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Attention, Shoppers

To the Editor:

Hey Al . . . I’m not buying it.

In response to “Buyer, Be Quiet” [Al Things Considered, May 29], I just couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut (or my Dell QuietKey quiet for that matter). I have to admit that your specific reflections on the “lumpy, dumbfounded lollygaggers” at Crossgates Mall were lost on me. Due mostly in part to the fact that my lumpy, dumfounded self hasn’t frequented that particular consumer-driven post-Pine Bush bazaar for near-on a decade. I do, however, understand the fascination some people have with the whole vibration of consumerism. I inadvertently experienced it myself, standing too near the second-floor balcony rail one fateful Black Friday, but that’s a story for another day.

Your article did strike a chord with me due to my “most recent” tirade (to quote my friends and coworkers).

The purpose of this letter is to vent the fact that all those diaper-wearing, faceless, powerless, miserable selfish bastards you spoke of are (unfortunately) not staying home and “repeatedly pounding themselves over the head with a Wiffle® bat.” Instead, they are driving their sorry butts to Consumer Heaven in vehicles on common byways and they are making me feel like a driver on the merge of desperation.

To quote Cosmo Kramer, “Good Manners is the glue that holds Civilization together.” My issue is this: As we grow and consume, we must remember that the intrinsic values we hope to instill in future generations do not haphazardly reproduce themselves. Since the expansion of the Northway and Western Avenue to accommodate increased traffic (to Consumer Heaven), I have been a firsthand witness of decreased integrity. Exit ramps off huge highways must now converge into one forward-progressing lane. What a study in humanity!

Since a lot of the drivers I experience on this journey are of “my generation”—the crop born in/of the sixties who have been through everything from Woodstock I to Woodstock II, it’s our job to step to the plate and remind people of the pre-Woodstock II civilized world. I know we didn’t necessarily “Start the Fire,” but someone’s got to pull out of the rat race once and for all and exclaim, “Another two minutes on this road will not necessarily devastate my chance of acquiring the penultimate brass ring!”

The concept of “merging” (uniting, blending gradually) has become foreign to most of us on our daily pilgrimage for the making and spending of the almighty dollar. We follow the bumper in front of us with righteous dominion regardless of the you-go-then-they-go concept that the highway architects originally anticipated. So we either need larger, faster, more “excess”-able roads (more tar . . . less Pine . . . less Bush . . . no grass), or we need to remember the simpler concept of sharing—even if it means we are 30 seconds later to our Consumer Heaven destination. (In reality, maybe the last guy will finish first because he’ll hold on to his almighty dollar that much longer.) For those of you that understand the merge concept—I salute you! I will smile and wave as we further civilization by the simple act of you go, then I go (whether or not you’re going to Crossgates). To the others I will only have to tolerate your degradation so long—because eventually, what comes round goes round, so why not merge?

Susan Caputo
Clifton Park

How Does He Do It? Mirrors!

To the Editor:

You describe Michael Joyce as occasionally dabbling in conventional, “right-to-left” books [Night & Day, May 29]. When working on “right-to-left” books, does he prefer to write in Hebrew or in Arabic?

Kate Gladstone


To the Editor:

The Housing Committee of the Mansion Neighborhood Association is focusing on abandoned buildings in our downtown Albany neighborhood. The recent article by Shawn Stone [“Taking Stock,” June 5] was an excellent summary of the overall situation. We appreciate your coverage and hope to be able to report success in our efforts to deal with the problem here in the neighborhood.

Mark P. Yolles

A Simple Thank-You

To the Editor:

That’s a great piece by Tom Nattell, “A Bug by Any Other Name” [The Simple Life, June 5]! I’m passing it along to friends who will enjoy it as much as I did. My wife and I greatly appreciate the many good articles in Metroland.

Dan McKinley

Repeat After Me

To the Editor:

Great to see an article on the tricky and complicated subject of public-access cable [Newsfront, June 5]. Way to go!

My gripe is not with the article, but with any media’s use of the term “Saratoga” for Saratoga Springs, which the author did in this article: “. . . and Saratoga’s expires in 2004.” The author meant to say Saratoga Springs.

OK . . . Saratoga Springs is glitzy and fun and gambling and parks and shopping and it buys ads in your paper, but everybody calls it Saratoga.

The problem: It is not Saratoga. It is Saratoga Springs. Founded as such in 1843.

Saratoga is the Americanization of the native name, about 11,500 years old, which the natives used for a huge land area that is now mostly Saratoga County, but was also the western portion of Washington County. The town of Saratoga still covers a major portion of this original land mass. What shall we call that place? If you lived there would you call it Saratoga? The word Saratoga means Land of Great Waters. It referred to the Hudson River, the Battenkill, and Fish Creek (which flows from Saratoga Lake to the Hudson), and maybe even Saratoga Lake. The town of Saratoga is the mother town of the county. It has blue and yellow cast-iron signs to prove it. It is not rich and glitzy and gambling and parks but it deserves to exist and has a very rich history.

How about just saying Saratoga Springs? The city was founded as that. Why isn’t that its name? Allow the real Saratoga the right to exist. After all, the Battles of the Millennium took place there. For that much of American Revolutionary and world history, you could cut them a little space to exist in, couldn’t you?

Thank you for listening, and I hope you decide to be accurate and use the correct name of the city, which is Saratoga Springs.

Kathleen Bartholomay


Last week’s story on cable contract negotiations between Time Warner and local governments throughout the Capital Region [Newsfront, June 5] reported, incorrectly, that Saratoga Springs’ contract with the cable provider was to expire in 2004. The contract expired in December 2000, and the locality has been operating on extension since 2001 as negotiations continue.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at

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