Im going to teach people a new word today....

Editorials from The Roanoke Times -A step back in the fight against neighborhood decay

It's called "zoning". Its what keeps the apartments and "commercially owned" properties from invading residential areas. Now I realize, the places are allready there - they have been for a while. Much like Old Southwest, where the personal, commercial, and industrial are mixed to various results - it has been this way for a long long time.

Now I hate (oh yes I hate, boy do I hate) to keep going back to NY for examples, but its what I know best - and Im too lazy to google sometimes.

Where I grew up, the only apartments in residential areas were illegal apartments, all the rest were what were called "garden apartments." Set in the zone between commercial properties (supermarkets and such) and the residential (home owner) areas, they were little communities unto themselves. Much like the complex I live in now. I think thats one of the reasons I chose it, it is similar to what I know as an apartment complex.

Now I understand, and have some compassion for the people living in these "mixed use" areas. Im not suggesting that we rezone, and just sweep them out. But set a deadline. Say - June 1st, 2015 - these mix use areas will ALL be re-zoned and apartments and commercial ventures in residential areas will no longer be allowed. Now Im not referring to the apartment complexes, the multi-building places you see along Walnut Ave. as you head up Mill Mountain. And Im not referring to the ones that are between Franklin Rd. and Carilion Memorial. They are all their own little communities, with dedicated parking - dedicated land uses. Im talking about the single homes that have been carved up 8 ways to Sunday to make apartments, the law offices and media companies that own what should be a single family home on a residential street.

If one want to live in the house AND have an office there, well that is a different matter. Thats what zoning waivers are for.

Roanoke is supposed to be re-zoning as part of the Vision 2020 program, it serves as a great opportunity to get the communities organized. This goes here, that goes there - there are no communities that are strictly residential, with no space for commercial properties that I have seen.

If there is a heavily traveled thoroughfare that most members of the community travel on a daily basis - sticking a gas station/convience store on it is not a tragedy. And a strip about a block or 2 long (1 block = 2000 linear ft roughly) on either side that can be used for the apartments, and lawyers who want a house as their office, doctors with small pratices. But no commercial properties except on the main drag.

Its a hassle, its problematic, its inconvienent. But its necissicary. As the population of Roanoke grows - wether it takes 5, 10, or 15 years - eventually in these residential neighborhoods - parking will become a problem. And with converted homes now apartments, without off-street parking sufficient for the amount of cars, theres gonna be real issues when it comes to parking. And thats just one drawback, there are far far worse hidden within a topic like this.

Prostitution would seem like a picnic compared to what can become.

roanoke.com - Business Stories - Despite perceptions, region 'wants to grow'

Important article, read and watch for my commentary later after a long nights sleep. Damned allergies.

roanoke.com - Business Stories - Despite perceptions, region 'wants to grow'


Children's Advocy Center of the Roanoke Valley

Children's Advocy Center of the Roanoke Valley

Im blogging this one for someone special, for a singular purpose. I think you know why.

Well if this is'nt brilliant timing!

From the Roanoke City Council Agenda for Monday, May 16th @ 2pm.
Proclamation declaring May 2005 as National Historic Preservation Month." (emphasis added)

Sounds like a job for... Forgotten-Roanoke.com!!!!

Of course had I known this was coming I would have baked a cake. Now I really have to scramble on getting something larger than I had anticipated together. Which means, Forgotten-Roanoke will be hitting the streets again this weekend.

Oh - and if anyone found copies of old maps with notes written all over them about a month ago or so - please enjoy them. Its not like their not free anyway, but leave it to me to drop all my notes right before I was finished for the day. Oh - and it was raining.

You remember what that looks like, right? Rain? Things getting a little dusty and pollen-covered around here.

//wants a clean car again

I must be psychic

roanoke.com - Extra stories -WDBJ's newscast lead slips

Sometimes I scare myself.

Local news, or is it...? (or.. Tackling the local media, and getting a flag on the play and a 5 yard penalty for roughing)

Can anyone tell me why when I watch the WSLS news at 11, there is only 3 minutes of local news - if not less? WDBJ manages at least 5-7 minutes, not to mention the various spots done later in the broadcast. Its a bit more, uh, interested in the Roanoke region than SLS. Then again - SLS puts such emphasis on its VIPIR (that Vipir, not Viper - no matter how you pronounce the i) radar and weather team, Im amazed they even attempt news at all.

