Thursday, June 12, 2008

How Lowe’s Bought Cobleskill

Three years ago, a newly elected Village Board found itself in the position of having to deal with a plainly irresponsible deal entered into by the previous administration to sell Village water and sewer service to a proposed Lowe’s just past the Village line. After reconsidering the deal, the new Board, led by Mayor Sellers and Deputy Mayor MacKay voted to effectively turn off the tap before it was even hooked up. Citing concerns over fairness to Village taxpayers as well as the fiscal and economic health of the Village, the Board from then on maintained a policy of requiring annexation for a project to receive Village water and sewer services.

Yet last month, the Village Board made a dramatic about-face on the issue and agreed to extend water and sewer lines out to the Town so Lowe’s could tap into them. Given the Village Board’s steadfast refusal to do exactly this over the past several years, one wonders, why the sudden change of heart?

Call me cynical, but I’m thinking the decision has something to do with Lowe’s offer to take the $200,000 it would have spent building an on-site water and sewer system and give it to the Town and Village instead. The Times-Journal essentially interpreted this move as a good will gesture (June 4 2008, “Cobleskill Finally Gets Water Deal”). I, however, interpret it as a pay-off.

According to the Times-Journal, Lowe’s developer Rob Jess made the announcement of his decision after the Town and Village came together and made this deal. However, Jess must have insinuated or just came and told Town and Village officials that they would get the 200K if Lowe’s got the water.

It’s interesting that Lowe’s chose to take the position that it did not need village water and sewer; though it obviously wanted it. Given the developer’s eagerness to obtain Village services, I have to believe that building their own water and sewer systems would have presented complications and potential costs far exceeding the $200,000 to be given to the Town and Village. Let’s not forget that with water and sewer hook-ups, the site becomes more valuable as it can be marketed to more potential businesses such as restaurants.

For three years the Village Board has maintained a wise policy of requiring annexation for projects interested in receiving Village services. This reversal makes a mockery of local government and democracy and indicts the character of all the local officials who signed on to the deal. This clearly demonstrates that our local community is for sale. What a disappointment.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sandy, nice try being Kevin,or Sean. Your anonymity is only eceeded by your little man syndrome. we already know your feelings about this. We see endless replays of your incessant liberal slant on TV. Now you rant here. You lost- go back to china and find a tree and hug it.

Anonymous said...

What does tree hugging have to to do with the fact that this guy is raising the issue of a potential bribe being given to town officials and they in turn accepting. I may not agree with certain issues he raises concerning social welfare points but at least I rebut to the point. You are clearly making a personal l statement whose basis is devoid of a topic. What up with that dude? BTW: it should not surprise anyone that those nice elected officials had their hand out.

Anonymous said...

Well Seth you got your wish. Lowe's is not coming to town. Now you and Mckay can go paint pictures of cows and horses on the Adam's farm. That's progress.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Three full years of Cobleskill jerking Lowe's around was enough for them to finally throw in the towel, in spite of the recent water/sewer concession. Lowe's will no doubt find another community that will actually welcome them. This honestly is a lost economic opportunity for Cobleskill AND Schoharie County. It's amazing to me that some people had their heads so far up their asses that they couldn't recognize this...but you know what?...I'll bet they are all patting themselves on the back over this great victory...

Anonymous said...

Both boards need to be replaced. It should be about the people they serve not their little agenda driven egos. This is the worst bunch that I can remember in over thirty five years. If ever there was a time to throw the baby out with the bathwater, the next election cycle wil be it. Good bye to all you Losers. All of you are pathetic.

Sean said...

This kind of ill will is understandable when something big happens.

But the Village Board does not exist to subsidize development throughout the county (to its own economic detriment).

So what does this mean in the big picture? Cobleskill will just have to wait a little longer before it becomes the next big box-strewn, exurban wasteland of the capital district.

Cobleskill did not miss any opportunities here.

Good riddance.

Sean said...

"I agree. Three full years of Cobleskill jerking Lowe's around was enough for them to finally throw in the towel,"

Why do people feel that every surrounding municipality is entitled to access Village of Cobleskill infrastructure?

And we should bend over backwards for some corporate category killer?

"in spite of the recent water/sewer concession. Lowe's will no doubt find another community that will actually welcome them."

