Monday, July 28, 2008

Cute, as a button

A Barack Obama ticket button made for use in Idaho, is seen with former Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig, instead of the Democratic nominee for that seat, Larry LaRocco. The Lewiston Tribune reported that Bill Hall, editor emeritus of the paper's editorial page, was able to get some of the defective buttons from the Ohio-based button manufacturer Tigereye Design's Web site before they were corrected. (AP Photo/Lewiston Tribune, Barry Kough)
Combined misleading motto? "I'm not gay! Yes, we can!"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Multimedia extravaganza

Friday was a day of extra goodies in the Freeman's Web site.

In case you missed it, many stories we published have accompaniying online features, something we've been doing for a while now.

Below are the videos and songs linked with our features.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fast food follies

The column, "Stomach not happy with Happy Meal" was inspired by a nasty #3 meal, whatever that was, which I was eating while writing.

To add some value to the column, unlike my worthless "value meal," here are some useful links:

* "Exiling the Happy Meal," by the Wall Street Journal

Here's the video (messing up the layout of this page) that goes with that story

Here are some links to "Nutrition Facts," which are facts, indeed, but I'm not so sure about the "nutrition" part.

* McDonald's numbers are listed on its web site, but for the ingredients, you have to go to this almost misleading page.

Why "almost misleading"?

Because the first listing is of hamburger ingredients, which are "100% Beef Patty, Regular Bun, Ketchup, Mustard, Pickle Slices, Onions." But scroll down and the bun's ingredients are listed:

"Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, soybean oil, canola oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of each of the following: sesame seed, salt, wheat gluten, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, ammonium chloride, calcium carbonate, baking soda, soy flour, dough conditioners (may contain one or more of the following: distilled monoglycerides, DATEM, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, enzymes, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, sodium stearoyl lactylate, guar gum, mono-and diglycerides, calcium peroxide), calcium propionate & sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin. CONTAINS: WHEAT AND SOY."

Ingredients for the Big Mac Sauce are equally disturbing.

* Burger King has a "Big Book of Nutritious Facts" which list more ingredients a single brain can handle, much less a stomach.

* Wendy's ("it's waaaay better than fast food") is fast food, nonetheless. And just as nasty. Here is a link to Wendy's "nutrition facts."

Here and there:
* Notice how all Web sites promote "healthy" activities, hence the surfer in the online version of the column, taken from McDonald's main site.
I added the burger to add flavor.

* I wonder who actually goes online to read fast food nutrition sites, other than humor writers.

* And just what in the world constitutes "Natural Flavors"?

Cow juice?


Yes, McDonald's Web site actually has an answer for the following questions:

Useless trivia: The question "Are there worms in the meat?" is asked again in page 3, just in case you had just forgotten there are no worms in the meat.

"I'm lovin' it" indeed.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1,000 words (and a rap sheep)

In this photo released by the Monroe Police Department, burglary suspect Kyle Burress is seen sleeping on pillows and pads allegedly stolen from storage containers at a nearby department store July 9, 2008, in Monroe, Wash. Burress was one of two men who were found asleep on apparent stolen goods after they allegedly broke into storage containers at Fred Meyer and left a trail of evidence to where they were found asleep.

Police took some photographs before waking and arresting the pair, who have been charged with second-degree theft. (AP Photo/Monroe Police Department)

"Break-in suspects found asleep on stolen goods" -- by the Associated Press

Monday, July 21, 2008

Artie Traum

Woodstock folk legend Artie Traum died on Sunday. He was 65.

The Freeman's David Malachowski called his last album, 2007's "Thief of Time," a "modern masterpiece."

Here are some tracks from that album.

1. "Bonnie Jean"
2. "Thief of Time"
3. Midnight Blue
4. "Back In The Sugarcane"
5. "Where The Blues Began"
6. "Cuckoo Bird"
7. "Last Tree In The Bronx"
8. "Halifax"
9. That Secret Place
10. "Insult A Man"
11. Country Boy Blues

There is a page of remembrances on his Web site.

He is survived by his wife and brother Happy.
Check the Freeman for updates.

Michael Dmoch

Folk musician Michael "Moose" Dmoch of Rosendale died on Sunday at Kingston's Benedictine Hospital. He was 59.

With Rebekah Lowden, he was "Redwood Moose." They had also done classical music with the Woodstock chorus Ars Choralis. The duo had also performed with Voices for Peace. He was musical director of the Rosendale Street Festival.

The photo you see here is of the couple standing in front of their burned home in Rosendale last year. Area musicians organized a fundraiser to help them in February 2007.

A memorial concert is being planned, according to family friend and soprano Danielle Woerner.

Check the Freeman for updates.

