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, October 31, 2007

Not to be outdone ...

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The taxman in Iowa is going after jack-o'-lanterns this Halloween.

The new department policy was implemented after officials decided that pumpkins are used primarily for Halloween decorations, not food, and should be taxed, said Renee Mulvey, the department's spokeswoman.

Previously, pumpkins had been considered an edible squash and exempted from the tax.

...

Boy, I love New York

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Only in Texas

From the wire ...

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — State agencies issue too many reports, a new 668-page report says.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thrilling

Seventy eight people, largely from the Center for Creative Education, the Energy Dance Company and the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston, gathered Saturday in Kingston High School to participate in the worldwide attempt to set the Guinness record for most people participating in a simultaneuos dance - all re-creating the routines from Micheal Jackson's 'Thriller' video.
Here's the video of that attempt (The Freeman had the photos Sunday, which were taken by Garret Lown, as you can tell by watching the lower corner at the beginning of the video).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slxhLV-FsEY


Hot news

From the wire ...

"Doctors are dripping the chemical that gives chili peppers their fire directly into open wounds during knee replacement and a few other highly painful operations."

"Don't try this at home: These experiments use an ultra-purified version of capsaicin to avoid infection — and the volunteers are under anesthesia so they don't scream at the initial burn."

Note the word "volunteers."

I would have loved to see that classified ad:

"Need volunteers with so we can dump hot pepper on their open wounds. Anesthesia included. Lemon, salt optional. Call Dr. Pepper."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

To be fair

Since I took a lively jab at the campaign of Jonathan Sennett three posts below, I think it is only proper to take on the campaigns of the other candidates for Ulster Conty district attorney.

• In the signs, why is “VINCENT BRADLEY” so big and the other part of the name so small? What’s up with that, junior?

• Experience this! I swear (not really) I’m going to experience a heart attack if I experience another instance of the word “experience” from the Holley Carnright experience.

If you want to get shot in the face

From today's A6 ...


"Cheney due in Dutchess on Monday -- and he'll be armed"

IT'S RAINING OUT THERE!

There’s a couple of guys on the traffic circle right now carrying signs for La-Z Boy.

The store is going out of business, or as it says, “OUT OF BUSINESS!” (I hope it’s trying to get you excited about the "SALE!" and not it’s financial woes).

Anyway, it’s pouring out (“POURING!” the store would say), and the poor dudes look very cold, uncomfortable and wet.

Mean La-Z Boy.

I mean, MEAN LA-Z BOY!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Been there, done that

A candidate for Ulster County district attorney will spend Saturday night with a family in Midtown Kingston.


I guess the implication is that he’s a brave man because Midtown is scary.



Because, you know, Midtown is the home of all those scary things like City Hall, Kingston High School, the Ulster Performing Arts Center, Kingston Hospital, the YMCA, the Bank of America and my residence, not to mention the home of Freeman reporter Blaise Schweitzer, who’s so scary he talks to people for a living (Blaise also likes to say he lives a stone throw’s away from my place, thought he hasn’t done that — yet).



Other brave souls who have spent parts of the night in Midtown in years past include Whoopi Goldberg and New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman. David Crosby and Graham Nash will be in Midtown tonight. And Bill Cosby is coming to Midtown’s UPAC in March.

Spooky.


I am being ridiculous, of course, since there are certain undesirable elements in town, to put it mildly. In my many strolls through Broadway at night, I have been offered many goods and services, and none of them were good for anyone or serviceable at any point.


Blaise and reporter Bonnie Langston, longtime readers might recall, spend a whole night walking on Broadway in Midtown one night in July of 1988, a day after the slaying of a 19-year-old Anna Kithcart, a woman whose body was found in a morning of July 1988 near abandoned railroad tracks in the city.


That is scary.


Here are the guys doing just that (with '80s hairdos to boot) in a photo never published taken by the late Bill Madden:



"I have a permit for my stockpile, officer."

From today's wire ...

"NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A 14-year-old boy accused of plotting a Columbine-style attack on a school has admitted in juvenile court that he illegally stockpiled weapons" (emphasis mine).

Which begs the question:

Can a 14-year-old boy have a legal stockpile of weapons?

