Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hudson Valley winners

Congratulations are in order to Levon Helm and Steve Earle of Woodstock for their Grammy wins tonight.

Congratulations also to Leon Gast of Woodstock, below, for his Sundance Award, which he won on Saturday.

And to Steve Heller, below, right — owner of Fabulous Furniture in almost Woodstock — who won first place in his class at the grand national roadster show in Pomona, Calif.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Augmented reality

The Thursday issue of USA Today included a map of the upcoming Harry Potter theme park in Florida. By holding the map in front of a webcam, the paper comes to life onscreen.

Here's yours truly doing just that.

Worth mentioning is that the trick only works with print. But if you don't have the newspaper because it is SOOO expensive, you can print the PDF map file.

And don't use your phone with the image in front of the camera. It doesn't work. I tried.

Alert readers might have noticed that Esquire has used augmented reality as well.

Augmented reality has, of course, many more useful properties. There are a number of iPhone apps, for instance, that use the technology to turn the phone into a theodolite:

And there are more useful apps, of course, like the one that lets you shoot at your friends with lasers.

Very important technology, indeed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chris Mathews on Obama: "I forgot he was black tonight for an hour"

Post-Racial Person Chris Matthews Makes Important Dumb Statement:

State of the Union — Word Cloud

Also, Important Person Karl Rove makes an Important Twitter Statement:

Apple unveils worst-kept industry secret

Now, try walking and using this puppy.

Context below:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs has unveiled the iPad, a tablet-style computer that resembles the iPhone, but larger.

"It's so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone," Jobs said Wednesday at the device's highly anticipated debut in San Francisco.

Apple had kept its "latest creation" tightly under wraps, though many analysts had correctly speculated that it would be a one-piece tablet computer with a big touch screen, larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop.

The iPad has a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) touch screen. It is a half-inch (1.25 centimeters) thick, weighs 1.5 pounds (680 grams) and comes with 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory storage. The device comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology, but no mention was immediately made of a data connection through a wireless carrier.

Also, the (Max)iPad joke got old two hours ago.

Correction: The joke got old in 2005.

How's this for distraction

Truckers Insist on Keeping Computers in the Cab, New York Times, Sept. 27, 2009.

Walk at your own risk

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Melissa Leo at Sundance

From left, actress Kristen Stewart, director Jake Scott and actress Melissa Leo attend the premiere of "Welcome To The Rileys" during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival on Saturday in Park City, Utah. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)

Hudson Valley goes to Sundance

NASA : 2009 Tied For Second Hottest Year Ever Recorded

Conan's farewell speech

And about those "crazy expensive" characters:

Farewell Coco. See you in September.

Context below:

O'Brien ends run on 'Tonight' show after 7 months

NEW YORK (AP) — Conan O'Brien ended his brief tenure on the "Tonight" show with a wide smile and a guitar in his arms.

The red-haired comic joined a band led by blond-wigged comic Will Ferrell with Beck and ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons for a raucous rendition of "Free Bird." O'Brien is free to move on now himself, after accepting a $45 million buyout from NBC to leave the late night TV talk show he long dreamed of hosting after only seven months.

Despite the rancor that marked his final two weeks, O'Brien emotionally urged his fans not to be cynical and said their support made a sad situation "joyous and inspirational." He even thanked NBC for more than 20 years of employment but mixed in a few final jabs during the show.

Walking away instead of accepting a demotion is the hardest thing he's ever had to do, O'Brien said.

"This is the best job in the world," he said.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Conan O'Brien's one-minute, $1.5 million comedy bit.

Conan explains: "Until NBC yanks us of the air, we can pretty much do whatever we wan't. ... And they have to pay for it."

Note that the clip doesn't come from Hulu or NBC. Somehow, the network didn't want to post this online.

UPDATE: Mediaite reports that the car was borrowed, and that licensing for Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" cost up to $50,000.

No matter. O'Brien followed up Thursday with new character Mine That Bird, the Kentucky Derby winner last year. The horse was said to be wearing a Snuggie made of mink and also was watching restricted NFL footage. (Alleged) price tag: $4.8 million.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

No comment.

Because, you know, no comment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Seen at the Globes

The AP's Sandy Cohen reports:

"Up in the Air" co-stars and supporting actress nominees Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick were heading to the ladies' room together when Farmiga, an Ulster County resident, suddenly realized she had to stay behind to present the next award. She wasn't the only one who had to tough it out. In accepting his Golden Globe for best motion picture director, James Cameron said he would make his speech quick so he could get to the bathroom.

Farmiga was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for "Up in the Air." Mo'Nique won the award for her role in "Precious."

Friday, January 15, 2010

'Devil' writes a letter to Pat Robertson

As published in the The Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Dear Pat Robertson, I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract. Best, Satan


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Late Night wars

"Neil Young" sings "Pants on the Ground"

That's right. "Pants on the Ground."

The AP updates:

ATLANTA (AP) - He won't be the next American Idol, but the show's hardly over for "General" Larry Platt.

The 63-year-old civil rights veteran has become an Internet sensation after performing his original song, "Pants On The Ground" at an audition for the ninth season of "American Idol." It wasn't really singing or rapping but it was performed with some gusto and even included a little break dancing for good measure.

Platt's fan base exploded after his Wednesday night debut, as his audition hit YouTube and Twitter. Within hours, he had been clicked and tweeted into one of the Internet's most popular topics. Jimmy Fallon reprised a version of the song on his show Thursday night, and Platt is scheduled for an appearance on ABC's daytime talk show "The View" next week.

Clips of Platt's "Idol" performance continued to get Web hits Friday on Twitter and YouTube.

