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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Live green or die

In another wonderful New York first, the state Department of Environmental Conservation says lead-free bullets with nontoxic primers are being phased into the training of its officers and rangers to reduce their exposure to lead, the Associated Press reported today.

Because, you know, you don't want to poison the people and animals you're shooting at.

I'll bet you $5 you didn't know this

Beginning with the new year, running an unlicensed free bingo game in New York will no longer be a crime punishable by as much as a year in jail.

That's right, criminals! Unlicensed bingo is illegal in this wacky state. So all those times you've been innocently playing at your church, school, senior citizen center and all those others places of mayhem, you've been breaking the law.

Let the games begin.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Jimmy Fallon ties the knot

Saugerties High School and Saturday Night Light graduate Jimmy Fallon married movie producer Nancy Juvonen in the Caribbean, his publicist told the Associated Press today.

Fallon, 33, is set to appear in "Year of Getting to Know Us," based on the story by Ethan Canin.
The film, still in production, is played by Fallon, Sharon Stone, Luci Liu and Tom Arnold.

Here's hope the movie doesn't suck like "Taxi."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Merry txting Xmas!

On Christmas, I sent a whole bunch of holiday text messages to friends and acquaintances I didn't buy presents for (I’m cheap).

It was a simple message: “Merry Christmas!”

Following are some of the answers I could decipher:

“Who dis?”

“Back @ ya bro peace”

“Merry Xmas 2U2 man”

My favorite?

“Benito@shaw-online.net(AYK)There’s no reason to be by yourself tonight?? c me at : *(www.bluedatez.com)*”

I hope “Benito” gets a million spam messages this holiday.

I’m not sending him one. Texting costs me money (I told you I was cheap).

And what’s up with the language?

AFAIC, dis txting OTP is a PITA.
That’s my MOTD. NRN.

Monday, December 24, 2007

That's the (holiday name goes here) spirit!

In a reprint of an editorial that originally appeared in the New York Sun in 1897 (back when kids read newspapers), The Freeman is telling Virginia that there is a Santa Claus.

And even though Virginia O'Hanlon died in 1971 and is buried in Chatam Rural Cemetery in Columbia County, she still needs a reminder.

As do we.

So Merry Christmas to all.

P.S. I'm not pushing my beliefs down your throat. I'm just including everyone with the sincere hope of getting more presents.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Something" of the Year



A year after selecting "YOU" as Person of the Year, Time Magazine finally decided to be a news magazine and pick a real newsmaker: The adorable Vladimir Putin of Russia (photo at right confirms his cuteness).

Runner ups ("losers") were:
* Al Gore, for appearing in "Futurama";
* J.K. Rowling, for inspiring countless Harry Potter rip-offs;
* Hu Jintao, for bringing all that lead to our children's toys; and
* David Patraeus, for being a general with "Peaches" as a nickname.

The reasons may be different according to Time. I don't know. I cancelled my subscription when it picked you as Person of the Year in 2006.

...

I would have picked the following:

WORLD

* Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for bringing the red shirt and the huge portrait back in vogue; for having an hours-long prime time show on Sundays, all about him; and -- my favorite -- for instituting a Daylights Savings Time of half an hour.

* Iranian President Imadinnerjacket, for amusing the world with his comedy routines about having no gays in Iran and the Holocaust never happening (where does this guy get his stuff?)


* The world itself, for being warm to us all.


NATION

* Illegal immigrants, for cleaning the lawns, building houses and picking the apples for the people that hate them the most.


* Vice President Dick Cheney's heart, because it's still kicking.

Hudson Valley


* Vice President Dick Cheney, for not shooting anybody in the face when he decided to hunt in Dutchess County.



* "Almighty God," for getting busted.


* Bob Dylan, because the man who inspired "I'm not there" was not here when the film premiered. He was here, however, for a concert at Bethel Woods and he rehearsed at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie (but did not not tell anybody).

* Kingston Mayor James Sottile, for getting re-elected and getting slapped.


Feel free to add to the list.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My two cents on what you've heard over and over and over (and will for a long time)

Pregnant teenagers should be the work of fiction, and should not be rewarded with (most likely paid) interviews in (ironically named) magazines.
What is one to do?

Watch "Juno," an award-winning film about a teenage girl who makes difficult decisions when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
The film opens Friday at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.
The trailer is posted below.


Jose, can you see?

Puerto Rican native Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. was the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret branch who ordered the destruction of those infamous "enhanced" interrogation videotapes you're going to be hearing about for a long, long time.

