Saturday, February 28, 2009

Awesome pork

NOTE: The following post contains horrible misuses of the word "awesome."

Internet savvy and awesome Sen. John McCain used his awesome Twitter account to post an awesome list (with awesome comments) of the "TOP TEN PORKIEST PROJECTS" in Congress' awesome spending bill. It is awesome.

#1. $1.7 million for pig odor research in Iowa.

#2. $2 million “for the promotion of astronomy” in Hawaii - because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy.

#3. $332,000 for the design and construction of a school sidewalk in Franklin, Texas - not enough $ for schools in the stimulus?.

#4. $2.1 million for the Center for Grape Genetics in New York - quick peel me a grape.

#5. $650,000 for beaver management in North Carolina and Mississippi

#6. $1 million for mormon cricket control in Utah - is that the species of cricket or a game played by the brits?

#7. $300,000 for the Montana World Trade Center - enough said.

#8. $200,000 "tattoo removal violence outreach program to could help gang members or others shed visible signs of their past" REALLY?

#9. $475,000 to build a parking garage in Provo City, Utah.

#10. $1.7M "for a honey bee factory" in Weslaco, TX.

The Arizona senator edited the original entry for beaver management. I wonder why.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The photographer and the pawnshop

The New York Times's Allen Salkin reported on Tuesday that photographer of the stars Annie Liebovitz has recently borrowed a lot of money, putting her house in Rhinebeck and other assets - including her famous photos - as collateral.

"In other words," The Times article reads, "according to loan documents filed with the city, one of the world’s most successful photographers essentially pawned every snap of the shutter she had made or will make until the loans are paid off."

She took $15.5 million from the pawnshop, I mean, Art Capital Group.

That amount, coincidentally, is exactly how much money I needed to coat my Chevy with gold, diamonds and $100 bills which would themselves have been coated with gold, diamonds and $50 bills, because that's how I roll.

So I feel her pain, and I'm pretty sure Freeman readers who are in serious need of $15.5 million do too.

I wonder how much money I could get for my car's AM-FM radio.

Liebovitz has recently been signing her ($40) book, "Annie Liebovitz at Work," at Merrit Bookstore in Millbrook and at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

All speech, no talking heads.

Obama Speech, live (and C-Span-style)

Click on the "Live Now" button below the Freeman's banner.


10 p.m. Update: Missed it? Here's the full text of the speech.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jimmy Fallon talks to local press

And the local press is us!

The 1992 Saugerties High School grad talked to the Freeman's Bonnie Langston on Monday, and he even made reference in one of his Twitter posts, above.Font size
But you'll have to wait until Tuesday to read about that.

I'm mean like that.

UPDATE: OK. So it's Tuesday. The story is up.

TANGENT: Twitter stalker Owen Thomas of the gossip site Gawker didn't like Fallon's post where he "schmoozed the Twitter-loving press" as he "uttered Twitter gibberish." (like Owen's use of "Twitteronia" and "Twitteratti"). I sort-of understand the anger. Twitter would be a horrible beat to cover.

LOCAL TANGENT: New Paltz-based band Ratboy might like the Freeman's story.

BONUS: In this clip from Monday, Fallon shows off some of "the coolest kids, out there, working for free, while I reap all the credit."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arrivals — Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo, nominated for an Oscar for best actress in a leading role for her work in "Frozen River," arrives for the 81st Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

All AP photos, by the way.

UPDATE: The award went to Kate Winslet, for "The Reader." Leo herself kind-of called that one when he talked to the Freeman last Friday.

Arrivals — Courtney Hunt

Chatham resident Courtney Hunt, seen here arriving at the Oscars, was up for an award for "Frozen River" in the Best Original Screenplay category.

UPDATE: The award went to "Milk."

Arrivals — Philippe Petit

French tight-rope walker and Shokan resident Philippe Petit, the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Man on Wire," arrives for the 81st Academy Awards Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

10:15 update: "Man on Wire" won Best Documentary Feature.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Boiceville's Steve Heller makes news again

Boiceville artist Steve Heller's Marquis de Soto was voted Collectible Car of the Year by the New York Times.

The Times has a nice slideshow with audio.

Heller was the subject of the documentary "Dinosaurs and Rocketships," which premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival in Octover.

He is also a staple of the annual Soapbox Derby in Kingston and the Kingston Sculpture Biennial (his T-rex adorns the corner of Chandler Drive and Ulster Avenue in the city).

