Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Empire of the Air

I'm going away at the end of the week, to a place so far away that I won't be able to hear WAMC.

That's pretty far.

These days you need to burn almost an entire tank of gas to get out from under the station's signal. Now, with the acquisition of WRUN 1150 AM in Utica, WAMC's coverage stretches halfway across the state ---not to mention heavily into Massachussetts, Vermont, and Connecticut. This is a good thing.

WAMC's rise from the brink of financial ruin to being one of the nation's most influential public radio stations isn't just the stuff of legend, told over and over around the fund drive campfire, it's proof that they're very good at what they do.

If Alan Chartock's right, there may be tough times ahead for public radio; if that's the case, it's the big stations that will be able to keep their hats dry when the water starts rising.

Poll Position

I think it was last October that we first noticed the Hudson -Register Star's online poll, asking readers whether they like online polls. At the time we figured this would be followed by more interesting subjects or disappear. Now we don't know what to think.

This would be a good time to cast your vote, because if we all work together, I know we can get the total vote up over 1000. I've voted at least three times in favor of on-line polls and twice against them, depending on my mood. I urge you rise up and be heard.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

From Bad to Verse

Do you think I'm the sort of jerk who'd make fun of a guy who writes poetry about dogs and cats? If you said yes, you are correct. I knew that Steve Caporizzo was the Pet Connection guy, helping homeless animals find homes, but I didn't know about this:
My body is small...and I tremble in fear
I walk by the road, but there is nothing here.
I'm tired and wet, my strength is so weak
My heart beats slowly, my future is bleak.
Or this:
I sit here and cry, my body trembles with fear.
My tears keep flowing, I'm so frightened of here.
I bark out my call, but it's a silent sound...
I try so hard, but there's no one around.
Or even this:
I gave you my best, you just didn't care,
You threw my away, like a broken old chair.
Though I fight for me life, I can still be your friend,
Please give me a chance, before I reach my end.
Oh my Cap writing about pets or about life under the LaSpina administration at WTEN?

Howard's End

Most people would probably tell you that they think their weatherman is right about half the time ---that's why former WNYT meteorologist Howard "Howie" Altschule might want to rethink this line on his realty website:
You've Trusted Him with Your Weather Forecasts and You Can Trust Him with Your Real Estate!!
Altschule's other post-TV pursuit is consulting as a forensic meterolologist ---that's not someone who debates the weather, but an expert witness who provides scientific analysis of meteorological conditions, often in legal proceedings. His home page links you to one of those blog things that everybody seems to have these days, so I couldn't resist checking it out. Just as my eyes were glazing over, Howie threw in the word that never fails to get every man's attention: strippers. I tell you, we love that courtroom stuff, especially when it involves dancing.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Enjoy Troy

Hooray for the new EASIER TO READ Troy Record!

Remember they said on TV that the tab version would be easier to read? It really is! I just came from the men's room, and believe me, it really is easier without having to go through the close-quarters origami of the subway fold. Now if I could just figure out how to type while sitting in the stall...

By the way, did you see The Record's TV spots for this launch? For God's sake, someone get that cameraman a Prozac.

Mr. Smith Goes to Niskayuna

Former WNYT reporter Craig Smith is said to have signed on with CBS 6. Nobody's really sure why 13 would want to let him go of Smith, who cut a pretty good figure in a market increasingly populated by lightweights. Thank God for Ken Screven, John McLoughlin, and Bill Lambdin. Now that's what I call gravitas.

Anywho, young and cheap seems to be at the top of the list for news directors making hires these days, and I'm not just talking about CapitalNews 9. Personally, I like reporters who look and sound like grown-ups. It makes me feel like maybe they know something about the region ---or lacking that, maybe they know something about life.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Major Award

Fra-gi-lee...Must be Italian!Albany Eye is pleased to name Fox 23 as the recipient of our 2005 award for Most Useless Innovation. This comes after the announcement that the station will provide audio from its 5pm and 10pm news as podcasts that you can listen to on your computer or download to your MP3 player.
"We want to stay on the cutting edge of technology in order to meet and exceed our viewer's expectations," said Jeff Whitson, general manager of WXXA. (Business Review)
If you want to do something for the viewers, can the 5pm show and put on another half-hour of Seinfeld, or something.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Martha, Martha, MarthaThere's a familiar face among the contestants on the upcoming Martha Stewart Apprentice: Former WRGB morning-side reporter Shawn Killinger. Killinger was recently an anchor at Orlando's "If It Bleeds it Leads" WKMG ---let's hope she has a better showing that the last Apprentice with local ties, the ill-fated and misunderstood Jennifer Crisafulli.

Friday, August 26, 2005

When the D in DA stands for "Duh"

Am I the only one who's getting tired of David Soares and his press monkey, Richard Arthur?

