Time certainly flies! Back on April 16th we had the second meeting of the CNY Bloggers group, this time at Kitty Hoynes. Many of the people who came to the first one were at the second, along with some new folks. I can’t find the sheet now to list all the new people unfortunately, but it was a good time nonetheless.
There was one guy who made a very interesting impression however. His name is Larry Dietrich, and he’s the editor in chief for the Syracuse New Times. His presentation to the group was simple – write for us! In essence, something he’s like to see is more of a local flavor for the New Times online, and he’s reaching out to local bloggers to help do this.
It’s an interesting concept, one that reminded me of Huffington Post, so I asked some questions and answered a couple as well since I’m familiar with the concept in general. Each person approved would get their own byline and a link back to their blog. One can decide to write new content or post something that’s already on their blog; they don’t have the ability to repost via RSS so it would be a copy and paste situation if one went that route.
This is the kind of thing that takes some forethought. As the New Times figures out just what they really want, local bloggers would also have to figure out a few things.
One, time commitment; if someone is accepted will there be a request for a certain type of regularity that the blogger might not be capable of?
Two, will a blogger be limited to one post a week or can a blogger have multiple posts?
Three, if a blogger disappears for a long time, will they automatically be removed while their content stays?
Four, how many people who write will be allowed to write on the same subject? For instance, within the group are multiple people who write about food, designing and saving money; would those clash with each other, as well as the general goal of the New Times?
Of course the major benefit is potential traffic and notoriety. The majority of local blogs don’t come close to the traffic figures the New Times offers, and even those blogs ranked higher probably aren’t known by as many local people as they are people from around the world (I’d count myself on that one because of a couple of my other blogs). I know a few local people who’d be great writing for the New Times.
There is no pay, which is something that irked a lot of HuffPo writers when the creator sold it for lots of money so you might as well get that delusion out of your head. And yet, if your missives brought traffic to your blog and website… who knows right?
At this juncture I’m waiting to hear from Larry, who said he was going to reach out to me at some point. I’m on the fence because I write a lot already, and yet being able to reach more local bloggers than I do now, even with this blog… that would be hard to turn down. What do you think of this prospect?
A couple of days ago I went to the Oncenter to pay my respects to this year’s version of the SOHO Business Show, aka SOHO Syracuse 2013. That stands for “small office/home office” in case you didn’t know. It used to be every October but they didn’t hold it last year and it looks like it’s switched periods with the major chamber business show… that is, if they’re actually having it this year.
I like the Oncenter, although it’s so big that sometimes it feels pretty cavernous. They always hold this show in the main showroom and it’s basically a bunch of booths set up where businesses get to hock their wares and services, there’s lots of banks and investment organizations, most of the local chambers of commerce will have a presence and of course local and state organizations that offer assistance to small businesses.
For the first time they actually had some presentations in one of the corners, which is the same type of thing the main business show usually has. I only got to hear a small piece of one, that being put on by my buddy Todd Engel of Engel Law Offices, and I only heard it from afar because I was getting ready to leave for reasons I won’t disclose so I didn’t get to sit down & listen to any of it.
Usually the SOHO show is a big more muted than the big show and this year was no exception. I often feel bad when I’m walking through the aisles looking at some of the businesses that are presenting that don’t have anyone stopping and talking to them and wonder whether they feel they’ve lost their money or not. Of course I’m not there for the entire show so it’s possible that they did do some business, enough to cover the expense of setting up a booth.
I made it through all the booths in about 90 minutes. The only reason it took that long is because I did stop to talk to some of my favorite people and participated in some taste testing. For instance, there was Yummies Cheesecakes, who gave me a sample of peanut butter cup cheesecake on a stick; very tasty, and this comes from someone who usually hates cheesecake. Dinosaur BBQ was there again with some pulled pork & sauce, and for the first time that I can remember Speech’s candy was there giving out samples of chocolate covered potato chips; I loved both. I spent time talking to Theresa Cangemi of Medicare Made Simple and John Hunt of Movin’ 100 and my local consultant’s group.
