Just a note...

Something Ive been remiss upon.

Mrs. Forgotten-Roanoke would like you all to know that theres a commercial filmed downtown which is constantly being aired now. She wants to know if anyone else can identify the commercial, and the location.

Theres a prize in it, a brass filligree with gold oak leaf.

Write in with your answers and the Mrs. will let you know if your right.

end of the year

I've never been one to really celebrate New Years, mainly because its just another day as far as Im concerned. So Here's to the end of 05 and the beginning of 06.

Ooh, exciting...



Odeo: Forgotten Roanoke: The Pod

I told you it was coming. The final podcast of 2005. Another year gone, a new one lies ahead. Contained within the podcast are some notes for the new year, an announcement, and some hints as to whats coming. And some soothing jazz.

By the way - 4 bank robberies in 6 days? Come on, wheres Kojak when you need him.

Odeo: Forgotten Roanoke: The Pod

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Busy day.. busy day

So Im going to take the day off from the blog (remember, final festive podcast tomorrow. The Great Holiday Hangover) before we end this random meandering through time and space and get back down to the business at hand.


So in my absence today, I am going to point you in several directions at once.

First: Chef K has a long and deep post about the lastest restaurants Roanoke has lost. Find it here.

Next: Something you all should be aware of, and using as part of your daily internet experience. Del.Icio.Us Tagging the internet one site at a time. Plug in your search term, and stand back as the sites you know, and sites you never knew existed flood your screen.

Also: The Forgotten-Roanoke store on Cafepress.com. Not much to look at, but if you see something you like - then its not so bad.

Finally: Ever wonder how you can find the dumbest news stories of the day, quickly and easily? It's simple - It's Fark.

Or you can always go trolling through the site over at Forgotten-Roanoke.com to amuse yourself.

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with a new podcast, some new postings, and absolutely no "Best/Worst of 2005" lists. I hate those things.


Remember when lyrics meant things..

Pantera - "Cemetary Gates"
(you all know it, scream along)

Reverend, reverend,
Is this a conspiracy?
Crucified for no sins
No revenge... beneath me.
Lost within my plans for life,
It all seems so unreal.
I’m a man cut in half in this world,
Left in my misery.


The reverend he turned to me
Without a tear in his eyes.
It’s nothing new for him to see,
I didn’t ask him why.
I will remember...
The love our souls had sworn to make.
Now I watch the falling rain
All my mind can see now is your (face).

Well I guess
You took my youth
And gave it all away.
Like the birth of a new found joy,
This love would end in rage...
And when she died
I couldn’t cry,
The pride within my soul.
You left me incomplete
All alone as the memories now unfold.

Believe the word.
I will unlock my door...
And pass the cemetery gates.

Sometimes when I’m alone,
I wonder aloud,
If you’re watching over me
Some place far abound.
I must reverse my life
I can’t live in the past.
Then set my soul free,
Belong to me at last.

Through all those complex years
I thought I was alone.
I didn’t care to look around
And make this world my own...
And when she died
I should’ve cried and spared myself some pain.
You left me incomplete,
All alone as the memories still remain.

The way we were,
The chance to save my soul...
And my concern is now in vain.
Believe the word,
I will unlock my door...
And pass the cemetery... gates


The way we were,
The chance to save my soul...
And my concern is now in vain.
Believe the word,
I will unlock my door...
And pass the cemetery...




Do you remember...?

Remember the smell of a brand new blank audio-tape? Fresh from the packaging, it seemed to have a fruity scent. Does anyone ever think of these things anymore?

Anyone remember sitting by the radio with your finger hovering over the record button waiting for a certain song to come on? Remember "College Radio" and the new and different musical styles it brought to your attention?

Remember the buzz you got when you heard you favorite "Im the only one who knows about them" band was coming to play some dive? Remember when you could actually get to know the band before the show, because they were usually sitting at the bar?

Remember the rush before your first gig as a musician? No matter how bad you were, your friends came out to support you - mainly because you put them on the list and got them in for free.

Remember how the first time you heard a serious crunchy guitar, you wanted to move... it reached down inside you and made you move.