Friday, July 18, 2008

So many festivals, so little time

The Mount Tremper Arts Festival joins a crowd of festivals this weekend, which includes the Rosendale Street Festival, throughout Main Street in the town; The Amati Music Festival in Hunter; and the Greyfox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill.

Other ongoing summer festivals include Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount, Maverick Concerts in Woodstock and Bethel Woods not in Woodstock.

Our area colleges also join the fun with Bard's Summerscape in Annandale-on-Hudson, Vassar's Powerhouse Theater in Poughkeepsie and SUNY New Paltz's Pianosummer.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a whole bunch more.

Thankfully, it's all in Preview today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Plea bargains 'R' Us

Today's column, "Plea bargains neither pleas nor bargains," was inspired by the state Legislature's recent decision to authorize state troopers to plea-bargain traffic tickets.

The Freeman had an strong editorial about it last year.

Crazy, I know. 

Newspapers actually have opinions.
Another weird thing that happens in court besides plea bargaining was described last month by the Associated Press in one of my favorites stories of the year, "Legislature, governor are ordered to raise judges' pay."

... by a judge.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The New Yorker

By now you probably have seen the Barry Blitt cover of The New Yorker, the magazine known for its sophisticated cartoons and its sophisticated articles.

By "sophisticated," of course, I mean "incomprehensible." (The New Yorker's motto? "I don't get it. Get it?")

So while everyone debates the important issues like who's more offended by the cover or who would pay $4.50 a week for a magazine, here's some useful stuff for those who can see past satire:

* Here's Ryan Lizza's article about Barack Obama, "Making it," published in the outrageous magazine nobody bothered to open.

* National Public Radio's Terry Gross talked to Lizza on "Fresh Air" Monday.

* Here's magazine's cartoonist Liza Donnelly of Milan, who told the Freeman's Bonnie Langston at the end of 2005 that her "stuff is pretty gettable."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A global phenomenon

The New York Times' site had a lengthy story Tuesday about a recent YouTube video by Matt Harding.

The article is titled "A Private Dance? Four Million Web Fans Say No."

The video has more than 5.5 million hits as of Thursday morning.

Here's why:

He's definitely on to something.

YouTube does the Valley

Talking about YouTube, there are a number of really cool videos from the area on the site:

Here's my favorite, via "mailgoddess", whom I'm tracking down as you are reading this.

Kingston in the 1960s:

UPDATE: The video belongs to Tom Rigney of Kingston. It was shot by his father. Rigney said he was "dabbling on YouTube" and that the quality of the original video is much better. He also has other Hudson Valley 8mm videos from 1965 to 1974 that he's transferred into a DVD and might upload to YouTube.

We'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hummer factoids

* Today's column, "Hummer the green solution to gas prices" was inspired by a very large H2 white Hummer limousine parked on Route 9W, in the lot of Adriano Limousine.

There are 17 other listed limousine companies around, according to SuperPages, a Web site that's not super and it doesn't have any real pages, but maps.

* The Hummer comes in black and metallic grey and other colors that are supposed to appease your inferiority complex, but it doesn't come in green, which would have made the column a lot better. You can "make" your own Hummer on its Web site.

* Talking about The Hummer's Web site, I must say it is really well done, especially if you have a sense of irony. Mostly every photo of the beast is in a place that suffers from the truck's emissions.

* "I like to waste gas and run over children" is an actual sticker.
And a T-shirt.

A Hummer summer

The Hummer is not the only large irony when it comes to speding your time outdoors.

The following beauty uses gas AND electricity.

The purpose is to kill mosquitoes.

This 48-pound killing machine is listed at $279 from Mosquito Central.

And get this: It has to be turned on -- all day and night -- and will run out of gas after 21 days.

Take that, Al Gore!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hospital visits

Today's column, "Patients have no patience for visitors," was loosely inspired by some stories from an incredibly courageous friend, who is still at the hosptial as I write this but is now recovering nicely, not thanks to you.

His sense of humor throughout his ordeal has been inspirational, though he's still not fond of the hospital's phone bill payment "Nazi," who apparently demands cash when patients are on some heavy medication or vulnerably showcasing body parts that are usually not for public exhibition.

And, if you must know, when I'm a visitor, I'm the "How are you feeling?" kind. And I knock on the door.

Terrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies

"Terrorism and Other Public Health Emergencies," mentioned in today's column, is a 250-page media guide published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The entire thing is available online. If you are crazy enough to read it, you might run into the image used in the column.

The reassuring guide has sections like "What we don't know" and features some tips like this:

"No reliable test exists."
"No antidote exists."
"There is no vaccine at this time."
"When a nuclear weapon explodes, a large fireball is created."

The first and only time I received a copy was 2005.

So I'm guessing the terrorists lost.