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

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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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LIFE IS A BEACH

Beach7513 004Last day of vacation of a sucky, rainy week, we decided to take a ride to the beach of our separate (but connected) youths. The drive up Route 5 along the lake passed through bright sunshine to overcast skies to smatterings of rain (some downright monsoon like). But we continued on.

Evangola State Park was the place we went for a day of sun and fun, picnic lunches and escape. It remains the same. However, it looks different. Maybe it was just perspective from childhood to the verge of my senior years. But the essence of it was Eerily familiar.

Grabbing the blanket and radio (and with umbrella in tow) we headed through the park to the shore, getting caught in a downpour before our destination. Under a tree, we debated ending the trek and returning home. But, just as suddenly the rain stopped.

Down the ramp to the sand, barefooted and determined, we found the beach deserted. No one, save for the two guards still on duty.Even the gulls were few. The skies changed but our connection stayed strong. As the rays of sun made an occasional appearance, it reaffirmed our believe in a greater power. My wife and I took our leave in the expanse of this Lake Erie shore. Even one day at the beach, albeit a rainy one, was just what the doctor ordered. It was sill a good day!


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TRYING TO CUT THE MUSTARD PLAYING CATCH-UP

I’m a poet mostly. I dabble in musical composition and short fiction. Screenplays and scripts for stage become the rage on occasion. And juggling all those balls is an eventual losing proposition.

Getting the word out (or multitude of words out) is akin to reaching into the haystack without a glove. Sooner or later, you’re going to get stuck. And on more than one happenstance. Chances are you fall far enough behind that you give up the ghost and recoup, starting somewhere in the middle.

So I fiddle around with my muse, choosing to saturate my poetry places with pieces of verse and curse the day I discovered like sounding words. Time constraints (and those of a more physical nature) have handcuffed me somewhat, keeping the glut of work I am apt to pen to a manageable minimum.

As of this moment, I think I am at par with the rest of the jackbooted poets, at least on the sites I have chosen to frequent. Keeping up with the Jones and Whitmans and Wordsworths takes some effort. I relish the opportunity, cutting the mustard playing catch-up and being dog tired.

I think it’s lunch time. I just made myself hungry!


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RETROGRADE

Screw George Jetson!

His space aged flying sportsters are still a pipe dream (although it seems we’ve pretty much nailed Jet Screamer on the wall sized television sets!) The move forward keeps taking steps backward.

When I was a kid with visions of having my license, I saw a Mustang, or Camaro, or a Challenger or Charger in my future. Rather myopic, agreed! But I was a kid. Give me a freakin’ break. And before I could realize owning any one of these, they disappeared from sight (or had gotten ugly enough to not even be considered.) I mean really, who the hell envisioned a Dodge Charger as a luxury car Cordoba wannabe. Fine Corinthian leather, my ass!

So on my drive in to work this morning, in my reliable and roomy family car (a gas guzzling S.U.V., you tree hugging bastards!) I noticed I was in a string of cars that included of all things a retro-Mustang, a revamped Camaro, and awesome looking Charger and a reincarnation of the old Dodge Dart. Four-for-six, an awesome statistic.

In my day, I came close. My first car, a ’72 Plymouth Duster, was a pretty awesome car (and would have made a great “project car” now – but family obligations blah, blah, blah…) and a two time try in Pontiac Firebirds (Camario’s poorer cousins – a ’77 and an ’80). But as always, no cigar!

So I live vicariously through your cars as I go through ice, mud and snow. I guess for the time being, the only way to go!


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BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF… ROY HOBBS

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Iris Gaines: You know, I believe we have two lives.
Roy Hobbs: How… what do you mean?
Iris Gaines: The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.

                             ~ Dialogue from “The Natural”

Movies if well made, stand the test of time. In this Baseball classic based on Bernard Malamud’s novel, “The Natural”, the hero Roy Hobbs steps out of a self-imposed obscurity to become the best ball player in the game. The lessons learned in a lifetime of learning gave Hobbs the basis for a new future after baseball.

The stadium and other venues around Western New York, became the backdrop for many of the scenes in the movie, The Natural.

With big names like Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Kim Bassinger and Darren McGavin setting up shop here, Buffalo took on an almost surreal sense. Seeing familiar sites portrayed as clearly as day on the big screen, gave Buffalonians (auto-correct wants to change this to Babylonians) another sense. It gave them a sense of pride.

War Memorial Stadium (the “Rockpile”) became Knight’s Field, home of the fictitious New York Knights. The original home of the Buffalo Bills of the AFL, and long-time home of the Buffalo Bison Baseball club, the “Rockpile” took on legendary status here (as did the Memorial Auditorium, “The Aud”, where the Buffalo Sabres – ‘NHL’ and the Los Angeles Clippers (as the Buffalo Braves ‘NBA’) had their beginnings.)

The “Hotel Ellicott” in the movie changed the function of the Ellicott Square Building. ESB is an office complex which at the time it was built hailed as the largest office building in the world. The site also claimed the first dedicated movie theater known to exist. It was named for Joseph Ellicott, the purveyor who planned the then Village of Buffalo.

My favorite building in the area, the Buffalo Central Terminal stood in for the Chicago Train Station, with interior scenes captured there.

The candy shop where Roy Hobbs and his girl Iris meet while the Knights are in Chicago, is in reality The Parkside Candy Shoppe keeping its name and function, although losing its location on Main Street in Buffalo.

Buffalo’s All-High Stadium doubled as Chicago’s Wrigley Field during the filming of “The Natural”.

The NYC Maternity Hospital that Roy Hobbs was taken to was “portrayed” by the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The center currently is not open to the public. Crazy, right?

Other memorable scenes in the film include: South Dayton, New York as the Water stop / Carnival where Roy strikes out “The Whammer” on three pitches as the Hobbs Family farm found its location in Stafford, New York.

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Other films had their origins in and around Buffalo, but not to the scope of “The Natural”. It shined a bright light on the city and people of Buffalo and the surrounding area.

For more in-depth descriptions of these locales,
visit FORGOTTEN BUFFALO