And if so, how would that contribute to the "well regulated Militia ... necessary to the security of a free State"?

(That, by the way, is the part nobody quotes from the Second Amendment).

BANG!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nobel, Nobel everywhere ...

If you're still in wonder (for whatever reason) over presidential loser and Oscar winner Al Gore getting that Nobel Peace Prize for his work with a warm ball or something, here's a chance to "get your Nobel on" in the Hudson Valley.

* Nobel Prize-winning physicist John C. Mather of NASA, whose work helped popularize the Big Bang theory (remember it's "just a theory," like gravity), comes to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie Oct. 29 at 5 p.m.
The lecture is free (he shared the $1 million for the 2006 physics award, anyway, so don't feel bad about not paying). He'll be talking about the Big Bang and microwave radiation (contain your excitement, please).

* Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006, is the visiting writer in residence and Bard. He'll give a lecture "In Kars and Frankfurt" on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in Olin Hall at the Annandale-on-Hudson campus. And at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, he'll teach an open class (meaning you can go) in Room 115 of the Olin Language Center. Both events are free (I wouldn't pay anyway, he's rich).
...
It must be great to be a Nobel laureate. After all, who wouldn't want to have his or her name associated with the INVENTOR OF DYNAMITE?

One can only dream.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

300 virtual greenbacks

Today, Microsoft bought 1.6 percent of the online networking site Facebook, which was created by a Harvard dude in his dorm room four years ago.

Bill Gates’ company paid $240 million to 23-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, which technically puts Facebook’s worth at about $15 billion. A year ago, Yahoo offered $1 billion for the site. Zuckerberg must be very happy he refused that offer.

If you wanted to know, that deal values each Facebook member at about $300, virtually speaking, of course.

But don’t party like it’s 1999, because he whole thing may be a bubble, just like in 1999.

About that Pledge

So everyone is still talking about the Spanish pledge.

The Freeman had an editorial today about that very topic.
A paragraph in it was, to this editor born in a different country, strange:

“Also, high school students, for heaven’s sake, ought to be well on their way to fluency in English, regardless of their origins. ...”

I didn’t speak English when I moved here from Peru and went to Rondout Valley High School.

I started as a junior, and my English was limited to a very accented version of “May I go to the bathroom, please?” (The answer was usually “what?” or “no,” which I actually understood after a couple of days). But I took me a couple of years (and teachers with incredible patience) to make it past “Hamlet” and to get into Advanced Placement English (I received a 98 in the class, but I failed the test — the hardest I’ve ever taken).

Obviously, I did learn the language (superbly, I like to say with pride, given the nature of my job).

So I’ll say this:

For heaven’s sake, maybe some high school students don’t speak English because they just got here.
But yes, I do think learning the language should be a priority.

After all, how are “we” going to “take your jobs” without knowing the language?
...
By the way, this is how I did the pledge when I didn’t understand the words.

I had it written in three ways: In English (“I pledge allegiance” ...), how I should pronounce it if I was reading it in Spanish (“Ai plech allichans” ...) and translated (“Juro fidelidad” ...).

The reason? You just don’t want to say things you don’t mean.

And for the record, I stood up, every time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And talking about e-mails ...

Just got this one:

"CORRESTED PRESS RELEASE"

Priceless.

A time to ‘kill,’ via e-mail

“Please go KILL these people.”

That was part of a note Catskill Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Farrell wanted to send to John Wallabay, director of facilities for the school district.

Yes, the SUPERINTENDENT.

It gets better: Out of frustration and in haste, she mass e-mailed the note. And a number of teachers got it.

The Freeman had the whole enchilada today.

I wonder what would had happened if that note had been sent by a student.

Oh, wait! I actually do know what would have happend to a student. And you do, too.
Sad times, indeed.

Lesson here is, of course, don’t write angry e-mails in haste. It’s like drinking and dialing, and it leaves a record.
...
We all have said something inappropriate without meaning it (maybe you haven’t, but I’m proyecting here).

I’m pretty bad myself (I even make machine-gun sounds). But a certain smile on my face lets people know I’m OK (though some might think I’m crazy). Thankfully, I do such things where people know me well. So even those who think I’m crazy know at least that I’m safe.

