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.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

'Ghost Hunters' at the old Ulster County Jail

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to improve your social media presence

A few days ago, I ran into a tweet by my tweeps at our parent company, Journal Register Company, touting that the company's "social media efforts (are) outpacing some of nation's largest print publications."

It was a ranking of the top newspapers in the nation's Twitter followers, and it pretty much showed that some of our sister papers ranked better that some big national publications.

Alas, the Daily Freeman's Twitter account wasn't among them.

The blog Journalistics  had similarly posted a ranking of top newspapers' Facebook pages, and our own page would have ranked 25 among those surveyed, even though we're way smaller when it comes to circulation.

Read more »

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Report card: How to get reporters to cover stories from the field

A month ago, I posed the challenge to the Daily Freeman's newsroom, "How to get reporters to cover stories live (and from the field)." 

Recap: As I've mentioned before, this is an experiment, part of the Journal Register Company's Idealab, in which I am tasked, every month, with finding a problem in our newsroom and try to come up with a solution.

We told you we'll be completely transparent about our progress, so here's the second month's report.

Through October, I had to tackle a huge impediment: I found myself with no time to adequately spend experimenting because I had to take on many other responsibilities, so I had to get creative.


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Friday, October 29, 2010

The nastiest election: Adams vs. Jefferson

In the very words of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams' supporters:





Via Reason.

It's kind of funny that CNN is one of the mediums saying how nasty this campaign is, because of their 2008 piece, Founding Fathers' dirty campaign:


Things got ugly fast. Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."


In return, Adams' men called Vice President Jefferson "a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father."
As the slurs piled on, Adams was labeled a fool, a hypocrite, a criminal, and a tyrant, while Jefferson was branded a weakling, an atheist, a libertine, and a coward.
Go read it. Check out what Martha Washington said about Jefferson.

That wasn't the only dirty campaign, as  Joseph Cummins, author of, Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises, told The New York Times.
In the election of 1800, one of the dirtiest in American history, the venomous hack writer James CallendarThomas Jefferson) assailed then-President John Adams as a “repulsive pedant” and “a hideous hermaphroditical character,” whatever that means. Later in the 19th century, Martin Van BurenDavy Crockett, no less) and James Buchanan (who had a congenital condition that caused his head to tilt to the left) was accused of have unsuccessfully tried to hang himself. Oh, and Abraham Lincoln reportedly had stinky feet.

The 20th century began this way; at the 1912 Republican National Convention, Teddy Roosevelt, wearing a sombrero and smoking a cigar, cheerfully referred to William Howard Taft, the sitting President and Roosevelt’s former vice president, as “a rat in a corner.” (The rodent motif is popular — FDR liked to call Alf Landon, his 1936 opponent, “the White Mouse who wants to live in the White House.”)

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Headless Horseman in Ulster Park one of four finalists on MTV's scariest haunted houses in U.S.

Headless Horseman Hayrides in Ulster Park is one of four finalists on MTV's (clutch blog) "America's Scariest Haunted House: The Final Round."

The venue is currently third. Voting ends tomorrow.

As an objective journalist, I think it's time to bomb the poll.

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Old Ulster County Jail featured on 'Ghost Hunters'

The Old Ulster County Jail was the subject of a 'Ghost Hunters' episode on the SyFy (?) channel on Wednesday.

Shortly after the show started, local tweeps shared their insights.

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Pick the Preview cover!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Billy Joel posts from around the Hudson Valley

As you know, Billy Joel was in Catskill and Kingston over the weekend.

I wanted to see how this was seen through the lens of social media, so I went around, using Storify, trying to find posts on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and blogs about this.

I know there's a whole bunch more. I've seen photos on Facebook as well, but they're private.

So if you have a link, send it my way and I'll added to the timeline.

Anyway, here's what I've got so far.
Read more »

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Jon Stewart scratches Obama's back, in CGI, and other horrible 'news'

Somebody please explain to me why Taiwan's NMA keeps "explaining" the news with CGI animations and why I watch these videos all the time.



