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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Supersuckers

The dudes at The Basement at 744 Broadway in Kingston somehow landed the dudes from the Supersuckers for a show tonight.

Don't know about them?

Here's what others have to say about them, according to their site:

"If you don’t like the Supersuckers, you don’t like Rock-N-Roll."
-Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead

"They played my birthday party. They rock!"
-Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam

"Every time I hear the word ‘Supersucker,’ I’m reminded of an older gentleman who went into the strip bar and the hooker c’m dancing up to him and said ‘Superp*ssy!’ and he said ‘Soup, please.’"
-Willie Nelson

"Supersuckers…I love the Supersuckers, our whole band loves you guys!"
-Robin Zander from Cheap Trick

"The Supersuckers understand that great rock and great country are, at least on a spiritual level, exactly the same thing. Rock on, boys."
-Steve Earle

"The Supersuckers rock ferociously whenever they feel like it and what really matters is ending this sentence with an exclamation point!"
-Little Steven Van Zandt, E Street Band, Little Steven’s Underground Garage

"Supersuckers... Everyone knows the Supersuckers"
-Elijah Wood (SXSW 2008)

"The Supersuckers are hands down one of the best rock n roll bands around today!"
-Reverend Horton Heat


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Take the test!

And see how unfit you are!

http://www.nationaldriverstest.com.

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Irony attacks!


This is an image used by the folks at MyImprovNewYork.com, which is certified by the state as a reliable provider of the online point reduction insurance course, mentioned in "Drivers need crash course on road safety."

I'm not giving you the actual link because my home computer gives me this:

Caveat emptor.

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Are men really better drivers than women?

Yes.

And no.

As mentioned in "Drivers need crash course on road safety," men are still more likely to pass the GMAC-led driving test than women, ... "but the gap is considerably smaller in 2009 (81 percent of males versus 79 percent of females) than in 2008 (87 percent of males versus 80 percent of females)."

Here's the catch, which GMAC conspicuously posted on another Web page:

"Factoring in margin for error, average test scores between the genders were similar (21 percent female versus 19 percent male)."
In other words, we are all bad drivers. Now please stop reading this and concentrate your eyes on the road.

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Online class cuts insurance rates

As published in the Freeman, mention in "Drivers need crash course on road safety" and in case you missed it:

ALBANY (AP) — New Yorkers who shell out about $50 to take a leisurely trip down a cartoon road with just a few clicks of the mouse can end up shaving hundreds of dollars off some of the nation's highest car insurance premiums.

Under a program launched this month, New York joins 26 other states that offer online driving courses to reduce insurance costs and erase disciplinary points from licenses.

The online courses, which are allowed under state law, cost drivers about $50, but cost the state nothing. They provide a 10 percent annual discount on a driver's car insurance premiums, savings that last three years. Drivers can retake the course to sustain the discount.

States including California, Arizona, Texas and Florida also allow the program to be used to reduce insurance premiums.

It can be a badly needed break in a state with one of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. The cost of an insurance premium for New Yorkers varies based on a number of factors, including where the driver lives.

"In some parts of New York state, you're probably paying almost as much to insure a vehicle as you are to finance it," said John Corlett, a spokesman for AAA New York.

For married couples and families with children, the 10 percent discount applies to the additional premium cost of each person who takes the course.

Drivers who have points on their license can drop up to four points when they successfully complete the course. In New York, a drivers' license is suspended at 11 points.

The class deals with collision prevention, defensive driving techniques, aggressive driving, improper lane use and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

"Most of the people taking the course haven't gone through any formal driver education since they were 15 preparing to get their first drivers' license, and every year there's new laws," said Rick Hernandez, a partner for I DRIVE SAFELY, which offers one of the state approved online programs.

Their online course is self-paced, offering short text lessons and some animation, showing cars navigating along cartoon roads. The material is entirely multiple choice.

Online and in-class sessions are also available from American Safety Council, Inc. and the National Point and Insurance Reduction Course, Inc. The online classes cost more for the convenience. They vary by company, generally costing around $50, compared to $20 to $40 for classroom courses.

The online class is more flexible than the traditional six-hour classroom session, because students can complete it at their own pace, logging in and out within 30 days.

