R.I.P Dick Bob

March 7, 2009

dick-bobI’ve never been good with eulogies, especially for those dear to me.  At times of death I’m generally at a loss for words, not knowing how to convey my thoughts or bring comfort to those in grief.

This past week my colleague and friend Dick succumbed to his battle with cancer.  Anyone with more than 10 or 15 years in Buffalo’s manufacturing circles probably knew this guy.  He was a whirlwind of energy, not easily forgettable.

To the very end he insisted on coming to work – it was his passion – never complaining about the chemotherapy or the radiation, treating each day like all the others.  He did not bemoan his fate, but rather reveled in his life’s accomplishments.  He had many.

Two days before he went into hospice he was still calling clients, weak but alert.  Six days later his life ended.

I can only hope that I face my mortality as bravely as he faced his.

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Carl Paladino, Speaker and Writer

March 2, 2009

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Love him or hate him, Carl Paladino is one colorful character.  He was the guest of honor and Executive of the Year at the Buffalo Niagara Sales and Marketing Executives (BNSME) gala on Monday night.  Carl pulled no punches.

Paladino is calling for revolution.  I don’t think I have the backbone to follow him, or maybe it’s just that I don’t think it will do any good – Buffalo and Albany are just too corrupt to be influenced by whiny voters.  It would take balls – lots of them – to foment any real change.  Or maybe I’m just to busy trying to survive, and can’t find the time to take on New York State government.

Quick story:  The Albany Legislative complex is built like a fortress.  It is massive, surrounded by high walls and not pedestrian friendly.  100,000 protesters could show up (they’d have to walk – not enough nearby parking), break into the main entrance…and they would barely be noticed in the cavernous underground mall.  Dispersed throughout the complex they would not raise the people density enough to be taken seriously.  I’m sure the Capitol was built this way, for that reason.

Anyway, Palidino lit into every politician, by name, that has eaten from the public trough for all these years.  He blasted, just blasted, the Buffalo News and Margaret Sullivan’s leadership of it.  He vilified James Williams, Phil Rumore, the Buffalo Board of Education and the 800 million dollar school system they are supposed to be running.  He spat venom at labor unions, Buffalo city government and especially Albany.

How angry was he?

Prior to his speech – and in order to set the tone of what was to come – a letter that he wrote to Margaret Sullivan of the Buffalo News back in January was distributed to the dinner guests.  It starts like this:

Here’s my two cents on the News.  It’s a monopolistic predator imposing its liberal views and superficial journalism on a community seeking to pull itself out of fifty years of decline as a result of impotent public and private sector leadership.  As the only show in town during most of that time, it became lame and lazy serving up assenine [sic] slop without any guilt for failing to mobilize the community with objective, call to arms journalism.  You’ve been in a box so long that you have no idea how to get out of it.  Your subscriptions are falling and you are frustrated.  You have no follow through and you wonder why you can’t hit the ball.

There’s lots more (after the jump)

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Snow in the South

March 1, 2009

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I’m always impressed with the inability of our Southern friends to handle even a dusting of snow; I can understand why – when they can’t even navigate their own driveways –  that they might eschew anything north of the Mason-Dixon line.  This weekend’s major storm is guaranteed to bring much of the East coast to a standstill, even though in most places you’re talking about, maybe, one to four inches tops anywhere south of Philadelphia.

We all know up here that once Lake Erie freezes over there is (usually) little additional accumulation the rest of the winter, and March 1, 2009 is no exception: My lawn is exposed and the few area snow drifts are dirty from lack of fresh snow cover.  It’s sort of nice for once to be in sunshine here while watching 25-mile backups in Tennessee.

I hope they survive to mock Buffalo another day.