Companies like Lowe's look at a lot of different communities for potential stores. In my view, Cobleskill is a bit small. I've never really seen towns this small with a Lowe's, so a lot of things factored in to their decision, not just the water/sewer issue.

"This honestly is a lost economic opportunity for Cobleskill AND Schoharie County."

Not really. A Lowe's would have just detracted from the small town quality of life while further marginalizing Main Street businesses.

Job gains would have been offset significantly by business closures when they couldn't compete with Lowe's. So instead of people owning businesses and contributing to real local wealth, you would have more people working for poverty wages for another faceless corporation.

Property taxes would have entirely bypassed the Village of Cobleskill who would have borne the brunt of the negative economic impact.

Sales taxes would go straight to Schoharie meanwhile Bill Cherry tells Cobleskill, "you'll take what we give you".

"It's amazing to me that some people had their heads so far up their asses that they couldn't recognize this..."

You're confused as to whose head is up whose ass, obviously.

"but you know what?...I'll bet they are all patting themselves on the back over this great victory..."

Actually..that's true. It's a good day.

Anonymous said...

Seth-Kevin
you probably don't even pay property tax. Sales tax on your skate board doesn't count.

Anonymous said...

Seth-Kevin
Did mom and dad treat you to an end of school vacation. I noticed your absence from this board in time with school session end and at least a three week vacation to disneyworld. Help a lot of poor and needy folks on your little getaway trip, or at least did you tip them well?

Anonymous said...

“Why do people feel that every surrounding municipality is entitled to access Village of Cobleskill infrastructure? “
”And we should bend over backwards for some corporate category killer?”

No, just stay isolated and live in your own happy little village, where the peasants can live in thatched-roof houses and sell their wares on the street corners to the passing travelers

”Companies like Lowe's look at a lot of different communities for potential stores. In my view, Cobleskill is a bit small. I've never really seen towns this small with a Lowe's, so a lot of things factored in to their decision, not just the water/sewer issue.”

Lowe’s clearly should have consulted with YOU before considering this project. How silly of them! Look at all the time and money they could have saved had they only asked your opinion first.


“Not really. A Lowe's would have just detracted from the small town quality of life while further marginalizing Main Street businesses. “

Yes, indeed, back to the happy little village…that’s where we all need to be.

”Job gains would have been offset significantly by business closures when they couldn't compete with Lowe's. So instead of people owning businesses and contributing to real local wealth, you would have more people working for poverty wages for another faceless corporation. “

GET A CLUE, PAL…. This IS THE REAL WORLD HERE!!! You live in America, not Never-Never Land…

”Property taxes would have entirely bypassed the Village of Cobleskill who would have borne the brunt of the negative economic impact.”

”Sales taxes would go straight to Schoharie meanwhile Bill Cherry tells Cobleskill, "you'll take what we give you".

Again, so says the expert, as he gazes into his crystal ball, in his happy little hut, on the quaint little street, in the happy little village of Cobleskill..

”You're confused as to whose head is up whose ass, obviously. “

Not…

Anonymous said...

"You're confused as to whose head is up whose ass, obviously."

Confused is it?? that would be who's head and who's ass... Is English a second language for you or what???

Anonymous said...

No, actually who's is a contraction of "who is"
whose is correct in this case.
Sometimes English ain't easy.

Anonymous said...

Rome is burning and your f@#king worried about contractions. Wait till the taxes in this little burg double next year. You won't be able to get to high school,Seth-Kevin,because the f==king roads won't be plowed because the diesel costs $10.00/gallon. What a putz you are. Move to f**king Irn where they cut your head off for the shit you talk here.

Anonymous said...

Hey!! At least there aren't any WalMarts or Lowe's or any other "big boxes" in Iran, to suck out the infrastructure, and put the small merchants out of business, thereby detracting from "the small town quality of life"
I think Iran would be a good place for "Sean".

Anonymous said...

"Rome is burning" thanks to your "American IDOLts" Shrub & Puppetmaster Cheney. Want to give credit where credit is due. Anyway, now that Lowe's has ankled, will the water/sewer lines still be extended? Anybody know?

Sean said...

Well I can see that the local right wing bile ducts are fully engaged...

