Blogs > Life, I wrote.

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

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Adam's swan

The following is a letter the Freeman received recently:


"Swan Gourd"

Found Sept. 24 at Adam's Fairacre Farms on Route 9W in the town of Ulster by employee Jane Lucci.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hooray for (Kingston) beer!

Congratulations to Kingston brewery Keegan Ales, which was named the Winner of the 2007 Hudson Valley Microbrew and Wine and Festival's "People's Choice Award" for Best Brewery.

If you remember, the festival was the cover of Preview last week.

Full disclosure: I am a frequent visitor of the St. James Street establishment, though I didn't go to the festival or voted at the affair.

I will, however, have a cold one in honor of the brewery.

You should do the same.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah plays her brand of pop, soul, R&B and jazz at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston on Oct. 27.

If you can’t wait that long (or don't have the cash to go to the show), here’s a short list of where she’ll be for a while. She was on the "Today Show," ahem, yesterday, and today she was on "Live with Regis and Kelly."

Friday - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
Sunday - A&E Private Sessions
Oct. 1 - Ellen
Oct. 2 - Dancing With The Stars

Here's an e-card courtesy of the Bardavon's Chris Silva with way more info, music, links and the like.

Garlic festival update

If you can't deal with the breath ...

Citizens Bank will hand out breath mints to patrons at the 19th annual Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in Saugerties on Saturday and Sunday, because, obviously, when you think of Citizens Bank, you think mints.

But now you don't have an excuse not to go.

Say "Ahhhh!"

In case you can't wait


Can’t wait for the Garlic Festival in Saugerties this weekend?

Here’s a recipe for Allium Rice Pilaf from Pat Reppert, the "Garlic Goddess":

“Allium is the family name for garlic as well as onions, leeks, chives, etc. I learned to make this pilaf shortly after my marriage and since I could only cook spaghetti at that point, this dish certainly broadened our family's culinary horizons. I enjoy it as much nowadays as I did way back when. It's so simple, but sometimes the simple things are the best.”

RECIPE
2 onions, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 cup Uncle Ben's Rice
1 14 oz. can beef broth
1 1/4 cups water
1 Tablespoon fresh chives and garlic chives, snipped finely

1. Slice the onions and the garlic thinly. Heat oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions and garlic until just barely browning.
2. Then add the rice and stir to coat each grain with the oil. Add the broth and water and then pour everything into an oven-proof casserole.
Put in pre-heated 350 degree oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
3. Just before serving, stir in the freshly snipped chives and garlic chives.

"Note: this is absolutely delicious served all by itself or with any kind of meat. If you're serving veal or a delicate fish, then substitute chicken broth for the beef broth and add fresh parsley and tarragon just before serving."
Yield: serves 6 as a side dish
...
Ah, garlic! I love the smell.
I don't even mind the communal garlic breath at the festival.
Since everyone eats so much garlic-related stuff -- including the (in)famous ice cream -- nobody notices (or cares) how strong the smell is.

Just remember to stay away from me if you do this recipe before then.

For festival information, read the Freeman or visit http://www.hvgf.org/.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Prepare for the Flood




He's coming.

At midnight.

The mall will be packed.

And there won't be enough copies.

It is expected to make more that $150 million in one day (which is more than what "Spider-Man 3" made at the Box Office).

And a number of you have never heard of Master Chief, the main character of the much-anticipated XBox 360 video game, "Halo 3" which is being released at midnight everywhere.

Which is fine. Not everyone gets a kick out of getting a "Killing Spree" medal or virtually blasting Covenant, Brute and Flood hordes with a machine gun or a needler or a plasma rifle or a rocket launcher.

Ignore it, if you want. But you won't be able to do so for long. Your kids play it. Lots of dads (and moms) do too. There is a special edition Mountain Dew with the game's logo. A number of people you know may be gone for a while.

More than one million copies have been pre-ordered. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith was playing it today, along with four other teammates, at Smith's home (not a football was in sight).

Will the game live up to the hype? Probably not.

Will you care? Not a chance.

Is it an peculiar commentary of society as a whole? You bet.

(And for those of you in the know, go finish the fight. I'll meet you there.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A special birth

Baby's birth in Poughkeepsie seen live by dad serving in Iraq. So the name of this blog, "'Life,' I wrote," has a literal meaning today.

