Blogs > Ivan Lajara

Daily Freeman Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about journalism, living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A window into the newsroom

From a wire story about desks ...

...
"'You should dress your office with the same kind of attention you dress yourself,' said Beverly Kaye, a human resources guru and author of 'Love 'em or Lose 'em: Getting Good People to Stay' (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002). "


Well, here's my desk.
Click on the image to see the details.


And no, I'm not going to show you how I dress.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A shocking story

Today’s Freeman had a shocking front page story.

No, not "Jail investigators focus on political donations"; not even "BOCES principal changing sex."

I’m talking, of course, about “Cops on ATVs join city push.”

Why shocking? Read on.

I was driving down Henry Street after work, minding my own business, as people like to say, when I saw the new police ATVs parked on the side. There were also two patrol cars.

An SUV was blocking the way, stopped by one of the patrol cars. I tried to go around them. Then, an officer standing outside indicated to me with his hand to get behind the other vehicle.

I stopped close to him.

“How are you doing?” he said, looking at my seatbelt and registration and inspection stickers.

“Good,” I said. I started to drive again.

His hand went up and his palm was facing me. I stopped after moving an inch or so forward.

“What are you doing here?” he said.

“I came from the bank, I said, referring to the Bank of America at the corner of Henry Street and Broadway. "Can I go now?" I moved another inch.

“No. Where are you going?” he said, hand firmly up.

“To Keegan’s,” I said referring to the popular Kingston brewery in St. James Street. I was now nervous, and that had made my accent thicker.

“What?” he said in an “I don’t understand you” kind of way, which told me that my accent had indeed gotten thicker or that the cop didn’t know Keegan’s.

“To Keegan Ales, I’m taking Prospect (Street) down there,” I said, trying to enunciate every word, which must’ve sounded weird.

He waved his hand, letting me go.
...
Was I, again, Driving While on Henry Street?

I know what you are going to say: “If you have nothing to hide ...”

Yet, every time I hear that, I ask the person to give me his wallet or her purse and, if they do, I start perusing through their stuff, making them righteously angry.

I felt like somebody had just done that to me. And as justified as it might have been, it just felt wrong.

So I was shocked, and went to have a beer.

Bang, zoom, straight to the moon



Those lucky enough to stay up this morning (I tried but passed out) had the chance to see a lunar eclipse, where the Earth's shadow blocked the sun's light, creating a shadow over the moon and changing its color.

Luckier were those in the West Coast, where the photo at right was taken by the Associated Press. For us in the East, as things were getting interesting, dawn began to spoil the view (or so I've read, since I was, alas, sleeping).


P.S., Rule of thumb: Spare me the explanations when I make pop references, like in the headline of this post. We all know what Hoonemooner Jackie Gleason meant - and what I mean.


Now google "rule of thumb." Discuss.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Legal citizen?

Emphasis is mine.

“Alderman Michael Madsen, D-Ward 9, said he would not vote in favor of the (Rural Ulster Preservation Co.) grant application unless the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service provides him with confirmation that all workers at the site (the Kirkland Hotel) are legal U.S. citizens.”

I’m not going to talk about discrimination here (after all, there are labor laws – if you have working papers, you cannot discriminate based on race, gender, religious preference, country of origin, etc).

What I really want to talk about in this space is language, mainly redundancies.

At this point in time, you have to ask a question:

What is the alderman talking about? Because what, then, is an illegal citizen?

It is absolutely necessary to point out that maybe Madsen misspoke those words since all citizens are, well, legal, even when they break the law. I just don’t think he has an answer that would be an unexpected surprise or that he’s under any false illusion about the topic.

We also cannot circle around the true fact I am not an academic scholar or a politician – so the terminology he used might have been deliberate. You may call it an unsolved mystery.

But the basic fundamentals of this story have to be completely told in its entirety, or you might not know what I am talking about, either.

So advance forward and click on the link. It’ll only take you a brief moment to read the piece.

As an added bonus, I’ll give you this tiny bit: the Kirkland story gets an update on Saturday.