 Anyway, here's the 'news':
Read more »

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Friday, October 22, 2010

That Hinchey episode, explained

Daily Freeman Managing Editor Tony Adamis spoke to Julia Reischel of Watershed Post on Tuesday about the whole Hinchey-reporter incident:


Watershed Post: It's good to see the Freeman weigh in on this, now that this video has gone national.

Tony Adamis: We took a lot of flack for the length of time that it took us to respond, but we were just trying to be responsible about it. We took a kind of third-party approach to it. Even though I trust my correspondent, he and I both agreed that if any story was going to be run, it would be done by some other reporter approaching it as any reporter would. Plus, I took the time to do my own investigation.

It's a great and serious piece (unlike, say, the musings of this horrible person), and explains a lot of things. If you would like to take an inside peek at our newsroom, I recommend you give it a read.

Among the findings:

* Correspondent William Kemble was not taken off the Partition Street story, as many had thought:
Ariel (Zangla) had been working on that story for months. And William was working, for a shorter period of time, on the story on the earmarks issue. And after the earmarks story, the Hinchey camp complained about the characterization in that story having to do with the Partition Street Project, which led us to delay Ariel's story about Partition Street while we tried to do our best due diligence of looking at the complaint. The result was the second Kemble story. That wasn't even a planned story. It was really just a result of the complaint from the Hinchey camp. It's not true that [Kemble] had been taken off the story.

* Veteran Freeman reporter Paul Kirby once had the mayor of Kingston throw his own tape recorder at him. (That would be the late T.R. Gallo, not James Sottile - he throws drinks).
* The Freeman has been described as a right-wing paper.
* The Freeman has endorsed U.S. Rep. Hinchey over and over and over and over.

In conclusion, the Freeman is bipolar.

And everyone, it seems, remembers the incident differently. Hugh Reynolds of the Kingston Times even described that after the incident, Hinchey, "looked directly at the reporter, about 20 feet away, put his right hand around his throat and pointed at him with his left index finger."

Ouch.


Also, I wasn't there, but I remember it like this:


Hinchey blingee

I know. I'm a horrible person.

UPDATE: Maurice Hinchey fans are hyperventilating because his lead is slipping, according to the Wall Street Journal. He's only up by a whooping 19 percentage points, according to internal polling, the Journal reports.

In other words, if true, he's set to crush George Phillips.

PANIC!

UPDATE 2: A korrecshun, Hinchey is up by 17 points in that Dem poll. 

Hinchey Poll Memo

UPDATE 3: It should be mentioned that Republican polling has them tied. 
The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight summarizes it neatly.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Get your angry New York politician Halloween mask right here!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hurley native to appear on Thursday’s 'Dr. Oz Show'

This post is for  informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Amanda (Zullo) Gaffney, a 1991 graduate of Kingston High School - and her family - will appear on “The Dr. Oz Show” on Thursday.

The Hurley native resides in Fairfield, Conn., with her husband, Tim, and their two children. The family was chosen to participate in a segment about incorporating healthy ingredients in family meals.

A Dr. Oz production crew first filmed at their home; the family was then invited to the show’s studio in New York City for a live taping a few weeks ago.

The show airs at 2 p.m. on Albany’s WNYT-TV13.

Gaffney is the daughter of Barbara Zullo of Hurley and the late Emil Zullo.

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Hinchey's 'Shut up!,' 'I didn't tell him to shut up' ... and keyboard cat

Made with two parts of YNN videos and one part keyboard cat.
Mix and serve cold.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Tigers roar at Dietz

Cathy Roth of the KHS Tiger Band Boosters took these photos and wanted to shared them with you.

From left, Amanda Rose Ruschak, Drum Major Erin Ruth and Jenna Secreto celebrate the Kingston High School Tiger Marching Band's first place finish at the 2010 Fall Fanfare marching competition held at Dietz Stadium on Sunday Oct. 17th.
Dietz Stadium was filled to capacity for Fall Fanfare 2010.
 
From left,  Sarah Roth, Sarah Dickerson, Sarah Peterson, and Sara Farhat wait for Senior Recognition ceremonies to begin.
From left, Drum Majors Dana Umble, Chris Beard, Nick Avossa, Kevin Ausanio, and Erin Ruth leave awards ceremony with first place in Large School 3 division.

