Friday, July 23, 2010

Bill Gray's in Irondequoit

An absolute institution in the Rochester area, Bill Gray's has been operating burger joints since I was a kid, and that was more than 50 years ago.

With more than a dozen locations around town, Bill Gray's is an awesome place to satisfy the inner burger craving that lives distinctly within all Americans.

Their burgers are always excellent, as are their hot dogs, Italian sausage, onion rings, fries and shakes. Bill Gray's also offers chicken wings and an assortment of sandwiches to satisfy any taste. All of their restaurants offer eat-in with plenty of seating and take-out.

Their Irondequoit store is conveniently located on Ridge Road between Hudson and Portland at 869 Ridge Rd E. Phone number is (585) 342-9070. All locations accept cash and major credit or debit cards and are handicap accessible.

Look for BOGO coupons in the phone book or various local media or on their website.

Your can also view menu.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The List: Things I need to start up a local (Rochester) web site:

  • Domain Name, check, got it,

  • Hosting: I'd prefer to trade for advertising with a local ISP, but will go with a larger, national company if I must pay actual cash.

  • Computer: Check, got my Mac PowerBook G3 (though I need to upgrade the OS, need a battery and maybe buy a new computer).

  • Scanner: Mine (UMAX Astra 1220S) quit about 3 weeks ago, so that needs to be repaired or replaced.

  • Digital camera: Have a working one, Kodak 225, though it's about 8 years old - still takes great photos and works with my software.

  • Car: Actually, I have a surplus, a 1992 Olds Sierra and a 1990 Chevy Van, both run, though they look ugly.

  • Office: Since I work from my home and actually have more space than I need, I see no need to rent space.

  • Phone: Yes, no problem.

  • Business Cards: Will need these once I get the site hosted and running.

  • Working capital: Not much needed, so I can supply most of it myself. Will consider offers for partnerships.

  • News: Much of this is going to have to come from the community. I can maybe do 3-5 stories per day myself, but my time is going to be at a premium..

  • More news: Send your press releases or news by email or send to Downtown Magazine, 29 Owen St. Rochester, NY 14615 for now.

  • Ads: I figure I need about 50 regular advertisers to break even, so I'll be selling most of the advertising myself.
  • Advertise Your Rochester Business
    Your ad could be on this blog and on our new site
    email: Rick Gagliano

  • Ad software: I have an ad rotation program, plus I reworked a couple of forms into a nifty text ad creator which emails me the results.

  • Tech help: How many students at RIT are majoring in web design or internet technology?

  • More ads: Willing to work with agencies and will pay standard fees.

  • Site design: Going to do the basics myself, of course.

  • Promotion: I'm looking to partner or trade with other area media, but have a concept which could become huge.

If you have any ideas or can fill any of the above needs, contact Rick Gagliano at 585-458-0498 or email me.

The site,, will launch on or about May 29-30.


Monday, April 16, 2007

April Snowstorm, Part 4

Overnight, the temperatures barely touched the freezing mark as my ice cube was about 60% melted by 9:00 am. As of this writing, it's about 35 degrees and snowing (and has been all morning), though the snow simply is not sticking much. There's a light coating of wet, partially white slush on some parts of the ground and cars. The roads are wet and not really a problem for drivers. It's simply not cold enough for the snow to accumulate. As soon as it hits a surface, it's pretty much melting.

While the local weather forecasters were scaring the bejesus out of the locals, the real storm is wreaking havoc to the east. Syracuse is reporting about a foot of snow, and the coastal cites, especially New York and parts of Long Island, are flooding because the storm there is all rain, heavy rain, and it's been falling for a day now. The East coast is a real mess.

It's noon here, so time for the forecasters to update live. I just checked on the back porch ice cube and it's about 85% melted.

OK, Lynette Adams reported for Channel 10 (WHEC) from Charlotte, that waves on the Lake reached 8 feet, though their footage - both live and recorded - showed waves as high as maybe 4 feet at most. It's still a little windy near the lake, though it's not bad here on Ridge Road (about 4 miles inland). The trees are barely moving, but the effect of the light wind (8-20 mph), above-freezing temperatures and steady light snow/rain mix is keeping anything from accumulating on tree limbs.