All in all, even if muted, I probably had the best time out of all of the SOHO shows I’ve ever attended and I even learned a few things here and there. What I especially learned is that the Oncenter is honoring black soldiers and veterans this month, and a couple of the images I’ve shown here, though a bit hard to see, are from their exhibit, which is spaced out but still something to see. Any small business that have never partaken of this should do it at least once; maybe next year…
Usually I have lots of pictures to share of my local adventures but this time the topic warrants something slightly different. I’ve been sitting on this story from February written by Carl Schramm for Forbes Magazine titled By Forgetting Its Proud Economic History, Syracuse Loses Its Future, knowing I was going to write about it eventually but wondering how I was going to do it.
The story garnered a lot of attention locally, lots of it negative. People in general didn’t like it, and it got to such a fever pitch that the author ended up writing a second article backing up the first and basically saying we were missing the point. And he’s from the area so he should know what he’s talking about.
There’s almost always two sides to every story, and I’m feeling both sides of this particular story. I have to get this part out of the way; he’s not wrong. We don’t like how he said it and what he said but he’s not wrong. We can’t ignore that our mayor declared that the city would probably be bankrupt by 2014; that’s only a year away. We can’t ignore that the Syracuse school system is in the hole to the tune of around $50 million. We can’t ignore that the city’s pretty much only collecting taxes on 68% of the properties in the area. We can’t ignore that manufacturing has left the area and that our unemployment really hasn’t dropped as much as we probably need it to.
In the two years this blog’s been in existence I’ve written on some of the problems of Syracuse and central New York as well. I started out talking about assessment issues. We lost our symphony orchestra. I wrote about Syracuse schools & their problems. I talked about issues with Loretto, problems with Erie Blvd East’s crackling infrastructure, the ignoring of small businesses by the main Chamber, Shoppingtown Mall and the Galleria. Those aren’t pretty stories to be sure.
On the other hand I’ve talked about some of the good things the city has to offer. I talked about community theater, Armony Square, multiple restaurants and local networking, the Regional Market and Destiny USA.
Of course, Mr. Schramm might say that’s not quite enough to offset the problems of the city. I’d say that’s true, but I’d also say we have lots more to come. Syracuse University’s new Maxwell Center is creating a whole new breed of entrepreneurs, and a guy named Nasir Ali is working with leaders in town to help keep them here. The downtown area, at least parts of it, are going through a regrowth and rebuild and more people are moving into that area, living in luxury apartments, and there’s talk of creating another new neighborhood near Destiny. The Tech Garden continues to help create new business ideas and works on keeping those ideas in central New York, and the area is starting to be known as a technology power in its own right.
In other words, though I said Schramm was right, he was also wrong. So no one knows who Lyman C. Smith is (I’m sure he only means those of us who don’t go to Syracuse University. I bet most people under the age of 30 don’t know who Lee Alexander is, a guy who was probably the best mayor the city of Syracuse ever had, even if he turned out to be a crook.
The reason I and my buddy Phil point out some of the bad things in town isn’t to make the area look bad; it’s to make sure that when all this new stuff is coming into the area that no one forgets to fix these other things as well. It’s the same reason there’s a petition going around now looking for the demolition, clean up, and revitalization of the area around Carrier Circle. Those of us who are still here are proud of our area, love our area, and want to make sure someone in a power position knows it and tries to do something about it. And the rest of us are ready to offer suggestions if asked… or offer those suggestions on our blogs if we’re not asked.
Syracuse and the rest of central New York is in transition. And we’re doing it faster than Buffalo or Rochester or Albany. We’re doing it faster than Cleveland and Detroit. We’re going to get it done; who’s with me on this thought?
I love cartoons, although I lean towards Warner Brothers and most older cartoons of that type. I also love art… okay, art that I can understand. I may not understand Picasso all that much but I had a feeling that I would easily understand the latest art show that was titled “Tooned In” that was exhibited at the Tymeless Tattoo Parlor in Baldwinsville this past Saturday night.Isaac Bidwell, who I interviewed at the link that’s attached to his name. This is actually the second art show he’s led that I’ve gone to in the same location, as there was another one held around Halloween that also had a lot of great pieces, some admittedly scary but still very fascinating; I can’t believe I didn’t write about that one.
