Friday, December 15, 2006

In a Jam

Everything is not cool with Trey.Thanks to the tipster who passed along this pic of former Phish front man Trey Anastasio. Anastasio apparently had an unscheduled late-night photo shoot with police up in Whitehall early this morning. From the police report:
On 12/15/2006 at approximately 3:30am, Ernest J. Anastasio, was stopped for Failing to Keep Right. Subject was observed to be under the Influence of a Narcotic Substance after failing Field Testing. Anastasio was also found to have a Suspended Driver's License in the State of New York. Anastasio was also found to be in possession of an assorted amount of Prescription Medications, Hydrocodone, Percocet, and Xanax, being prescribed to another person. Anastasio was charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 3rd, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 7th, and DWI - Drugs.
Ernest is appearing at the Palace Theatre on December 29.

Bought and Paid For

Paul Vandenburgh, who loves skewering Capital Region "fanny kissers", had his nose so far up the butt of Bellevue Hospital CEO Ann Sailes this morning that they must have needed a proctologist to remove him.

The WROW morning host was there supporting the hospital's day-long fundraiser aimed at fighting its proposed closure under the Berger Commission report. Vandenburgh's extended interview with Sailes was completely devoid of any tough questions. It's one thing to have a love fest remote with an advertiser, but to do so with with the subject of a news story is a sell out of the worst kind. For the record, we don't know whether the remote was paid for by Bellevue or donated by the station.

On the lighter side, Vandenburgh said to Sailes, "This place is notorious for making women comfortable when they really need it."

Bio 101

Who hasn’t perused the anchor bios at the TV web sites, hunting for interesting tidbits about their favorite local newsie? At Albany Eye, we noticed that some of these bios are longer than others ----so naturally, we wondered if there might be some correlation between the length of one’s biography and other factors, such as one's sense of self-importance. The chart below shows the word count in the bios of the market's lead anchors:

Lydia Kulbida's like Avis: She's number two, but she tries harder.The only thing not included in Liz's bio is a list of her Girl Scout merit badges.

We didn’t put weather guys on the chart, but you’ll be interested to learn that Steve LaPointe’s biography on the WRGB website clocks in at a whopping 687 words, making it longer than anyone else’s in the entire market. That’s compared to Bob Kovachick’s, which runs only 158. And Steve Caporizzo? 28 words. We wish to remind you that this is not a scientific study, but TV news ain't rocket science, is it?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cue the Psycho Music

Former WSTM Syracuse weekend anchor Maria Damiano was arrested on trespassing charges earlier this week when she was found allegedly lurking around the home of current WSTM weekend anchor Lisa Spitz. Police say that Spitz (who according to her online bio once worked at WNYT and hails from Niskayuna) is dating Damiano's former boyfriend, WSTM photog Alex Dunbar. Duuuuude...

Damiano told the Syracuse Post-Standard, "It's just a big misunderstanding. I was as surprised as anyone by the turn of events. It's unfortunate this happened, but we'll let the legal system take its course, and I'm sure it will all be cleared up." Not surprisingly, Damiano now works in public relations. Dunbar and Spitz both requested orders of protection.

WiFi 4U

I just love reading Albany Eye, don't you? Do you think he's married?Tons of ink a few weeks ago for Albany FreeNet, the new wifi hotspots covering downtown and other parts of the city. At the press conference, head of Tech Valley Communications and former CEG regionalization guru Kevin O'Connor said, "This is truly fashioned in the model of free access. It's completely open and free Internet access." Yes, it's completely open and free ---but it limits users to one hour a day. Thanks for nothing.

Savvy wifi users know where O'Connor can stick Albany FreeNet, because there are loads of places you can get wireless access without paying for it. Just type in your zip code and run a search, or consult one of the directories like this one. Even Time Warner has a bunch of free local access points ---and they don't usually give anything away. The best place for free access? Head down to Charter One Bank at the corner of State and Pearl. You can grab a coffee at Starbucks, settle into one of those big cozy chairs, and choose from any number of free wireless connections. If you're lucky, the bank may get robbed again while you're there.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lazy Wednesday

They Axed For It
Shortly after judge Jeffrey Berry threw the book at Chris Porco, Mark McGuire threw the book at WNYT and WRGB. It only took minutes for McGuire to post to his blog, slamming the stations for dropping the ball on the biggest story of the year. He didn't accuse them of being incompetent, just greedy ---suggesting they wanted to avoid preempting Rachael Ray and Dr. Phil:
A sentencing for one of the most high-profile criminal cases ever to touch the Capital Region begged for these outlets to uphold its responsibility to the public and cut into its regular schedule and, yes, even profits.
They're Waiting For You at Bellevue
OK, everybody who's sick of hearing about Bellevue Hospital, please raise your hands.

The hospital is throwing another rally today in its full court press to avoid the closure recommended under the Berger Commission report. You've got to admit, it's a little hard for common folk to muster up much feeling for the place. Right of wrong, many people perceive Bellevue as a snooty, exclusive facility that caters to women who wouldn't be caught dead in an ordinary hospital. God forbid you end up in Albany Med or St. Clare's with all of those poor sick people, right?

