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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Melissa Leo's Oscar acceptance speech


Oh my, oh my God. Oh wow really, really, really, really, really, truly wow. I know there's a lot of people that said a lotta real real nice things to me for several months now, but I'm just shaking in my boots here. Ok, alright. Thank you David O. Russell. I want to thank the actors, Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, he might run out for a second, Amy, my sweet sister Adams, Jack, our lovely daughters. OK. Yeah, I am kind of speechless. Golly sakes, there's people up there too. When I watched Kate two years ago, it looked so [EXPLETIVE DELETED] easy. Alice Ward, your beautiful family that opened your hearts. I saw Mick here earlier. Dick, a shout out for Nana? Alright Dick's not in the room. Thank you so much, opening your hearts to all of us to make this film. I thanked David, I'll thank him again. My family, my beautiful son who is traveling right now in South America and can't join me. It's ok, I'm ok Jack. My Mom and my Dad and my brother and my friends and my family. I want to thank the very most of all, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences, the Board of Governors, and all their members, whom many of you are here today. This has been a extraordinary journey in getting to know what the Academy is about and first and foremost, thank you Academy, because it's about selling motion pictures and respecting the work! Thank you so much.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Oscar tweethathon at 8 p.m. Sunday

Join us on Sunday at 8 p.m. for a smorgasbord of Oscar-related tweets featuring live insights from interviewer of the stars and author Martha Frankel (who also is participating at "A Night at the Awards" at the Emerson Resort); New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly; Timmian Massie, Chief Public Affairs Officer and Adjunct Professor of Communication and Religious Studies at Marist College; social media expert Allison Gray Teetsel; our friends at the Watershed Post; Rhinebeck writer Kitty Sheehan; TechCity's Paul Rakov; and yours truly.

If you want your insights to appear, just post a comment below or tweet using the hashtag #dfoscars.

UPDATE! I've added Monique Paturel, and New Haven Register entertainment editor Jordan Fenster and television editor and columnist Joe Amarante.

I'm also adding #nhoscars. We're going to make this a multi-state event!

UPDATE 2: Playwright David J. Loehr will join from Kentucky and our entertainment friends at the New Haven Register in Connecticut. I'm also adding a Tweetizen feed for ease of access.




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City of Kingston mulls social media

The Kingston News' Clark Richters has posted video of the proposal by Mike Darcy (of the Kingston Neighborhood Watch) to use social media for municipal communications.



The proposal took place during Thursday's General Government Committee meeting. Here's the proposal:

Social Media proposal to City of Kingston

Neat. But a word of caution: If the city spends but a dime to hire a self-proclaimed "Social Media Guru," I'm going to start seriously consider punching people in the face.

Like this:

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Timothy Matthews scandal - another timeline

The Timothy Matthews scandal - a timeline

How to turn multiple instances of double dipping into 'two instances'

It's easy!

During a press conference that the Freeman broadcast live on Wednesday with School Superintendent Gerald Gretzinger and Board of Education President James Shaughnessy about the Timothy Mattews scandal, the board president said, "there appears to be two instances where double dipping was detected" at the school.



And Gretizinger said, "If there were two instances as (former top business official) Mr. Pritchard claims ... Two instances where possibly there was a discrepancy over three years that  Mr. Pritchard was in that office."



During the live chat online, however, someone posted this while the conference was taking place:


That, exactly, was my recollection:




This is no discovery. The Freeman reported, in January, that ,"the school district’s former top business official recalled denying a time sheet submission by the detective lieutenant, causing a disagreement with Superintendent Gerard Gretzinger." (This is the said disagreement that Gretzinger says he doesn't remember)

This is that account, as reported in that story:

Robert Pritchard, who was assistant superintendent for business operations from 2007 to 2010, recounted an occasion on which Detective Lt. Timothy Matthews made a pay claim that raised a red flag and which Pritchard denied.

Pritchard said he subsequently was summoned to Gretzinger’s office to explain why the claim had not been approved.

...

Pritchard said he, ... at that time, asked: “What if we get audited?”

This was noted and not paid, all the parties involved do point out. It was also pointed out multiple times by Gretzinger that he doesn't remember said incident with Pritchard and that he first saw the 'double dip' time sheet one or two (?) weeks ago, and that it wasn't paid (did I mentioned they mentioned it wasn't paid?).
Now I'm trying to concoct a reality where both Pritchard and Gretzinger's stories match. You're welcome to help me out.