Once drivers complete the online course, the DMV is notified automatically, but individuals must inform their insurance company within 90 days to receive the discount.

"These programs are common in other states, and we felt that they would open up access to defensive driving courses for people who might have limited access to the in-person driving courses, either time wise or geographically," Corlett said.

About 650,000 New Yorkers completed the classroom courses last year, according to the DMV.


http://www.nydmv.state.ny.us/broch/c32a.htm

http://www.AAA.com

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twitter's latest star is a microblogging cat


Via AP:


He's one of the most popular users on Twitter. More than 500,000 follow his growing celebrity, his every adventure and, well, his cat naps.

Meet Sockington. Twitter's latest star is a microblogging cat who regales more than half a million with his musings on meal time, personal hygiene and the view from the top of the stairs.

Sockington, or "Socks" for short, is the cat of Jason Scott, a 38-year-old computer historian and computer administrator from Waltham, Mass. Since late 2007, Scott has been tweeting from Sockington's perspective — and finding a "Socks Army" of followers. (Many of his followers are pets, too.)

Dogs and cats in social media isn't anything new. Many have made Facebook pages (there are applications for both "Dogbook" and "Catbook") and Web sites for their pets.

The difference on Twitter is that the running thread of Sockington's feline commentary takes on the dimension of a comic strip. Scott has created a character with a particular voice by tweeting messages from Sockington's point of view like: "I must say no comment to the whole dining room incident. No questions please."

"He's kind of functioning like a 'Garfield' comic," says Scott. "He's like the 21st century Garfield."

There's the risk that a tweeting cat will only further the impression that Twitter is a flash-in-the-pan success in a sea of online time-wasters. But in a way, Sockington is a parody of Twitter, where even a kitty cat's life — his daily trips to the litter box, his insignificant household travails — is beamed out to the world.

"Everybody wants this social media bubble. They want something where we're all chattering so much that we all get rich," says Scott. "And this cat makes everybody look like fools because he's got hundreds of thousands of followers. And he doesn't tend to follow anyone but other animals."

Scott's Sockington feed has benefited from being one of the accounts recommended to new Twitter users when they sign up. But the growth of the Socks Army has been gradual over the last year and a half.

Now, it's starting to potentially generate revenue. T-shirts are for sale with Sockington wisdom printed on them and Scott acknowledges he may one day accept larger, impossible-to-refuse offers to offset his credit-card debt.

"I'm happy that at the heart of it all is a funny little cat, and that's why all the attention is happening," says Scott. "There are much worse reasons to get this kind of national attention."


http://www.sockington.org

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

I *heart* WFF


The Woodstock Film Festival announced Wednesday that the poster to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the "fiercely independent" event was designed by Milton Glaser, better known as the creator of the “I (heart) New York” logo.

“We are thrilled beyond belief to have an artist of Glaser’s caliber create this year’s image and are humbled by his participation,” said film festival co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein in a prepared statement.

One hundred 18"-by-24" posters signed by Glaser are on sale for $100.

The festival is scheduled to take place from Sept. 30 through Oct. 4.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gas-powered blenders


The Daiquiri Whacker, as mentioned in "Breathing in planned auto emission rules," doesn't whack daiquiris, as the name falsely implies.

And it costs $279, because with it, you can impress your friends with the awesome power of greenhouse emissions.

Check out this really cool video below:









A more refined-looking blender — for the sophisticated waster — is the Gas-Powered Party Blender, and it costs $275, is because it has "Party" in the name.

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Gas-powered toy



Also mentioned in "Breathing in planned auto emission rules" is the Two Seater Junior Corvette, which costs only $29,950, about five times the Blue Book value of my car.

Thankfully, shipping is free.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Woodstock state of mind

Bob Dylan is said to have written some of his most famous songs while living upstairs at The Expresso Cafe in Woodstock in the mid '60s.

What follows is a section from David McDonald's film "Woodstock Revisited," which tells the back story of how the '60s and The Woodstock Festival 40 years ago.