Maybe you discovered the feeling that drives a pit, or maybe you just found that deep anger that fuels revolution.

Remember that guy whose cousin played in that band that got signed and was now huge? What ever happened to that guy, and that band for that matter?

Remember your first concert? The first one you went to willingly, in a stadium or arena? Thousands of sweaty, stinky people all screaming in unison?

Remember your first show? Closer than you ever thought to your heros? With maybe a hundred people or so all deep into the music.

Remember when your friend's brother (who was in a bad with the guy whose cousin got signed) turned you on to something so different it nearly hurt?

For me, it was the first time I heard "Cemetary Gates" by Pantera. I was a Quiet Riot/Skid Row/Slayer kinda guy, and had not yet heard of Pantera - and at first I thought how lame... buncha pretty guitars and stuff - then the crunch hit. And the lyrics sank in.. To this day I can still quote gospel and verse from the book of "Cowboys from Hell." Can probably still hit the double-bass kicks.

Growing up in NYC, on the border of Queens/Nassau provided me with unusual opportunitys to get in with some of the bands that to this day, still command respect. I've lost some friends along the way, some have vanished - others have passed. But those guys will always be friends, brothers.

There was always a project - always a plan. Write a few dozen lyrics - turn them into songs - play loud. Simple.

None of my bands were all that high-tech, we were pretty simple. Although, when a metal band employs a horn section and back up singers - for a grand total of 28 people on stage at once, I don't know how simple that is.

Unfortunately, as cool as it all was - all good things must... and must they did. The scene turned to mold and mildew. Clubs closed, one turned into a church. Which is ironic in its own right. Scenes came and went. Concepts too.

To all those who have ever played The Spiral, The Pyramid, Spit/Raw, Nostradamus, Detour, Industry, Coney Island High, or any of the myriad clubs around NYC back in the day including that one in Forest Hills that had a pool and the Raven (the converted warehouse space owned by some band), or even a small open mic night in a coffeehouse on Long Island: Good show.

No one has come close to anything like the scene was back in the day. Now load out, and get back to your day jobs.

PostScript: I was remiss in forgetting 2 places that meant so very much to me, not much more than holes-in-the-wall, but important none the less. The Right Track Inn, and Hammerhedz/Februarys, or as we call it - HammerFebz.


roanoke.com - Business Stories -Wish list

Ive been running this one in my head since it published on Saturday... you should be thankful I waited to post about it till now, the previous ones would have been angry and flame-worthy.

But here goes something...

Whose wish list is this? No public polls were done, no mention of anyone personally mentioning they would like to see "_____" come to Roanoke. I have my own wish list, but no one asked me about it.

This seems more like reasons NOT to open a business here, rather than reasons businesses should open here. And for the median household income in the Roanoke MSA to be $39,000 in 1999 - well, can we not get more recent figures than that? The Roanokegov.com website has the figures listed at Household Median for 1999 at $39,288 and the Family Median at $48,206 for the same period. And which MSA includes the Franklin County side of the Lake? Because that alone should cause the numbers to skew higher, and Roanoke recieves a large share of the Lake traffic coming into town for whatever they come into town for.

The 2003 adjusted per capita income level is $32, 107, with a lower cost of living than most of Virginia (with the exception of Lynchburg). Believe me, companies take C-O-L into account when determining wether to open a location.

So even if you look at the overall $32,000 as 100%, and the C-O-L comes in at 92.8% (bad math, but the point is made the same with good math) that still leaves 7.2% of the income as "free" in the sense that it is gravy. It can be saved, spent, or invested. And you might not personally see it, but with careful budgeting - you do actually have money to burn at the end of the month. That money to burn is the biggest lure any business can have.

If you spend 10% of your monthy salary on food - and 7% of that goes to groceries, then that leaves 3% open for dining options like eating out, take out, and the like. Might not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference when you have local businesses competing with national franchises for your dining dollar.

But examine the companies on the alleged "wish list": Nordstrom, Chili's, The Melting Pot, Panera Bread, Kohl's, Crate & Barrel, & Chico's. These are not businesses one would visit on a regular basis. With the exception of Kohl's, which is just another version of Target/Walmart, none of the above listed are going to consume a chunk of your retail dollar.