Also, State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli said during a press conference that was not attended by Gretzinger  (he wasn't invited, he said on Wednesday), that the comptroller's office found 16 instances, totaling 57 hours, in which Matthews submitted a claim for time worked as a security guard at Kingston High School that coincided with hours he claimed for police overtime during the 2009-10 school year.

kingston audit

This report doesn't mean that there were 16 instances that school official noted as two. If anything, that would have been tripple dipping (school at two places at once, plus police work). But the dates do differ. And both Gretzinger and Shaughnessy said they didn't have access to city numbers or the comptroller's information.
Yet, I think I can count, and two instances is neither 16 nor five.

So, for clarification purposes: There were more than two instances of double dipping that the school knows and/or knew about. And those were caught and not paid.

Finally, a word of advice: If the state comptroller has a report with "Kingston City School District" on it and you happen to be the leader of the Kingston City School District, it would be wise to attend such a heavily-advertised-for-days conference, even if you are "not invited." I wasn't invited either, and I was there (and I was actually really busy that week working on Preview, running the Life section, tweeting, blogging, working on the Spanish paper, writing a column and finishing our most awesome Pet Contest).

Just sayin'

UPDATE: Here's the other time sheet, with three more instances of an attempt to 'double dip.' This bring the total instances the school denied pay due to double-dipping to eight, or - as school officials called it, "two."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

President Obama Speaks on Libya

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Did Melissa Leo change her story on the Oscar ads?

The Huffington Post is reporting in a story titled "Melissa Leo Changes Her Story On Oscar Ads" that the Stone Ridge actress and Academy-nominee "went along with Paramount's agenda."

This stems from the now controversial ads that she took and paid to have in the Hollywood trade press, promoting herself.

The Huffington Post bases its conclusion on a story reported by The Daily Beast, "Melissa Leo Breaks Oscar Silence," by Jacob Bernstein, in which Leo says:

“I’ve been busting my ass, trying to get the movie sold and seen, and now I show up where they ask, get put into hair and makeup that they pay for, so I can promote this thing [and campaign]. So I’m a little confused. I thought this is what we’re doing. This is what all the girls are doing.”

The Huffington Post uses the aforementioned quote, but fails to notice THE VERY NEXT SENTENCE:

Leo adds that she conceived the ads before she was nominated—and if she had known she would wind up in contention for Best Supporting Actress, she might have done things differently. “It didn’t seem so nomination oriented,” she said. “It was fun.”

Emphasis mine. FAIL by Huffington Post.

However, note that the both the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast write that Leo was a frontrunner, and that things are not so clear anymore. Bottom line is, we'll find out on Sunday.

Yet, one comment on the Huffington Post sums up all this pretty neatly:

“I thought the Academy Awards were supposed to be about talent, not good or ill-concei­ved ad campaigns? Why is the focus on her ads and not on the quality of her acting in her role?”
Why, indeed.

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JRC Chat at noon discusses metrics in journalism

As it is now becoming tradition, members of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) and anyone interested are going to be holding the weekly Twitter chat at noon.

Today will be talking about metrics in journalism: Why should journalists care? Why are they important (and/or how much should journalists pay attention to them?) along with best practices and whatever else we can fit in one hour.
The feed is posted below.

As always, you are welcome to participate and chime in anytime you want.


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to cover events live and have users participate while news happens

If you are a regular Freeman user, you might have noticed that we've been venturing in new, um, ventures this year.

We're finally getting the hang of livestreaming important events, such as the Mayor's Message; a city council meeting, the state comptroller's press conference and the state of the County address, and assorted highlights after the fact.

We've encountered some successes as we learn and we're expanding upon this, with live tweets and user comments. We're also working out some kinks, like figuring out how to get my awful face out of the thumbnail in the livestreams.
Ugh!

We've found that the most successful way to do this it to livestream an event, while a reporter files live tweets from the field while, at the same time, users can comment and ask questions, such as "why is the camera on the floor?" (That was a real question from the state of the County address).

Those who miss the live events have a chance to revisit the videos later and post their comments and questions then.

We're also starting what we hope will be a regular feature in our pages site: Livestreaming with the Mayor.

On Wednesday at 11 a.m., we'll sit down with city of Kingston Mayor James Sottile in a live interview that will be broadcast to the public. What's neat, aside from the live part of it, is that you'll get to ask the questions.