So Jose could see. But none of us ever will.

Who said immigrants don't contribute to this country?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Taking "Santa Baby" to a new extreme

I ran into this line today from an Associated Press story:

... "Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted" ...

Before you ask, here's the story:

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) -- Santa Claus says that a woman who sat on his lap was naughty, not nice.

A Santa at the Danbury Fair mall said the woman groped him.

"The security officer at the mall said Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted," police Detective Lt. Thomas Michael said of the weekend complaint.

Sandrama Lamy, 33, of Danbury, was charged with sexual assault and breach of peace. She was released on a promise to appear in court on Jan. 3.

Police quickly found and identified Lamy because the woman was described as being on crutches, said Capt. Bob Myles.

...

Of course, when Santa doesn't feel like writing a naughty list, he'll sue you, as this item illustrates:


Max Weisberg, above, dressed as Santa Claus, leaves the Royal Cleaners store in Cherry Hill, N.J., on Monday. Last year Weisberg dropped off his Santa suit at Royal for cleaning but it was lost by the cleaners and never returned to him. He bought a new $374.50 Santa costume and sued when the owners of Royal refused to pay for it. On Monday, Jean Hwang, sister of the owner, said they would be paid for the new Santa suit.

...
The lesson? Don't mess with Santa. Or else.

...
IRRELEVANT TANGENT: "Santa Baby," used in my unexplicable headline, was written by Joan Javits (the niece of the late liberal Republican New York Sen. Jacob Javits), Philip Springer and Tony Springer.

Here's Catwoman, I mean Eartha Kitt, in her classic performance, which is much better than those by Madonna, the Pussy Cat Dolls, Kylie Minogue, Ru Paul and all the other wannabes.





Told you.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Does not compute

Sometimes, your computer doesn't cooperate with you.

Today is one of those days.

It feels just like Alan Becker's "Animator vs. Animation II," an online masterpiece from 2006, and a must-see if you use a computer (HINT: You are if you are reading this.)

And if you're frustrated because of technical difficulties with the Flash video, then you'd have an idea of know how I feel.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not in the steroids list


Tiny, a mean user of steroids, is not in Sen. Mitchell "naughty" list of "enhanced" baseball players, either because he doesn't play baseball or because he is from a different species.


Regardless, he is a user (because of a skin condition) and has been reported.


And, yes, he doesn't like you (must be the 'roids).

More signs

This one is not related to the post below. But it is a whacky sign, nonetheless.


It's from Virginia Beach, where cursing is prohibited by law.




Needless to say, the sign was cursed at (and the bird was flipped).

Save the signs!

The evil people who'd sue the sun if it were to be too hot and their evil lawyers have forced companies and agencies to be totally stupid.


This image explains what I mean:




"The Wacky Warning Label Contest," now in its 11th year, is conducted by the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch as part of an effort to show the effects of lawsuits on warning labels, the Associated Press reported.


Here's the winner of the contest this year.

This image is very real. It shouldn't be.
Save the signs. They need you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mover over, Alvin

Associated Press movie critic Jake Coyle basically wrote that instead of going to see "Alvin and the Chipmunks," you should watch "Dramatic Chipmunk" instead.

So here it is.



I haven't seen the "Alvin" movie, not because it hasn't opened yet, but because I don't plan to.

Yet, somehow, I agree with Coyle (sorry kids, I can't stand the high-pitch voices).

Just for kicks, the trailer for the movie is posted below:



I give the PG movie an R rating because Alvin, his chipmunks pals and Jason Lee all annoy me.

If you are a masochist, the movie will be screened at the Hudson Valley Mall in the town of Ulster beginning Friday, as well as the Roosevelt Cinemas in Hyde Park and the Lyceum Six in Red Hook.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

We've obtained the CIA videos

One is about champagne.



A related recipe appears in the Freeman Wednesday.

Check out The Culinary Institute of America's Network on YouTube or the institute's site for more videos.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The lights are coming


Just like adorning a Christmas tree, reporters Blaise Schweitzer and Bonnie Langston will be putting the final touches to the Freeman's yearly Holiday Lights Tour on Tuesday. The story and map will be published Sunday.

I'll be doing the interactive online portion of it.

It's looking good.

Friday, December 7, 2007

More Grammy nods


I went through the whole list of Grammy nominations yesterday, looking for locals, and completely bypassed Bard professor Joan Tower, who received three nods.

Shame on me.

Thankfully, Bard send a bunch of releases about it.

Here are the details.

