Small Town Values

This is where I graduated from high school:

HUDSON FALLS — Numerous teens face criminal charges after a series of incidents in which they lured victims to places where they beat them and videotaped the attacks as they occurred, police said.

One of the victims later brought a knife to school to protect himself from further attacks, according to Hudson Falls Police.

Hudson Falls Police investigated three incidents in a matter of weeks involving different groups of teens, charging several people with conspiracy to commit assault and endangering the welfare of a child for incidents that happened at a home, in a convenience store parking lot and at Hudson Falls High School.

No serious injuries were reported.

The motive seemed to be the perceived thrill of assaulting other people, videotaping it and sharing the videos through electronic devices, Police Chief Randy Diamond said.

In a previous post I said my friends and I were no strangers to the police. That was true, but we never did anything like this. We never hurt anyone.

Start Your iPods

Double-stuffed this week, because there won’t be one next week!

  1. Smashing Pumpkins – Smiley. From their Peel Sessions. I like.
  2. Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band – My Gal
  3. Pavement – Date With Ikea. That’s a great, late, Pavement song. Melodic enough, slack enough.
  4. Boris – Electric. Grinding, screeching, noisy: Boris.
  5. Bishop Allen – Rain. Pleasant guitar pop. Probably would fit well on a triple bill with Vampire Weekend and Matt Pond PA.
  6. NiN – Gave Up. Wow. I haven’t heard this in forever. Classic fast angry NiN, live!
  7. Beck – Scarecrow. Another one I’d forgotten about. Good stuff.
  8. Hilkka – Last April. Very post-rock: angular and cyclical with spoken vocals, very Slint / June Of 44. Good, though!
  9. Elliott Smith – Needle In The Hay. Verses are good, but I do not like the chorus. He had better.
  10. Wye Oak – The Tower. I resist this album because they traded her guitar for synths, and I loved her guitar. But, these are good songs. Kindof a mid-80s feel.


That’s When He Reached For My Revolver

When I was 15, I bought a starter’s pistol. It was a full-sized revolver, and fired .22 caliber blanks. The barrel was blocked, so it couldn’t fire real bullets (and I doubt the chamber was strong enough to handle a real cartridge), but you couldn’t tell that unless you were looking straight into it. And this was before they had to put orange tips on all fake guns so, it looked exactly like a real .22 revolver. So cool!

We were 15 and terribly naive, and maybe downright stupid. So my friends and I took what we were thinking was just a loud cap gun and went walking down the main street of our town – a shootin’ ! And we shot the thing “at” each other. Bang! Bang! Not only did it look like a real pistol, it sounded like one, too! Loud as hell.

We were maybe a block from the police station, the whole time.

We turned the corner off the main street and onto our side street, walked about 50 feet and were suddenly boxed-in by two police cars that had silently appeared out of nowhere. We were pretty lousy kids, so this wasn’t our first meeting with the cops. But when the cops got out of their cars this time, their hands were on their guns. They told me to hold still, and one of them took the pistol out of my hand. Once they saw it wasn’t real, they relaxed. They asked us where our houses were and we pointed them out. Then they took each of us home and told our parents what we were doing. None of us got in any real trouble, but I never got my pistol back.

This was 1986.

I think of this now because I’m trying to figure out how that situation would turn out for a white teenager today. I’m pretty sure I know how it would turn out for a black teenager.

Mission of Burma – That's when I reach for my Revolver (1981)

Start Your iPods


  1. Pavement – In The Mouth A Desert. So that’s what this is called? It’s the “It’s What I Want” song, to me.
  2. Benny Goodman Quartet – Vibraphone Blues. Now that there is a descriptive title! No artsy obfuscation there, no sirree. Blues: check! Vibraphone: check!
  3. Van Halen – Secrets. On later albums, VH sometimes turned their backs pn the thumping cock-rock that they’re best known for and slid into a weird slack noodley pop thing.
  4. Modern Lovers – Dignified And Old. Yep. But I’d take old, if I had to choose between the two.
  5. Breeders – It’s The Love. That grinding guitar and the sing-song singing – it’s the Breeders that I like best.


Floor Ride

The floor does look better after its second coat. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was before. So, we’re going to have him finish the rest.

That means that tonight we all get to sleep in the ‘guest room’, where the cats are never, usually, allowed. A reward for them, for being locked in the litter box room every day this week.

Well, we had him finish the rest of the downstairs. We can’t stomach the idea of spending another four days to have him do the upstairs (which is in much better shape anyway). So, after many months of wrangling, we got a free floor refinish. But that is a nightmare of a process, if you live in the house. We’ve had to work from home, with the A/C off and all the windows open to keep from dying from polyurethane fumes. The cats are totally freaked out from being locked in a room all day and them coming out to see everything in a new spot. We don’t want to do another four days of that. But, what we got will be good enough. The floor guy turned out to be decent and reasonable, once the conflict was settled. The builder waves to us when he sees us now. Harmony is upon the land. And we still want to move because, when you get right down to it, we picked the wrong house for us. It’s nice, but it’s way too big and certain aspects of it are just plain wrong for two people and two cats. We like the lot we’re on, except for the road noise from that awesomely curvy road 600′ from the back door – a driving enthusiast’s dream, apparently. But, land is expensive, and the real estate market has softened a bit lately, so I’m weary of starting something new and being stuck with two mortgages.

There are worse problems to have.

Floor bored

It’s been a while since I mentioned it, but the saga of our floor continues nonetheless. Last time I mentioned it, we had just lawyered-up. We debated going to trial but dismissed that idea once the lawyer told us a few facts: a new floor would cost $XX,000; a trial would cost us about a third of that; in NC, you can’t sue for legal costs in these kinds of suits; a trial wouldn’t happen for a year at least, and it would be a constant fight during that time.

So, the lawyer wrote the builder a threatening letter, instead. That got his attention. After a couple of shouting matches, the builder acknowledged there was something about the floor that needed to be addressed. So, last winter, he had his HVAC guy install a full-house humidifier to bring the moisture levels up, which would make the wood stop shrinking so much. That did help (plus, my sinuses loved the humidity!). And he agreed to look at the floor in the summer, to see how the gaps and crowning looked after a few months with stable humidity.

Summer comes, his people come and look and everyone agrees there’s a problem with the floor. Just like we said. Just like the inspector said. Just like the lawyer said.

So, the floor guy agreed to fix the problem areas. He’d fill the small gaps and replace boards where he needed to. And that started yesterday.

He and his helper moved half of the furniture in our downstairs into the other half of the house, filled the gaps with putty, buffed it out, then put a new coat of finish on the floor. Looks like crap. The putty shows in the finish – when you get the light just right, you can see that it’s rougher. Also, because the tops of the boards are convex in many places, the putty evaded the sander and spreads out a cm or so from the edge of the wood. And because the putty is a uniform color and wood is not, you can see it pretty well in places. I asked him about that today and he said it will be fine after he does the second coat of finish today. We’re skeptical. We don’t want the floor to end up looking worse than it started, so we might not let him do the rest of the house.

Night. Mare.

Mrs. is frantically searching for land for a new new house.