For the past few weeks, Soares and staff haven't been able to walk past an open microphone without saying something ridiculous. First was his "The eyes of the world are watching this drama unfold" statement about the Geisel case, and then on Wednesday coming out against Joan Porco and stating he's got the goods on her son. As local attorney Steve Coffey said yesterday on WGY, "It's time to put up or shut up".

Here's an idea: if Christopher Porco is charged, maybe Soares should try the case himself. What the heck, there's a first time for everything. My advice is start watching Law & Order ---they show back to back episodes weekday afternoons at 3pm on TNT. Say what you will about Patricia DeAngelis, but at least she has experience in a courtroom where there's something serious going on.

On the brighter side, Mr. Arthur has stopped sending out emails with insultingly cutesy subject lines.

Hey You Kids!

A mansion neighborhood resident complained to local media this week that he's had enough of you pesky reporters covering the Madison Place blaze. The letter writer even claims that a news crew entered a neighbor's home without permission so they could get shots from the backyard. What are you saying? We can't go on your property to take pictures? Who the hell are you, WalMart? The homeowner is not completely unreasonable, though:
If circumstances merit additional news coverage of the rear of the site, I will consider providing permission for access across my property on a case by case basis. However, that permission will only be granted in the event that permission is also granted by the demolition contractor, and Valerie Scott from the Codes office. I will check with Mr. (name omitted), my neighbor, to make sure that his approval is granted as well, since it is necessary to cross his property to reach mine. Anyone from the media coming onto my property must be wearing a hardhat for safety, and must be accompanied by a city official.
Jeez...we'll just shoot from the sidewalk, OK?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Table Talk

Anybody who ever watched the races from The Porch restaurant knew that you'd be doing the Ben Franklin handshake with Manny the maitre d' to get yourself a table. You could try the Andy Jackson handshake, but you do want to see the races, right? And actualy eat?
The system for getting tables at the track is well-known in media circles; suits entertaining clients are often advised by those in the know on exactly what they'd need to tip maitre d' Manny Alvarez ---unless they want to be shown to that special spot between the men's room and the linen closet.
Well, Mr. Alvarez is taking the rest of the Summer off, thanks to NYRA, so expect those August expenses to be a bit lower than what you budgeted.

Hollywood Paul

Paul Vandenburgh welcomed tabloid TV's Inside Edition to the studio yesterday to watch him talk about Beth Geisel. The story's been nothing but good for Vandenburgh, who's shown up on Fox news as an "expert" of sorts ---it's pretty sad when the local talk show host is the best you can do in the expert department, but welcome to 2005.Arrested
Don't expect a Geisel-like circus surrounding Bonnie Rock of Hoosick Falls. Rock was arrested this week for third degree rape, accused of having sex with a 16-year-old boy. Absent a glamorous suspect, an exclusive Catholic boys school, a well-known husband, and tawdry sex stories, you won't be seeing this one on the front page of the Post.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Starved for Victory

TU foodie Doug Blackburn today looked at the eating habits of jockeys at Saratoga. It might be more accurate to describe it as their not-eating habits.
Nice story ---but it just barely mentioned the heated controversy surrounding the torturous regimen jockeys are subjected to to make weight. Allegations of drug use and the practice of "flipping", or self-induced vomitting, are widespread;Trainers say increasing the weight limits would ruin horses, but not everyone's on board with that:
Dr. Stephen Wickler, professor of Animal and Veterinary Science at California Polytechnic Pomona, has estimated that a 5-pound increase in weight would increase force on a horse's limbs by 0.5 percent. (The Cincinnati Enquirer)
Read the whole Enquirer story and note the dateline, just days before the 2004 Kentucky Derby. That's really something to think about while we're all caught up in Travers week, right?


That's about all I could say after reading Joan Porco's letter to the TU, imploring the DA's office to lay off her son and "search for Peter's real killer or killers". Today's accompanying story includes the strongest condemnation yet of the investigation, from attorney Terry Kindlon:
They've tormented this kid. They have tormented him and it's unconscionable what they've done. Not only is it lousy police work, but a lot of it is just egregiously stupid.
Now back to the topic we deal with on this website: Along with the Pataki tapes, this should tell you something about where people go when they want to be heard. It's not to their local TV newsroom.

Pulling Rank

Alright, by now you know that UAlbany tanked in Princeton Review's list of top party schools, dropping from number one to fifth position.
Worse news, I guess, is that they didn't even show up on US News and World Report's list of best American colleges, a distinction reached by SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Stony Brook, University at Buffalo, and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Speaking of which, snooty Bard College wasn't impressed with being on the magazine's list of America's top 50 liberal arts colleges:
"We're not displeased with being a top 50 school," Bard College spokesman Mark Primoff said. "We don't need U.S. News and World Report to tell us we are a top institution."(Poughkeepsie Journal)
No, of course you don't ---but did you need Princeton Review to tell you that you're number three on their "Reefer Madness" list?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Post to Pataki: Probe This!

