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Amsterdam, NY ,



The lay of the (candy) land

Saturday, February 09, 2013 - Updated: 5:28 PM

I would like to present a puzzling question to my readers: Are you puzzled as to the layout of our nine new legislative districts in Montgomery County? I'll be honest to say in looking at the map my first time the impression is something of pieces to a jigsaw puzzle. So to answer the question if I am puzzled as to the lay of the land my answer is yes. Visually looking at it online I began to wonder how this artistic political creation of a map was put together. For sure it must have been painstaking for those involved in the process. I will give credit for the time and effort put forth in creating the new districts.

However, I still find the map to be a little fuzzy with regard to borders, numbers and revisions which takes me to the next puzzling question for my readers: Is the present map which I'm assuming is the one we the people voted on now etched in stone or should we wait for the revisions to come out before we ask the next question of which map is the real map? So here we are, folks, waiting to see if our border wars will continue or end between the two political sides. Let's just hope that an agreement will be reached. Of course we all know this is Montgomery County where trying to resolve differences is always a challenge.

During a recent county meeting one side cried foul, sensing some form of gerrymandering going on with the legislative districts while the other side claims no wrongdoing. So as always let the games begin to see what side will come out on top come election time. While two sides hammer out what needs to be done the puzzle remains for me as to what district I belong to or better yet cast my ballot in. I do know that my place of residency is the South Side but does that really mean anything? I would say probably not. Folks, are you beginning to feel as I do like we are being treated as a bean? Let's just take a moment to consider ourselves as a whole bunch of beans living in Montgomery County waiting to be counted and divvied up. But in order to be divvied up we must rely on non-partisan, non-political, non-associated trustworthy bean counters to count the beans. The next step is to place an equal amount of blue and red beans in each jar. Too many blue beans or too many red beans in one jar make it an unequal jar. So are you beans ready for the geographical change of nine legislative districts to be fair and equal?

Whether you're ready or not the powers to be will place us beans where they feel is fit and proper. You might call me a bean head or that I'm full of beans which you wouldn't want me to be. But my guess is it will probably be not worth a hill of beans of what district you are in after we're counted. However remember when it comes time to cast your vote the bean counts. What I did notice on the new map is its color coded districts which are really cool. It sort of reminds me of a popular game board called Candy Land. I'm sure some of you must have played this game at one time. It's a game involving a storyline about finding the lost King of Candy Land. If you look at the board it consists of 134 spaces on a winding linear track that divides the area. Each small square space is made up of different colors such as red, green, blue, yellow, orange and purple.

There are various locations on the map (excuse me I meant to say board) labeled as Candy Cane Forest, Gum Drop Mountain and districts 1 through 9 (sorry my mistake again). There are also characters in the game with names such as Queen Frostine, Gramma Nutt and county executive (excuse me once again, that's in the other game). Candy Land is played by using a stack of color-coded cards. Each time a color is drawn the player moves his or her marker to that board location. However there are some obstacles to the game as not to make it so easy. The game is won when a marker either lands or passes the final square on the board. Before the 2004 version there were three colored spaces marked with a dot. If a player lands on such a space he or she is stuck until a card is drawn of the same color.

In 2004, revisions were made to the Candy Land game where dot spaces were replaced with licorice spaces that prompt a player when landing on it to lose his or her next turn. I'm not quite sure of the exact reasoning behind the revision. Another revision made in 2004 was changing the last space on the board from violet to rainbow which basically said that any color drawn by a player wins the game. Supposedly, this new rule settled any dispute as to how one wins the game.

Folks, we all know what happens to a puzzle once it's complete. Usually the finalized version is one that shows a beautiful picture of interlocking pieces. As far as counting beans go it's a simple process with a final number. Now the game Candy Land is a little different whereas in playing fairly you must go by the rules. Of course if you really want to win revise them during the game. By the way, if you are snowed in today instead of trying to figure out what legislative district you're in play a game of Candy Land and have fun.

Until next time -- hold that thought.

MIKE LAZAROU is an Amsterdam native and a regular columnist. Contact him at


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