Best of 2006

Best Winter Workout: Rock Ventures

Over the years, I’ve played most sports, from lacrosse to golf, baseball to cross-country. I’ve played the ones that make no sense for a short, spindly guy, like volleyball and football. And now, as I approach my athletic dotage and all my peers turn toward golf or tai chi, I have returned to an adolescent love. Yep, that’s right, I find stuff to climb and, well, I climb it. The reaction of pretty much everyone that doesn’t climb is: “You’re going to kill yourself.” Truth be told, that’s part of the fun, but I’m not off my gourd. You see, Rochester offers one of the best environments for learning to climb and learning to climb safely: Rock Ventures. I had scoped out the place a few times, but was always hesitant because it sounded like the training process would take forever. I showed up with a companion and we were climbing a half hour later. Even without the crest of a mountain from which to yell, the rush of hitting the top on their wall routes is heady indeed. Rock Ventures is the place to discover your inner gym rat.

Best Store Mascots: the cockatiels at Mercury Posters

How do I define impersonal? Let me see- the help line for my DSL service; most high-rise architecture; and chain stores. How would I add some personality? I know – vocal inflection; granite gargoyles on the second floor; and in-store pets. Just a few suggestions: black cats in Barnes & Noble; Black Angus cows in McDonalds; peacocks in Abercrombie & Fitch; etc.- I could go on, but we are here today to honor those establishments that already have a mascot. With nods to golden retriever Kobe at Rock Ventures and the Cinema cat, we select Gordon (r.i.p.), Lucy, and Rocky as our 2006 Best Store Mascots. Gordon moved on to that great birdcage in the sky last December, but Lucy and Rocky continue to greet customers in a way that inspires return visits. Truly, you have never perused posters until you’ve done so with a cockatiel perched upon your shoulder, shaking its head in disapproval over that cheesecake poster you’re selecting instead of the Vermeer reproduction. Well, let me tell Lucy just one thing- that girl with the pearl earring was the Pamela Sue Anderson of her day. On the other hand, Lucy did save me from papering our house with wall-to-wall Thomas Kinkade.

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