give me her name and number and tell me she was a teacher in the NFCSD.
I had to be honest and tell her that I didn’t want to be involved in any fraud and that quite honestly, I like the idea of teachers living in the city because I think it would create a sense of ownership and increase the tax rolls, improve property values, etc. She said, “oh.”- and hung up on me.
Anyway… all of that being said… if people did not agree with the residency requirement, they should not have agreed to it and allowed that coveted full time teaching position go to another candidate who would have lived in the city.
The real issue isn’t the requirement, it’s the dishonesty of the employee- and that should definitely be our focus.
We can speak separately about whether or not the requirement is good at another time. But in this context, it is not pertinent.
Perhaps these teachers need a few lessons in ethics.
What a GREAT DAY on Whirlpool Street in Niagara Falls on Wednesday, August 19th! Approximately two dozen people came out in the heat to scrape, brush, scrub and paint the guard rail on Whirlpool Street, from about Ashland to Willow Avenues.
I was on my way in the morning, when I spotted all of these great folks cleaning and painting the much-neglected guard rail! It’s been slowly being cleaned and painted by the diligent work of Niagara Beautification and Habitat for Humanity for several weeks this summer, but it’s a HUGE job- and it got a tremendous boost yesterday!
I stopped and spoke with Marge Gilles, (Niagara Beautification), to find out how we wound up so lucky. She explained that all of those kind folks were employees of OxyChem and St. Gobain Ceramics who were volunteering for United Way’s Day of Caring.
About ten employees from each company were really using their elbow grease to improve a beautiful area of the city for a lot of people. Those of us who live here now have a much nicer view from our porches, and while walking and riding our bikes along the gorge. In addition, thousands of folks travel Whirlpool Street. Just think of the great impression made on visitors to the city- and the pride of city residents!
We really can’t THANK YOU ENOUGH for coming! This means YOU, all of you OxyChem and St. Gobain employees- and your companies who probably made a donation to the effort by keeping you on the time clock while you were here- and especially thank you to the UNITED WAY for their never ending work in our city.
The United Way of Niagara is one of eight hundred autonomous United Way organizations. Their mission is officially “to create the organized capacity for people to care for each other”. Don’t you think they were successful yesterday? People cared about us- which made us care about them- and made us all care about where we live and work and raise families.
With every step- another step is encouraged. We look over and see clean, freshly painted fences and we paint our own fence- or pull some weeds, or plant some flowers. This what urban living is all about. We are a great and grateful group here in Niagara Falls! And we are getting prettier every day, aren’t we?
To find out how you can join the United Way in their mission, please visit www.unitedwayniag.org and check out the volunteer and donation opportunities!
UPDATE: FOLKS, IT’S DEC 5th, and I am still seeing signs up that says the park is open at least 3 or 4 days per week. You might want to check out their website for complete info.
That’s really what Niagara Falls residents are asking. Is Snow Park Niagara a permanent attraction? We are not unjustified in thinking about it.
Smokin’ Joe Anderson has developed a reputation in Niagara Falls. His “Smokin Joe Family Fun Center” defaced the Wintergarden and took away any historic value rendering historic designation impossible, thus leading to it’s total demolition. The Fun Center later failed. Not many people wanted to pay money to take children to a place with smoking in the title, (a reference to his cheap cigarette empire), just to climb in a glorified hamster tunnel. He changed the Wintergarden into a half-assed flea market of cheap goods, just like his store on the Tuscarora Reservation. He boasted it would have boxing matches. Hahahahahah. Sounded like a real stable business plan, right? Just sort of sell whatever shit he could for as long as he could, eventually selling the property back to the government so they could tear it down and put up a street. Kid’s play center, boxing ring, cheap trinket shop… whoops nothing.. sold to the government. via eminent domain.
Which really leads to the whole question of why he has opened up a winter park in the same vicinity.
You see, not so long ago, Niagara Falls Redevelopment opened a water park downtown. It was rumored they only did it so that they could increase the value of the land for sale to the Seneca Nation (via eminent domain). Sure enough, at the end of the summer, the park closed permanently. Niagara Falls Redevelopment made a tidy profit for one season’s worth of work.
So, we are all wondering if maybe Smokin Joe doesn’t have some sort of insider information that somebody will want to buy that land from him.. and it’s value as a winterpark instead of a vacant corner was worth the trouble.
We’ll have to wait and see. That’s part of the cynicism that pervades Niagara Falls. We’ve seen so many stunts, tricks and shady deals.. we just sort of wait for the next one.