And without a single redundancy.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In your FACE!

The nice people at FACE Stockholm were “delighted” to announce the opening of their newest cosmetics boutique in Rhinebeck (They have one in Hudson).

They were so “delighted” they forgot to mention when the opening was.

And that the Life Department doesn’t do business stories.

And that we don’t base our stories based on freebies.

And that I don’t wear makeup.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Senior Sex study

From the Associated Press ...

"An unprecedented study of sex and seniors finds that many older people are surprisingly frisky -- willing to do, and talk about, intimate acts that would make their grandchildren blush.

"That may be too much information for some folks."

At right is the AP graphic we're NOT using with that story on Thursday.




Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Errare humanum est, Stefani

Gwen Stefani, 37, the mother of Kingston (see post and comment below), "wowed fans in Muslim-majority Malaysia onTuesday, performing in costumes that showed almost no skin after Islamic critics claimed that her revealing clothes could corrupt the country's youth," according to the Associated Press.

Extra! Extra!

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll released today revealed that one in four adults read no books last year. The biggest readers were women and older people. Also, religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

Don’t read all about it in the Freeman tomorrow.

Also, on Thursday, reporter Bonnie Langston will tell us about Molly Ahearn’s book, “Dutchess County Fair” in Life’s weekly book page. That page, as you might (not) know, also contains listings for the most requested books from libraries in the area and the best-selling hardcover books from independent book stores, which, of course, doesn’t mean people are reading.

So don’t read all about it, either.

(Yes, yes, I know the Freeman is not a book – but I also know that you read it, so there).

Monday, August 20, 2007

This is why we need to read more than the headlines

Via AP:
"Bolivian President Morales to donate half his paycheck to Peru quake victims"

Take a second. Now scroll down and read the lead. The emphasis is mine.






















LEAD:

"LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — President Evo Morales said Monday he will donate half his monthly salary, about $950, to help victims of last week's earthquake in Peru."


I know. Anything counts. But ouch!

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Kingston state of mind

• Today’s Celebrity Buzz has an item on singer(?) Gwen Stefany wanting more kids. Her 1-year-old son’s name is Kingston.
• Saturday’s Life Section features R&B (reggae? — or both?) singer Sean Kingston.
• The Rondout Waterfront, in Kingston (duh!), is going crazy on Sunday, with so many events it’s amazing they all fit in one day. Just go and you'll see (check to Freeman before to see what's up).
• Next week’s Preview is set to feature the Skatalites, the ska and reggae pioneers from Kingston, Jamaica.

None of these things are related, of course, so this is completely pointless (but true).

Blogging in Kingston can be fun, though.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Quake

A nasty 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook the coast of Peru near the capital, Lima (where I was born and grew up), killing at least 337 people and injuring more 827 others, officials there told the Associated Press Thursday morning.

The toll, unfortunately, is expected to rise.

My thoughts and prayers are with them, and those I know down there.

Elvis

Today marks the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death, fans claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

So if you can't live without The King, come to the Rondout Waterfront in Kingston Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. The area's own Elvis, Joe Borelli, will perform in a tribute with the Reflections and Doreen Peone.

No word on whether you'll get to see skinny Elvis or fat Elvis, though.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Better than nothing

Monday, August 13, 2007

Meteor dud

OK. So the clouds got in the way Sunday night and the meteor shower was nowhere to be seen in the area.

Yet, it was a beautiful night (and I saw some misleading fireflies).

That counts, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

John David Schrader

Kingston singer-songwriter and cancer survivor John David Schrader, who contributed "Funny Man" to the the cancer benefit CD, "I Am Too Young For This," said that the album has been submitted by a member of The Recording Academy for a Grammy Nomination for the "Best Compilation CD" category.
Voting is in October.
And John wants you to keep your fingers crossed.
Listen to samples from the album on the group's Web site .

Better yet, don't be cheap and get a copy.

The Freeman will keep you posted.

Stars (and meteors) above the valley

From the wire...

