Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"Homeland Security - I'm Ready"

I'm not ready, actually. But here's the widget for proper swine flu freak-out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kingston brewery is best in state

Kingston's Keegan Ales was named as the best craft beer brewery in the state — and also of the Hudson Valley — during last weekend's Tap New York festival in Hunter.

The brewery at 20 St. James Street beat 46 other breweries in the competition.


Update: The brewery is having its traditional barbecue on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., followed by music by blues prodigy "Mojo" Myles Mancuso; a re-opening of an art exhibit by Paul "Dumb Won" Heath (of Dead Unicorn and we-won-a-free-car fame) on Saturday starting at 6 p.m., followed by music from Scott Weiss at 9 p.m.; and a super bluegrass extravaganza on Sunday from 2 to 10 p.m., featuring 11 bands, in a fundraiser for the cash-strapped Rosendale Street Festival. Suggested donation for the "big, bad, bluegrass fest" is $10.

These guys don't sleep, you see. Must be the Hurricane Kitty.

Half full and half empty

GOOD NEWS! Ulster County home sales surged 66 percent from February to March, The New York State Association of Realtors reported (the Realtors are happy prices went up, too).

BAD NEWS! The same number of home sales, 60, is down 40 percent from two years ago, where 101-single family homes were sold. 36 homes were sold in February.

Below are state numbers. You can spin them as much as you want.

NYSAR Monthly Housing Survey Existing Single-Family Homes Sold March 2007-2009 and February 2009 NYSAR Monthly Housing Survey Existing Single-Family Homes Sold March 2007-2009 and February 2009 Daily Freeman New York State Association of Realtors Monthly Housing Survey
Existing Single-Family Homes Sold March 2007-2009 and February 2009

Obama attacks - again

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Clean Coal Air Freshener

Made by the Oscar-winning Coen brothers for

One of them, Joel Coen, lives in Ulster County with Oscar-winning wife Frances McDormand, of "Fargo" fame.


The Canadian green marketing firm Terrachoice defines "Greenwashing" as "the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service."

In its new report, which you can read in the post below, the agency describes a new "sin":

the ‘Sin of Worshiping False Labels’. Some marketers are exploiting consumers’
demand for third-party certification by creating fake labels or false suggestions of third-party endorsement. This
development is serious enough to warrant its own category - hence the seventh Sin.

The image with this post is a good example.

So next time you go shopping, don't be fooled by "green" claims from companies.

Sometimes, a green cigar is not just a cigar.

"The Seven Sins of Greenwashing"

The following report, which was mentioned in "‘Greenwashed’ goods neither green nor good" was released last week by the Canadian green marketing firm Terrachoice.

The Seven Sins of Green Washing

Complying with the Environmental Marketing Guides

The Federal Trade Commission does have guidelines for green marketing, but they're voluntary and they were last updated more than 10 years ago. The agency is currently revising its guidelines.

They're still voluntary. And you know what that means.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bill Plympton ends college tour

Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton will be presenting a selection of some of his favorite work and following each screeening with a question-and-answer session at Bard College Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

Plympton appeared at Marist College in Poughkeepsie on Monday and at SUNY New Paltz on Tuesday.

In 1997, Plympton received his first Oscar nomination for his short "Your Face." In 2005, he was nominated for "Guard Dog." Other shorts from Bill Plympton include "How To Kiss," "25 Ways To Quit Smoking," "Plymptoons."

In addition to his many shorts, Plympton has made seven feature films, (five of them animated) including "The Tune," "Mondo Plympton," "I Married A Strange Person," "Mutant Aliens" and "Hair High."

His most recent feature, "Idiots and Angels," has won two prizes at the Fantasporto Festival in Oporto, Portugal for Best Film and Best Screenplay.

The event is free.
Call (845) 758-7097 or visit for more information.

Following is the trailer for "Idiots and Angels"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Stomach still not happy with Happy Meal

I was going to write about Ulster County's new law requiring chain restaurant to post calorie counts in their menus.

Thing is, I already have, when New York City passed a similar law last year.

So I might as well post the whole thing here:

Stomach not happy with Happy Meal
In its never-ending war against the people's right to be fat, the city of New York began requiring that chain restaurants put calorie counts on their menus.

This violation of our God-given right to misuse "God-given" in phrases comes after the city passed a ban on transfats, the artificial goodies that like to party heartily in your coronary artery.

Thankfully for big people outside of the Big Apple, Big Macs are not a big deal.

That's because fast food is healthy, according to the impartial Web sites of the fast food chains.

For instance, McDonald's and Burger King stress that their burgers are made with 100 percent beef.