John Stehlin (best voice on local TV) on Channel 8 (WROC) is reporting a wedge of warm air moving in, and saying "maybe" quite a bit concerning any snow accumulation. The other stations are pretty much admitting defeat, calling for at most an inch or two of accumulation in the metro area, though spots South and West are getting anywhere from 4 inches to a foot on the ground.

Whatever precipitation we get here is supposed to trail off by late afternoon, so this "event" will be pretty much over by the time people are getting out of work.

So much for what some of the TV forecasters had been calling a potentially "historic" weather event. As usual, the media has to scare us into paying attention, and, again, they've delivered poorly. It's a complaint you'll hear from me often. Sure, sensationalism sell papers and gets big ratings, but it's not responsible journalism.

I'll leave an ice cube out on the back porch for Josh Nichols. He can use it to backbuild.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

April Snowstorm, Part 3

It's calm and mildly chilly outside right now - as it has been all day and night - though you might not be sure of that if you'd been watching the 11:00 local weathercasts.

The "historic" storm that was supposed to dump 6-12 inches of snow on the Rochester area seems to be more mythical than historical. All three of the local stations downgraded their forecasts at this hour, though Josh Nichols - whom I usually trust - seems to be holding out hope that there will be some devastating weather to contend with on Monday morning. I actually got the feeling that Nichols was more defending his reputation than trying to provide an accurate forecast.

Nichols (WHEC, channel 10) downgraded the forecast to 2-4 inches after 6:00 am on Monday and kept using the word "backbuilding" of the threatening snow, which is somehow to supposed to magically grow in intensity and descend upon us while the temperatures are in the mid-30s.

I found his report to be more than just suspect, but on the verge of being non-credible. One of his cohorts said the Lake Ontario shoreline would be buffeted by 9-11 foot waves. I've never seen waves higher than 6 feet on the lake all my life, so I may just head down there tomorrow with a camera.

Channel 8 (WROC) downgraded their forecast to 1-4 inches by morning and an additional 3-5 inches during the day Monday.

Channel 13 (WHAM) dropped their forecast total to 1-3 inches, with 3-7 in higher elevations. All three stations predicted overnight lows around 32 degrees and Monday highs of 35-38.

My empirical observations are light, almost non-existent winds, temperature just above freezing. I checked the ice cube I put out in the open air on the back porch at almost 11:00 pm, and there was almost nothing left of it. I'm putting another ice cube out there to see if the temperatures actually fall below freezing overnight.

Overall, the weather forecasters totally misled the public on this one. The threat of heavy snow in Rochester was at best a 50/50 shot and they never should have predicted anything more than 4-6 inches. According to my pedestrian overview of online weather maps it now looks as though the general Rochester area will see no more than an inch or two, if that, though we are getting a healthy Spring rain.

April Snowstorm, Part 2

I've just finished watching the local weather forecasts on 8, 10 and 13, and they're all on the same page, pretty much. Channel 13 (WHAM) had what I considered to be the most measured predictions, looking for only 3-6 inches of snow in the Rochester metro area. Channel 10 (WHEC) is calling for 7-11 inches, while Channel 8 (WROC) says we'll see 6-12.

Personally, I don't buy it. I've been watching the storm off and on all day and haven't seen a lick of snow. Josh Nichols on WHEC
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was showing some webcam views, and said there was snow falling in downtown Rochester, but it was really difficult to see any. I think Mr. Nichols is trying really hard to look good, but he's stretching it a bit, asking us to see things that aren't there.

I'm about 2 miles north of downtown and there's not much evidence of snow yet. I'm seeing some mix now, but temperatures are only going to drop to maybe 30 degrees, so I don't expect this to measure up to much. The TV weathermen are calling for a sloppy drive Monday morning, and maybe they're right, but they're going to need a big hand from Mother Nature.

The weather forecasters have been warning about this storm for nearly a week and now that it's finally.... almost... nearly here, it looks like a paper tiger for Rochester.

I'm putting an ice cube out on the open back porch. That's usually a pretty good indication of how cold it really is. (For those who forgot their 3rd grade science lessons: water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.)

New Normal Redux: April Snowstorm

It's early AM and it's raining. Weather forecasters are calling for something like 6-12 inches of snow. Being that this is April 15 - usually the day I submit my tax returns - it's somehow fitting that instead of rushing to the the post office (tax day has been moved ahead to April 17) Rochestarians will instead be treated to an ugly dose of wet, sticky snow.