Seriously, try it. Send us your questions, in a comment in this post, or in a tweet or in a Facebook message and we'll ask the mayor, who said is eager to answer your queries. Better yet, come by DailyFreeman.com on Wednesday at 11 a.m. and ask your question live. We're giving more weight to people who use their real names, but if you feel uncomfortable asking your question identifying yourself, that's fine too.

Also, we've been regularly posting your photos and insights into happenings in the Hudson Valley, be it snow storms, gas episodes, award shows and whatever you want and need to know. As users have become producers of content, our 'competitors' are not the traditional media. IT'S YOU!

That's why we're trying to provide you with a better and much, much more engaging Freeman. And that's why we've partnered with SeeClickFix and have a growing roster of area bloggers to provide you with what you want and need.

Yes, we have ways to go. And we know this tenfold. But we can't do this alone, so I'm asking you to share your thoughts with us and tell us what can we do to improve upon this. And believe me, we know that we're not giving you all you want and need. That's our challenge. We're trying to do our best with what we have, and we will focus resources into what's needed.

I can only give you this: The best part is yet to come.

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Visualizing overlapping 'double dipping' hours from state comptroller's report

I'm playing around with some visualization tools during my spare time as of late, using ManyEyes.

The concept is simple, upload a document and choose the visualization method. It's a bit tricky, and I'll get better as I get comfortable with it.

But the potential is there. Here's a simple chart from the state Comptroller's preliminary report on overlapping hours in the double-dipping scandal.

If I get the hang of it, you'll see this more often.

Overlapping hours Many Eyes
UPDATE: I was asked in the comments if we could upload the time sheet with 'double dip' on it. Here is one:

UPDATE 2: Microsoft Excel does charts, of course, so let's add Wages, Overtime with URGENT, School money and benefits and make some CHARTICLES!

Detective Lt. Timothy Matthews wages 2007-2010

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Visualizing Twitter

Mentionmap:



IsParade: Your Twitter stream ON ACID!


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

JRC Chat a noon to discuss multi-media reporting

As it is now becoming tradition, members of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) and anyone interested are going to be holding the weekly Twitter/CoverItLive chat at noon.

Today will be talking about best practices for multi-media repoting - meaning how to accomplish covering an event using a variety of tools for a variety of platforms. We're talking how (and how much can/should one person do), what tools does such reporter need and logistics for implementing such reporting.

The feed is posted below.

As always, don't forget to bring your links. 



THERE'S MORE!!!

Read more »

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Seeger wins Grammy

Folk legend and Beacon resident Pete Seeger is contending for a Grammy Award tonight. UPDATE: HE WON!!!

The album "Tomorrow's Children" by  Seeger With The Rivertown Kids And Friends and produced by Appleseed Records, received the nomination in the Best Musical Album For Children category.

According to the record label, "When Beacon fourth-grade teacher Tery Udell invited Clearwater educator and singer Dan Einbender to teach her students about the Hudson, class sessions became songfests, and where there are songs, there’s Pete. He became a regular visitor to the kids’ classroom in 2007.

"The classroom gatherings and performances inevitably led to a series of recordings by Pete, Dan, musician and CD co-producer (with Dan) David Bernz, the children (known as “The Rivertown Kids”), as well as adult musicians, high schoolers and even 14 grammar school percussion students." Collaborators of the album also included Dar Williams and Seeger's wife Toshi.

Another area resident up for a Grammy is Woodstock's Steve Earle, who received a nomination in the Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media category. Earle's song, "This City," was featured on the HBO show "Treme," which has as a cast member Melissa Leo of Stone Ridge. UPDATE: HE LOST




Rosanne Cash, daughter of the late Johnny Cash, and who has a home in Columbia County, is nominated in the Best Americana category for "The List."


Also nominated is "Healthy Food for Thought" in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category,  and Phoenicia's Robert Burke 'Uncle Rock' Warren contributed in that effort. UPDATE: THE ALBUM LOST.

And finally, Cory Boris, a Kingston High School senior and trombonist, is set to perform with a Grammy Jazz Band during the Grammy ceremony tonight

The Grammy Awards will take place tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and broadcast live on CBS.

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Do you manscape? Inquiring minds want to know - for an app

That's the question that area author Martha Frankel wants you to answer. Why? Because she is working on an app for that.
An app?
* Yes. Don't ask me.
Why?
* Why not?
What's manscaping?
* Google it.