Owning It
So it's official: WRGB now holds the keys to WCWN, AKA The Capital Region's CW. They've made it pretty clear that they're fixing to put up a 10pm news as soon as possible, but what should be interesting is who anchors that show. The CW is squarely targeted at young women; whether they'll take to the staidly uncomfortable anchor team of Liz Bishop and Greg Floyd is highly questionable. It could work if you think kids want to hear the news from their parents ---or depending on your perspective, their father and grandmother.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Are There No Workhouses?

Keep Christmas in your way and let me keep it in mineIt was a big Christmas party for at-risk kids that included piles of presents, Disney characters, and fireworks over Congress Park. You couldn't dream up a warmer holiday story ---but CapitalNews 9's rosy report Sunday didn't mention what organizer David Silipigno's best known for: the collapse of National Finance Corporation.

It was a chilly day in December 1999 when Silipigno's National Finance shut their doors, leaving over 400 workers jobless just before Christmas. Silipigno was later convicted of federal wire fraud charges, and in recent years has been polishing his image by dumping money into charitable causes. Should National Finance be mentioned every time you do a story about this guy? I guess that's the price of being a convicted felon, isn't it?

It's anyone's guess why reporter Sumi Somaskanda didn't put David Silipigno into context by mentioning his history in the Capital Region. Either she was overwhelmed by good cheer ---or she and her producers were totally clueless.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Harvard on the Hudson

Looks like we missed one thing on Friday: this holiday season you can "give the gift of learning" at Hudson Valley Community College. They're offering learning certificates this year that recipients can cash in for credit or non-credit courses. The down side is that you can't sign up people for specific courses, they have to do that themselves ---but wouldn't it be great to pick one for them? For example, imagine enrolling your boring friend in Mortuary Science 130, also known as Embalming I. I've heard that the kids in the major refer to that class as as "Strip and Dip." And what about your friend who works in TV news? It's never too late to take English 101. Again.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Albany Eye Holiday Gift Guide

Stumped? Allow Albany Eye be your guide this holiday season to gifts that say...uh..."Here you go."

The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman Maybe you know John Hodgman as the Resident Expert on the Daily Show, or you've heard him on This American Life ---if not, you've surely seen him as "The PC" in those Mac ads, where he's a lot funnier and more likable than that obnoxious Mac guy. Library Journal calls this book a, "Handy desk reference for those needing a dose of nonsense."

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin If the person on your list requires something more serious, you can't go wrong with Abraham Lincoln. This is a lively account of Lincoln's leadership style and how he worked with those around him ---it's sort of like a management book, except it's interesting.

Flogging Molly Drunken Lullabies Mark McGuire recently named a song from this disc as number one to be played at his funeral. The tune he picked is great, but far from the best on this album, which is like The Clash and The Pogues having a head on collision with The Clancy Brothers. You don't have to be Irish, but it will make you feel like you are.

Oxo Swivel Peeler Treat your favorite foodie to the world's greatest vegetable peeler. They only cost like six bucks, so buy a bunch of them for your friends. Give them a bag of carrots, too. They'll like this so much that they'll be looking for things to peel.

Estes Model Rockets These have somehow survived the purge of dangerous toys that people like NYPIRG have foist upon us in recent years. No boy (or girl) should experience childhood without the thrill of launching model rockets ---and for that matter, grown ups like them, too. A couple of tips: Be sure to buy more than one, because you're sure to lose one. Also, make sure you have launch supplies and lots of extra engines.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Department of Media Literacy

Local community activist Daniel Van Riper criticised CapitalNews 9 in his online rant blog recently for an image they used of Albany 4th Ward Common Council member Barbara Smith. Van Riper said, "The baboons at News 9 did a stop action search through the videotapes until they found a weirdexpression while she was speaking. 'There, use that one,' said the head baboon." he accompanied his complaint with the illustration below:

That's a trick that CN9 must have learned from the NY Post. Come on. Do you really think the people at CN9 would take the time to do that? And isn't news monkeys a kinder term? Dig a bit deeper and you'll find Van Riper's no great fan of local TV. In March he went on and on about being slighted byWNYT back in 2003:
I sincerely hope and pray that Ed Dague, the female creature, and the WNYT 13 camera crew who shined the light in my face all develop lingering incurable diseases and slowly die, crying and whimpering in pain. I want them to suffer horribly. That would make me laugh with joy.
At the time, Van Riper called the station to complain; of the person he spoke to atWNYT, he says, "I hope she dies."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hump Day

Say COCAINE Happy To Be Here
I've always figured that if I get arrested, I'm going to smile in my mug shot. I mean what the hell, frowning isn't going to make things any better, is it? Apparently, Tracy Noble feels the same way. The Waterford woman was arrested this week and charged with "several Class B felonies", for her alleged sale and possession of cocaine. See the whole pic here, ---and remember to put on a happy face.