I'm watching the water hang on the tips of tree branches outside as the wind picks up and shakes the cold droplets off. Freezing rain with a layer of snow on top could pull down limbs throughout the area and there's little doubt of that occurrence taking place at some point somewhere in the region.

Most of the heaviest snow is supposed to fall in the Catskills through
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central and Eastern New York later tonight when (as the weather pundits are saying) the storm re-develops.

I got a peek at the local radar off TV just a minute ago and the storm seems to have slipped by Buffalo and Rochester for now. Checking the maps at the radar shows a huge green blob over the entire East coast.

This is a huge storm; it's the cold air and snow that's perked up the antennae of the "global weirding" crowd - people who see climate changes beyond the usual suspected "global warming" scenarios. Global "weirders" have bought into the theory of unintended consequences - that there may be more perverse aspects than what scientists or other experts suggest, like snow in Spring.

Well, I'm off to start a local newspaper. More on that later.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Normal: Winter Arrives Three Weeks Late

Well, there's finally some snow on the ground. It came as somewhat of a surprise to the roses and other small flowers that began to bloom in the past three weeks. And it's not likely to last long either. I have decided not to shovel any of it, figuring that most of it will have melted by tomorrow.

My trusty snow shovel has now not seen action since late February of 2005 and I'm pushing for 2 full years of non-shoveling bliss. I doubt that I'll make it, despite the outright manifestation of Global Warming we've witnessed recently. NOAA reports that 2006 was the warmest year on record, by a blistering 2.2 degrees over the averages from the 20th century.

Also of interest is that five states (New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire) set records for warmth in December 2006. The implications for the future are manifold. In Minnesota, ice-fishing tournaments have been canceled because many of the lakes haven't frozen over. Utility bills have been slashed from previous years (a welcome relief for many) and how would you like to be the proud owner of a ski resort? Or a fleet of snow plows? Word has it either are available at bargain prices.

The weather has been the story thus far this winter (beyond the lost but not forgotten Fast Ferry). If you have any doubts about the effects of Global Warming, you can check out this exceptional study by the Union of Concerned Scientists titled Climate Change in the U.S. Northeast.

Among their interesting findings:
Since 1970, the region has been warming at a rate of nearly 0.5oF per decade. Winter temperatures have risen even faster, at a rate of 1.3oF per decade from 1970 to 2000.

Since 1850, for example, the date of spring ice-out on lakes in the Northeast has shifted earlier in the year by nine days in the northern states and 16 days in the southern part of the region.

First-leaf dates have advanced two days per decade from 1960 to 2001, while first-bloom dates have moved more than a day earlier each decade.

What these and other findings mean, in human terms, is that when Scott Hetsko or Glenn Johnson report that our high was X degrees above normal, they're actually off by roughly five degrees in the winter (and 2-3 in the summer), as the "new normal" - using figures from 1970 to 2005 - are significantly higher than the overall average.

The science also posits that spring now arrives on average 8-10 days earlier than the usual March 21. Winter is becoming a very short season, generally commencing early in January and ending early March. Instead of the brutal long winters many of us became accustomed to in the 1950s and 60s, the winters of the future may be milder and only two months long.

Here's a link to the overview page. The actual report is available for free download as a PDF. Must reading if you plan to live anywhere in the Northeast for an extended period of time.

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Travesty: Bills Blacked Out Again.

The Buffalo Bills-Miami Dolphins game this Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium is not sold out and will not be televised in the NFL-ordained market area, including Rochester. Sunday’s game is the third consecutive blackout of a Buffalo home game and it comes at a time when fans are actually excited about the Bills. The team is playing well and we've already missed on TV a win over Jacksonville and a close loss to San Diego.

Fans are being short-changed by the league, especially since the recent renovation of "the Ralph" was financed in part by tax dollars. With ticket prices in the stratosphere (from $36 to $64), rapacious parking practices ($10 to park your car within any reasonable distance from the stadium) and beer at $8 a pop during games, is there any wonder that people would rather stay home, save money and watch the game in comfort?

The best thing that can happen to the Bills and all of the overpriced sporting events is for people to stay away in droves. Maybe then the NFL (and their goofy NFL network experiment) will get the message that players are being paid too much and fans are (as usual) bearing the brunt of the greed by both the owners and players.