And with sound effects.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Get them while you can


There are only 17 tickets left as of Monday for the Kingston concert by David Crosby and Graham Nash, from the much-celebrated Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, according to Bardavon officials.


The duo will play the Ulster Performing Arts Center on Broadway in Kingston at 8 p.m. on Friday.


No matter: No Young, no Ivan.


(In case you’re wondering, I was told the cost of booking Neil Young is prohibitive).


In 2004, Crosby & Nash released their first studio record since 1976 with the double-album which had the most original title of that year, “Crosby & Nash.”


Tickets are $52.50 and are available at the UPAC Box Office, (845) 339-6088, 601 Broadway in Kingston; and the Bardavon Box Office, (845) 473-2072, 35 Market St., Poughkeepsie; and through the convience-charge-crazy masters at Ticketmaster, (845) 454-3388 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/


For more information, visit http://www.bardavon.org/ or http://www.upac.org/.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My burning wish backfired

So the political signs, instead of burning, are multiplying.

That’s fine. At this point, there are so many and they’re so close to each other, you can’t really read them nor want to. Unless, of course, you actually want to crash your car. I almost crashed mine driving along Ulster Avenue in Kingston today.

So this sentence should be read as a four-letter word directed to every single candidate who has a sign around Ulster and Albany avenues (sad thing is, that’s probably all of them). Add a "you."

I seriously doubt there’s a voter out there who’ll immediately form his or her political opinion after a glimpse of just a name in a sign for, say, Jonathan Vincent Holley Sennett Bradley Carnright Jr., or whatever his name is.

Just imagine:

“Wow! Look at that beautiful lettering on that sign! Until now, I hadn’t decided who I was going to pick for district attorney for the county, but after seeing those wonderful colors ….”

It’s only going to get scarier, I guess.
But that’s fine.
It’s the Halloween season, so we should expect some creepy things.
Here's hope we'll all survive.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Burn, baby, burn

On October 16, 1777, -- 230 years ago --British troops invaded the city of Kingston (then the state's capital) and burned more than 300 structures.

So the city is remembering the heroes of that tragic day with, of course, a whole weekend of cool events (because when you think of your city burning, you think of fun, fun, fun!)

So the "red coats" are coming to "burn" Kingston again this weekend all over the city.

So here's a short list of things that should burn and forever be gone:

1. Political signs. All of them.
2. Political pamphlets on mailboxes. Especially the ones that are littering the city's sidewalks.
3. Political stickers on people's cars (if you do -- and you shouldn't -- please don't burn the cars, or the people).
4. Other stickers on people's cars (Yes, I don't care that your kid is an honor student).
5. My bills.

Feel free to add your own to the pile. And no, you can't burn me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sinead O'Connor sold out

The Sunday concert at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie, that is.

Don't worry. Her site, http://www.sineadoconnor.com/, has plenty of goodies to keep you happy.

Here's one video her site linked via YouTube, so I guess it's officially approved (it's not).


If you double-click the video (if it's still there), it'll take you to YouTube and more videos an editor can handle in a day.

She also has a MySpace site, as all musicians should, and it's got what you've come to expect from such ventures, like a media player, pictures, video, blogs, concert information, "friends," etc.

Visit http://www.myspace.com/sineadoconnormusic for all that, even this slide show, which I'm sure will mess up with the layout of this page:




Yep. I thought so.

...

Also on MySpace, you'll find an introduction to "Theology," her latest album.

I feel super generous today, so I'll spare you the gargantuan task of clicking the link above.
Here's the video.



TANGENT:
O'Connor also had posted three videos of her recent talk about bipolar disorder in "Oprah" with, ahem, Oprah, but I guess the network didn't like it so the videos were taken down.

(Where are Oprah's armies when you need them? ... Oh, yeah. They're watching "Oprah").

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You can't make this stuff up

From the wire ...

"SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Talk about a potty mouth.

"A Scranton woman who allegedly shouted profanities at her overflowing toilet within earshot of a neighbor was cited for disorderly conduct, authorities said.

"Dawn Herb could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300."

...

This is the part of the blog when I want to write profanities to illustrate what a bunch of, well, crap this whole thing is. But I'll spare you the First Amendment exercise.