Kingston earned a score of 80.25 in its third competition of the season, Roth said. The school will compete two more times before participating in the New York Field Band Conference championships on Oct. 31 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

Good luck to all.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

iPhone video going from Newburgh ... (insert echo sound) ... TO SPACE!


Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

Via New York, found by Kingston Alderman and iPhone-in-space video watcher Tom Hoffay.

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Fleisher's in 'Iron Chef America'


The folks at Fleisher's Grass Fed and Organic Meats in Uptown Kingston will be providing a secret ingredient for Sunday's  "Iron Chef America" at 10 p.m. on the Food Network .

I wonder what kind of ingredient the meat store will provide.

One thing is for sure. I won't be bell peppers. 
That's too bad.  I love bell peppers.


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Why is a 2008 story still one of the most popular today again?

As I wrote before, because you're clicking on it.

But "Anonymous" begs to differ.

In a libelous post I had to erase because of, you know, it was full of libel and all, a poster wrote:

If you are Going to write a Blog about Life You should Know something about it first ......

Particularly if you are going to do so in a Public Forum like a Media, such as the Daily Freeman. The reason this Story was given such attention has NOTHING to do with the reasons you surmised. Nobody stumbled across it Online.

If you are able to discern you will learn that these were direct hits not ones that were picked up off your most popular place. So Y'all over there at the Freeman might as well open up Your Most Popular counter again cause It's NOT gonna stop.

Then comes the libelous part. (This blog is open, so you can post whatever you want. But once I notice something is afoul, I have to take action, hence the deletion). The writer says the initial clicks came because the case in question is due in court soon.

...That is why it has received attention NOT Randomly, as you have assumed.
... But you did have one thing right it was posted on Facebook because Facebook is a Nationwide [acually World wide] Community where people can come together and Help one another in a Variety of ways, .....

Although the writer might be correct as to the reasons for the initial post, he or she (or it?) is incorrect about the rest.

We know people are clicking on the item because we can see when people click on links. (Yes, we can see you, stop picking at your nose)

Let me show you today's Most Clicked tab, how I see it:

The color code shows us what's 'hot' and it tells us exactly how many hits we are getting.

With our metrics engine, we can also tell where they come from. There are, as of Saturday morning, 339 entries through Facebook. The more than 2,000 other clicks in the last days came from the "Most Popular" tab. One thing is true: metrics numbers don't tell us why people originally clicked on the story.


P.S. As I said before, feel free to post whatever you want in this forum. But, if you want your comment to stay, you can't libel people. Something about innocent until proven guilty and all that.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

New York state news, from Taiwan, animated

Although now an accurate representation of events, this is what happens when News Goes Wild!

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Watch this bleeping ad for governor!



That's a bleeping commercial for Green bleeping candidate Howie bleeping Hawkins.

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Why is a Dec. 2008 story the most popular today?

Because you're clicking on it.

To be fair, you're clicking on it because it's in the "Most Popular" section of the website. And it's a pretty compelling story, one that any reader would assume is from today.



Why else would it be there, right?

Actually, this is why:

At around 9 p.m. Thursday, a Freeman reader stumbled upon the story online, and it was shared on Facebook. By 3 a.m., it had been 'Recommended' or 'Liked' dozens of times, and it had accumulated 90 views. That's not much, but it is enough to be automatically placed it in the 'Most Popular' stories box for the day, because today's stories actually published at 3 a.m.

So by 3 a.m., today's stories had no hits. But that one had dozens.

So you come in the Freeman's site this morning, scroll down, read "Blind, deaf dog shot, beheaded," say "HOLY S*%@" and click on it. One more hit.

Are we doing this on purpose? No.

It's an automated featured on the site. I asked the powers that be down the rabbit hole if this can be corrected.

It can't.

"The date setting on this feature is the time range of the hits/views regardless of when the story was posted," was the response from the Masters Of All Things Web Except When it Comes to Old Stories Popping Up Years Later.


Incidentally, this has happened before. It happened with "Bard prof busted for pot plants" and "Worker dies at 'American Chopper site in Orange County."