Bring me the head of Fred Dicker!
The Post today thumbs its nose at George Pataki's ridiculous call for a federal investigation of the Thomas Doherty tapes. You'd be embarrassed too, especially with your wife on there complaining about not being paid for what Matilda Cuomo and other NY first ladies graciously accepted as part of the bargain. Give me a break ---and you know things are bad when Al D'Amato becomes the voice of reason:
Questions about the tapes - who recorded them and why they would surface so many years later - circulated at the Capitol on Monday. Mr. D'Amato issued a statement saying it was appalling that someone would tape conversations without permission, but calling the episode "much to do about nothing."

Under Review

The local TV news beat isn't exactly like covering the White House, but you could at least try scratching the surface a little ---even if you are the Business Review. The paper, which generally reads like an extension of the Chamber's newsletter, carries an innocuously fluffy piece this week on the state of area TV newsrooms. Notably absent from the story is any mention of the sweeping changes Rene LaSpina has brought to WTEN. This stands in stark contrast to Mark McGuire's blistering column on Monday, which included this gem:
The conga line leaving the Northern Boulevard studios is starting to stretch into the hills. It doesn't look like a fun dance.
Granted, Barbara Pinkney isn't supposed to be a media critic, but her story shows a complete disregard for the truth about what's going on at WTEN. I suppose if you want those GMs to keep taking your calls, you'd better not write anything they wouldn't enjoy reading.

Move Over , Tom Whalen

From the Plattsburgh Press-Republican:

Another Great Day for the North Country

Monday, August 22, 2005


SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The sun rises over Saratoga Race Course like a big orange omelet. Its light blazes the tree line along Union Avenue and drapes long shadows across the fabled street that leads to the backstretch. (Saratogian)

The Great Race

Oh, boy! It's almost time for the Travers 900, that special dark day tradition where jockeys race go-carts against local media figures at the Great Escape. I was not invited, but I do have a couple of pieces of advice:

First of all, don't mess around with the riders, they may be small, but any one of them could give you a serious ass kicking, even Chantal Sutherland. No cutting them off, no trash talking, no nothing.

Next, attention Dan Murphy: It would be very unfortunate if FOX 23's Rich Becker had some sort of horrible accident during the race, you know, something that left him unable to continue his broadcasting career. Then the station would need a news sports guy, capice?

thing: Stay WAY clear of Ed O'Brien. It may be early in the day to you, but to him it's like 2am, if you know what I mean.

The Truth About Cats and Dogs

Nice jab at the insensitive electronic media from the newly hyperlocal TU:
As Battalion Chief Burns gave television interviews, insurance adjusters trolled the block with clipboards. Demolition contractors stood in a clutch, deciding whether to bid the job of knocking down the destroyed buildings. A television reporter pointed a microphone at Burns. "Any pets die?" she asked. (Times Union)
I thought Hooty Panders was off Sundays?

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Has Rex Smith gone hyper? Word is that Smith has been rallying his troops to the paper's new focus on community news, and hyperlocal is the battle cry. I had trouble imagining this until I saw his column today, another precursor to the paper's new look and feel, but now I can see him passing out the Kool-Aid. You may as well drink up, because in theory, it's pretty solid. While hyperlocal may sound like a mantric journalistic buzzword, it's local news that will keep a paper like the TU relevant. But when did this become a new idea?

If that doesn't work, you could always try making it easier to read, like the impenetrable Troy Record.

Gone Fishin'

Get a load of what local fisherman, Michael Malloy, landed in the Esopus creek: A nut-eating South American Pacu. The Pacu's cousin is the better known, but misunderstood, flesh-eating pirahna. This from the Kingston Daily Freeman:
Once in the kayak, the thrashing, chomping fish made Malloy "a little uncomfortable" in close quarters.
If a nut-eating fish was thrashing around in my kayak, I'd be uncomfortable, too.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The New Record

Hold on to your hats, THE NEW TROY RECORD debuts August 29. The paper is being reformatted as a tabloid, and the TV spot I just saw says it will be easier to read. Thank God, because you know, reading the Record is like trying to get through Sartre's Being And Nothingness.

Tonight We're Gonna Party...

...Like it's 1985:
ALBANY - Legendary Jazz musician George Benson, an eight-time Grammy winner, will highlight the Grand Opening Gala of the The Armory Sports and Convention Center Sept. 10. "George Benson is just perfect for the gala," said Jim Coyne, the executive vice president of Albany Basketball and Sports. "He's classy, entertaining, and his music and style stretch across generations."
Hey, I realize the guy lost a few years along the way, but Jim Coyne wasn't in prison that long.

