Friday, December 2, 2005

Demon Rum: The Adirondack Winter Elixir

Alternet is offering a nice set of articles [one, two] on Rum the booze that changed the world. One of our favorite excerpts:

As the Prohibition and Temperance movements grew in strength patriotic prints of the first president and his officers were bowdlerized. The Currier and Ives print of [George] Washington’s farewell toast to his officers that was published in 1848 showed a glass in his hand and a decanter on the table. By 1867, the glass had disappeared, leaving him with his hand on his chest in Nelsonian mode, and the decanter had been converted to a hat! Successive biographers of Patrick Henry turned him from a former tavern keeper to an occasional tavern visitor, before dropping the tavern entirely from his life story.

And then there is this gem:

On January 15, 1918, a 58-feet-high tank built by the Purity Distilling Company split open and disgorged its 2.3 million gallons — 14,000 tons — of molasses. Like some glutinous volcanic lava flow, it gurgled across the North End of the city in a flood 5 feet deep that ran at 35 miles an hour, taking over twenty people in its path to the stickiest of sticky ends.

Molasses drownings aside, maybe its time for a Rum Revival! Check out:

Peter’s Rum Labels

Wikipeda: Rum Running

Rum Across the Border The Prohibition Era In Northern New York

A Coast Guard History of Rum Interdiction

The Epic Story of the Drink That Conquered the World

Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776

Rum, Romanism, & Rebellion: The Making of a President, 1884

We like beer, though we’ve commented before on liquor in the North Country, and on Homeland Security and Prohibition. – in case you missed it.


Friday, December 2, 2005

Adirondack Mountain Lions, Panthers, Pumas, and Cougars Oh My!

There is perhaps no wildlife question in the Adirondack Region that raises so many anti-government / anti-DEC hackles as the question of whether or not there are mountain lions (a.ka. cougars, pumas, panthers, catamounts) in them thar woods. People actually get angry… figuring that them city folk in the DEC just don’t know what they’re talking about, they don’t believe the locals, or they are hiding the fact that the big cats are around. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, November 6, 2005

Adirondack Natural History at Home and In Space

Two new developments in Adirondack Natural History. The Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks has announced they will open this July and an Adirondack Public Observatory is planned for Tupper Lake.


Thursday, November 3, 2005

At Your Fingertips: Great Adirondack History Search Tools

Google Print is finally here. It joins the Listing of Oldest and Rarest [Adirondack] Books, the Adirondack Chronology [pdf], Northern New York Historical Newspapers, the Southern Adirondack Library System’s access to Heritage Quest, Making of America, and the Harper’s Magazine Search in the really cool free Adirondack historic resources department.

A few of the gems from Google Print:

Charles Zinser’s The Economic Impact of the Adirondack Park Private Land Use and Development Plan

White and Beal, Acid Rain: The Relationship between Sources and Receptors (Excerpt)

Benson Lossing’s The Empire State: A Compendious History of the Commonwealth of New York

Jacob A. Riis’s Theodore Roosevelt the Citizen

From Lifehacker:

To search books that mention the printing press in the public domain in the U.S., search for: "printing press" date:1500-1923

International books in the public domain can be searched like so:

"printing press" date:1500-1846


Suggested Reading

The Adirondacks: A History of America’s First Wilderness


Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween / Samhain

Happy Halloween, the old Celtic Pagan holiday Samhain and the anniversary of the day Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. The old holiday was taken over by Pope Gregory IV in 840.

Also, the anniversary of the death of Houdini in 1926 and of River Pheonix in 1993.

For your scary enjoyment:

Halloween Night 1952
America’s Electric Chair
The Scariest Place in the Adirondacks


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Internet Stuff Sunday – Interesting and Bizarre

Vermont’s Diabologue recently had an interesting reminescence on the early days of the Internet. Say What? has added their own memories of the Commodore 64.

Some folks over at the BlueMoo.net Adirondack community board are worried about their kids holding their breath… yeah… big danger there.

And why we’re on Adirondack community boards, the amazingly dull Adirondacks Live Journal is looking for a new moderator.

In case you missed it… the Queensbury Pagan Day apparently rocked and people are surfing the St. Lawrence!

Oh yeah… got junk mail problems? Think of the fun you can have with this.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Two More Adirondack North Country Soldiers Killed in Iraq

Two soldiers from Lowville have been killed while serving in Iraq. Seamus Davey, 25, and Kelly Cannan, 21. Two more lives lost, two more families damaged. The son’s and daughters of the rich and powerful are avoiding the military like the plague and Iraqi veterans are suffering from plagues of their own.

Some facts from the last Gulf War according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (as of March 1, 2001):
696,661 U.S. troops served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and July 31, 1991 — these are considered “Gulf War Conflict” veterans by the VA

Of the 696,628, 504,047 are separated from service and eligible for benefits through the VA

As of December 1999, more than 263,000 sought medical care at the VA

Of the 504,047 eligible veterans, 185,780 (36%) filed claims against the VA for service-related medical disabilities

Of the 171,878 VA claims actually processed, 149,094 (80%) were approved in part (note — most claims are made up of multiple issues, if any one issue is granted, VA considers it approved)

Of the 504,047 eligible for VA benefits, 149,094 (29%) are now considered disabled by the VA eleven since the start of the Gulf War; and

Another 13,902 claims against the VA still pending.

More than 9,600 Gulf War veterans have died.

Conflict veterans are 51% more likely to have their claims denied than “theater” veterans (those who served in the Gulf since August 1, 1991)


Sunday, October 2, 2005

Lake George Cruise Boat Ethan Allen Tragedy

Ethan AllenThe 40-foot tour boat Ethan Allen has capsized on Lake George. It happened at 3 pm; 49 passengers were on board.