If you can sense a pattern here is because there is one.  All these examples share the same characteristics: They're highly compelling stories; they are somehow optimized for search (Google "Bard" and "pot" to see what I mean); and once they are found, they go mini-viral on Facebook.

In conclusion, I hope you don't get caught Googling "Bard" and "pot" at work.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Watch a Happy Meal decompose into the same exact Happy Meal 6 months later


Today is food day at the Freeman, so let's talk about those things that like to pretend they're food.

New York based photographer Sally Davies bought a happy meal and took a picture for a day from 6 months.


In the photos, the unhappy meal remains virtually unchanged. It reminded me of "Stomach not happy with Happy Meal," a column from 2008 which quotes McDonald's actual answers to common questions, like

* "Are there worms in the meat?"; and
* "Are there really eyeballs and other weird stuff in your burgers?!?"

No joke.



Check out all the pictures at Sally Davies McDonalds Happy Meal Project.


In the burger's defense, I can only say that at least it's not made with mechanically separated chicken.

Yummy.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Semi-naked monster parodies Old Spice ad

Grover, another one of those monsters from a street made of sesame seeds or something, is making fun of manly men who use girly products.

Bad Grover!

In the now-viral "Sesame Street" parody, Grover spoofs the Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" commercial.

Videos inside.




Read more »

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Super hot cat fight in Kingston caught on video

... at the Ulster County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Guy who punched future Nobel winner in literature wins Nobel in literature

Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who punched Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the face in 1976, won the Nobel in Literature on Thursday.

Garcia Marquez, author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and "Love in the Time of Cholera," won the prize in 1982.

If you feel like stalking him, Vargas Llosa is in New York, teaching how to punch writers or something. One of my favorite Vargas Llosa tales is "The Cubs," a short story not about the baseball team, but about a boy who suffers accidental castration at a Marist school in Peru, which is great advertising for a high school.

Full disclosure: I attended that very school, but my favorite Vargas Llosa novel is "La Ciudad y los Perros," which doesn't translate into "The Time of the Hero," but that's the English title anyway.

He also held a seminar at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson in 2006, the one you didn't go to because you didn't know who he was.

Now he's going to punch you in the face.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Keanu Reeves', um, acceptance speech at the, eh, Woodstock Film Festival, introduced by, errrr, Vera Farmiga, who's very pregnant

New discoveries:

* Keanu Reeves makes Vera Farmiga have Braxton Hicks contractions.
* Reeves in Hawaiian means "man with four testicles." or "sheriff with no penis," or something like that.
* Vera Farmiga is a very funny lady.




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A twittersation about sex research and mean journalists



Anyway, I don't remember the last time I had a somewhat enlightening debate via Twitter with a London expert. And Petra Boynton did raise some very good points for all of us in the drive-by media, the users (that's you) and sex researchers themselves.

Feel free to add your two cents.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bard president Leon Botstein drops by 'The Colbert Report'

Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson and conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra, stopped by "The Colbert Report" to talk about his "impressiveness," saving the school system in America, freshmen and infectious diseases and other related topics that somehow were string together into a interview.



 Video follows.

Read more »

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

If Keanu Reeves wins an award at the Woodstock Film Festival, will Sad Keanu meme go away?

Upcoming O+ Festival in Kingston shows artists don't have health care. Who knew? Everyone.

The upcoming O+ Festival in Kingston (pronounced "O what? festival"), which we are featuring in Preview this weekend, has a nice, unbiased write-up in the unbiased Huffington Post, written by unbiased O+ festival founder Alexandra Marvar, who says Kingston neighbors are very nice.

That's very nice. This unbiased journalist would like to ask her to tell my neighbors to stop leaving their dog poops in my garden.

But I digress. Before our unbiased preview of the festival, here's a video that shows why artists need health care, or a chill pill.


Read more »

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Rhinebeck native Joseph Mazzello will poke you in 'The Social Network'

Actor Joseph Mazzello (the III), who plays Dustin Moskovitz in "The Social Network," was born in Rhinebeck and raised in Hyde Park.

He is the son of Ginnie and Joseph Mazzello, Jr., who own JG Dance in Hyde Park.

Mazzello also played Tim Murphy in "Jurassic Park," and most recently played "Sledgehammer" Eugene Sledge in the HBO miniseries "The Pacific."