Instead, I'm going home to shout profanities at my toilet (which is not overflowing, thank you very much).

I live in Midtown Kingston, anyway, so my screams will be overshadowed by other people screaming while not getting citations for it.

Because this city rules, and that's something to scream about.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Patterson part II

Here's a scanned copy of a page that was faxed to the office (to make things blurry).







It's from James Patterson's "See How They Run" and it mentions the area and the Kingston Freeman.



By the way, if you read the comment from my "reliable" friend two posts below, she clarified that "the book 'See How They Run' was published (as 'The Jericho Commandment') in 1976, not 1986."



Also, for the record, there is nothing wrong with people who enjoy Patterson.



Or so they say.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oh my blog!

Remember that story, "Access to Cahill's blog will be blocked on city computers"?

It was about somebody apparently going on city dime all day to Kingston mayoral candidate Richard Cahill's blog (There even was an editorial about it).

The records the Freeman obtained for that story were acquired using Statcounter, a Web site that allows you to track who's visited you, from where, when, etc.

It is interesting, to say the least. So on Sept. 20, I decided to try it myself on this blog (surprise!)

This is a map of recent visitors:



Of course, this doesn't mean much, even if you know how to read the thing. Because you can only tell where is the geographical location of your visitors' servers. So it doesn't point to YOU, but to where your computer gets its Internet connection.

And so:

* All those hits from Pennsylvania came from the Freeman office itself, since our parent company has its computer servers there.

* I don't have any friends in Brazil, unless you count that guy who left me a note in Portuguese to check out a site for "hot young blonds."

* Same goes for South Korea, France, Canada, Mexico, "Unknown" (which is now my favorite country) and Argentina (even though I do have a friend in Argentina, and he's so crazy he actually would send me a link for "hot young blonds").

* Your tax dollars at work!: I have occasional readers in the state Assembly ("k") and in the state Senate from Delanson upstate and Wyandanch in Long Island (go figure).

* If you have Time Warner, your visit will show up as coming from Cornwall.

* People are still using AOL, and I don't know why.

* A gargantuan number of readers visit this blog while at work (I'm excused, this IS part of my job).

* You can't really be anonymous online. Everything you do leaves a recorded trail, even without Statcounter.

* My most frequent visitor is yours truly, because every time I type something, it leaves a record, so it shows as if I'm a visitor.

* My parents don't read what I do (one of my brothers does, but only to point out typos).

* I've been visited from 18 states (I'll get you one day, Utah!).

* Somebody bumped into my blog by searching for "carl rux grisha coleman."

* About 69 percent of recent visitors spend less than 5 seconds on any particular page at the time, which is disturbing.

* A good 21.5 percent of recent visitors spend more than an hour on this blog, which is even more disturbing.

Labels:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

James Patterson and the Freeman

A fellow writer and good friend (and reliable source) sent me this e-mail.

"I'm reading (James Patterson’s) novel 'See How They Run,' which is about neo-Nazis and was written in 1986. Part of the story takes place at Minnewaska in New Paltz. And in Chapter 21, Patterson notes blue mailboxes for the Kingston Freeman are in front of each of the homes."

I was stunned ... that my friend was reading James Patterson.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to belittle the prolific writer (that would be my friend, not the best-selling author).

After all, I am reading "The Universe in a Nutshell" by Stephen Hawking -- for the third time -- but only because it has pictures.

...

Side note: The Kingston Freeman does not technically exist, of course, though many refer to the Daily Freeman like that. When it was born, on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 1871, it was called the Rondout Daily Freeman, some years later becoming the Kingston Daily Freeman. More than a decade before Patterson's reference, the paper was simply The Daily Freeman. After that, "The" was dropped from the name.

Yeah, I know is nothing, really. But I'm an editor. And I notice things like these (and I get paid for that, too).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The pages of the future, now

The Woodstock Film Festival has a commemorative program online that is too cool to pass.



It is the digital version of the festival's actual program, page-turning and all.
Here's the link.

It makes you wonder if that's where newspapers are going.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Film festival

The Freeman previewed the Woodstock Film Festival on Sunday, in the News and Life sections. The festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday.