The Intern Olympics

I usually troll around tiny daily papers looking for something to make fun of ---but more often I find interesting little stories about people in small town New York. Take Mohawk native Tiffany Casale, for example. The Herkimer Evening Telegram reported this week that the 19-year-old Ithaca College sophomore will be doing an internship for NBC at the Torino Winter Olympics. Lowly Olympic gigs can lead to big things; Today Show executive producer, Jim Bell, got his start at the network as a go-fer in Barcelona, where his main job was pushing around the wheelchair of injured NBC sports exec Randy Falco:
"I knew Barcelona wasn't necessarily handicap-friendly, but at a certain point Jim just picked me up and threw me over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes," said Mr. Falco.(NY TIMES)
Bell was later noticed by Dick Ebersol (who wouldn't notice that) and the rest is history. Get in shape Tiffany, you never know.

Alrighty Then

There's a CBA joke in here somewhere, isn't there?
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- One of the most popular events at Saratoga Race Course, Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, has been canceled. (Saratogian)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Speaking of Sports

WTEN's Rene LaSpina continues to hack away at senior staff, this time refusing to re-sign Dan Murphy. From Mark McGuire:
Murphy said on Thursday he told fellow WTEN personnel that "I wasn't leaving because I wanted to be leaving. It was not a mutual decision, and it was not a decision I was happy with... I didn't want to sugarcoat it or soft-sell it." Murphy said he was not given a reason for his dismissal by management. "They didn't give me any details or explanation," he said.
So...who do you suppose is next?


From today's TU: The area's last bastion of cable access, SACC-TV is struggling to keep its head above water as Time Warner wrangles with Schenectady over a new franchise agreement. The channel is paid for in part with cable subscriber fees; I'm sure TW is keeping them in a safe place until the matter is resolved.
Channel 16, home of shows like Around Town with Carl Strock and Jana Sings, a strange half hour of karaoke, is a place where anyone can have their 15 minutes (or half hour) of fame on a weekly basis.
While there's been lots of ink on the issue, I don't recall seeing it covered on any of the area TV stations. This is exactly the sort of local story CapitalNews 9 should be covering. Or not.

Sounds Like...

This from John Gray's Wednesday column in The Record, pointing out the differences between real life and TV:
On TV shows, they always have that one jerky reporter practically tackling the grieving mother, screaming, "How do you feel?" I don't know a single reporter who would ask such a callous, stupid question to someone in a moment of pain. Well, maybe one, but I won't name her here, but her name sounds like... oh, never mind.
Hmmmm...let's see...Rudy Blanders? Sandy Janders? Hooty Panders?

SPEAKING OF THE RECORD: Someone emailed to tell me that the paper would soon go tabloid ---in it's design, not it's content. Stay tuned.

Mamma Mia

I don't think you need a reminder of the details about the attack on Peter and Joan Porco last November, a brutal crime that's still fresh on our minds. Naturally, it's still a hot topic on talk radio, where WROW's Paul Vandenburgh has once again fallen into the strange and deeply inappropriate habit of referring to Joan Porco as "Mamma" or "Mamma Porco". Vandenburgh has explained that it was common to refer to people's mothers as "mamma" when he was growing up; That's all very well, but to do it now, when referring to someone you don't know -and a crime victim to boot- is really messed up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brother from Another Planet

There isn't anybody in the region with more juice than a George McNamee, but maybe you're not familiar with Mr. McNamee's flamboyant sibling, rock and roll venture capitalist Roger McNamee. Roger's a guitar playing, book writing, deal making, money machine who's a major player in the real tech valley. About his venture capital firm, Elevation Partners, Mercury News writes:
McNamee founded the firm with U2's Bono, whom he met through consulting for the Grateful Dead.
Dude! Do you think he could get us Bono for the next Tech Valley Summit?

Sign of the Times

We Want Democracy (in Albany) NOW!!!!Among the unruly mob attending this week's charter reform rally was someone holding up a sign for their favorite local blog, Democracy in Albany.
I need to talk to Paul Bray about getting my sign at one of those events, as seen here in the story on WRGB.
And what's this charter reform thing all about? Well it's like this: Here in Albany there's...uhhh...this...ummm...zzzz...zzzz...zzzz...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bye Bye, Bridget

Bridget Blythe is on her way to Buffalo's 7 News(ABC) where she'll be reporting and co-anchoring their 5:30 show. No surprise ---Blythe, AKA Tracy Egan's daughter, was one of the better people on CapitalNews 9, and clearly destined for something bigger than the farm team.

Perched on the Edge

What will happen to local radio when the 500 pound gorilla exits the room? That's the big question as local program directors brace for a post-Howard Strern morning drive. Bob Ausfeld, who's the one about to lose his cash cow, doesn't sound worried:
"There are options--syndicated, local, some shows within Regent we could take. There is one out of Grand Rapids that could attract the same male listeners as Stern."
He must be talking about the WGRD's Free Beer and Hot Wings morning show. These are the guys that are going to hold onto your Howard Stern numbers? Good luck with that.

Hello Mudder, Hello Fodder

Dark day blues? It's probably too late for a tee time or an appointment at the Roosevelt Spa, but you can always get into the National Museum of Racing and head downtown for a little lunch. Then: Did someone say Racino?