Anyway, Frankel writes:

I've been approached to do an app about manscaping. I want to know what men want (in the app!). Do they want to be able to take pics and then see what that area would look like w/out hair? would they like it to be instructional or more light hearted? Do they want to know what women think? Do they want photos of other guys, or does that make them uncomfortable? Would they like to see how it's done-- ie waxing, shaving, trimming, etc?
What say you?

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The world tweets about Egypt



Watch President Obama speak about Egypt

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Important poll finds people would like to do things they can't do

Most Americans would rather read minds than fly, a super poll of super powers conducted by the super people at the super Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie has found. Super.

An equal percentage of people who want to read minds, 28 percent, said in the poll they'd like to travel through time.

Among other super powers in the poll were teleportation and, my personal favorite, "unsure," a super power chosen by 8 percent of Americans, who were probably unsure why they were being asked such questions by the influential polling institution.

But don't ask me. I don't read minds.

Up, up and away!

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jimmy Fallon's mole removed by Dr. Oz

In this publicity photo released by Sony Pictures Television, talk show host and Saugerties High School grad Jimmy Fallon of NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," center, reacts as he is treated for the removal of a potentially pre-cancerous mole called a blue nevi from his hand as host Dr. Mehmet Oz, left, speaks and physician Arthur Perry, M.D., assists during a taping of "The Dr. Oz Show," Tuesday in New York. The segment will air nationwide on Feb. 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Sony Pictures Television)

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JRC Chat at noon

As it is now becoming tradition, members of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) and anyone interested are going to be holding our weekly Twitter/CoverItLive chat at noon.

Today will be talking about the AOL/HuffingtonPost deal, since it potentially can or may affect and/or influence smaller news organizations. We'll also be brainstorming some ideas for super reporting - meaning how to accomplish covering an event in a variety of platforms if there's only one of you.


 
The feed is also posted below.

As always, don't forget to bring your links. 


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Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial featured two kids

Apparently, Max Page, who was revealed as the kid behind the Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial (and who looks like Luke Skywalker), was not the only one playing the Sith Lord for Volskwagen. This, according to Felice Povill, mother of David, writer of viral Darth Vader Super Bowl ads.

Felive Povill wrote:

You might want to know that there were 2 boys in the Darth Vader ad. They copywriter, my son, David, feels badly that one boy is getting all the buzz and the other goes unnamed and unrecognized!

UPDATE: Our friend Anonymous reports in a comment that the second boy's name is Aiden Lewis. Inside Edition has reported the same. Meanwhile, little Max met with The Voice on Monday. James Earl Jones, who voiced Darth Vader in "Star Fights" or whatever the movies are called (Local tangent! He lives in Dutchess County), met with Max, as you can see from the photo above (I don't know who's who, so you'll have to figure that out).

As for Aiden, he appeared in the scene with the dog, according to Inside Edition. I somehow couldn't tell.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Melissa Leo criticized for promoting Melissa Leo

Deadline Hollywood reported on Friday that Stone Ridge actress and Oscar favorite Melissa Leo personally paid for ads in the Hollywood trade press.

“I took matters into my own hands. I knew what I was doing and told my representation how earnest I was about this idea. I had never heard of any actor taking out an ad as themselves and I wanted to give it a shot."
“I am quite certain I have not overstepped any boundaries of the Academy," Leo told Deadline's Pete Hammond.

The snarky guys at Gawker are not happy, though: "she seems like a secretly vain person who now finally has a reason to go public with it," wrote Richard Lawson.

Ouch.

Leo also has a website now.

UPDATE: The New York Times chimes in: "as the front-runner in her category, why did she risk overreaching?"
Her response to the gray lady?
"This entire awards process to some degree is about pimping yourself out."

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Meet the boy behind the Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial

What was your favorite Super Bowl ad?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl commercials not in Super Bowl

Uncensored E-trade baby


Bud Light's 'Severance Package'

Old Spice guy

Audi's 'Startled Smart' teaser

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Kingston personalities caught in Common Council chambers panorama

Tweet-up live at 3 p.m.

Your friends at DragonSearch Marketing are going to be at the Emerson Resort on Route 28 at 3 p.m. and will be livestreaming a 'Tweetup.'

Purpose?

Learn to Use Social Media to help Phoenicia! Join us at the Emerson on 2/4/11 for a Social Media workshop and How to Twitter primer. Tweet-Up participants will learn how to best use social media for promoting local events.