For more info or to order a copy of the film, visit http://woodstockrevisited.webs.com/




McDonald, of Woodstock, and of “Woodstock Can’t Get There From Here" fame will be showing sections of his series, “The Mystery of Creativity,” (and other stuff) at at 5 p.m. on June 13 at the Woodstock Library at 5 Library Lane.

“The Mystery of Creativity” is billed as the first television series dealing with the connections between creativity and spirituality.

McDonald began his investigation into the subject matter several years ago while working on “Woodstock Can’t Get There From Here."

Here's a clip about artist Charlie Hewitt.

Charlie Hewitt Four and a half minutes from The Mystery of Creativity on Vimeo.


Call (845) 679-2213 for more information.

Dirt to dirt

Woodstock's Levon Helm returns with "Electric Dirt" on June 30. His new album is the follow up to the Grammy-winning "Dirt Farmer."


"Levon Helm: The Making of Electric Dirt"

By the way, there are new dates for Helm's popular Midnight Rambles:

* June 27, The Chris O'Leary Band;

* The Annual 4 of July Ramble - BBQ with Jimmy Vivino and His Band

* July 11, Arlen Roth

* July 18, Guest Band, John Simon

* Aug. 1, Guest, Bow Thayer & Perfect Trainwreck

* Aug. 8, Guest Band, Rowan Brothers

* Aug. 22, Guest band, Robbie Dupree

Get tickets here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama the comedian


Highlights of President Barack Obama's speech from Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association dinner:

* "Good evening. Pause for laughter."

* “I’m Barack Obama. Most of you covered me. All of you voted for me.”

* "Sasha and Malia aren't here tonight because they're grounded. You can't just take Air Force One on a joyride to Manhattan. I don't care whose kids you are."

* About White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel: "He's not used to saying the word 'day' after 'mother.'"

* About chairman of Republican National Committee: "Michael Steele is in the house tonight. Or as he would say, 'In the heezy.' What's up?"

* "Michael for the last time, the Republican Party does not qualify for a bailout. Rush Limbaugh does not count as a troubled asset, I'm sorry."

* About former vice president Dick Cheney, who's writing a memoir "tentatively titled, 'How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.'"


* About former rival and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: "These days, we could not be closer. In fact the second she got back from Mexico, she pulled me into a hug and gave me a big kiss, told me I better get down there myself."

There are plenty more:




The Twitter hash tags are #WHCD, #WHCA and, more appropriately, #nerdprom.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Jimmy Fallon's degree



It's official. Saugerties High School grad Jimmy Fallon graduated today from the College of St. Rose. He's attending ceremonies right now.

And tweeting.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

The plane! The plane!



WASHINGTON (AP) — A top White House aide resigned Friday for his role in Air Force One's $328,835 photo-op flyover above New York City that sparked panic and flashbacks to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Louis Caldera said the controversy had made it impossible for him to effectively lead the White House Military Office. "Moreover, it has become a distraction in the important work you are doing as president," Caldera said in his resignation letter to President Barack Obama.

The sight of the huge passenger jet and an F-16 fighter plane flying past the Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan financial district sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets on April 27. Obama said it would not happen again.

Caldera's office approved the photo-op, which cost $35,000 in fuel alone for the plane and two jet fighter escorts. The Air Force estimated the photo shoot cost taxpayers $328,835.

White House officials said the flight was designed to update the official photo of the plane, known as Air Force One when the president is aboard. The White House released a photo of the blue-and-white plane high above the Statue of Liberty, with New Jersey in the background.


This is how some people reacted when they saw the plane:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

More food news

Nixon has a burrito, Dan Rather reports.

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* Cow escapes from slaughterhouse in Jamaica.

That's Jamaica, Queens.

* A friend send me a link to thisiswhyyourefat.com after reading "A big beef with meaty meat study." Bring Rolaids.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cow eaters caught on video!


That's right, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took a short — but wholly noticeable — motorcade ride from the White House to Virginia and pulled into a small, independent burger joint called Ray's Hell Burger, the Associated Press reported, because there is nothing better to report.

I can't help but think that if this was an episode involving that other president from the last eight years, this would have been treated slightly differently.

Then again, it might had been a White House stunt to keep Biden's mouth's shut.