"I have a horrible feeling that song could be a hit," skeptical "Idol" judge Simon Cowell reluctantly predicted on the show.

Surrounded by plaques recognizing his work in civil rights and photographs of Platt with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Congressman John Lewis and others from that era at his home in East Atlanta this week, the e-celebrity seemed dazed by the attention. Platt - given the nickname "General" for his work during the civil rights era - said he hoped his message of personal responsibility doesn't get lost in his popularity.

His message is simple and the lyrics of the song came to him one day after he spotted a young man holding a child, his pants hanging below his waist.

"After all this work I did with Dr. King ... walking around with your pants on the ground?" Platt said. "They're going to have to get them up. I'm sorry."

His show-stealing performance was the last of a round of auditions taped
in Atlanta last August. He was allowed to perform even though the age cutoff for contestants was 28.

The spotlight on him, Contestant 103519 began belting out the now infamous verse: "Pants on the ground! Pants on the ground! Looking like a fool with your pants on the ground!"

Shaking his head at the end of Platt's song, Cowell offered: "I don't think this is gonna be the last we hear about you. I have a feeling about you, Larry."

For Platt, the song was just another one of his causes. He said Thursday
that he and his civil rights colleagues sacrificed too much for today's youth to walk around with sagging pants.

Platt - his black jeans securely fastened - proudly showed off black and
white photographs that show him alongside civil rights icons documenting
his social justice work as a dedicated foot soldier with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Platt is still an activist, and can frequently be seen in downtown Atlanta holding signs protesting foreclosures, war, violence, racism and "any wicked things that take place."

Bolstered by his newfound fame, Platt doesn't plan to stop singing his "Idol" anthem anytime soon and is grateful for the opportunity for his song to reach a broader audience.

"People around the world are calling about me because they like what I'm
doing," Platt said. "Some people tried to steal my song but they can't sing like me. I'm going to go around the world singing my song."

Platt said he's hoping for the same fate as fellow wacky Idol contestant William Hung, whose rendition of Latin crooner Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" gained him a cult following and a record deal, even though he didn't make the Idol cut.

"He still made it, ain't that right?" Platt said, smiling. "That's what I'm going to do."

From the Red Cross

  • Make financial donations to the International Relief Fund by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-257-7575--Spanish language line) or online at The Ulster County Chapter is also accepting donor designated dollars and will steward those funds to the International Relief Fund.
  • Donors may also text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts. This donation will be added to the mobile phone user's next cell phone bill or deducted from their pre-paid plan balance.


  • At this time, the American Red Cross has not been asked to provide blood products to Haiti. Those looking to donate blood are encouraged to do so by making an appointment with 1-800-RED-CROSS or online at, but should be aware that blood will be used for domestic disaster relief efforts. If the Haitian Red Cross indicates a need for blood supplies, the American Red Cross will respond to any request based on availability.
  • The American Red Cross cannot accept individual donations of blankets, food, clothing or other material items.
  • Those concerned about people travelling abroad or living in Haiti should contact the U.S. State Department at 1-888-407-4747 for assistance. The American Red Cross Safe & Well website does not apply to international disasters.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google search FAIL!

And that's not all:

And then there's this:

You get the picture.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Promo FAIL!

It will all be explained Wednesday.

And here's the explanation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Meaty matters

Joshua Applestone of Fleisher's Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Uptown Kingston is scheduled to join Emeril Lagassi Tuesday morning on satellite radio, Fleisher's announced today.

From your friends at Fleisher's:

Tune in TOMORROW, Tuesday, January 12th at 11am to join Emeril and Josh talkin' 'bout meat matters LIVE on "Cooking With Emeril" on Martha Stewart Living Radio, which can be heard on Sirius 112, XM 157, and online at

We are starting a pool to guess how quickly Josh manages to drop the F-bomb on Live radio. Educated handicappers give it a 10-1 shot. The suspense is killing us!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Today Show" FAIL!

City officials were very excited today when NBC's "Today Show" mentioned Kingston in a segment. The background said "Top 10 cities for bargain homes."

Here's the part where Kingston is mentioned.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Immediately, you might ask simple questions, like:

* What part of Kingston has houses like that?
* Where is it?
* How is a whole city ranking based on a single house price?
* And what's the price?

The segment ends with, "And you can get more information on our web site at" And that's what I did, to find out that you can't get more information at

So after a couple of minutes using The Googles, I found that the house in question is not in Kingston — Alderman Tom Hoffay's admirable cheerleading efforts notwithstanding — but in Lake Katrine. And it's more than $200,000, which is not a bargain, at least for this humble correspondent.

What I didn't find, however, was the criteria this list was based on.

So, sorry Tom. No story.

Here's the house in Kingston on the "Today Show":

And here's the same house — in the town of Ulster — on the Realtor's Web Site.

And, NO. Kingston and the town of Ulster are not the same, just like my beloved Prince Street (BANG! BANG!) is not the same as Sawkill Road and Kingston Mayor James Sottile is not the same as town of Ulster Supervisor James Quigley.


UPDATE: Alderman Hoffay replies:

"ah...picky, picky, picky......the greater Kingston metropolitan area....

"...the bottom line here is that the Kingston housing market got a plug on the today show!"

UPDATE 2: Barbara Corcoran, Inc. (?) responds to my question about the criteria:

To find the bargains, we looked for low prices and big value We also looked for signs of recovery in the market, with home prices increases over the last three quarters or more. Other factors were job growth, low unemployment, and lots of young people moving in, all adding up to a vibrant, attractive place to live at bargain prices. Hope this answers your question!