No offence to Mr. LaMarr, who I personally like. Oh - and that twit who does sports and has to keep apologizing for all his stupid comments. Yeah - speaking your mind without thinking first is OBVIOUSLY the most brilliant move in the world.

That only works for me, thank you.

But anyway - this post is about the lack of true local news. Or time devoted to local news.

WFIR has the powerhouse premier names in Talk Radio, yet has no local show save for the morning program - which is news and weather and traffic every 5 minutes. Helpful, but wheres the weekly show about hmm.. the Roanoke City Council, the Gubernatorial election, or even the local scandal involving the squirrel terrorists who keep messing up your deck with their little claws. Oh wait, sorry - thats truly not news.

I think its time someone showed an interest in this town, Our Town.

Wheres the live local coverage of the various parades downtown? The St. Patricks day parade should have been broadcast. The 4th of July celebration should be broadcast. Up in NY, the local cable mafia has a channel devoted to 24 hour a day news and event coverage. Mind you its not very good, because they only do a new news broadcast every 4 hours, then repeat it 3 times. And Im not saying Cox does a bad job with local coverage, and I dont want 24 hour coverage of Roanoke and the environs, but we need something. Something local, something people can talk about the next day. Or later that day. Now Im not suggesting FIR take Rush or Sean off the air and go local - I understand theres too much money to be made, having done some radio in the past myself. But there has to be an hour or two after Sean goes off the air at 6 that local talk can take over.

Then again - FIR hasnt had a website for a while now. "Under construction" my ass - must be a federal project. Thats the only thing I know that can be under construction that long and get nothing accomplished.

Oh - and thank heavens BOB-FM 101.5 has decided to get DJ's. It was nice hearing nothing but music and that "no smutty talk" guy, but one does tend to miss the soothing voice of the DJ. Kind of like the pilot on an airliner, he/she sets the mood. Now they just need a website too. For some reason they did not re-up their domain, and now its DOA.

Well, for now I shall have to appease my local addiction with "Dick and Dave in the morning" on Q99. I just wish I could carry that through the day.


This looks easy right? Im sure Bob Vila could do it at a moments notice. OH WAIT - they cut each board by hand, shaved each log. About the only thing they didn't do was forge the nails. But they are authenic as well.

This is the building in question from my Explore Park diatribe.



All I can say is that this is a damn shame.
Cuz you have something better to do on a nice day, right?
Kids got another soccer game, lawn needs to be mowed. Maybe its time to mulch?

Get real - the "change" that half of Roanoke so desperately pines for will never occur unless we can support
what we have now.

Listen up Mayor Harris, City Council, et. al.

Take one of your vacant storefronts that the CITY owns, and turn it over to Explore Park for the summer.
Let it be an extant museum and visitors center. Provide the basics for them, running water - electricity. The very basics they would need to run the operation. Phones and such would be up to them. Let them interact with the people IN Roanoke, and guide them to Explore from downtown. The return would be obvious. You begin to open up a new support level for Explore. Even if they sell t-shirts or whatnot, maybe run guided tours of Explore with a rented van that shuttles people from downtown out. It's still better than (forgive me on this one) being stuck out on the Blue Ridge far far from the throbbing masses.

Im not leaving you out of this Roanoke County. You could DAMN WELL do the same thing. I have been to Explore twice now, and been here for a year. I listened with admiration as the man who essentially was building the newest structure told me of how he is doing it, how it was done, and how with minor minor modifications the structure could be made liveable. If I recall correctly, it was himself and another gentleman who were doing the main share of the work. Using tools either re-created or brought from home, they had raised the structure in a span of 6 months. Thats all on volunteer time. You could see the passion in his eyes, and love and pride at what they had accomplished.

But thats not important. And obviously those who find that unimportant will just as likely find whatever "art" they decide to put in the new museum unimportant. Sure it will be a novelty for a moment, a brief moment. Just like Explore is when your young and on a class trip (Im speaking from all the class trips I took in my life to Old Bethpage Village Restoration, and all the history I learned there - not to mention the cool stuff in the gift shop - the upturned sasparilla tree, which every kid got to take a piece of root to chew on... I digress), its different. Its something beyond your understanding at first - but then it becomes abundantly clear. Its History, and you've learned something. Drat!