With beef.

Expensive burgers

Yes, the Richard Nouveau Burger at the Wall Street Burger Shoppe in New York City is $175. Check the menu below.

Bar Menu Wall Street Burger Shoppe

* There is actually a $5,000 burger, but it comes with a very expensive bottle of wine, so it doesn't count.

* And yes, Burger King does have a $200 burger.

The Explosion


Just in case you're wondering, as part of my journalistic research, mentioned in "A big beef with meaty meat study," I actually prepared the Bacon Explosion in February.

It was a hit with the survivors.

Unintended consequences

In my futile effort to show you how meat will kill you, my editor informed me that the column "A big beef with meaty meat study," made him hungry.

So here's a recipe for Hearty Glazed Tri-Tip Roast with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce.

Hearty Glazed Tri-Tip Roast with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trimpe's first

Kerhonkson resident Herb Trimpe was the first person to draw Wolverine, in "The Incredible Hulk #188," which you can get at eBay for hundreds of dollars (You can also pay thousands if you want).

Most of all, Trimpe is known for bringing the Hulk back to life from 1967 to 1975.

The Freeman's Blaise Schweitzer talked to Trimpe (and to inker Terry Austin of "Hulk" and "Uncanny X-Men" fame), when the first Hulk movie came out in 2003.

Trimpe also did "G.I. Joe," which is getting the Hollywood treatment in August.

Visit www.herbtrimpe.com.

'Early bird' takes flight




A 1909 Bleriot XI pioneer aircraft will make a brief appearance at the Rhinebeck Aerodrome Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Yes, that's 1909. The Bleriot is the oldest original airplane flying in the United States, according to the aerodrome.

The Louis Bleriot-designed plane was the first aircraft to be mass produced and was among the most popular of the original pioneer aircraft types.

This particular Bleriot was donated to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome by Bill Champlin of Laconia, N.H., in 1955, the aerodrome said in a prepared statement. It was restored by the Aerodrome’s late founder, Cole Palen, who had to rebuild about 75 percent of the damaged airplane. It is powered by a 35 horse power Anzani engine.

The Bleriot will resume its flight demonstrations when air shows begin on June 13.


“We have a lot of pre-season work to do because we are celebrating the 100th birthday of the Bleriot, Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s 50th anniversary and participating as a sponsor in the Hudson River Valley Quadricentennial celebration this year,” said Hugh Schoelzel, president of Old Rhinebeck Air Show.


The museum is scheduled to open at noon on June 6 with an open house. It won't be a normal show, but pilots and mechanics will be testing and flying antique airplanes; staff members and volunteers will be available to answer questions; and there will be biplane rides for purchase, Schoelzel said. Admission will be free.

Visit www.oldrhinebeck.org.

A balancing act


Oscar-balancing town of Olive resident Philippe Petit attended the screening of "Man on Wire" at the Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock for a question-and-answer session. The screening was a fundraiser for the Woodstock Film Festival.

In this Naomi Graphics photo, Petit is holding a gold colored bowling pin, which was retrofitted to weigh the same as an Academy Award statuette, according to festival organizers, who added that the pin was made to practice balancing the trophy on his chin in the event that "Man on Wire" won an Academy Award, which it did.

Organizers said that during the Woodstock talk, Petit said that he practiced with a real Oscar at Woody Allen's apartment in Manhattan.

The 10th festival takes place Sept. 20 to Oct. 4.

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Obama 'no habla bien'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's joke was not lost in translation — even though he referred to a Cinco de Mayo celebration as "Cinco de Cuatro."

Obama jumbled his words as he welcomed guests to the White House to observe the Mexican holiday, sending the crowd into laughter before he referred to the day correctly.

"Welcome to Cinco de Cuatro — Cinco de Mayo at the White House," said Obama, in what appeared to be an attempt to note they were celebrating on the fourth of May instead of the fifth.

Cinco de cuatro means "five of four" in Spanish.

"We are a day early, but we always like to get a head start here at the Obama White House," he said.

During the presidential campaign, Obama acknowledged his Spanish skills were not great.

"My accent's always been good," he said. "It's just that I only know 15 words."

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