...
"With no moon in sight to interfere with the Perseid meteor shower, skygazers can expect to spot streaking fireballs late Sunday into dawn Monday regardless of time zone. Astronomers estimate as many as 60 meteors per hour could flit across the sky at the shower's peak.

"This year's sky show comes with an added bonus: Mars will be visible as a bright red dot in the northeastern sky."

Go to a dark spot at around 10 p.m. tonight and look up.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stars in (and from) the valley

Friday's Life previewed the Jazz series at the Belleayre summer festival in Highmount.
Four-time Grammy Award-winner Dianne Reeves, performed at the festival.
She was featured in the 2005's "Good Night and Good Luck," and got a Grammy for the soundtrack.

The movie was about journalism hero Edward R. Murrow, who died at his home in Pawling in Dutchess County. If you don't know who he was, Harvest of Shame on you (just Google his name, you'll be amazed).

The actor who played him was Dutchess County's Edward Strathaim, who got an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the CBS newsman.

We live in a blessed land, indeed.

Kingston goes Italian, sort of.

The Rondout Business Association is the group who brought you this year's very fun, cold and clothed Mardi Gras festival. The Cajun event featued Irish pipers, ice sculptures and rollery derby girls in what can only be described as Kingston's take on New Orleans.

Well, the association is at it again. This time is Kingston's Inaugural Italian Festival on Sept 29 and 30.

The group is promising a spaghetti eating contest, pizza throwing, grape stomping, wheels of chance, live music and fireworks.

Just don't be surprised if Kingston takes some liberties on what's Italian.

Because the Rondout can be fun ( yes, yes, sometimes it isn't).

The Freeman will keep you posted.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sinead O'Connor

From the wire

"Fifteen years after she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during an appearance on NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live," Sinead O'Connor has released "Theology," an album about God."

I guess nothing compares to her.

And if you're really curious, she's playing the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.

We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

When to offend

A reader was rightly offended by the post below.

“... Your comments are beyond inappropriate.”

I apologized to “k” in the comments section and quickly remembered one day in journalism school:

“You better make sure it’s worth it.”

“It” was the act of offending people with stories. The conversation -- with journalism ethics master Howard Good at SUNY New Paltz -- hovered around when to offend with photos and words, if at all, because truth can offend.

(Note that in the news side there is nothing writers and editors can do about offending people with a story if, say, the story is about a heinous crime. Although we know that you may not like some things in some stories, they do happen and we have a duty to tell you about it).

But in Life, the topics are a bit lighter in nature (but no less important, I like to say), and there always has to be a greater good that outweighs the risk of offending people (like your right and need to know). You can't just offend for the sake of offending.

And in the blogosphere, well, I’m still trying to find out what I’m doing.

So yes, in the case of the post below, there was no greater good (There is value now, ironically, so the post has to stay). And it might have actually taken away from the story I was referring to -— as I imagine happened with “k” — so I have to also apologize to Blaise Schweizter, who wrote the piece, the people in the story itself and to you all.

And I have to thank "k" for bringing this up.

The post was sophomoric and rated R.

And the Freeman is a family newspaper.

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Monday, August 6, 2007

On my head

Hair, that is.

Blaise Schweitzer covered men’s hair trends in the valley on Sunday's Life.

The verdict seems to be that short hair is in.

Funny thing is, Blaise has a pony tail, and my hair is an aberration that -- if it were alive -- should've been put down a long time ago.

And what about women?

We’re doing them later.

Hair, that is.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bits

* Dutchess County's David Strathairn is one of the stars in “The Bourne Ultimatum,” which opens Friday and has been getting good reviews, including the one on Preview. It seems he’s on every other movie this year.

* Also in Preview, David Malachowski reviews Phoenicia’s Uncle Monk, a duo comprised of Tommy Ramone and Claudia Tienan. And before you ask the question, I’ll give you a line from the review: “Yes, from the Ramones.”

* And to my friend Jeremy on the news side: Reality bites! (Pun fully intended).
Check out the City Editor's blog for the skinny.