Its only when you get older, and realize the sacrifice it takes to WILLINGLY give your time to a cause that you really begin to understand the meaning of Explore Park, and the countless other parks like it. Its not just a shadowplay of history past, its a connection to the very roots of history. When you work with tools as outdated as the Tandy computer is today, when you sweat and stink and are covered in grime but your happy. When you can turn your eyes to this 2-story home, with a fireplace, and know you built it against the tide of modernisim. Then you understand why Explore Park is important.


I've seen what that kind of money looks like. Its nice, but not enough. And you worry, and fret. And you do think of the other shoe dropping. And you seriously wonder how long it can hold out.

Yes they are getting more money in July, but so what. All it takes is a weeks worth of rainy days, and your suddenly wondering how much longer. If something is not done to provide Explore with an outreach center, or even outreach capability in Downtown Roanoke - I forsee Explore having a shortened season this year. I dont want to be right. But like I said, a weeks worth of rain - it's not like you can just turn everything off when you leave at night.

Its not Edu-tainment, its passion. And that long sought after "understanding" I keep hearing about.


The Huffington Post (or "boy I didnt think retirement from Blogging would come this early!)

The Huffington Post | The Front Page


::"Welcome to the Huffington Post, which, as our motto says, has been delivering news and opinion since, well, a few hours ago."::

Oh lord stop, your just trying to kill me with your irony. I hope to hell she is not writing this herself.
Ms. Huffington has gathered some "notable names" from Hollywood, all of whom so obviously needed a platform like this so they can be heard over the din of those ignorant slobs who arent from Hollywood. But that aside, I respect some of these people. I think Harry Shearer is one of the funniest men around since Robin Williams went sober. I think John Cusack is a very talented actor, who can raise you up or cast you down with the subtle change of his face. Walter Cronkite - god who can stand up to him in terms of groundbreaking reporting?

Thats the A-list. Very notable. People who I have always respected and somewhat admired. Unfortunately Arianna herself is B-list. I know little about her, and sure I could google her, but to what end? I have no interest. Then theres Larry David - creator and writer for Seinfeld. It had its moments, but I do not understand the "genius" tag applied to this man. His whole comedy is Irony. And Irony is only funny in moments. Irony gets tiring. Sorry Larry.

Sen. John Corzine. Ok - google this if you must check it for yourself. This man is a walking scandal sheet. Corzine is a Jersey politian, with a real nose for scandal. Im suprised anyone would want to be associated with him. Tina Brown. Who? Seriously, I know Ive heard the name before - but once again, Im uninterested. I dont believe she has ever done anything that doesnt involve some big name celebrity, and from what I do vaguely remember - she is very talented at gossip. Or getting into parties. One of the two.

Moving on down to the C-list now, those wonderful people who make things happen on occasion. Rep. Ed Markey. I have no idea who this is.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall Ok.. now explain to me why I should be listening to "Elaine" when all her best lines were written by Larry David (see above)? A sample from these 2: "gay marriage destroys real marriage. Now, when I come home to my wife, I feel nothing. How could I? SHE COULD BE A MAN. Thanks a lot, gays. " Umm.. yeah. This is how you set about to make a point about Gay Marriage being ok by you? Pinky and the Brain you two are not.

Who the hell is Mike Nichols, and is he any relation to Terry Nichols? That was my first thought.

Ellen DeGeneres Say what you want about her, she made herself a nice little career. Then she got a daytime talk show. Maybe you should have just stayed in obscurity, nothing personal. But seriously now - your whole gimmick is dancing. Oh and your a what? OH, thats right.. Your a comedianne. There was something else - but I can't remember what. The repetitive hearing and memory part of my brain was damaged during the last election with the whole "I have 3 purple hearts."

David Mamet: Film maker I think. I think being the operative word. Yep - he's a film maker. And writer too. Too bad I havent seen anything he has made. Although friends of mine have. Friends who glow under blacklight, the black lint on their black outfits glowing a phosporescent blue. I remember them talking about him. Of course, that was back in NYC.

David Frum, Michael Issikof, & Laurie David: Well I dont know a thing about them, havent heard their names before. No idea what could make them so noteworthy.