I'll let Vassar Hospital tell you the story.
There is a video of the birth too, and even though some would warn you there is graphic content, this editor just saw one of the most moving things in the world.

Here's a screen grab of the video.




And here is the video (it's over 100 MG, so I hope you have a good connection -- it's worth it).

Friday, September 21, 2007

"I wanna be sedated"

Wire item today:
"Former Ramone sues over song downloads; claims he's owed nearly $1million in royalties"

"A drummer who spent four years in one of the greatest punk bands of alltime, the Ramones, filed a federal lawsuit Friday claiming he is owed nearly $1 million in royalties on songs sold over the Internet. ..."

That drummer of the Ramones is Richard "Richie Ramone" Reinhardt, not Phoenicia's Tommy Ramone (Thomas Erdelyi).

Tommy Ramone is half of Uncle Monk, an alternative-country, indie-bluegrass duo featuring Ramone on vocals, mandolin, guitar, banjo and dobro, and partner-in-crime Claudia Tienan on vocals, guitar and bass. Uncle Monk plays the Muddy Cup, 516 Broadway, Kingston, Oct. 13. Doors open at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10.

Do you want to feel old?

Hanson plays with Then Locksley at The Chance Theater on 6 Crannell St. in Poughkeepsie Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

If you don't remember Hanson, I'll say this: "Mmmbop."

If that didn't make that song get stuck in your head, the photo below might just do the trick, since this is what the brothers looked like back when "Mmmbop" was giving me nightmares.



Now, the men, 21, 24 and 26 (you can tell who’s who) look like this.



Tickets are $30 (lawn tickets for Bob Dylan at Bethel were $25!).

Visit http://www.thechancetheater.com/.

Right corner, wrong house

Ulster County’s Building and Grounds Administrative Manager Vic Work (and many readers) noted that today’s best bet on the tours at the Mathewis Persen House contained a photo of a house on the other corner.

“The photo in the article is one of the other three stone houses on that intersection," Work wrote to me. "One is a Mexican Restaurant, and two are private homes.”

He then gave me two photos of the Persen House, one before renovations and one taken today.
So for the record, here are the shots.
This one is before renovations:


This photo, after renovations, was taken today.



In case you missed the story in Preview, the Persen House is finally opening for tours after undergoing renovations since 1999.

The Freeman even had an editorial about it on Wednesday.

(Full disclosure: I have nothing to do with the editorials, which are - by definition - the opinions of the paper itself. In case you're wondering, editorials do not influence the operations of the newsroom, be it Sports, News or Life.)

Preview



You're probably wondering about the hand over the lady on the cover of today's Preview, at right.

At left is the original photo, which explains the hand that raised some eyebrows in the newsroom while I was making the cover.

It happens. But it is as unusual as a headline that reads "Hooray for beer!"

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Did you notice?

If you've been reading Preview lately, you might have noticed some Web features we've started to add not so long ago.

On the Web, the movie review includes the trailers.

The main story and the CD review also feature music and video, if available.

Check out Preview online or click on the "Entertainment" tab on the left-hand side of the Freeman's Web site.

And come back every Friday to that section for updates.

Steve Goodman

The Associated Press' John Rogers wrote a story about author Clay Eals, who was featured in today's Life section. It was about his 778-page book "Steve Goodman: Facing the Music," a biography about the folk singer, who died at age 36 (the book also features an introduction by Arlo Guthrie).

Eals sent me an e-mail today, from Seattle, thanking me for the article we ran.

He pointed out that, coincidentally, the article was printed on the 23rd anniversary of Goodman' s death.

The book features interviews with more than 1,050 sources, including Guthrie, John Prine, Steve Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Randy Newman, Paul Anka, David Allan Coe, Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, Beacon's Pete Seeger, Woodstock's John Sebastian, Leo Kottke and Gordon Lightfoot.

It also features an interview with Goodman's high-school classmate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Eals' site is http://www.clayeals.com/.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Here and there


· "We the people" celebrate Constitution Day today. The Franklin D. Roosevelt site in Hyde Park was giving away copies of the cherished “We the people” document until 6:30 p.m. as part of the celebrations. A copy of it was on display. If you missed it, there are plenty of sites with the text of the 220-year-old document. My favorite site about the U.S. Constitution is National Archives Experience. Personally, I like the amendments that came later, especially the first one.