And here's a tip: Don't call in sick, show up at work for an hour and go home sick. That way, instead of looking like a slacker, you look dedicated and it's not lying. After all, how much of a stretch is it to say you feel sick at work?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Let it Lede

Here's a flash, Jumpin Jack: The TU is not the Rolling Stones of newspapers. That's what Rex Smith admitted in his broad comparison of handling change at the newspaper to the way the Stones change their live act. Smith was foreshadowing what's expected to be a fairly significant overhaul of the way the paper presents local and state news, coming August 23 according to teaser ads yesterday. Anyway, if the TU were the Rolling Stones of newspapers, would that make Rex Mick Jagger? And who would be Keith Richards? Paul Grondahl?
Personally, I'm voting for Fred Lebrun as Charlie Watts.

By the way, Rex's piece was headlined, We Gotta Roll With the Changes. What's the idea of summoning up the hideous specter of REO Speedwagon when we're talking about the Stones?

Old School

Our younger readers won't remember former Rensselaer County court judge and DA M. Andrew Dwyer, but suffice to say, if you think Pat McGrath runs a tight ship and Patricia DeAngelis is a bit of a character, you ain't seen nothing. WTEN's John McLoughlin tells a great story in Sunday's Record, about how Dwyer, one night in the 60's, announced he would indict Peter Jennings and ABC News for obscenity over a story they did on sex education. The days of reporters and pols bellying up to the bar went the way of letting your kids tumble around in the back of the station wagon without seatbelts ---but close your eyes for a second and you can almost smell the cigar smoke.


Finally. A tennis tournament that I actually have a chance of winning and I miss it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Quotes of the Week

Jeanine Pirro:
Do you have page 10?
Paul Vandenburgh on the late Peter Jennings:
Having Peter Jennings anchor ABC news is like having Celine Deion sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Betty Beavers owner Vincent Gramuglia stepped up to defend the brand in The Independent:
As for his Betty Beaver signs, which depict a female beaver with large, three-dimensional breasts and heavy make-up, Mr. Gramuglia said he doesn't see anything wrong. "There is nothing offensive about her," he said. "If you went to Hooters or Victoria's Secret, you'd see more cleavage than Betty Beaver has." Beavers, he noted, are the official state mammal.
And on the same topic, this from Bob Gardinier's hilarious TU story:
"The Dukes of Hazzard wouldn't stoop that low," said Joe Korghage, who lives on Duck Pond Road. "It's not funny at all. It's lewd and indecent and insulting to women."
Women? What about beavers? Finally, Superintendent Harold "Bud" Bresett regarding the recent theft of musical instruments from Moriah Central School:
At the band room, they took $10,000 worth of equipment. They must be woodwind people, because they only took one trumpet.
Insert rim shot here.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Aretakis Interview

John Aretakis is the guest on Dave Lucas's Capital Region People, Sunday morning at 6am on B95. Lucas, who has been all over the Geisel case in his blog of the same name, will give you a chance to hear the well known attorney unedited. Take my word for it: you don't get a true picture of John Aretakis in the chopped up sound bites of local TV news. It's fascinating to hear him explain what motivated him to pursue recent church sex abuse cases ---and given events of the past few weeks, it should be an especially interesting half hour.

Around the Region

What are they talking about in Gloversville, this week? Well I'm glad you asked. The top story in Wednesday's Leader-Herald is the arrival of strippers ---those are exotic dancers, folks, not people who refinish furniture. But the opening of the adult entertainment emporium Copperheads is not without controversy; Unless zoning issues can be ironed out, says the Leader-Herald, female dancers would "have to wear pasties to cover their areolas."

When I first read that, I thought it said pastries, which would be something I've never seen ---not even in Montreal.

The World According to Matt

If you're reading this, you're clearly a person with highly refined tastes ---that or it's another slow day down in Agency Building 1. Either way, let me recommend Matt Glassman's Oh, Smalbany. Whether he's commenting on the news of the day or waxing in glorious detail on subjects like Heritage Park or Summer in Saratoga, Matt's a smart guy and it shows in his writing. According to his profile, he's finishing up his Ph.D in political science from Yale. That's impressive to someone like me, who took like five years to get through Harvard. But make no mistake about Matt: somebody who lists both Beff's and One Caroline Street Bistro side by side in their restaurant reviews is the sort of person I could have a beer with.

BY THE WAY: If Oh, Smalbany's exhaustive study of Heritage Park makes you nostalgic, now's your chance to buy a piece of the park before they tear it down.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Phantom Speaks

Maybe some of you caught David Soares on the CBS Early Show Wednesday, blasting ThePhantomJournalist for naming CBA students who may have been involved with Beth Geisel. Now the mystery blog has fired back with a harsh criticism of not just Soares, but everyone involved in the Geisel story ---including everyone interested in the story. For example:
My Blog is an embarrassment? Our society and its reaction to this case is an embarrassment. Our insatiable infatuation with perversion and immorality is the real shame. We feed off of smut like this. It lets us all feel morally superior.
Tough to argue against that one, isn't it?