So you can sleep happy knowing that the burgers are entirely made of murdered cows that were pulverized into gooey stringy bits.

Also great is the fact that the buns that wrap the healthy beef patties are made with tasty and nutritious things like thiamine mononitrate, ribovflavin, niacin, sodium stearoyl lactylate, amonium sulphate and more than two dozen other unpronounceable ingredients.

That's what happens when a company is run by a clown or a guy in king's suit.

Not surprisingly, if you are a fast food consumer, chances are you are not that concerned about what's in the food because you are too busy being angry at the attendant who just messed up your order of two half-pound Angus burgers with three large fries and five sodas (Why do they always forget that you want diet soda?)

Besides, you most likely want a beef patty made out of an diabetic cow that died of a heart attack and was injected with high fructose corn syrup, steroids and cheese from a can.

But the fast food restaurants will have none of this. They really want you to know that their food is OK and that their flavors are naturally made with an ingredient called "Natural Flavors."

The solution to this problem of not knowing what's your beef is nutrition education, according to experts, otherwise known as unemployed nutrition educators.

The chains' efforts are impressive. For instance, McDonald's has answers to all your questions, like:

* "Are there worms in the meat?"; and

* "Are there really eyeballs and other weird stuff in your burgers?!?"

All this makes one wonder:

* Do McDonald's question writers know how to use exclamation marks?!?

* "Are there really people asking if there really are eyeballs in the burgers?"

* "Aren't eyeballs more expensive than meat, anyway?"

* "Is that burger looking at me?"

* But seriously, "Are there really eyeballs and other weird stuff in your burgers?"

Not to be outdone, Burger King also has answers to your important nutritional questions such as, "Quick! What was the Burger King slogan in 1974?"

Luckily, you will forget all this nonsense, because you just finished your burger and now you have to go to the bathroom really fast.

"It's hard to talk when you're tea-bagging"

Absolutely no comment. Whatsoever.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chicken soup for the SoulWow

NEW YORK (AP) - Sinners, take heed: There's a product available now in parts of New York that will leave you with that "almost baptized feeling."

It's called SoulWow - with the cleansing power of confession.

In a YouTube parody of the popular ads for ShamWow absorbent towels, a priestly pitchman named Father Vic calls on Roman Catholics in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island to partake. As Father Vic says, "Nothing soothes the soul like a true confession."

The ad campaign was launched before Palm Sunday by the dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre in an effort to increase the number of people who confess during Holy Week.

Church officials say they've seen an upsurge of followers seeking absolution.


By the way, Vince Schlomi, the ShamWow guy, was arrested in February and charged with felony battery after an altercation with a prostitute, The Smoking Gun reported.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Memory links

The following stories from The New York Times, which I forgot to post yesterday, are related to "New research on memory forgettable."

* Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory
Published: April 6, 2009
An influx of money and talent into neuroscience has led to an experimental drug that could block certain memories.

* Memory Training Shown to Turn Up Brainpower
Published: April 29, 2008
A new study has found that it may be possible to train people to be more intelligent, increasing the brainpower they had at birth.

* Got Poetry?
Published: April 5, 2009
Memorizing poetry in this day and age may seem eccentric, not to say masochistic. I recommend it anyway.

* In One Ear and Out the Other
Published: March 17, 2009
Why the best jokes are the most difficult to remember.

* Another Potential Benefit of Cutting Calories: Better Memory
Published: January 27, 2009
A new study appears to be the first to link calorie-restricted diets with improved memory in people.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More April Fools' Day stuff

The Economist expands with new theme park, featuring the Mountain of Debt.

• The food channel has a recipe for mud pie.

• The Opera browser faces the future.

Google's CADIE

Today, if you noticed on Google's main page, the site released "a singular upgrade to your online life," a Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity, or CADIE, "the first evolving intelligent system."

This follows Google's other improvements like GMail Autopilot, an automatic e-mail response system, which gives answers like this:

Other improvements include Docs on Demand, a program that finishes your sentences and even allows you to incorporate subliminal messages into presentations; and Google Chrome 3D, with printable glasses.

And if you go to CADIE's blog, you can win a free Google search! I won, and found that YouTube is upside down and the The Guardian is leaving print to become the first paper in the world to be published on Twitter:

"A unique collaboration between The Guardian and Twitter will also see the launch of Gutter, an experimental service designed to filter noteworthy liberal opinion from the cacophony of Twitter updates."

Did I mention it's April Fools' Day?


Tribune invents quantum computer, says bye to Internet.

Björk joins Led Zeppeling. sells organic air and re-usable poop bags, offers free spiders and opens store in Antartica.

Expedia sells flight to Mars.