• Ulster County’s Aiden Quinn, was nominated for and Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie for the HBO miniseries “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” an adaptation of the Dee Brown book. Quinn lost to Thomas Haden Church for his role in AMC’s “Broken Trail.” Bummer.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gone phishin'


"Phishing" is the nefarious online practice of using someone's identity to obtain sensitive information from somebody else.

An example I'm pretty sure you know about is the e-mail you get every other day, allegedly from PayPal and/or eBay, asking you to update your account.

If you respond, some shady character just got your credit card number.

Some times these wicked individuals pretend to be your bank and ask you to update your account.

If you fall for it, say goodbye to your cash.

Another, most recent example is when some malicious figure hacks into your MySpace account to send pornographic solicitations to everyone you know, as it happened to me recently. Bulletins were posted in my name asking all my friends to visit some site to see some things I dare not write. I changed my password, which I know I should do more frequently. But, I must confess, I was tempted to kill the profile.

Thankfully for me, I personally know all of my MySpace "friends" (you could say they're my actual friends), so no damage was done, though most of them didn't alert me -- maybe because they weren't online or they think I'm a pervert.

Ironically, the Life section did a four-part feature on MySpace back in March, including a whole day of stories about its dangers. Unfortunately, the link with extensive tips we posted at the time is now outdated, things being as they are online.

So for information about MySpace safety, visit http://www.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=cms.viewpage&placement=safetytips.

And for more about phishing, visit On Guard Online, which is a must read.

And if you wan't to refresh your memory, read the story in Life.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Peaches?

Irrelevant item of the day:

Everybody has been paying much attention to the Senate committee hearings on Iraq for the last two days -- the report on the surge.

Gen. David H. Patraeus' nickname, when he was growing up in Cornwall-on-Hudson, was Peaches Patraeus, according to the acid pen of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

I wonder if President Bush -- much fond of nicknames as it is known (Rummy, Condy, et al) -- calls the commander in Iraq and one-time Hudson Valley resident "Peaches."

The White House said President Bush will address the nation at 9 p.m. Thursday in respond to the general's recommendations.

But somehow I doubt the president will use "Peaches" in his speech.

Sept. 11

No. I'm not going to talk about how "everything changed" or any of that. There's plenty of that everywhere else.

But someone very close to me who works in New York City wanted to see the "Tribute of Light" yesterday, and she couldn't.

This is what she missed.



This AP photo shows the "Tribute in Light" marking the September 11 Anniversary in New York taken from Bayonne, N.J. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Insane, the man

I know I haven't been blogging for a while.

I've been recuperating. I spent all Sunday with this guy, a friend from Kerhonkson I met a couple of months ago.

His (stage) name is Insane Shane McKane, and his act and personality are rated R (very much so).

So I've been thinking about how to introduce his whole thing to you. And after witnessing horrified families at the Sunday concert in Bethel, I decided not to. Dancers, bull whips, beer and cigarettes are not family fare, after all.

I'll say this much: It is definitively weird when somebody named Insane calls you Monday morning to make sure you're OK.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Holy juxtaposition!




I'm no master of page design, though I like the way our pages look (especially when I do them).

I also don't like to criticize other papers. But today is the exception.

Imagine my surprise when I grabbed a copy of the Old Grey Lady today. At right is a scan.



It so happens that folded, what you get is what you see below.





Yep, that's Hillary Rhodam Clinton in the middle of the photo, and the headline below (from another story) reads "As Prostitutes Turn To Craiglist, Law Enforcement Takes Notice."

Ouch. Makes me glad I took those design classes.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day

So it’s Labor Day and, therefore, most of us are going to be outside, not laboring.

In my case, sometimes I’m working and it looks like I’m wasting my time.

Case in point: I browse many newspapers at the beginning of my shift, usually while I’m printing a page, getting e-mails or checking messages, or doing all of it at the same time. I’m not only working, but multi-tasking. But for the casual observer, it doesn’t look like I’m working at all.

Another one: After editing a CD review, I have to check the Web sites that we print, to make sure they are accurate. As it is increasingly the case nowadays, band sites tend to be on MySpace.com, where most of them also post photos they want us to use. But you have to be logged in to do that.
For the casual observer, I’m wasting my time on MySpace.com

And sometimes, when I’m multi-tasking, I’m on MySpace.com while I browse a newspaper.

I love this job.