The Case of the Funny Flack

Here's the subject line on a Wednesday email from Richard Arthur, spokesman for the Albany County DA's office: He Came in Through the Bathroom Window .

Wow! Riffing on Abbey Road, very cool, right? Richard Arthur must be a pretty hip guy ----then you read his attached press release regarding one Michael Landry:
In pleading guilty, LANDRY admitted to climbing in the victim's bathroom window on May 18, 2004, and attempting to rape his victim at knifepoint. The victim fought back and was able to turn the knife on the defendant who then fled the scene.
Hilarious! It's one thing for me to write goofy headlines, but the DA's office? About an attempted rape?

Saratoga Honors Horse-Eating Collaborators

The proposal to "sister city" Saratoga with Vichy, France has hit a snag after concerns were raised by the local Jewish community. I guess it never occurred to anyone that a special relationship with the Vichy government might strike a nerve with people who remember the Nazis. Go figure.


This just in from CapitalNews 9:

And you can't buy a beer onboard anymore, either.No way! I thought Amtrak was on time, all the time. My congressman will be hearing from me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Insider II

More information today about ThePhantomJournalist, the weblog that's attaching names and faces to the Geisel case. Dave Lucas's Capital Region People says the web site was put up in reaction to attorney Donald Kinsella's comments on the case ---and that the mystery blogger has had direct contact with the TU's Brendan Lyons. Also included is the David Soares comment on the revelations.

Family Flicks?

Hooray for Hollywood and the Downtown Albany BID (Bar Improvement District) for bringing free outdoor movies to Jennings Park the Corning Preserve. The BID describes this as a family event, and indeed, some of the movies are family-friendly, such as Robots and Cheaper by the Dozen ---but you've got to wonder about Dodgeball and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, so I consulted's Parents Preview.
Innuendo and gross humor, along with profanities that include a use of the sexual expletive. Talk of selling blood and semen (?...but not mixed together?), drinking your own urine, and using a doorknob as a sexual device, are a sampling of the dialogue. Meanwhile, watching Stiller's character take shock therapy through his nipples and imply masturbating with a pizza, are only two of many moments that accurately define the term sight gags.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith
With violence literally wall-to-wall, when the pair isn't kicking one another around the house, the screenplay provides a continuous onslaught of other murders. This action leaves little time for dialogue or plot development. For those who claim the MPAA ratings haven't grown more tolerant of increased violent content, Mr. and Mrs. Smith definitely qualifies as "Exhibit A." The inclusion of a sexual expletive, discussions of sex, and portrayals of sexual activity, along with dozens of killings suggests the next death may be the trust families have for the motion picture rating system.
By the way, this family event allows no "coolers, backpacks, bags, containers, packages, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks or glass containers," so leave the snacks and drinks at home.

Leave Your Drugs at Home Day

This from the Cohoes Recreation Department:
Mayor John T. McDonald III is pleased to announce that on August 12th, Spyke the City of Cohoes Police K-9 dog will be touring the City to greet the youth of Cohoes and show off a few of his talents. Spyke's schedule for the day will be as follows:

12 - 1pm Sunset Park
1 - 2pm West End Park
2 -3pm George Street Park
3 - 4pm Van Schaick Park

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

First Responder

What photog doesn't dream of stumbling upon some breaking news? Record photographer J.S. Carras found himself in that situation yesterday when he spotted smoke pouring from the eaves of a burning house in Troy. Carras was among those who alerted the oblivious residents that their home was on fire ---after which he gabbed his camera and went to work.


A weblog making the rounds in local newsrooms names several students it alleges are involved in the CBA sex scandal. The site, calling itself ThePhantomJournalist posted yearbook pictures of three students he claims are involved in the Geisel case. This is sticky stuff. The author, citing "inside sources" and a commitment to "uncover the truth" is treading on ground where the local media won't go ---and is promising to go further. It'll be interesting to see if the site stays up; I'm uncomfortable even publishing the link.

Caring for the Terminally Sleepy

Most seasoned road warriors have tried to catch some Z's at the airport, and it's usually not a pretty picture ---unless you know where to crash. Now there's a website collecting data on the snoozability of the world's air terminals, including entries on little old Albany International. For example:
You're welcome to sleep in the ticketing lobby, which, although brightly lit, has comfy chairs and classical background music playing not especially loudly...
I'm not suggesting that you go sleep at the Albany Airport, but if you do any travelling you may want this link in the laptop. Expect a press release from Doug Myers.
And just wondering: Does it tell where to catch some zed's in Canadian airports?

