Roger hit me with some questions from the Great Interview Meme, and I'm now getting 'round to answering them. Because I am just that prompt, let me tell you!
1. So what ARE the other bloggers, other than yourself, specifically griping about when they talk about "the folks in Albany"?
It's generally a short-hand for the state government, which in our state is rife with patronage, corrupt, devoted to maintaining the status quo of power, et cetera and so forth. Basically, "the folks in Albany" is a shorthand for "the giant f***ing albatross that's been hung around the neck of a region (Upstate NY) that is getting really really tired of shipping all of its homegrown talent elsewhere, like we're the Pittsburgh Pirates of the nation."
In truth, I don't even think of Albany as a place, in the sense that there are people living there who need to get groceries and fix the lawn mower and who worry about their back pain or get nervous about the fact that the car they just paid off three months ago is now making a suspicious knocking noise. A couple of years ago I received for review from GMR several CDs by a Celtic band from the Albany era (Hair of the Dog, to be precise), and I actually remember thinking, "Wow, they have music in Albany?"
So yeah, Albany is basically Mordor. With freeways running through it.
2. There's a new movie, You Kill Me, with Ben Kingsley as a Polish mob hit man from Buffalo. Is there a Polish mob in Buffalo, and will you see the movie?
If there's a Polish mob here, I know nothing about it. Really, I have absolutely no idea. Maybe one of my Buffalo readers can say something here? As for the movie, I kind of doubt it. Mob stories just tend to not interest me much.
3. How do you think the current and upcoming restrictions on travel between the U.S. and Canada affect the border economies, particularly the Buff/NF area?
Alan Bedenko has been all over this, but generally I think it's a whole bunch of incredibly stupid policy, which makes it perfectly in sync with the rest of the current Administration's "War on Terror". I'm a fan of trade and open borders (as open as possible), and in a time when the Niagara Frontier is suffering economically during an era of ever-greater globalization, sticking us behind a fence just makes me very sad.
4. How do you feel about the image of Buffalo as a loser? Four Super Bowl losses in a row (four more games than some teams have ever been in), snowy (even though Syracuse, on a year-to-year basis gets more), economically depressed (well, OK, there's something to that).
No other way to say it: it pisses me off. I get really tired of "media narratives", whether they're in politics or regional stuff like Buffalo's rep. It's just laziness: "Oh look, it's snowing in Buffalo again. Send a camera crew!" Bah.
5. Do you know the lyrics to "Erie Canal"? Did you learn them in school, or where? Have you heard the Springsteen version? Does it sound different to you from the one you learned?
I don't know the lyrics any longer, but we did do that song way back in grade school. Funny thing is, I distinctly remember doing that song at my grade school in Portland, OR, which makes me think that the historical significance of the Canal is sometimes undersold. As for the Springsteen version, I don't know it, but will look it up.
OK, if anyone else wants any questions, feel free to ask, since this rescusitates the Great Interview Meme!