Smokin Joe plead guilty in November 2008 to making payments to then mayor Vince Anello, for favoritism as a downtown developer.
According to local lore, this newest great idea of a snow park belongs to Smokin Joe’s son. I wonder if he’s called “Smoking Junior” or maybe, “Smoking Filtered”.
Deja Vu! The newest endeavor of this bumbling fool again displays poor planning and lack of real understanding of marketing. The prices for entrance have changed quite rapidly. The sledding hill is really a jumbo slide, and only has snow on a few lanes. Some of the lanes seem to have disappeared since it was erected. It was also pointed out to me that the frame of the hill seems to be rusty metal. One must wonder if it is new metal? How can it be rusted already?
The sledding hill is reputed to not have snow on it most of the time. The skating rink is a plastic surface, and not really ice. The small corner of snow playing has an ugly plastic tube throwing snow. It looks sort of temporary.
But what adds to the temporary nature is the water source.
I drove by the magnificent snow park the other day and noticed a hose hooked up to the fire hydrant out front and running into the park. Of course I stopped and snapped the above photo.
I pulled into the parking lot and asked a management team about it. He said that they do pay for that water, and you can see there is a meter attached. I guess that’s what I get for jumping to conclusions. I had worried they weren’t paying for their water, but according to them, they are.
But that left me wondering: Just how seriously was this park planned if they didn’t even install the necessary plumbing to run the place? Why is this allowed? If there were a fire in the vicinity would the water pressure be affected? (I hope not!)
The shame is that I would think that if you actually had an education in business- or at least a natural ability for business- this could be a successful attraction. Many of our visitors are from Asia and parts of the world that have no snow. With *some* professional ability, this could have been a good thing.
But as it stands- it’s sort of half-assed looking. Just like the other places under the same ownership.
I’m going to use my psychic powers to predict it will close with the falling leaves. Permanently. Spirit Guides are even telling me that one day, Smokin Joe will sell that land to either the city or state.
Empty toilet paper rolls.
Being behind a pick up truck in the drive thru bank.
Canadians at toll booths.
Christmas light cutters.
Questioners of our sexuality.
Pens without ink.
People who stand too far apart in a liine.
My neighbor’s screaming toucan.
Naked babies in public.
People who don’t weed their fence line in the city.
Any type of white sauce.
The words, “any-who”, “reckon” and “montage”.
Broken shopping carts.
People who cannot close their mouth when not speaking.
Jello with anything extra in it.
Conservative talk radio.
Food in the mesh drain cover in my sink.
People who take 2 parking spaces.
Bad smells in the city.
Cheese on chicken.
Chicken on pizza.
No, I am not shitting you. What is this, FUCKING Arizona?
Today reached a HIGH TEMPERATURE of 86 degrees. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you laugh.
This notice was found by ME after pulling into the library at 4:30, a half an hour before their already sad closing time of 5pm on Fridays. Yah, they are also closed Saturdays and Sundays. The public library. The main public library. The only public library in the city that is not the tiny little branch in LaSalle.
This meant I could not return my bazillion books, my late fees go up and I have nothing to read for the weekend. Or maybe longer. It is predicted to be 87 on Monday.
Why the library would close for an 86 degree afternoon in the Summer is unknown. Granted, the library has no air conditioning. However, people have survived 86 without air conditioning for a very long time. In fact, many people worked all day in the 86 degree weather without air conditioning. I can think of a LOT of people who did that today.
I think the air conditioning is the key here. They have had notes taped to their windows since early July, “Warning! This building is not air conditioned.” To me, that always sounded like a resentment. You see, the City and the Library are probably fighting about this. For some reason the library cannot afford the air conditioning and so they had a passive agressive fit and put up the notices. Then they closed down because it got over 80 degrees.
That’s the way many things work around here. I’ll admit- the library has been shafted many times by the City of Niagara Falls. I think it’s because it is a library, therefore inherently nerdy, and nobody Italian and/or related to the government makes any money there. I mean, it’s kind of hard to launder money or get kickbacks at a fricken library, you know? It’s low on the city’s priority list.
This has caused the library officials to walk around with a lot of chips on their shoulders.
Closing today was just ridiculous. Perhaps it is their passive-aggressive way of getting their air conditioning fixed or installed or in the budget, I don’t know. It’s not going to work. It’s only denying the privileges of the library to inner city kids on summer vacation, and people who do not have the internet at home, and your good old bookworms like me.