Nordstrom is a novelty, with clothes more expensive, but quality no different than you can get in existing stores here in Roanoke. And style-wise - no different either. Drop the grand illusion that its some sort of shopping mecca, its another department store.

Chili's would be a repeat of the franchise places we allready have, with a slightly different menu. Panera bread is being trumped by the Atlanta Bread Co. which is opening in the spring/summer of 06 over by the new Finks on 419. We will not need Panera, considering theres On the Rise, Wildflour, Heartland bread, and others in the area that are pre-existing and well recieved.

And as for the Melting Pot, I find it hard to believe that a fondue place can really exist as a single-concept restaurant. I will have to defer to Chef K on this one, but I can see maybe going once or twice in a lifetime to a Fondue Restaurant, but Im not that into the 70's or Fondue.

What Roanoke needs can be done locally, with little effort really. There is a company called Eatzi's, which is essentially a prepared gourmet food supermarket. From fresh baked goods to wines to entrees and sides - all under one roof and prepared by actual chefs daily. They opened one in NY close to my home, and it was nice enough - but in a market saturated with ready-to-go meal options, it had a hard time catching on. It was also in a less-than-desireable location traffic and parking-wise.

From what I understand, even though they closed the one in NY, the company itself is still thriving in other locations. That would be a interesting addition to Roanoke, something you could return to time and time again, wether for a whole meal - or just a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine. Oh, and dessert.

As for the development at Tanglewood and Valley View - there are no straight stories. Everyone I ask has a different version, and if you think back to last year - the fall I believe is when the rumor of Kohl's coming to Tanglewood began to surface. Now the rumor is TJ Maxx is moving down to the Brendle's end of Tanglewood to take over that end, merging itself onto just one floor. 6 months ago it was Kroger that was alleged to be taking over the former Brendle's and moving the entire store down to the other end of the mall. And with all this speculation about Valley View and Tanglewood - what about Crossroads and Towers - still plenty of land to work with, as well as the Williamson Road corridor. Something food-oriented, be it supermarket or similar will need to locate itself near downtown to serve the incoming familys who will be living there by years end.

Personally I have one wish to see here - a supermarket known as Pathmark. A company both my wife and I worked for at one time, where the current CEO is a woman who started as a Part-time bookkeeper. Not unlike Food Lion in some regards - but more midscale between Food Lion and Kroger. Possibly closer to Ukrop's, but that remains to be seen. Part of me would like an A&P (now known as Waldbaums) to return to the Roanoke area.

But thats the short list, I will wait before going into detail.

New York Pizza Shipped Anywhere in the US, traditional pizza, new york style, make your own pizza

Found this today on the internets. Sounds like a good idea and the prices are reasonable. I don't know about the shipping prices though - haven't ordered a pizza yet. Probably will order bagels though when they launch that.

On a side note here, a word about pizza in Roanoke.

I've had NY Pizza out in Vinton, and it's... acceptable. But it is not NY Pizza. As far as Ive seen there is only one place that serves true (to the best of their ability) NY Pizza in Roanoke.

Frank's at Hunting Hills. Hands down the BEST pizza in Roanoke. Now if only they will start making Zeppoli's, life would be perfect.

But Goodfella'z, Papa Johns, Domino's, theyre all awful. Pizza Hut is acceptable as long as you do not confuse it for actual Pizza. Billy and Chico's looks good - but I have not had a chance to try it yet.

Fork in the Alley makes a great wood-fired oven pie. But here's a minor complaint that goes along with the pizza places... Unless its a meatball, chicken cutlet, veal cutlet, or similar Hero, its not supposed to be hot. I've had this problem a few times now, and each time I have had to bite the bullet and eat a hot italian cold cut sub. Next time Im going to say something ahead of time, and make sure that no one actually thinks its acceptable to serve a hot hero with lettuce and tomato.


Forgotten Roanoke's Store

Well you all want some high-end stores here in Roanoke, according to the Times.

Heres one for you, my store. Not exactly filled with stuff, but its nice enough - clean and well lit. The staff never hassles you, and we accept nearly all forms of payment - gladly at that.