"just stay isolated and live in your own happy little village, where the peasants can live in thatched-roof houses and sell their wares on the street corners to the passing travelers"

Well gee, who wants to drive out to Oneonta, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Saratoga Springs, New Paltz, Downtown Schenectady, Ballston Spa, Hudson or Kingston to lambaste these communities for living in the 14th century by having lively downtown business districts?

Because according to Mr. THIS IS THE REAL WORLD PAL, it is impossible to have a successful and thriving downtown business district in 2008.

Clearly the only choice we have as Americans is between an endless wasteland of urban sprawl or some kind of impractical, utopian "never-never land".

And when diesel does hit ten bucks a gallon, what we really want is an entire economy based on the movement of foreign goods from all corners of the world, NOT silly little local merchants, artisans and craftsmen.

But what do I know, I'm just a "putz"?

But now for the coup de grace...

"Confused is it?? that would be who's head and who's ass... Is English a second language for you or what???"

Wow, I believe you mean who's foot and who's mouth...

Anonymous said...

"Well gee, who wants to drive out to Oneonta, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Saratoga Springs, New Paltz, Downtown Schenectady, Ballston Spa, Hudson or Kingston to lambaste these communities for living in the 14th century by having lively downtown business districts?"
Aside from Cooperstown, which has its own unique situation, and the original Baseball Hall of Fame, ALL of these communities have a Lowe's home improvement center within a mile or two of their "lively downtown business districts" I suppose that, since you know so much about where a Lowe's should locate, you can explain this phenomena as it relates to Cobleskill...

Anonymous said...

oops. No Lowe's in Ballston Spa, nearest is in Saratoga Springs..

Sean said...

I'll be happy to address your question, even though the point of the comment you're referring to wasn't that big box retail and healthy downtowns are necessarily mutually exclusive. They needn't be.

However, these downtowns have gotten to the point where they rely mostly on college student populations or just a general interest in entertainment and nightlife.

The (sometimes quite intense) pedestrian traffic generated by these businesses can allow more traditional retail to survive despite the existence of the big box stores (in some cases) only a few miles away.

You said that Cooperstown was a unique situation, but if you look at all the communities I've mentioned, they are all unique situations.

Oneonta, Ithaca, New Paltz = college towns with large student populations seeking nightlife and entertainment options

Downtown Schenectady = a declining city in the infancy of a comeback due mostly to a large influx of public sector investment

Hudson = a small city enjoying a recent renaissance due to an influx of NYC residents attracted to the antique shops and art galleries.

Saratoga Springs = Well you could say its the race track, but Broadway in the Spa City has made a real comeback in the past decade or so, because of a major push by public and private sector investments.

But these communities aren't unique because they have assets other places don't. They're unique because they've leveraged those assets combined with public and private sector support. It's a question of vision, innovation, dedication and leadership.

Right now, Downtown Cobleskill can not afford another big box and strip mall on Route 7. What the Village needs is leadership that is dedicated to revitalizing Downtown, not providing the infrastructure for more sprawl.

Anonymous said...

So, then, all these communities are alike, except they are all unique...and they can all function quite well with a Lowe's nearby...except Cobleskill can not...and the reason you give is:
"Right now, Downtown Cobleskill can not afford another big box and strip mall on Route 7. What the Village needs is leadership that is dedicated to revitalizing Downtown, not providing the infrastructure for more sprawl."
You may as well simply say "because Sean says so"...
wow...
It no longer matters, so all of this dialogue is a waste except that it does show that you can not support your argument...but that doesn't really matter either...

Anonymous said...

There goes 4 million in assessed valuation. The lefties should pass legislation that makes Mr. Adams pasture his cows 24/7 so that doofus, who wanted cows instead of box stores, can enjoy the scenery on the way to pick up his welfare check.

Sean said...

"It no longer matters, so all of this dialogue is a waste except that it does show that you can not support your argument...but that doesn't really matter either..."

Folks, this is what you call trolling. This is when somebody with very poor social skills, low self-confidence and who (despite being a grown-up) lives in the basement or attic of a parent, is allowed to play with a computer.

Taking anything this person writes seriously is a waste.

Anonymous said...