The Bard Orchestra will perform part of her Grammy-nominated work -- along with works by Bach, Boccherini and Gluck -- in a free concert Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. in Olin Hall at the college in Annandale-on-Hudson.

And again

After reading Bonnie Langston's story, "The things that mean home", about Lance Cpl. Matthew Gadomski, Levon Helm's people contacted the family and invited them all to one of his expensive and expansive "Rambles."

Bonnie, still glowing from the news, also told me that Gadomski has been getting lots of e-mails at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, even one from his former coach at Kingston High School.

Those are the things that make my day (and Bonnie's).

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Helm strikes again


Congratulations to Woodstock's Levon Helm, who today received a Grammy nomination for "Dirt Farmer," his first studio recording in 25 years, in the Best Traditional Folk Album (Vocal or Instrumental) category.
The Grammy Awards, now in its 50th year, air Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. on Andy Rooney's CBS.

That category, by the way, is number 68, out of 110. We'll see if Helm makes the cut during the broadcast.

...

Congratulations also to perennial nominee and winner Jimmy Sturr (And His Orchestra), who received a nod for "Come Share The Wine" in the Best Polka Album (Vocal or Instrumental) category (number 76). The Orange County musician has been nominated 21 times and has won 16.

My favorite category this year is the Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Story Telling) because of the nominees:

* Maya Angelou for "Celebrations";

* Barack Obama for "The Audacity Of Hope" (the audacity to go against Angelou!);

* Bill Clinton for "Giving" (save your nasty jokes for later);

* Jimmy Carter for "Sunday Mornings In Plains"; and

* Alan Alda for "Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself" (like "politicians' self-serving books on tape shouldn't be in this category").

Check out the whole list of nominees and suffer with me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Two minutes of '60 minutes'

In their "Best Week Ever" show, the "cool" kids at VH1 (where you go when you realize MTV is too young for you) tried to make fun of "60 Minutes"' commentator Andy Rooney (whose syndicated column appears in the Freeman on Saturdays).

Funny thing is, Rooney was dead on, which either means that the people at VH1 are not that "cool" or that I'm getting old.

Judge for yourself.



Andy Rooney vs. The World

The description of the video, posted by that other "cool" cable network, Spike, says "Andy Rooney rages against the jack-booted thugs behind the nation's catalog industry."

...

So yes, he's getting older, like all the other kids at the CBS news show (and all of us, mind you).

But I think Rooney has more than earned his right to complain about silly things. After all, he's covered huge events like World War II.

My favorite Rooney rant was when he needed scissors to open a package of scissors he had bought.

And yes, the fact that a lot of those catalogues are inserted in the Freeman has not escaped me.

Go get them Andy!
...

Tangent rant: What appears to be a massive copyright violation - by VH1, who copied CBS; and then by Spike TV, who copied VH1's copy of CBS -- is really nothing.
Viacom owns all those cable channels (and it used to own CBS until early 2006):

Here are all the other cable channels owned by the giant:
MTV
MTV2
mtvU
Nickelodeon
BET
Nick at Nite
TV Land
NOGGIN
CMT
Comedy Central
Showtime
The Movie Channel
Flix
Sundance Channel

And you were scared of Rupert Murdoch.
See all the giants, courtesy of Columbia Journalism Review, the folks who tripled the price of my subscription and tried to make it look like an offer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

'Tis the season, part II

The story about 'Almighty' has been updated, and the headline changed, which throws off my previous post.

No matter. "Val 'Almighty' heads to prison" is way better.

And Kyle Wind's lead, "God is going to the Big House," is, well, priceless.

'Tis the season

"'Almighty God' sentenced to prison".

Not quite related to alarmists' "WAR ON CHRISTMAS," but the headline is just as funny (for everyone but "Almighty," of course).
...
I say that the "WAR ON CHRISTMAS" is funny because one single look out your window can inform you that Christmas is doing pretty well, thank you very much.

All the commercial and "Happy Holidays" stuff notwithstanding, it's not like Old Navy or Target have lost their spirituality, since they have none.

How do I know that Christmas is doing well?

Because of all the area services and holiday events piling up on my desk, not to mention the Freeman's upcoming annual Holiday Lights Tour.
...
Before I forget, Happy Hanukkah to my chosen friends, who tonight begin commemorating the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians.

How does that translate into gambling with dreidels and eight days of lights is as weird to me as a fat man coming down your chimney because Jesus was born.

We are a weird species, indeed.

So in case I haven't offended you yet:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

HO! HO! HO!

'Tis the season