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Sad Hobo

To the editor:

As I read the feature “A How-To Guide for the Happy Hobo” [May 7], I immediately noticed assorted inaccuracies and downright dangerous advice you offered to your readers, plus many omitted helpful suggestions.

Perhaps you meant the entire piece as a jest?

“The other . . . white meat”: While “tripas” in Spanish is translated as “intestines”, it also can mean tripe in the English sense, which is cow’s stomach, especially honeycomb tripe. I can’t swear to it, but I believe menudo is made with stomach, as well as being an ingredient in Philadelphia pepper pot soup (viz. Campbell’s) and, a sheep stomach features prominently in Scottish haggis. Intestines are a whole ‘nother thing, being best when someone else prepares them, what with the endless washing and hours of cooking that leaves your house redolent of their former contents.

“Plan for Emergencies”: You neglected in your mention of the Morning After Pill to suggest that Planned Parenthood also offers free condoms (last I checked) to help prevent those emergencies, as well as to sort of prevent transmission of STDs . . . big omission!

“Cheap Community Chow”: For those truly in need of a meal, or some clothing, and can’t wait for the monthly dinner or annual gagage sale, the Capital City Rescue Mission offers free meals every day to Albany residents, and free clothing at their Blessingdale’s “shop”; just don’t abuse the opportunity and go there if you don’t really need to, as you’ll be depriving someone who really is in need. Other organizations offer free meals on certain days of the week for the truly needy.

“CDTA”: Make sure you get a day pass ($4), as otherwise you must pay a fare ($1.50) each time you board a bus . . . no more transfers. And if you are riding a bike to save the bus fare, be reminded that in Albany it is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk if you are over 10 years of age.

“One Man’s Trash”: You encourage readers to “shop” on tree lawns. While this may be in keeping with the spirit of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” the city of Albany maintains that items placed on the tree lawn belong to the city, that to remove them is a violation called “scavenging,” and that scavengers are liable to arrest and fines! But, the traditional pastime of collecting recyclable cans & bottles from tree lawns (Albany doesn’t want them) and redeeming them (washed beforehand, perhaps at a spigot in the park?) at Price Chopper, provides exercise, fresh air, cleaner streets, and a reward of up to $12 a day. You can purchase quite a bit of food and supplies by careful spending of that $12.

“Brew YOB”: The process you suggested for making dandelion wine seems fraught with possibilities for deadly food poisoning, other diseases, explosions, and more, and you didn’t even offer a real recipe! Another jest?

The Albany Public Library offers much more than lectures, periodicals, books, computers and public rest rooms. There are free computer classes: Brush up on Word, Internet, etc. skills to help in your job search; free films from time to time; workshops in all sorts of engaging and practical subjects. Monthly bus rider meetings are held there, as well as Literacy Volunteer help, and free income tax assistance, which can be extremely helpful when circumstances change radically. Plus you can find free books on the rack in the basement.

“Viva la Revolucion” and “Just don’t eat the lead”: If you plant too close (within 50 ft.) to streets or roads, your veggies will absorb all those heavy metals and poisons from car exhaust, and you will subsequently ingest them—ugh! There are community garden plots available, and food pantries. The local regional food bank has a farm where it grows fresh veggies for the food pantries.

“Sock Puppet Theater”: The Cooperative Extension 4-H summer camp in Albany is a very very economical (nearly free) opportunity for activities: swimming, field trips, crafts, lunch. Check it out!

Free entertainment: Albany in the summer has occasional carillon concerts from City Hall that can be enjoyed from the nearby park benches; the “Alive at Five” series of music; the weekly entertainment at the Ten Eyck plaza fountain at noon events in Washington Park. Then there are the frequent band and orchestra concerts at the College of Saint Rose, the free movies at the uptown and downtown SUNY campuses, the free events at the Empire State Plaza, free concerts at the Palace Theater; and lots more.Schenectady has many free events in the park in the summer, too.

In short, while the article is an attention-getter, it seems that those multi-authors might have checked out their suggestions a bit more carefully.

Elaine Clawson


Not My Mommy

To the editor:

What is going on with our local government, have they gone mad? From my perspective, most of them should be thrown out of office or at least receive some sort of training not to waste the public’s time and money with these absurdly ridiculous notions for new laws [“Guns and Buttercream,” Newsfront, May 14]. It seems like they are treating the general public as if we were children anywhere from 4 to 20 years old, which in turn makes them look like they are 4 to 20 years old.

Why does the county need to know which weapon a legal and licensed gun owner buys ammunition for, as if that will somehow change the mind of some crack fiend from robbing or shooting someone with an illegal or borrowed gun? Why don’t they put that money into preventing the crimes from happening in the first place? They could start by cleaning out all of the corruption in the drug market in Albany, either by actually arresting all of the dealers instead of taking hush money, or by legalizing it.

And the thought of them banning trans fat, what the fluff? If people want to eat or be fat, let them, isn’t it their perogative? Sometimes I tell my children they can’t eat any more ice cream or candy, but Dan McCoy is not one of my parents, and I am a grown adult capable of making educated decisions by myself. It’s not like it is impossible to buy food without trans fat in it, so why impose and inconvenience others by trying to tell restaurants what they can and cannot put in their own ingredients? What’s next: ban on salt, sugar, spices, and then loafers . . . you can’t wear them you might get fungus on your feet?

I can picture a spawn of all of these illegal trans fat parlors all over the place. And what’s to stop the restaurants from just using it anyway, I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to disguise, then what . . . we will spend a hundred thousand dollars a year to employ police officers to continuously take samples of restaurant’s ingredients, take them to a lab, and analyze them? I can picture a swat team busting into Del Monico’s with guns running into the kitchen to taste the food. I’m reminded of that movie Demolition Man.

If these local representatives can’t come up with anything better than promoting a nanny state, I say tell them to stay home and shut up. Stop wasting everyone’s time and money with this garbage, enjoy your undeserved high salary, and leave us alone!

Chester Gould


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