Here's Heller at last year's Soapbox Derby.

He's married to interviewer of the stars Martha Frankel, a writer whose first book, a memoir called “Hats and Eyeglasses,” was released in paperback by Tarcher last week.

The Times also wrote about her recently.

Stone Ridge resident Leo wins Spirit Award

Stone Ridge actress Melissa Leo holds her award for best female lead for "Frozen River" backstage at the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, Calif., Saturday. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The Freeman has the details.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What's a "dummy," dummy?

As poorly described in "A window into a windowless newsroom," here is an image of an old dummy (no offense to senior idiots intended):

And this is what it does:

Only one earth-carrying human was harmed in the making of the April 20, 2008, page.

The press

Here's a very short clip of the Freeman's presses doing their thing shortly after midnight, running Tuesday's paper. It's loud, but it's really a sight to behold.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Are they real?

For those doubting the awful reality of the Valentine's Day gifts catalogued in "'Be mine' and other parole violations," here's a quick rundown.

* The Burger King wants you to smell like his Flame Body Spray, which you can get for only $3.99. The official site offers disturbing videos (the image above will give you an idea).

* Go venereal with a herpes plush doll for only $4.95. There are more at

* You can buy four absinthe lollipops for $10. You can also get maple bacon.

* If you feel like just getting the heart-shaped blade of the heart hoe, you'll need $20.

* The 2-Carat Cup is only $14.99.

* The custom hand-made toilet paper that reads "I love you from top to bottom" is, unfortunately, not the only one.

There's also "Will You Marry Me?" and "I Do."

There is no "I don't."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tommy Tutone is angry

According to the Wall Street Journal, Tommy Tutone, the creator of "867-5309/Jenny" is not to happy with 1998 Kingston High School grad Spencer Potter.

“If it wasn’t for me, the number wouldn’t be worth anything,” Tutone told the Journal's Carl Bialik. “I think he needs to talk to me. He’s dealing in something that I made famous, and trademarked. It’s not a real number. My number is the real number.”

Tutone put his own auction for the number on eBay, starting at $20,000.

The eBay post says, "Tommy will create a voice message for the new owner and 'sing' the name of your choice along with 'Hi This is Tommy Tutone you have reached 867-5309 and then your company’s message.'"

Tutone will not create anything. The auction expired today. There were no bids.

Another auction that expired today was for the domain name, which was not put on eBay by Potter. The auction closed Tuesday at $2,475.

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Grammy stuff

Belated congratulations to Catskill-based Planet Arts Recordings, the record company that won a Grammy for The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra's "Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard" in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category.

Visit the nonprofit's site at or at its MySpace page.

To date, Planet Arts recording projects have received seven Grammy nominations.


President Barack Obama's biggest mistake so far, if we are to believe the blogosphere today, is that he doesn't know how tall he is, as proven by his Ford-esque bump.

I can see the headline already: PRESIDENT CAUGHT IN TERRORIST HEAD BUMP!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Local musicians win Grammys

All area musicians that were up for Grammy Awards tonight won in their respective categories.

Folk legend and Beacon resident Pete Seeger won a Grammy Award in the Folk category for latest album, "At 89." The Freeman's Blaise Schweitzer interviewed him recently.

Woodstock's Jack DeJohnette won in the New Age category for "Peace Time."

And, as always (it seems), Orange County's Jimmy Sturr And His Orchestra won in the much-coveted polka category for his latest, "Let The Whole World Sing."
None of these awards are part of tonight's telecast. There are 110 categories, after all, including comedy (the late George Carlin won) and spoken word ("An Inconvenient Truth" (Al Gore)" Beau Bridges, Cynthia Nixon & Blair Underwood).

So the presidential loser has now won a Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar and a Grammy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Philippe Petit

Man on Wire

French tight-rope artist and Shokan resident Philippe Petit is scheduled to be on Fox Business' Scoreboard with David Asman tonight at 7 p.m. , because, you know, when you want good financial advice about the worrisome state of the economy, you want to know from the guy who did a high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974.

I'm not posting the link because you're not going to listen to it anyway (and because I don't have it).

On Saturday, Petit will be more appropriate featured on the NPR weekly news quiz, "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" which can be heard locally on WAMC-FM, if the station actually finishes its never-ending fundraiser.

Fortunately, "Wait Wait" also is online.

That dude with that number

Kingston native Spencer Potter was on Fox Business News on Thursday.