If you feel so inclined, head on over to the shop and poke around. Most of the shirts have designs both front and back, and every bit of profit we make goes back into the website.

More news on that to come...


Twas the night of Christmas Eve....

No, Im not that good at rhyming.

Lets just tell the story, shall we?

I was this kid, see. I lived for Christmas. I even enjoyed the ritual deployment of the Nativity set, the careful placement of the various animals. We also, for unknown reasons, had a bunny in the manger. A little plastic bunny. Everyone's got a right I guess...

My biggest fear at Christmas was watching The original Sesame Street Christmas (Sans Elmo) with Big Bird waiting on the roof for Santa. To this day I still get a chill when I think of the normally harmess bird, with the fangs of ice hanging off the end of his beak... well - thats how they looked to me. Back in the days of analog, broadcast television.

Oh - and of course, the opening sequence of the various Sesame Street Muppets ice skating. That was kinda scary too, but in a different way. Did not know they had legs. My bad.

So anyway, Christmas Eve was the night of nights. When the family would schlep to our house, and eat - drink - make merry, play cards, Trivial Pursuit - whatever till the wee hours of the morning.

My bedroom was just above the dining room, so as I got older and spent more time up there - I grew accustomed to the sounds coming from the room below as I fell asleep on Christmas Eve.

Well, before that time, my biggest luxury at Christmas was sleeping on the pull-out sofa in the den. It kept me on the same floor as the entire party, just removed enough that I could hear them as a murmur. It kept me in direct eyeshot of the tree, and the empty space below. Talk about hard to sleep, but yet sleep I did and always would wake up at 5-6am to find that somehow, defying all youthful logic - the empty space was no more.

How can you describe the first gleaming visions of a tree lit in full splendor, darkness still beyond the windows and presents of all sizes underneath? I don't think you can, unless you go deep inside yourself and relive the moment.

Now in the den/spare bedroom there were two windows. One which looked over the driveway, and a 2nd which looked out to the garage and backyard. Laying on the sofa, my head would be both in perfect view to look out the crack in the door and see the glow of the tree, and look out the window over the driveway. Not much to see there, just a wall on the neighbors house. And the shadow of our roofline.

Understand, this was NY - which meant lights cast shadows in places there should be none. The shadow of a houses roof was not all that uncommon.

I know at some point I began to get drowsy, and possibly nodded off to the sounds of a game of 31 (like blackjack, but not. and played for 75 cents total). And as my eyes would fitfully open and close, alternating views between the glow of the tree and the light in the window, I can remember seeing fleeting shadows on the roof. Im not talking about full sleigh and team shadows, just quick shadows. And the sudden realization that everything in the house had become still in less than a moment.

No noise, no cards shuffling, none of my aunts playful accusations of cheating. Not even my dog moving. Just those memorys of a shadow on the roofline and a dim red glow showing in a place where even with a ladder, no one would attempt to create an illusion. To this day I can still picture the glow, even though the shadows have faded from my memory.

There was nothing much special about that Christmas Morning, I cannot tell you what gifts I recieved. But that instant moment when the world was silent, and mystery stepped in has been enough to keep me going all these years. I will not say if Santa is real, but to me - he is real enough. The spirit of what Santa stands for resides in all of us, year round. We just tend to ignore the small red glow.

Its the same light in the darkness that is talked about in religion. And all of them have the same idea, so I cannot say it is specific to any one.

"...And there to that light
That young Child showed to me
All the things that he dreamt
All the things that might be
How for everything given
That something was gained
Strike one match in the dark
And all the world's not the same

And then I asked that Child
Why this night has a star
And he said, "So we'd know
That we could see that far"

Roanoke has a star too.. ever wonder why? Perhaps something beyond the commercial reasons? Something larger than Roanoke? It's hard to think otherwise sometimes. This town is special, for whatever reasons.

Well, Im not about to launch into a homily on the virtues of Roanoke, but you get the general idea.

If Santa ever decided to move south, Im sure this would be his retirement choice. Or maybe he is allready here, among us.

Merry Christmas... more to come later in the day.