The story in Life was about the unusual films. There are a couple of festival videos with it. Here's a trailer for "Night of the Living Jews," one of the films at the festival profiled in that story.

THIS VIDEO IS RATED R (or should be). There's a scene of (zombie) nudity and claims of heart attacks, miscarriages and spontaneous combustion, not to mention political incorrectness at its worst (which is good in my book).


Here's some information about the 17 1/2-minute film, via the festival's site.


The Oliver Noble film, which was shot in the valley, screens Friday at 9:45 p.m. at the Bearsville Theater, and there are promises of He'brew beer and bacon cheesburgers, because, apparently, not enough people have been offended in this crazy affair.

Visit http://nightofthelivingjews.com/.

Iron Chef

If you missed "The Next Iron Chef" on Sunday (I did), the Food Network has a video recap of the first episode. The show was taped at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

John Besh, a 1992 graduate of the school, won one of the challenges.


That's Besh, left, with Alton Brown, the show's commentator.

The Food Network's "The Next Iron Chef" airs Sundays at 9 p.m.
The first episode runs again Thursday at 9 p.m.

Rest in peace, Herbie

The Rev. Herbert F. "Herbie" Rogers died on Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 50. The funeral was today at noon.

The Freeman's Blaise Schweitzer profiled him just some weeks ago.

In this photo, the Reverend was speaking at the Citivision summer camp just days after receiving the diagnosis of cancer.



His smile was telling, and warm.


Expressions of sympathy may be made in the form of contributions to:

Jesus Loves You Ministry
P.O. Box 2624
Kingston NY 12402

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dylan, one more time

That one-time Woodstock man who likes to go to the Bardavon and not tell anybody, Bob Dylan (I hear he’s a songwriter, too), plays the Pepsi, I mean, the Times Union Center, 51 S. Pearl St., in Albany Saturday at 7 p.m.

Tickets are ridiculous, I mean, $69.50, $49.50 and $39.50.

The man is playing with his band in a concert which also features Elvis Costello and Amos Lee, so I guess the prices are not that ridiculous (though still unaffordable for this editor).

Dylan, you might also remember, has rehearsed at the Bardavon a number of times recently, but no concert has taken place at the Poughkeepsie opera house which owns, I mean, merged with the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston.

Earlier this summer, Dylan played the original site of the Woodstock 1969 festival, far from Woodstock in Bethel, and tickets there were as low as $25.
...
Talking about Woodstock festivals, the "fiercely independent" film thing begins Wednesday and ends Oct. 14 with director Todd Hayne’s Dylan biopic, “I’m Not There.” The Freeman previewed the film and the festival on Sept.18 . We will have the full schedule with stories in the News and Life sections on Sunday. And, of course, we will also have the daily coverage you’ve come to expect.

By the way, Costello’s been chronicling his career in free podcast from iTunes. The podcast series is available from Apple and Costello's site.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sound advisers

Freeman music reviewer David Malachowski, also a producer and musician, recently won an Associated Press award for "Sound Advice," which runs in Preview every Friday.

Before him, under my umbrella (I'd like to say), Peter Aaron handled the column (he also is a musician and also won an AP award).

So it was no surprise to me when Peter's album arrived in the mail.

Here's the cover.



Yeah, I know. That's how you end up when you've worked for me.

...

Bad jokes aside, David said that his role with the band Mechanical Bull, which you read in Life on Friday, came after he reviewed the band's album. There was a benefit for him earlier in the year, to help him with his medical bills, and he started jammin' with the band (Come to think of it, I've seen him playing with different people every time we've crossed paths).

David recently played at the blues festival in Lake George with The Woodstock All-stars.

Here's a photo I've shamelessly stolen from his MySpace page (he's my MySpace "friend," you see?)



He's third from the right.

The all-stars are (in no particular order) Harvey Sorgen, Pete Levin, Dennis Gruenling, Adam Widoff, Jill Stevenson and Albert Cummings.

Amazing

I know nothing of sports. And I won't start pretending.
But I had to do this.



Before you torch my house, let me remind you that my native Peru has not been in a World Cup (of "fútbol") since 1982, so I do know pain.

But, oh, boy! It is so much fun to rub it in when it's not your team.