Sean himself has now resorted to name-calling (a practice which he denounces in others) because he has no meaningful defense of his position. In his entire group of posts criticizing both Lowe’s and those individuals like myself who thought the economic impact of this multi-million dollar project would have been a positive thing, Sean has provided not one bit of evidence to support his claim that it would have indeed been detrimental to the Village of Cobleskill. In fact, he has unwittingly provided us with examples of communities in the region that do indeed have “lively downtown business districts” in spite of the proximity of a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center. In the face of this apparent contradiction, he tries to weasel-out by saying “big box retail and healthy downtowns are necessarily mutually exclusive.” When I specifically asked, however, he was not able to say why he thought the Cobleskill downtown business district would be an exception.
He now seems upset by my statement that the time for dialogue on this subject is over because the point is moot, and that his inability to support his argument no longer matters either. Were it not for Sean’s childish personal attack, I would have let this drop, and I am prepared to do so now. Sean will no doubt say first, “he did not call anyone names”, and second, ask, “if it no longer matters, then why do I continue to post?”
I will simply assume anyone who has read this thread is intelligent enough to decide for themselves the truth in these last two points.

Anonymous said...

A correction to my post above which I can not edit, for the record, Sean said: "big box retail and healthy downtowns are (not)necessarily mutually exclusive"

Sean said...

"Sean himself has now resorted to name-calling (a practice which he denounces in others) because he has no meaningful defense of his position"

Sorry, but if you want a “meaningful defense of my position”, try giving me a meaningful challenge.

After reading most of the comments, I simply came to the conclusion that they were designed to deliberately twist and distort what I had written, contributing nothing of substance to the dialogue (aside from some idiotic personal attacks). To me this is trolling, nothing more.

“In his entire group of posts criticizing both Lowe’s and those individuals like myself who thought the economic impact of this multi-million dollar project would have been a positive thing, Sean has provided not one bit of evidence to support his claim that it would have indeed been detrimental to the Village of Cobleskill”

Not once in this comment section did anyone discuss the question of “evidence”. If so I would have happily pointed to numerous economic impact studies showing the detrimental impact of big box retail on downtown business districts.

All I can remember reading, are comments like the following:

- “Seth-Kevin
you probably don't even pay property tax. Sales tax on your skate board doesn't count.”

- “Seth-Kevin
Did mom and dad treat you to an end of school vacation. I noticed your absence from this board in time with school session end and at least a three week vacation to disneyworld. Help a lot of poor and needy folks on your little getaway trip, or at least did you tip them well?”

- “GET A CLUE, PAL…. This IS THE REAL WORLD HERE!!! You live in America, not Never-Never Land…”

- “Confused is it?? that would be who's head and who's ass... Is English a second language for you or what???”

- “Move to f**king Irn where they cut your head off for the shit you talk here.”

If there is a serious challenge here worthy of a “meaningful defense” it is lost on me.

“In fact, he has unwittingly provided us with examples of communities in the region that do indeed have “lively downtown business districts” in spite of the proximity of a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.”

Nice try, but I also explained that many of these lively downtown business districts benefit from different demographic and economic patterns than Cobleskill. These downtowns thrive due to large amounts of pedestrian traffic generated by restaurants, bars, and niche retailers. This traffic allows some more traditional retailers to survive, despite the presence of big box retailers in the surrounding area. I don’t blame you for seizing on this “apparent contradiction”. It’s obvious that you’re grasping at straws in search of a meaningful point. This is proven by the fact that 99% of the comments on this blog are insults directed at me personally.

“When I specifically asked, however, he was not able to say why he thought the Cobleskill downtown business district would be an exception.”

It’s not that I was “unable”, I just felt that your post was inane and didn’t warrant a serious response.

But to answer your question, Cobleskill clearly does not have the nightlife destinations or the successful niche businesses drawing people downtown, and thus a Lowe's or another large retailer would take a heavier toll.

Now, perhaps if the Village had figured out how to take advantage of its college student population to benefit downtown businesses, allowing restaurants, bars and clubs along with a few niche retailers to establish themselves, a Lowe’s wouldn’t make much of a difference here either.

“I will simply assume anyone who has read this thread is intelligent enough to decide for themselves the truth in these last two points.”

I think you’re right about that.

Oh, and if you’re still interested in “evidence”,

Check this link for studies showing the negative economic impact of Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot et al: http://www.newrules.org/retail/econimpact.html

Anonymous said...