About 4,000 tickets remain and can be purchased at the stadium box office, The Bills Store in Eastview Mall, and all Ticketmaster outlets. Tickets are also available online but the best advice is to just skip it. Neither Miami nor the Bills have much of a chance to make the playoffs - and though it should be a good game - it's not worth the effort to sell out a game that already is 95% sold out.

What a bad joke and a sorry holiday message from the Bills organization.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rethinking Winter

The recent spate of warm weather may not be great for skiers and snow boarders, but I'm loving every Fahrenheit of what has to be an unintended consequence of global warming.

Normally, by the middle of December I've already resigned myself to spending most of the next three months indoors, wearing multiple layers of clothing and dreaming of beaches in semi-tropical climes. After last winter, and combined with the unusually warm temperatures in the area, I'm rethinking this winter in grand and unusual ways.

On Tuesday, I spent the latter part of the afternoon drinking a few brews and cooking out on the grill in my back yard. The experience raised a number of issues, not the least of which was the realization that I'll need more charcoal if winter fails to materialize in all its usual blustery glory. The weather has generally been warm enough to allow comfortable outdoors grilling more often than I'd thought possible. I noticed that I haven't brought the garden hose inside yet. Maybe I'll just leave it out all winter.

Additionally, my beer budget will have to be reworked since being outside is much more amenable to downing a couple of cold ones than the indoors experience. And so too, my exercise routine is being reworked. Instead of the stationary bike I usually pedal during the cold months, I've tuned up the regular 12-speed that I ride the rest of the year. Sadly, most outdoor tennis courts are without nets, but the positive part is that I won't be hitting any practice serves into the net.

The whole experience has been eye-opening to me and consequently has engendered a couple of firsts for me. Last winter was the first time I could recall that I did not shovel any snow. Having lived in Rochester or Syracuse through roughly 45 winters, I have a solid memory of shoveling. Never before has the shovel collected rust rather than snow.

The other first occurred this week when I turned the heat completely off for a full day. In my memory, I've never done that before during the month of December. Sure, it was a little chilly, but I'm expecting my gas bill this month to be a record low for December (oh, I can hear the screaming and wailing from the utility companies now... and I love it.).

Just in case there's any doubt about the effects of global warming, one might want to check out this article from the UK about the warmest Autumn in recorded history, with records dating back to 1659 (um, the United States wasn't even 13 colonies back then).

For the celsius-challenged here's a conversion calculator.

What troubles me about global warming is not so much the economic impact it's going to have on coastal communities when the sea levels rise to engulf multi-million dollar mansions, but that we have no reliable gauge to how warm our weather is actually going to be. I'd like to know if I can go out and enjoy a Saturday night on an outdoors deck instead of a stuffy bar or whether I should wear shorts and a tee or slacks and a sweater.

I guess I'll just have to play it by ear. In the meantime, I'm canceling my two weeks in Florida with a "why bother?" shrug and cleaning off my golf clubs.

And to those of you who shelled out multiple hundreds of bucks for a snow plowing contract... bad move.

I'll see you at the next luau...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

'Doc' Warner: Man of Mystery

I am one of maybe three people in Rochester who dutifully tunes into NewsTalk 950's (WROC, 950 AM) On The Line Radio Saturday mornings at 9:00 am.

The past two weeks, however, I haven't been able to hear its host, Kenneth 'Doc' Warner, warble on monotonously for the better part of the hour. Last week, the show re-aired the production from October 15, and this week, the host who "works overtime so you don't have to" has been preempted by a show pimping longevity pills. At least it's better radio...

But that's just the beginning.

Warner, who, as far as anyone can tell, is not a "doctor" of anything. He also doesn't return emails - at least not mine. I've tried to connect with him, offering suggestions on how to improve the broadcast (like, kill the Three Stooges music, stop interrupting your interviewees...) but the good doctor apparently can't read, thinks his show is perfect as is, or is harboring a deep-seated resentment dating back to the mid-80s, when he almost became my partner in the wildly successful venture known in these parts as Downtown Magazine.

One thing we do know about the mysterious Mr. Warner is that he's a self-proclaimed "political operative" (read: paid shill) who was the driving force behind the election of Bill Johnson for mayor, a couple of times, as he used to remind us every week.

At the very least, I'd like to be able to heap blame on Warner for working so hard to promote people who have helped ruin the city, but he's MIA, ostensibly working overtime on something other than radio.

Thank goodness.