How to Promote “America’s Coolest Small Towns” Votes for Phoenicia, NY Through Social Media Networking

Phoenicia, if you need to know, wants to be the coolest small town in America.

It is currently on eight place.


Watch live streaming video from dragonsearch at livestream.com

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Kingston common council meeting highlights, kind of

After Thursday's "Mayor's Message,' the city of Kingston's Common Council meeting took place.


It was riveting. And, after watching the clips below, you'll agree that I don't know the meaning of the word "riveting."

I enlisted a reluctant Paul Kirby (he was working on a report, after all) to explain to me what was happening while the meeting was taking place.

So if you go to the city of Kingston's Common Council meeting, these are some of the things you might witness (without the narration).

* Resolution to hire a person to rescue kitty cats for $2,000. Passed.




* Resolution to appoint Clark Richters to lead Public Access. Passed.



* How to speed things up. All passed (really fast).


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Kingston native writes, produces Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial

And the ad has gone viral already.

The Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial, by Volskwagen, was written and produced by Kingston native David Povill, we are told by Mario Catalano, relaying a message from Gary Povill, the ophthalmologist with an office in Aaron Court in the city.

Catalano added, "Go Packers."

The ad has been viewed 1,776,836 times on Youtube as of this writing.
UPDATE: The 2011 Super Bowl ad now has more than 16 million views as of Monday, Feb. 7.

According to Mashable, 'The Force' is schedule to run in the second quarter.

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Funny snow business in Kingston

 



I contacted Kingston Alderman Hayes Clement, via e-mail, to comment on an issue reported on SeeClickFix, in which a West Chestnut resident allegedly got ticketed after momentarily moving her car to clean up her driveway. As of this writing, this issue has been viewed 379 times, commented 65 times and voted on 29 times.


I asked Clement if he thought this, if true, was a fair administration of the Snow Emergency policy:
If the facts and narrative that Julie Ballou presents are accurate, then, no, I don't think this was a reasonable or just application of the policy.  The street had been plowed, the car was not impeding a plow and the car's owners were plainly visible and could have been advised to move the car immediately. No one likes to get a ticket and issuing them is no fun either, I'm sure, but it has to be done with some sense of fairness and reasonableness.
If you feel you were issued a parking citation unfairly, contact your alderman for advice or fight it in City Court. I think you're going to be seeing lots more of that, with $100 citations in this economic climate.
This issue has also been gathered 19 comments on this post, which has the city Snow Emergency regulations.



From all the comments and issues raised, here's what you need to know:

* A snow emergency is declared when there is 3 inches or more of snow accumulation.

* You can't park on the streets when there is a Snow Emergency declared in Kingston.
But, you rightly ask, how am I going to find out if there is a Snow Emergency in the city, you crazy person?
It works like this: You can visit the city of Kingston's website. However, as I found out today, the information there might be outdated. (Click on image at right for larger picture)


So I called the city to inquire about how can citizens find out if there is a snow emergency or if it has been lifted. Your best bet is to call the Department of Public Works at (845) 338-2114.

The city has also updated its website now.

The Snow Emergency, by the way, was lifted at 8 p.m. last night, and I wish I had known this because I parked on the municipal parking lot three blocks from my place. Which brings me to the next point.

* During a snow emergency, you can park on free municipal parking lots. And you cannot park on the streets even if the roads are plowed.

If you risk it, you might get your car towed ($135 even if it's two blocks from the towing place) and ticketed (another $100). This, I hate to say, has been confirmed by experience.

* Funny business:

A. You can park on the street between midnight and 8 a.m., but only if there was no snow accumulation over 3 inches before midnight.

B. After the snow emergency has been lifted, DPW has a 24-hour window to clean the streets. But you still can't park within that time frame if your road hasn't been plowed.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Let it snow — somewhere else

Kingston snow emergency regulations: Blah blah blah MOVE YOUR CAR!

City of Kingston, Snow Emergency regulations                                                            

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The snowstorm, FROM SPACE!

360-degree view of the Freeman's parking lot

JRC Chat live at noon

(Some) members of the Journal Register Company Idealab (yours included) and anyone interested are going to be holding our weekly Twitter/CoverItLive chat at noon.

Today will be brainstorming some ideas for crowdsourcing, from Egypt to the Super Bowl.

The feed is also posted below.

Don't forget to bring your links.

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