The Seth and Sandy show will certainly be busy. They have their work cut out for themselves. Let's see they have Newberry's, the Adams farm pasture ,and now Selkirk's to paint cows and horses on. Who's next?


can now lay claim to more places to draw pictures of cows and horses.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love this little burgh. On one Friday afternoon we lost all our hardware stores. Apparently Vinny "big box" Cardone, in anticipation of Lowe's coming, started selling health insurance on the side. Now "Ace is the place" to get your health insurance premium. Now, I wonder how the lefties are going to spin this little tale. Don't disappoint us Sean-kevin. Blame it on Bush.

Anonymous said...

Blame it on Bush

No blame it on no "Universal Health Care"

Sean said...

As far as Cardone is concerned, it looks like the guy screwed up.

All I know is, every time I went into his store, he was very helpful and friendly, something you're not likely to find in a Lowe's or Home Depot.

And this debate is not "moot". The Village is most likely going to keep its offer of water/sewer on the table for future development in the area. This year it was Lowe's, next year it'll probably be Home Depot, K-Mart, Target, etc. Even Lowe's may return in a few years with plans for a new site. Who knows?

Better yet, maybe the next big box should just come in as an 'unnamed mystery company' and demand a shovel-ready site with zoning approvals, building permits and infrastructure in place.

Or even better, let's break up the Village so anyone who wants their water can have at it!

Sandy MacKay said...

First, I have never commented before -- and certainly have not tried to be Kevin or Sean.

As to Lowe's and the proffered dollars; it is worth noting that the payment was not really to the Town and Village as described elsewhere. It was "to be held jointly by them for purposes of future sewer and water improvements necessary to accomodate economic development." In other words, the payment under this agreement was to be used to subsidize the next outside water/sewer district.

Incidentally, that payment was in an agreement separate from the one that actually provides for Village water and sewer service to the Adams property; as it required Lowe's signature to become effective, it is gone along with the "payment", although the water and sewer districts remain. The agreement now in place ids for forty years. No payment, no Lowe's, but a district for anyone else who wants it.

I don't oppose development in the Town, even Lowe's. I do think, however, that we should not be giving new businesses a competitive advantage over existing businesses by subsidizinh\g them with Village tax dollars.

... and I will sign all my comments. Other should, too.

Sandy

Robb Jess said...

Hello Sandy,

It was great sticking it to you after all the shit you put us through. I figure you will be out on your ass at election time next year. So it was worth a couple million just to see you squirm and weasel yourself out of the f**King mess you made of things. I see you started already with letters to the Times Journal. Typical response from a grenade throwing liberal. Gotta shore up the masses let'em know you feel for them.


Regards
Rob Jess
Senior Project Manager
Lowe's Corporation

Sean said...

While I don't condone posters impersonating actual people, and its quite obvious that Rob Jess did not actually write the preceeding post, I would like to play along anyway.

Hey Robb, good f*&kin' riddance! For all the money and clout behind you and your company you ultimately failed to get what you wanted from little old Cobleskill. Other communities hire attorney's to block big box monstrosities like yours from ruining their communities. Some go to court and spend millions of dollars. All Cobleskill had to do was say "no" to extending water and sewer lines. Though in the end, Cobleskill's officials wavered in their position, they strung you and your corporation along for three years until you finally had enough. There was no "squirming", no "weaseling", except if you mean by the corporate hacks who expected a small town to roll over for them.
Well, not this time, not this town.

If only there were more communities able to just say "no".

Roger Coen said...

Sean
"While I don't condone posters impersonating actual people."

I don't condone blogs whose(who's)
authors are afraid to reveal their identity(ies).

Roger Coen

Sean said...

Who cares what you condone?

Anonymous said...

Probably as many as "care" what you condone. At least this guy has the strength of his convictions AND the guts to use his real name, you little piss-ant.

Sean said...

I've actually been using my real name all along, but what difference does it make to you?

And if you think it's MacKay or Sellers or any other Village personnel who are writing this, then read this week's forthcoming set of posts; they all come in for some criticism.

Anonymous said...

