More answers to questions asked as part of Ask Me Anything! 2009. Roger's other queries are below:
What would fix the image of Buffalo?
Seeing as how national media and national discourse is so driven by narrative, and seeing as how Buffalo's place in the national narrative is that of the perennial sad sack, I think that the only thing that's really going to ever "fix" the image of this city is a major economic turnaround here. And when I say "major", I don't just mean "stopping the bleeding" or even "establishing consistent growth and an end to population decline". I think Buffalo's image only changes if this town becomes a boom town; then and only then will Buffalo be spoken of in terms that, say, Charlotte or Austin, TX are spoken of now.
Can this happen? I used to think it would; now I still think it could, although I'm doubtful it will because I just don't see anything ever leading to the kinds of changes that need to take place in New York's state government to make Buffalo and the rest of upstate move upward strongly as likely to happen. It's just the way things are. And that's the most frustrating thing: there's no unrepealable Law of Nature that says that Buffalo has to stay the poor Rust Belt doomtown forever, just as there was no unrepealable Law of Nature that said that Buffalo of 1900 had to stay the technological boomtown of the US forever.
It can happen. There are things that I think would help it to happen. (A significantly more business-friendly attitude in New York State, more freedom in cross-border business with Canada, infrastructure improvements to take advantage of Buffalo's location, et cetera.) I'm not banking on any of these things actually happening. Oh well.
Loss of sight or loss of hearing: which would be worse?
Loss of hearing. No question about it. I could figure out how to live a fine literary life if blind. It would be hard, but I'd figure out how to read.
But no more music? I want no part of that.
If the performer came to Buffalo, who would you, without real regard to cost, definitely see?
I'm taking this to mean, "Assume that you can get tickets affordably, no matter who it is." Hmmmmm. If Howard Shore ever comes by to conduct the BPO in any of his various Lord of the Rings concerts, I'd be there in a heartbeat.
What is the definition of taterti, the WV for today?
For those who may not understand, "WV" stands for "word verification", the string of characters you type into Blogger's comment box to show that you're a person and not a spambot. On Blogger these used to be literally strings of random characters, but lately they seem like actual words, or sometimes by luck turn out to be actual words, leading to a kinda-sorta blog game where people give definitions to the fake WV words. OK? OK!
Anyway, Roger's WV at the time he left this comment was "Taterti". This is an Italian word that means "potato-ish". This word doesn't get much use in Italian, but it is sporadically used in musical scores, when the composer wishes the low brass to produce a sound that resembles that of a potato farmer lumbering through the potato patch. Notable works that include such a direction are Brahms's Symphony No. 5 in B Sharp Minor, Franck's Quadruple Concerto and Requiem Mass, and Leroy Anderson's Elegy for the Death of the Spider in my Bathroom.
More answers to come!