Mad Dogs and Giants Fans

Radio. It's something you listen to, not something you watch, yet we have Imus on MSNBC and Mike and the Mad Dog all afternoon on the Yes Network. We even have local radio on TV with Time Warner's simulcast of WAMC's Roundtable. Susan Arbetter is the only one of the bunch I care to see (sorry, Joe Donahue), but let's face it, radio shows on TV lose their novelty after about 5 minutes.

If watching radio on TV leaves you feeling that there must be something more, stop up at UAlbany this afternoon for Mike and The Mad Dog live at Giants camp. It will be very much like seeing them on YES except they'll be outside and right before your very eyes. They'll sit and talk into microphones and then sit and talk into the microphones some more. They're also expected to sit and talk into their microphones. Excellent!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Up Front

Click for Large Version!Times Union editorial cartoonist John DeRosier channels Bill Mauldin's Wille and Joe on today's Op-Ed page. It's a dead-on homage to Maudlin's anti-heros, who were sometimes seen perusing Stars and Stripes during their slog across Europe ---even if these two are a bit more clean shaven.

Media Week

I don't think anyone saw the Post's front page story coming on Tuesday, but the Geisel coverage was pretty much what you'd expect from who you'd expect. Nobody hit one out of the park, even though there was a memorable foul ball.
If anyone shined it was WROW's Paul Vandenburgh ---his show was all Geisel all the time, including a major get, attorney Donald Kinsella. And I sort of agree -somebody slap me, quick- with Vandenburgh's questions about the TU's placement of the story. I't's hard to argue against putting Beth Geisel's arrest on the front page last Tuesday, and B1 the rest of the week, but Rex Smith made a go of it in his Saturday column.

What the hell will we all talk about this week?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Beaver Fever

You'd think they would enjoy a sexy beaver in SchodackSchodack residents are going nuts over a proposal to open a Betty Beaver truck stop on Route 9. You may be familiar with Ms. Beaver from their outposts at Northway Exit 17 and in Fultonville. The property in question already serves truckers, but neighbors don't like what they see at other Betty Beaver locations:
Elizabeth Gable, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, said she drove by the Fultonville truck stop and that the character of the sign was "everyone's worst nightmare." The sign depicts a heavily made-up female beaver dressed in Wonder Woman type garb with a large bosom popping out beyond the sign.
A strangely alluring dream? Absolutely. My worst nightmare? Not by a long shot.

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Low

This from CapitalNews 9:

Answer: None of your business.
You've got to hand it to them, they're not affraid to dive headfirst into the barrel and scrape away at the bottom. Unsatisfied with reporting the facts about the Geisel case, CN9 enlisted well known local psychologist Dr. Rudy Nydegger to speculate about the mental state of her children:
He said, "They will have to deal with issues like other kids asking questions, or teasing them or talking about them, or other adults asking questions or saying things that may be embarrassing or hurtful, even situations where other kids are told they can't play with them."
You may now stop asking yourself where we cross the line on this story.

Real Estate Roundup

Home sales are booming, folks ---and the more you know about selling your house the better. This from a CBS 6 story on the sale of the Porco residence in Delmar:
Broker Caroline Caputo says the notorious aspect of the home's history will not turn away a serious buyer. Caputo said a home involved in a murder would be more acceptable to buyers than a home caught in the middle of a divorce squabble, for example.
What? Less tension at the closing? Thanks, Caroline.

Let it Bleed

By now, you've probably heard that blood donors in New England can win tickets to see the Stones at Fenway Park. No word yet on if a similar contest will be offered for the Albany show ---The American Red Cross has refused to comment on persistent rumors that the blood will be used to sustain guitarist Keith Richards.

We're Number Two

Actually, we're tied for number two. Albany Eye and relentless political commentator, Democracy in Albany, share the number two spot in Metroland's reader's poll for "Best Blog". And who's number one? A weblog posted by Alan Ilagan, which is something you really need to see for yourself. It has lots of interesting pictures, and writing like this:
Was I lonelier then than I sometimes feel now? It's possible to be surrounded and loved by a great group of friends and family and admirers and still feel completely alone and isolated. That sort of loneliness is more terrifying than any sort of actual solitude.
Yeah, whatever. I'm thinking that showing my rock-hard abs may help me raise my profile with the Metroland crowd. Stay tuned.

See all the media winners here.

All the News That's Fit to Steal

Interesting story in the TU Thursday about Stacey Kenyon, the unlucky motorist whose car went off the newly-broken Dunn Bridge ramp last week. Even more interesting was that I heard the story on WROW before I saw it in the paper ---in a newscast containing a phrase stunningly similar to this one in the print story:
Officials credit Kenyon's quick action in notifying police, in part, for the fast response that prevented other motorists from driving over the ruptured ramp.
Considering it hadn't crossed the wires or appeared anywhere else, I can only assume that WROW was there when the TU met with Ms. Kenyon ---nobody elese had her until later the same day. Nice get!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Checkbook Journalism

Speaking of CBA, they're claiming that media outlets are offering up big bucks to students and their family members for interviews about the Geisel story. The school's attorney, Mae A. D'Agostino said,
"I know, and the folks at CBA know, there's a story to be reported here. We expect it to be reported. We just don't want anything unsavory to be done."
I think she means anything else unsavory.

