IT'S JUST ANOTHER DAY

A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.


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BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF… WILLIAM McKINLEY

Leon Czolgosz assassinates President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition, 1901

A new century was dawning and Buffalo held the spotlight as it hosted the Pan American Exposition in 1901. (See Here, There and Everywhere – “The City of Light” and the Pan American Exposition). On September 6, 1901, U.S. President William McKinley had visited Niagara Falls with his wife before heading to Buffalo, New York for the Pan-American Exposition. The plan was to spend some time greeting the people at the expo.

President McKinley was positioned inside the Temple of Music building at the Exposition, Many people had been waiting for hours in the heat to meet the President. Unfortunately, among those waiting outside was 28-year-old anarchist Leon Czolgosz who had plans to kill President McKinley.

At 4 p.m., the building was opened and the throng of people were funneled into one line entering the Temple of Music building. In an organized fashion, the line of people approached the president. The “visit” was the briefest of moments… a quick hello and shake of the hand and then rushed out the door again.

President McKinley, the 25th president of the United States, was just starting his second term in office and the people appeared happy to get a chance to meet him. But, at 4:07 p.m. anarchist Leon Czolgosz moved into place to “greet’ the President.

Czolgosz held a .32 caliber Iver-Johnson revolver, which was wrapped in a handkerchief.  His covered hand was noticed as he reached the President, It had been a hot day, and many of the visitors to see the President had been holding handkerchiefs so as to wipe the sweat off their faces. 

When Czolgosz reached the President, President McKinley considering Czolgosz’s right hand injured, reached out to shake his left hand. The assassin brought  his right hand up to President McKinley’s chest and then fired two shots.

The Assassination of William McKinley – Wikipedia

The Assassination of President William McKinley – Crime Library

The Last Speech of William McKinley – PBS.org

Images of William McKinley at the Pan American Exposition, 1901 – University of Buffalo Libraries


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HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE – THE CITY OF LIGHT AND THE PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION, 1901

cropped-1280px-pan-american_exposition_-_ethnology_building_at_night.jpg

The Ethnology Building in the evening
Pan-American Exposition, 1901

 

When you hear the term “City of Light” people presume someone is referring to Paris, France. They would be correct in that assumption, The Age of Enlightenment had Paris as its center of ideas and education. Its intellectual preeminence earned Paris its title as the City of Light. The lighting of its city streets in the last quarter of the 19th century reinforced Paris’s claim on the moniker.

In the early 20th century, the city of Buffalo, New York began calling itself the City of Light. Plentiful hydroelectric power from nearby Niagara Falls helped support that claim, but also because it was the first city in America to have electric street lights. During the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, this was made clearly evident, as the illumination of the buildings and avenues made night time enjoyment of the “world fair” of sorts, a reality. The area where the exposition was held shows very few reminders of this landmark happening during Buffalo’s early days. Interest in the event waned quickly when United States President William McKinley was assassinated while receiving guests at the expo. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz was responsible for killing McKinley and vaulting Vice-President Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency.

The Pan-American Exposition of 1901 played an important part in the development of Buffalo as a city, as it shined a spotlight literally on the “City of Light”

Find more information about the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 at these sites:

Pan-American Exposition – Wikipedia
“Doing the Pan” – The Pan-American Exposition
1901 Pan-American Exposition Buffalo, New York Photos


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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES

Post Blizzard of 2014b – Day 1: A dusting covered the cars and the municipal snow plows spewed onto the groomed apron of my driveway. But no snow was falling when I left for work. The roads were snow covered, but scraped down and the ABS brakes on my car give me the sensation of grinding my teeth badly. A slow trek, but what the heck my driving skills needed to be challenged. And they were.

There was that idiot in the BIGGER SUV than mine whose balls paled in comparison to the plastic prosthetics that hung from his trailer hitch. There was the lady who drove like NASCAR was a slow joyride. The elderly gent who was hell bent on skirting into the McDonald’s parking lot to take his place amongst his cohorts after nearly swiping the utility truck, was a moveable obstacle for sure. And to think I stayed home yesterday in part to avoid driving in the hellacious blizzard conditions, only to take my life into my hands the day after.

Their antics did not make them better drivers. Their reckless attitude toward others on the road, never mind themselves, was an affront to common decency. Twenty-four hours after the “city of good neighbors” pulled together in our weather induced dilemma, it was business as usual in the self-centered minds of these morons. It’s as if a cheer went up in unison. “Hooray for me! Screw everyone else!” A very telling comparison. What a difference a day makes!


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IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK ALOT LIKE… BLIZZARD

I live in “Buffalo”. I love my four seasons. But in years where three of the four are Winter… I’m not a big fan. There was a recorded blizzard in January. Municipalities shut down. Schools closed. Driving bans were instituted. And the snow blower got a serious work out.

Flash forward to this morning. Conditions right for a recurrence. A second blizzard in a season. Blizzard of 2014a and Blizzard of 2014b. Having “survived” the Blizzard of 1977 and all subsequent snow jobs, I have been tempered to such folly. Who am I BS-ing? I hate this crap. Give me a White Christmas and I’m a happy little elf. But on March 12th, I’m ready for Spring, or what passes for Spring around here. But the Snow Miser is giving us another B-Slap. And we take it (like we really have a choice). It’s days like these that have me missing Jimmy Griffin, former Buffalo Mayor. He had the perfect solution for times such as these: “go home, buy a six pack of Genny (beer), and watch a good football game.”

James D. Griffin

James D. Griffin

Since football season is a few months away, I think giving Genny a great big hug would be a great way to honor the man. But in spite of that I’ll keep thinking this thought. This snow blows!


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SPEAKING OF IMAGES

So expanding into other areas of poetics I finally read my poems live before an audience of art patrons. I had performed before audiences in my Ed Sullivan days (working with local Buffalo Beatles tribute band, Beatlemagic), but this was me speaking in my voice… in my own words, written in interpretation of extraordinary photographic images by Paula Sciuk.

Pausa Art House 19 Wadsworth St. Buffalo, NY

Pausa Art House
19 Wadsworth St.
Buffalo, NY

The venue was a quaint art house in the Allentown (famous for its Art Festival) neighborhood, in the shadow of Kleinhan’s Music Hall. Pausa Art House hosted Paula’s collection and I was honored with an invitation to “perform” my works based on selected images.

I had butterflies for sure, but being presented with the last set which featured my work, I had time to find my composure and focus on the task at hand. My intent was to shine a light on Paula’s vision without detracting from it. From her reaction, I believe I did exactly that. When my last words left my mouth and I heard the patrons applaud, I felt validated. People who came to see wonderful works of art, hear fine musical interludes and fits of poetic madness (not to mention the wine and cheese) were treated to a sensory feast.

I certainly had a long overdue experience in presenting my words to people who had not heard them before. They didn’t know me from a baggett, but they enjoyed (or appeared to) the merger of sight and sound in the cause of celebrating Paula Sciuk’s artistic endeavors. Hopefully, after having a taste of public exposure (I kept my shirt on – not THAT public exposure) I get another chance share my poems.  

For a further glimpse at my night and the image and poems combinations, see SPEAKING ABOUT IMAGES at Through the Eyes of a Poets Heart