For The Man Who has Everything
Now this is what I call a Christmas present:
Upgradeable Albany AM station for sale. License, equipment, and engineering study for upgrade, all available now. Includes property and new solid state transmitter. $240k, owner will finance. 877-541-XXXX (NO BROKERS)
Sure, it'll cost you some money to keep the thing on the air, but imagine the possibilities. Oh, yeah...the ad also includes this line: NO cash flow.

Inaccessible
Cheers to the folks who want to improve the cable access channel in Albany. Jeers to the same people who say they'll feature:
City Council Meetings, news from City Library, Neighborhood Association meetings, Albany County Legislature proceedings, Election time local debates, city library news, cultural and educational programming.
Ughhhh. Maybe it's not such a great idea after all.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The One Thing You Can't Hide...

My mother's in her seventies, and despite the fact that she's had a hip replacement and walks with a cane, she won't get one of those handicapped tags for her car. Why? She figures there are people worse off than her that need that space even more. People like the folks at FLY 92. An intrepid reader sent me some photos of one of their vehicles parked in a handicapped space at the Slingerlands Price Chopper on Saturday:

I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this.
You can see the whole set of pictures here. There were no handicapped plates and no hang tag, but it's plenty easy to tell who owns that car, isn't it?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sue Nigra: Curiously Irreplaceable

I don't know what Sue Nigra wanted, but maybe they should have given it to her.Sue Nigra's been gone from WRGB since August, but the station hasn't yet managed to find someone suitable to fill her...uh...seat. In fact, they're still running this ad in the TU's online classifieds:
ANCHOR/REPORTER WRGB/CBS 6 in Albany, NY is looking for an anchor/reporter. Candidate will anchor our noon 5pm newscasts and will also report on a daily basis. The right candidate will have at least five years of experience. We're looking for a top-notch journalist and a great communicator with a desire to be part of the community. Four-year college degree preferred.
The listing is kind of surprising, considering the number of industry sites that post job openings and the power of word of mouth. Maybe they need to lower the bar a bit ---I mean really, now all of the sudden you need a "top-notch journalist"?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Veg Out

Patricia Keelan of Waterford writes the Times Union:
I live in Waterford and pass the Halfmoon-Waterford firehouse every day. I was extremely upset when on Thanksgiving morning I had to run out to the store and read an insensitive sign outside the firehouse: "Do the turkeys know the end is near?" I did not find it amusing. Due to the display of callous indifference toward the suffering and death of animals, the message ruined what was the start of a beautiful day of giving thanks. For those of us who are vegetarian, or vegan, and detest the suffering and death inflicted on millions of turkeys at this time of the year, please find a more egalitarian and peaceful message to send not only to the residents of this community but others who pass this firehouse every day.
Might I suggest, "Do the vegetarians know what they're missing?"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tow Jam

Anyone who's ever had their car towed in Albany knows that the people who do the towing are class-A assholes ----and the biggest assholes of all are those at Joe's Osborne Street Garage. I've heard some amazing stories of their assholery, but this one takes the cake: they towed a school bus this week that accidentally parked in a private lot near the State Museum. 14 students from the Clifton-Fine High School in St. Lawrence county were stranded until they coughed up the $216 fee demanded by those swell folks at Joe's. School bus driver Anne Clement said, "I don't know how they thought the children would get back home if they had taken our bus."

If A Tree Falls On the Web...

Mark McGuire's column today is about the "murky world of blogging," internet message boards, and web sites ---and the influence they have on the mainstream media. There's no shortage of discussions these days about all this unfiltered web content, but the local spin makes his story must read stuff. The central question, he writes, "If a mere allegation -- unsubstantiated even -- is causing impact in the public debate, isn't it a media outlet's duty to report on its existence?"

There are some roundabout references to to something you may have read here last Friday, but before you ask, this ain't Albany Eye he's talking about:
There's an Internet guy out there waging a very public crusade against a local radio host. There's been no story on this in the Times Union (and, as you noticed, no names here) -- prompting the Internet guy to wail that the paper is hushing up the story.
As we wrote last May, it's a stinky stew that simmers when angry people with too much time on their hands get computers.

Finally Friday

When You're Not You're Not
The Albany Chamber has announced this year's Hot Ten, their list of the area's most influential leaders. Among those honored are Joe Bruno, George Pataki, Shirley Ann Jackson, and CEG head Kelly Lovell. The list also includes the chiefs of a couple of tech companies, nano-guru Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, and the president of HVCC. I think it's great that the chamber takes the time to engage in shameless ass kissing to hail these worthy folks, don't you?

The Competition
Ad revenues down? It's stuff like this that's killing your bottom line these days.

What Happens in Vegas Stays In Vegas
We should be so lucky. WROW morning host Paul Vandenburgh spent twenty solid minutes yesterday complaining how cold it is in Las Vegas ---so cold, in fact, that the people out there all go around in "sleeveless coats." Sleeveless coats? I believe that back east they call those "vests." He went on to say that, "The people out here are baffled at how I pull this off every morning. They've never seen anything like it." Those sleeveless coat-wearing Nevadans are a perceptive bunch.