Monday, July 24, 2006

Are you ready for this?

Cue up the 2 Unlimited and crank on the fog machine, because the irresistible pairing of David Blaine and the Shenendehowa High School cheerleaders are coming to a capital city library near you.

And if that’s not enough, New York State Librarian Janet Welch, a heavy-hitter among librarian circles, is also slated to appear along side the unlikely pairing of adolescent cheerleading and celebrity magic. Together, the trio will appear at the Albany Public Library’s main branch on Washington Avenue for a Tuesday afternoon pep rally.

No, the Plainsman’s varsity squad isn’t joining the enigmatic illusionist to film the much-anticipated third sequel to the cheerleading cult-classic Bring It On. Blaine and the cheerleaders are pairing together with Welch to help promote the state Library’s Statewide Summer Reading Program.

During his childhood in Brooklyn, Blaine was apparently turned on to the craft of magic after reading about renowned escape artists Harry Houdini. Now, he’s the spokesman for the state’s annual campaign, called Books: A Treasure. To augment this story and add a bit of 21st century sporting edge to the whole affair, the cheerleaders have prepared several special routines to perform along side the magician.

Now if only Blaine could magically make some books appear in Albany’s choked public library system.

Those who haven’t been to the main branch of the state capital’s library aren’t missing much, because there’s really not much there. Like many public libraries around the state, Albany’s system lacks the funding necessary to deliver a quality selection of materials at any of its branches given the size of the city’s population.

Simply put, the Albany Public Library system is in dreadful need of an overhaul, so that it can look a bit more like the apple of the state’s public library system, rather than a boil. So perhaps Blaine’s appearance is also in part to promote the coming referendum vote in Albany aimed at bolstering some of the library’s flailing branches.

Perplexing however is the decision to bus in Shen cheerleaders for a summer reading drive nearly 20 miles away from the white-bred suburban sprawl of Clifton Park in neighboring Saratoga County. Then again, maybe it’s because district parents are trying to find a few good-natured extracurricular activities for their kids after hearing the results of the Shen Pen’s Ballout report last spring.

Editor’s note: Not a single Capital Region media source bothered to cover poor Blaine and the cheerleaders. Shame on you, media. What a waste of a perfectly good circus sideshow.

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