Update: The Associated Press is reporting 20 were killed, making it the deadliest such tragedy in the history of Lake George and the Adirondack Region. We’ve been told that the emergency room at Glens Falls Hospital was overwhelmed and forced to send patients to Saratoga Hospital. The AlbanyEye is reporting on the reporting. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

RIP: Barbara McMartin

Long time Adirondack resident, advocate, historian, and guide-book writer Barbara McMartin has died (more). She will be missed. The Adirondack Almanack owes a great debt to her rigorus study and appreciation of our region.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Adirondack Tops Supermarket Update

Adirondack Almanack reported on the Tops issue early. The latest from Champlain has Price Chopper moving in, but apparently not in time.

The [Tops] Champlain grocery’s lease with Pomerleau Real Estate of Burlington expires Oct. 1.

“We’re trying to get them to stay a little longer,” said Champlain Village Mayor Jeffrey Moore, hoping to have that grocer remain until Price Chopper opens next spring.

Ticonderoga looks out of luck. Elizabethtown may not be so lucky either (if that’s what you call getting a mega-regional chain in the place of a mega-international chain). You’ve got to hand it to the Press-Republican for working this story, especially considering all the serious news they have to deal with. Even if they don’t quite get it:

If Grand Union couldn’t make local operations profitable and Tops is looking for a way out of town, what’s to offer hope that another chain would come in? And, if not a chain, what local merchant would want to take on the responsibility for just one community?

Who do they suppose supplied these towns before the mega-marts?

This is a great opportunity to point readers to Dead Malls online. Wouldn’t it be great if folks near some of these dying strip malls could post the photos and give some details?


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Are the Adirondacks in for big snow this winter?

Apparently, according to recent studies: “The Great Lakes of North America, the planet’s largest concentration of fresh water, are thawing earlier each spring, according to an analysis of ice break-ups dating back to 1846.” Could it also mean a later freeze and more lake effect snow for our region? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a local media to explore this trend?

The latest Lake George freezes according to the Warren County Department of Public Works (full data pdf):

February 29, 1966
February 10, 1983
February 8, 1950
February 7, 1988
February 5, 1953

Years that Lake George did not freeze:

1918-1919
1990-1991
1994-1995
1996-1997
1997-1998
1998-1999
2000-2001
2001-2002

Largest single snowfall (Warren County):

38″ January 25-27, 1986
22″ February 16, 1958
22″ February 14-15, 1950
22″ March 3, 1994
21″ March 5, 2001
20″ February 4, 1961
20″ March 13, 1993


Monday, August 22, 2005

Fun in Minerva

Sometimes camping can be fun, sometimes not.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Adirondack and New York State Map Round-Up

Ever since Alan McLeod (host of A Good Beer Blog) turned us on to NYCO’s map of upstate bloggers, (and yeah, he likes maps too) and its recently inspired CNY ecoBlog’s local ecology news map, we’ve been wanting to do a really cool map round-up – so here goes:

If you don’t have Google Earth yet – you are missing out. Terra Server is great for a pay site that’s slow but provides nice printing capabilities, but Google Earth is just plain cool. The detail is amazing, just zoom in to Lake George and take a look at the sedimentation and you’ll see what we mean. Will this level of satellite photography and mapping eventually let us discover all those illegal camps and illicit dumps as well? We can only hope so – of course if we can see the world from space with a few clicks, can you imagine what big brother is doing?

It’s really something that Google Maps can give us a good idea of who dies first in a nuclear attack, but we’re more interested in the old stuff right? So here is:

And More Generally:

Yeah… maps are neat-o.



Suggested Reading

The Adirondack Atlas


Saturday, August 6, 2005

Congratulations Natural History Museum

A hearty “good job” is in order for the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks for securing another $5 million; by all reports progress is being made (audio), but the Almanack hopes they hurry, our natural world is going to be history before too long and the museum may be the only place left to get a glimpse.


Thursday, August 4, 2005

Ticonderoga Plane Crash: Murder-Suicide?

What do the band Phish, the regional airline Capital Airlines, a Connecticut scam artist, and Old Fort Mountain near Ticonderoga have in common?

Maybe a murder-suicide.

A year ago this month, an experienced pilot from Connecticut named Milton Marshall was flying his own twin-engine Piper Navajo chartered by 40-year-old Michael Keilty when the two crashed mysteriously into Old Fort Mountain just south of Ticonderoga cutting a “500 foot long swath through 60 foot [old growth] trees” (Press-Republican, Part I, Part II). Keilty said he was a pilot himself interested in becoming an investor in Marshall’s company.

Marshall had started his career as a professional pilot at the regional airline Capital Airlines in 1952. Capital became a part of United Airlines in 1961 but when Marshall retired in the 1980s he started a new Capital Airlines, a Federal Aviation Regulations Part 135 On-Demand Air Carrier (certificate number VRWA687I). “Quite a bit smaller in size, but not at heart,” the company’s website read.

Now, Marshall’s daughter Kathy Leonzi thinks the crash was no accident.

And oh yeah… Phish… who could forget the 1996 party they threw at the abandoned Plattsburgh Air Force Base in honor of the founder of the original Capital Airlines – Clifford Ball – and what a party it was (audio of the shows and photos) – it was the first of the annual Phish summer festivals and made Plattsburgh (temporarily) the ninth largest city in New York State.


Suggested Reading

Airports: A Century of Architecture