If you missed it, it is because nobody watches Fox Business News.

Here's the link.

You might have noticed that the bid on is lower than the figure reported by the Freeman's Bonnie Langston. That's because Potter is contacting bidders and taking out those who are not serious.

Yes, serious about buying a number from an annoying early '80s song.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Sorry. This thing has been in my head thanks to Kingston native Spencer Potter.

So I figure I should put it in your head.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Real (fake) online poll

If for some strange reason you feel like you would like to answer the questions posed in "Survey makes you 'all of the above,'" here is your chance.

I created a fake survey that you can actually answer. It was modeled after the one posted by the town of Saugerties on its Web site.

And here's a Freeman article about the survey that should provide some context.

I'll post results soon. So far, 100 percent of respondents (one dude) claim to have a gigantic robot.

It's that kind of survey.

And the Explosion?

As mentioned before, I decided to get early admittance to the fiery pits of hell when I prepared the Bacon Explosion.

Mine looked like this:

It was a huge hit (with the four people who dared to try it).

P.S. I'm eating celery as penance.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Awards season

The Grammy Awards are on Sunday and Beacon resident and folk legend Pete Seeger is up for one for his latest (and what he says will be his last) album, "At 89." And he's up against his half-sister, Peggy. Good luck to both of them.
Full disclosure: I'm rooting for Pete. And yes, I'm biased.
Also up for an award is Woodstock resident and master drummer Jack DeJohnette in the New Age category, for "Peace Time."

I'm giving you this reminder so I can shamelessly plug some awards the Freeman received on Friday by Suburban Newspapers of America, a not-for-profit, professional trade association which is made up of nearly 2,400 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Judging for the annual contest was done by the journalism department faculty of Loyola University Chicago.

Here are our winners:

* Best Arts and Entertainment Writing -- Feature ("At the Helm") Feb. 17, 2008, Bonnie Langston, first place;

* Best Feature Photo, "Uplifting Experience" by Tania Barricklo, first place;

* Best Headline -- ("The crimes, they are a-changin'") Aug. 3, 2008 by Ivan Lajara from a story by Blaise Schweitzer, second place;

* Best News Photo, "It's Great to be Home" by Tania Barricklo, third place;

* Best Environmental Coverage, Blaise Schweitzer for "Hot air?" (April 4, 2008); "From the ashes" (May 6, 2008); and "Troubled waters" (Aug. 17,2008); third place;

* Best Arts and Entertainment Writing -- Feature ("Film Leaves its Mark"), April 6, 2008, Bonnie Langston, third place;

* Best Arts and Entertainment Criticism/Commentary, March 17, 2008 ("For Carlin, age doesn't give him anything but an excuse") by Ivan Lajara, third place;

* Best Continuing Coverage, "Cold Case Cracked," from stories reported on May 10, 11, 14 and Aug. 10 and 13, by Paul Kirby, Kyle Wind, Ariel Zangla and Patricia Doxsey; honorable mention.

Some personal notes:

* Most news awards are bittersweet, as stories tend to be tragic in nature. The Martin case resonated with me personally, because I used to hang out with Joe's brother, Bill.

* My newsroom peeps are pretty humble. So you won't see them making a big deal out of their awards. Unfortunately for them, I'm not.

* The SNA misspelled "are" in the headline award, which will make a great memento if it's not caught when the organization makes the plate.

* As Freeman managing editor Tony Adamis pointed out in a staff meeting today, appreciation has to be given to the entire newsroom and, especially, to the faceless copy editors at the paper, who work tirelessly and never get any recognition because they work behind the scenes.

* Other newspapers that have published stories touting their awards get the usual snarky comments from loyal readers - and I'm pretty sure you're itching to write one down. So I'll spare you the writing. Here are some samples from comments taken from other newspapers when they reported their accomplishments.

1. "It's too bad they don't put more effort into their actual reporting and editing, because they're both crap."

2. "Ugh. OK. Here's the obligatory headline once again:
“Local Paper Touts Local Paper”
Now can I get back to my nap?"

3. "I'll type this so the staff will understand:
Congradulashuns. This is a overdo award. We our vary prowd to half ewe as are papar."

Feel free to add your own (we take nice comments, too).

Ad nauseum

There were many unremarkable Super Bowl ads on Sunday. But one was particularly good.

And it was a house ad.

The rest of them, of course, are in Hulu.