He made his directorial debut with "Matters of Life and Death," in which he also stars.

That film also includes David Strathairn, the Oscar-nominated Dutchess County resident who will be in Ellenville on Saturday.

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Crazy journalist's back makes its way into official Woosdtock Film Festival photos

The following is a slideshow of official photos from the Woodstock Film Festival, which took place in Woodstock, Kingston, Rhinebeck and Rosendale over the weekend.

Somehow, yours truly is in a Brian Tobey photo titled, "Filmmakers relax at the Colony Cafe at the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival."

See if you can spot my back. Hint: I'm using a Flip, a Netbook, a Blackberry and a Android phone and I'm talking to Ed Burns.

Massive slideshow follows:

Read more »

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Woodstock Film Festival 2010 videos

What follows after the link is a widget containing curated videos from the Woodstock Film Festival this past weekend, including anecdotes from Keanu Reeves, Edie Falco and Edward Burns.

Enjoy.

Also, please stop clicking on the image at left. The videos are after the link. I'm doing this because Sam Piroton, a reader of this blog who lives in Europe, complained about the blog taking  too long to load because of the many videos I've been posting lately.

So this new look is for you Sam.

And to the rest of you, thanks for not saying anything.

>:P~~

Videos inside.

Read more »

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Keanu Reeves, Vera Farmiga to attend Rosendale screening

From the Woodstock Film Festival:
Although it's the last day of WFF 2010, there are still plenty of surprises coming, including the latest word that Keanu Reeves and Vera Farmiga will attend todays's Rosendale screening of Henry's Crime at 3pm, for the Q & A following the film.

Those of you who were present at yesterday's Woodstock screening Q & A know that Keanu is very enthusiastic about being at WFF, and that this is Vera's second visit here ( for Up in the Air last year). So we are as delighted as the Rosendale audience will be, that they have chosen to stay a little longer than planned!

Great movies today, great panels and good vibes!

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Tweets from the Woodstock Film Festival

I went to the Woodstock Film Festival in Woodstock (duh!) and Kingston (wha?) on Saturday, armed with a Droid, a netbook, zero $$$$ and a mean headache.

What follows is my report, if you can call it that.












Read more »

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Filmmakers talk about proposed Kingston movie fee

At the Woodstock Film Festival on Saturday, director, writer and actor Edward Burns ("Nice Guy Johnny") and Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur ("Inhale") chime in about the city of Kingston's proposed fee for movies shot in town.

Was I asking totally biased and leading questions?

As the people who do this like to say, I report and you decide (that I shouldn't be reporting).

Shocking video follows.

Read more »

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Edwar Burns reveals his area ties and wonders what the hell I'm doing

In this poorly shot video, screenwriter, director and actor Edward Burns (or at least the bottom part of his face) - at the Woodstock Film Festival and promoting his film "Nice Guy Johnny"  - tells us about his ties to the area, which have to do with lonely local foods or something.

Then, after the interview is over, he seems to begin to wonder why he is talking to a crazed and accented person who's seemingly over-equipped with gadgets.

Video follows.
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Ed Burns on the advantages of having long hair and not wearing a suit. WIN!

Director, writer and actor Edward Burns, at the Woodstock Film Festival to promote his latest film, "Nice Guy Johnny" (see our story here), talks about following your dream - and long hair and no suits.

I like him already.
Video after jump.
Read more »

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A live interview with 'Inhale' director Baltazar Kormakur at the Woodstock Film Festival

For the purposes of full disclosure, here is the complete and unadulterated interview with "Inhale" director Baltazar Kormakur, which took place at the Colony Cafe on Saturday, part of the Woodstock Film Festival.

Video follows.
Read more »

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A live interview with Edward Burns at the Woodstock Film Festival

This raw video includes a fairly comprehensive live-streamed video interviwe with director, writer and actor Ed Burns.

He reveals he's also a video editor and talks about his latest film; working with Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston; long hair; Woodstock; and, most importantly shooting in places that don't charge a fee.

Loooooooooooooooooooooooooong video follows.
Read more »

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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Phrantic Phlooding of Phoenicia