There is also a concept called honesty. Obviously someone needs to explain that concept to you. First, you are a pseudonym, then your name is an anagram, then you are Kevin Federline (well, we knew that one wasn’t true), then back to the pseudonym, and now, you have “been using your real name all along.” First you attended “an Ivy League” school, then it was “Cornell Community College” – whatever the hell that is – then it was/is “Columbia-Greene Community College.”
The fact of the matter is, your name should matter to YOU! It really makes no difference to me, or to anyone else who posts here. Thanks to the brave men and women who founded this Country, and to those who, for two and a half centuries have fought and died to keep it free, YOU can say most anything you want to say and not fear repercussions. If you are in business, it is true that some people will boycott those with whom they do not agree. For this reason, I accept someone’s wish to remain anonymous. The trade-off for them is that they retain those potential customers at the expense of losing credibility in a public forum, such as this. I applaud the man who does not fear using his real name.
As for what college you attend, who cares? What I do care about is simple honesty. Regarding who you are and where you went to school, you may choose either tell us, or not to tell us, and really, why would anyone but YOU care, as it is YOUR credibility that is at stake. In any case, for you, there is little to be gained but a good bit more to be lost by being dishonest about it.
Thomas Vincent

Anonymous said...

Thanks(?) for yet another "dizz"y manifesto. But while one is on the topic of names...this "Chuck Roarty"...is he the equivalent of a "George Denning"???...just curious. Regards, NOT going by bus the "Emil way". (Funny, how much the word "bus" comes up as of late.)

Anonymous said...

Does the word "stoned" ever come up for you?

Sean said...

"There is also a concept called honesty. Obviously someone needs to explain that concept to you"

There is also a concept called wasting my time with stupid questions and personal insults.

Given the general tenor of the debate on this forum, with people intent on using my personal info to insult me, I think it would be best for all to simply focus on the issues.

This way the idiots don't get distracted by where I went to school, how old I am, or what my real name is.

Anonymous said...

So then, Sean, honesty does not count where you are concerned. This comes as no surprise, as the content and underlying implication of many of your posts is patently dishonest to begin with. The “Marauding Horde of Bikers…” post is a perfect example of this. You attempt to use hyperbole to make a point but all you really accomplish is exaggerating to the extent that any small amount credibility you may have had is simply lost in the words. There is no defense for dishonesty, and you are not even man (boy?) enough to either dispute or admit to what I have previously said about this. You once again resort to your lame fallback reply, which I have seen you do so many times in the past in this Blog. When you have no rational response, you simply say that: “It is not worth your time to reply…”
You “think it would be best for all to simply focus on the issues”. How magnanimous of you. I AM focusing on the issues, at least one particular issue, and that is this Blog. You have, presumably, authored it and (presumably) solicit replies to your posts. When you get called-out on one or another point, you tend to first grasp at straws, and then simply retreat and ignore, as your above reply indicates.
You have asked why I, or others continue to read and post here. There is a simple answer for me at least. I disagree with about 99% of your socialist viewpoints, I cannot tolerate dishonesty in any fashion, and I really dislike self-aggrandizing pseudo-intellectuals. I therefore refuse to turn my back on this Blog, regardless of how insignificant it really is, and besides, debating you here provides me with a bit of harmless levity.

Anonymous said...

So then, gentle readers, here is the latest example of a horse's arse yet again breaking wind... seems to be a bit more gassy than usual today, LOL.

Anonymous said...

"So then, gentle readers" - there is Sean's tactic of occasionally posting as "anonymous" in his own blog. Someone needs to tell him that:
A. it is obvious, and
B. this childish tactic does nothing to help support his arguments.
LOL.

Anonymous said...

????...you actually do think I'm "Sean"...well, (blush), 'cuz my replies don't generally approach the level of thought, analysis, editing, and simple eloquence that "Sean" reliably does. Nevertheless, "dizz", what else can I do but acknowledge yer, uh, compliment with a...Thank You.

Anonymous said...

that is pathetic

Anonymous said...

Hey, "That is pathetic": May the bus exhaust be with you(r pathetic arse).---:D

Sean said...

I see we've graduated to a higher class of insults: now I'm a "patently dishonest", "socialist" "self-aggrandizing pseudo-intellectual" and a "man-boy" to boot!

However, if there's one thing I find truly insufferable and vehemently repudiate it is the deployment of gratuitous, superfluous, and excessive verbosity, particularly in such instances where such superfluous verbosity is intended to obscure the incontrovertible reality that the articulation at hand is utterly bereft of a coherent thesis.

Oh, and I've never aggrandized myself.