Below you’ll see some of the other pieces for which I took pictures of so you can see the types of work there was. I tell you, there are some very talented people in central New York, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it in my own way. I just wish I was a better photographer. Be sure to click on the images to see them as they were actually taken, as I had to show them this way for formatting purposes.
I thought about writing this after the season was totally over, which includes the NCAA tournament, but changed my mind. For me, with this being the last in the Big East, I felt it was more important to write about that than whatever happened in the big tournament. And if Syracuse happens to win it all… I’ll be back.
In my opinion this was Jim Boeheim’s best coaching effort in a very long time. We went into the season with really only two tested starters, that being Brandon Triche and C.J. Fair. We had no idea what we were going to get out of anyone else on the team; that’s the truth.
What did we discover?
We learned that we had a diamond in the rough in Michael Carter-Williams who, when he’s on his game, is quite spectacular. Unfortunately, he might as well have been a freshman because he wasn’t on his game as much as we needed him to be. That’s not really his fault, but comparison’s have to be made.
Early in the season national pundits had him suddenly being a top 10 lottery pick. I was missing that one; was he as good at Pearl or Jonny Flynn or, even Sherman Douglas? For that matter was he as consistently good at one of his coaches on the bench, Adrian Autry? My opinion, no; if he stays another year and improves his shooting, possibly. He’s not NBA ready; if he leaves he’s done.
We learned that we weren’t going to get any offensive help from the center position. DaJuan Coleman was Fab Melo all over as a freshman; too big, too gawky, and too slow to fit in the defensive scheme. Our hope is that he develops as Fab did for year two because, truthfully, he’s got the most offensive skill out of the 3 men who play center.
It was amazing what Baye Keita did in the Big East tournament but I’m not sure I believe he’s going to be an offensive threat yet; the dude’s got the weakest hands in the league. And Rakeem Christmas… man, I don’t want to pile on the guy, but I had expected some improvement from his freshman year & this team didn’t get it.
We learned that when James Southerland is on the floor Syracuse has a chance to beat anyone… when his shot is on. He had an up and down season which included those missed games in the middle and I think if he gets an NBA look it’ll be because he showed some other talents this year which the team needed; rebounds and an inside game. His ball handling is a liability but in the NBA, they have people who handle that a lot better.
C. J. Fair is going to come out next year as someone who’s going to be gunning for a top 10 look in the draft. He’s the most consistent player Syracuse has had in years and his game has gotten better every year. He’s the guy inside I think we all thought Christmas was going to be, the most overlooked forward in the nation,and I think he’s going to be a star next year, if not in this year’s big tournament.
Trevor Cooney… dude’s got to get his confidence because as it is right now he’s starting on this team next year. One good game in the Big East tournament doesn’t equate to a season. Gerry McNamara, someone who should know, says he’s lights out in practice; he needs to have a killer instinct, be tougher, and prove he can do it in a prominent program. And Jeremy Grant… he played like a freshman with talent, and I see him taking over Southerland’s spot and bringing a different dynamic to the position next year. If he adds 15 pounds… watch out.
Finally I’ve got to talk about my man Brandon. For 3 years I watched him make a mistake and then hang his head and I always cringed seeing that. This year he stopped doing that, and for 3/4ths of the year, he was the man in my opinion. Then his confidence went after a magnificent game against Louisville on their home court; I’ve never seen that before. He kept trying but when you’re pulling up on almost every shot you take, that’s nerves. I kept “willing” him to greatness; guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Still, with all of this the Coach got them to 26-9 and, in what I considered as the true final Big East game, beat the hated Georgetown Hoyas from my past, although today’s kids seemed to think our biggest competitor was Connecticut; p-shaw!
Just imagine what this team would have been had both Dion Waiters and Fab Melo come back. Of course, every year we say something like that don’t we? In the end this team had heart and I was happy to see that, regardless of the Louisville debacle. Coach Boeheim helped them find their heart, and that was great to see. This was also one of the best defensive teams I’ve ever seen; that served them well as it gave them a chance in all but 2 games this season.
A fitting end to a more than 30 year run in the Big East. Next year we tackle the southerners along with Pitt and Boston College (who?). It’ll be competitive for sure but it won’t feel the same. So I’ll cherish this year’s version of the Orange for their grit and wish them well in the big tournament.