Mark McGuire checks in on the media coverage in today's TU.

Blogging Beth

You've got to make hay while the sun shines, and that's what local blogger Dave Lucas has done. Lucas's Capital Region People racked up something like 20,000 hits on Tuesday, presumably due to his posts about Beth Geisel. This has to be a few more people than listen to his public affairs show of the same name, which airs 6am Sunday mornings on B95. A thousand times more would be my guess.
Lucas took the story and ran with it, positioning himself for some momentary search engine glory. Now if he could just score a slot on Michelle Malkin's blogroll. No luck there, yet.

Turf n' Dirt

Former Iraq POW Jessica Lynch will be at the track Thursday ---no, not at Fonda Speedway, at the other track, the one with the horses. Lynch, who's being honored at a Teresian House benefit, will be in the winner's circle after the third doing the first place honors.
Also: Never, never, never bet a horse because of its name. But if you're a Frank Zappa fan, you might want to consider breaking this rule for Dynamo Hum in the eighth. With Edgar Prado up you can't miss.

A String of Poloponies

You may think of polo as a hoity-toity game of the rich. That may be, but make no mistake about it, the players out on the field are serious badasses. Doesn't it figure that John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted, would be out there charging around after the little white ball? Walsh has his own team, and they'll be competing at Saratoga Polo's Friday evening Ylvisaker Cup (PRONOUNCER, PLEASE?).
$20 a carload folks. Coolers and picnics are allowed, but do plan on hiding your alcohol or buying it there, old chap.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pataki Coverup Revealed

Don't miss John Gray's Record column today in which he describes his 1994 makeover of gubernatorial candidate George Pataki. It was the same day as what must have been Alan Chartock's last sit-down ever with the Gov to be.

Notes From the Underground

Throw in Beth Geisel and you've got yourself a party.
HOWES CAVE, NY -- (08/01/2005; 1530)(EIS)

WHAT: Be the first to see experience part of Howe Caverns not seen for more than a century-including the 107-foot-tall Great Rotunda - during a special press preview Aug. 4.

WHEN: Special media briefing at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 4, at the Howe Caverns Restaurant, followed by the first Adventure Tour.

DETAILS: It's a new world to explore - one with ceilings 107-feet high in a part of the Great Cave that hasn't been accessible to the public in more than 100 years. More than 23 tons of debris were removed by cavers to allow these tours to take place.

The Segue King

You've got to love the way Paul Vandenburgh seamlessly merges from talking about the news to doing live commercial reads, like during yesterday's CBA-fest:
There must be a lot of strange things going on in a woman's head to do something like this. Let me tell you about something that's not strange, Saratoga Gaming and Raceway...
That's why they call him Rico Suave.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pigskin Parade

They eat well at Giants camp, but this really jumped out at me from the David Filkins story in the TU:
Judging by the size of these guys, you could put a piano on a plate and it wouldn't last more than a few seconds. But when it comes to feeding an entire team, the menu might need a few more pages. One guy could be allergic to cheese. Maybe the quarterback is a vegetarian.
Whoa, time out! What are we saying here, that Eli Manning is a vegetarian? Personally, I prefer my quarterbacks to be meat-eaters ---lest we get into the whole carnivores chasing down the herbivore thing.

The most famous New York QB ever, Joe Namath, has turned to the vegetarian lifestyle; I hear it leaves more room for alcohol.

Fossils of Rock Tour

The Rolling Stones will be carted into the Pepsi Arena on Saturday, September 17. The band, which sports a combined age of 738 years, has not played a local gig since 1893, while enroute to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Mechanicville's Number One Problem

Now that the I-Team's gone, Capital Region residents turn to The Record's Mr. Fix-it for help:
Dear Mr. Fix-it,
I have lived on William Street (near Central Avenue) for nearly 20 years, and this is the noisiest I can remember it in Mechanicville. Please get us some quiet. We see a lot of motorcycle traffic and people relieving themselves on lawns. I need quiet.
Can nothing silence this noisy urination?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Big Time

Now that the CBA story is on the front page of the NY Post, you can really expect this Beth Geisel thing to get out of control. Paul Vandenburgh, commenting this morning, said:
This is not a great picture of her ---but she looks pretty good!

This Guy Says the Horse Can Do

Leave it to my geeky friends to find a free WiFi connection at the track.
I'm pretty sure we were the only ones with a cooler full of Rheingold (cans of course) and surfing the web with a PDA in the backyard at Saratoga yesterday ---but that's a real niche distinction. We kept it topical. First we looked at the Saratoga coverage in Gawker Media's Oddjack, then checked in to see how the Sam the Bugler bobbleheads are doing on eBay.
Nobody bothered looking at their email, it being the Sabbath and all.