Now heres the kicker - Ms. Huffington started this "blog" so all of you lucky "fly-over country" people could hear their opinions.

And I for one say thank god! Because we didn't have enough places that we could hear Hollywoods opinion on things, the industry "group-think" that we all should follow. Wait - theres one perfect example.

Barbara Streisand Quote: "The Bush administration, capitalizing on the horror of 9/11, had the perfect opportunity to wage a war under false pretenses and four years after 9/11, get away with failing to properly secure our borders, ports, airplanes and nuclear power plants."

I can't tell you how excited I get waiting for the next "Horror of 9/11" t-shirt to come out. Hey Babs, were YOU able to roll over in your warm bed - reach out and open the blinds on the window next to you - look out, and see the smoke rolling off the Towers while your girlfriend (wife now) screamed and cried on the phone? Were you living 1/2 a mile from JFK airport, all you could hear were sirens, and you sat cold and shaking on a warm sunny September morning? Did you have an uncle who lived 2 blocks away, a NYC Fireman - who no one could contact for hours because he doesn't really ever use his cellphone? And did you watch as 3 NORAD fighters escorted a flight from Canada into JFK airport, with news media training their cameras on them no more than 20 feet from where you stood?

Oddly enough - I dont think so. Plus - lets look at the date. Today is May 10th, 2005. The election was Nov. 2nd, 2004. Its time to get over it, and go on with your life.

And I say this to anyone who has the "not my president" bumpersticker. Yes, he is. And too damn bad if you dont like it. Thats what a democracy does - even a Republic like us (you find me one, ONE, true democracy anywhere), we go with the majority. And dont give me that crap about "Chimpy McFlightsuit" and how he and Rumsfeld and Halliburton conspired with Diebold to cheat the American People. It's a self-serving delusion. Im not saying one party has the lock on honesty, or one party is 100% right. Im saying grow up. Its because of people like Babs, Arianna, Bruce Springsteen, Ashton Kutcher (yep), and Bill Clinton that we keep hearing Hollywoods opinion. I am tired of it. Ive got a brain, Ive got eyes and ears - and Im not as easily decieved as Babs would like us to think we are.

I dont think any of us are.

But thanks Arianna, for giving us a look at what it will look like when the world of Blogging comes to an end. Collections of people trying to teach us something, for the greater good. I dont do this because Im trying to show you all something, I do this because I want to. Because I feel better when I do it. Because it becomes another resource for someone looking for information on Roanoke.

Its one thing to have pretty pictures of an area, its another to feel the area out through someone elses eyes.

Ms. Huffington - when all blogs become as preachy and impersonal as yours, then I shall call you Vanguard.


D'ya hear that?

theres a-rumblin goin on. And its not the coal train passin.

Forgotten Roanoke is rising. Keep your eyes peeled.

Aljazeera.Net - Cartoons - yes they have them

Allright seriously, If they can animate the political cartoons, AND make them so damn annoying *ie. ignorant* at the same time, why hasnt the NY Times, et. al. caught on to this?

Nod to Lileks for linking to this in todays Bleat.

Its nice to know what the enemy is up to. Sadly, I dont think theres anything we can actively do to fight that mindset. We have enough problems with sheeple believing this crap at home, overseas where our presence is not as overwhelming - what are we to do?

Old Navy ads arent going to change peoples minds, neither will Coke. As nice as it is to believe that exporting our culture will open peoples eyes to democracy, you cant export an appreciation for Freedom. We cant even get it noticed here, the Land of the Free.

Case in point: Hillary Clinton. A woman who should MORE than appreciate what freedom and liberty has provided her with the opportunity to achieve in life, and yet still she bad-mouths those same freedoms at every turn. Now I understand freedom and capitolisim are 2 different dogs, but they both run in the same pack.

I didnt really have a total point to this, except for this:

Thank you.

and again: Thank You.

V-E day. And some nations still forget.

And some people still forget.


that black thing, next to the black thing from the 40's. Its steam powered. Takes 20 mins to get up a full head of steam.

Ecto 1 has gone to purple!!!

you tell me..

so you know I have to play with photos.

This is in no way representative of the turnout yesterday at the Multi-fest. There were more people there than I actually expected. Elmwood Park (no pics of sadly) was wall to wall packed. enjoy the following photos.