Live from New York

Via Hulu, and via

I won’t be there. We throwing a party in N.J.


Goat For A Ride

Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species, but I certainly wouldn’t consider them a power source for personal transportation. OK, this device is meant for dogs, but why not other smaller animals?

Mark Shuette is the man behind the Dog Powered Scooter (and trike, skateboard and folding bicycle). Interesting invention that’s been around for about a year and another example of American ingenuity. Not baaad.

The Finger

I get annoyed when I see a poorly-designed roadside billboard. If drivers can’t read or get the message, what good is it? My favorite trick is printing the artwork very small, as in the height of a business card (two inches). If you can read it that size, from three feet away, that’s good artwork. Doesn’t work like print, kids. Same as online works differently than TV.

Driving westbound on Interstate 78 near Bethlehem, PA (yeah, I was there for Christmas), I was intrigued by the “finger” billboard pictured above. Definitely caught my eye from a mile away. Getting closer, I saw the “She’s Tired of Waiting” headline. it was for Robbins Diamonds in Allentown. Brilliant! I almost backed up to take a picture, but we were late for dinner. I did recall buying our engagement ring at their 8th & Walnut location in Philly in 1992.

Gordon Robbins was kind enough to send me a copy of the creative. Excellent use of outdoor advertising! Hope it’s working for them.

Twitter Film

Very cool: a film by svanes.

a time lapse journey by car from los angeles to san francisco, while twitter postings from the same day serve as a news ticker.

in this sense, time, as experienced in the film, moves forward on two levels: the actual travel that is recorded on film while the twitter postings provide an additional register.

it was shot on may 30, 2008 and edited a few days ago.

Petite Erreur

We all make mistakes from time to time, even the New York Times:

Editors’ Note

Early this morning, we posted a letter that carried the name of Bertrand Delanoë, the mayor of Paris, sharply criticizing Caroline Kennedy.

This letter was a fake. It should not have been published.

Doing so violated both our standards and our procedures in publishing signed letters from our readers.

We have already expressed our regrets to Mr. Delanoë’s office and we are now doing the same to you, our readers.

This letter, like most Letters to the Editor these days, arrived by email. It is Times procedure to verify the authenticity of every letter. In this case, our staff sent an edited version of the letter to the sender of the email and did not hear back. At that point, we should have contacted Mr. Delanoë’s office to verify that he had, in fact, written to us.

We did not do that. Without that verification, the letter should never have been printed.

We are reviewing our procedures for verifying letters to avoid such an incident in the future.

Here’s the “letter” in question

To the Editor:

As mayor of Paris, I find Caroline Kennedy’s bid for the seat of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton both surprising and not very democratic, to say the least. What title has Ms. Kennedy to pretend to Hillary Clinton’s seat? We French can only see a dynastic move of the vanishing Kennedy clan in the very country of the Bill of Rights. It is both surprising and appalling.

With all the respect and admiration I have for Ms. Kennedy’s late father, I find her bid in very poor taste, and, after reading “Kennedy, Touring Upstate, Gets Less and Less Low-Key” (news article, Dec. 18), in my opinion she has no qualification whatsoever to bid for Senator Clinton’s seat.

We French have been consistently admiring of the American Constitution, but it seems that recently both Republicans and Democrats are drifting away from a truly democratic model. The Kennedy era is long gone, and I guess that New York has plenty of more qualified candidates to fill the shoes of Hillary Clinton. Can we speak of American decline?

Bertrand Delanoë
Paris, Dec. 18, 2008

Admitting your mistake comes first. Not repeating it follows.

Learning never ends.

What’s That Smell?

Remember the old Rodney Dangerfield joke? “My wife said ‘kiss me where it stinks’ — so I took her to Jersey!”

Taking the counter-point, I thought New Jersey got a bad rap (I live in N.J. now) and needed a new tag line. One to be used for tourism and economic development. Thought “what’s that smell?” had legs — use it for The Shore and restaurants, and so many other attractions you could attach a scent to. Kind of grows on you, doesn’t it? Pokes fun at all the refineries along the Turnpike. So what? Since when did “Jersey Girl” become a positive?

Look, there’s now a town in Iowa that smells like garlic. The local spice producer donated garlic salt for use on icy streets, so they mixed it is with the standard rock salt:

City crews in the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny are using garlic salt to melt snow and ice on streets from Tuesday’s storm.

The salt was donated by Tone Brothers Inc., a top spice producer headquartered in Ankeny.

Public Works Administrator Al Olson says the company donated 18,000 pounds of garlic salt to use on its 400 miles of roads.

Olson doesn’t have details, but he says the salt would have ended up in the landfill, so the company donated it. A telephone call Wednesday to Tone Brothers wasn’t immediately returned.

Olson says the city mixed the garlic salt with regular road salt and it works fine. He says some road workers say it makes them hungry, but Olson doesn’t recommend it to spice up lunch or dinner.

“New Jersey: What’s That Smell?” — gotta nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Bye-Bye Bonus

Good move: Goldman Sachs executives are forgoing their annual bonuses. First time in the firm’s 139-year history, but it’s the right thing to do.

New York State will take the tax hit:

The executives complied with the urging of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and others who said in November that major Wall Street companies benefiting from federal bailouts shouldn’t pay out the usual huge bonuses to executives.

Paterson says it was the right thing to do, but the result is a further hit to the fiscal crisis of state government.

“Things could go even more south in a big hurry,” Paterson told reporters.

Losing tax revenue from bonuses was a big hit to New York’s finances because Wall Street taxes accounted for 30 percent of state revenue in the last fiscal quarter.

“I think it was the right urge,” he said, but “the state lost $178 million in that moment.”

The decision by Goldman Sachs’ top executives to forgo bonuses in 2008 forced other investment bank bosses to follow suit. Thousands of lower-tier brokers will still collect their hefty bonuses, however, because their employers don’t want to lose their top talent.

Certainly a more positive move than flying, then driving (sort of), from Detroit to Washington earlier this month for the CEOs of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Ford Motor Company, in turning down the government bailout offer, scored big in terms of public opinion.

Weather As Event

Advertisers who run ads on the Weather Channel are happiest when there’s a “weather event” like we have today: big snow storm in the densely-populated Northeast U.S. And that’s just the TV portion.

Considering how many people check the local weather maps/forecast from their desktops at work, Web traffic is probably off the charts. Introducing weather apps via Apple’s AppStore for iPhones and iPod Touches, and for RIM’s BlackBerry, is a really good idea. I use BB-specific apps from Google on mine, and I think they’re wonderful.

I also think it was a good idea for NBCU to buy The Weather Channel. Did you notice how NBC O&O’s are plugging the channel during local newscasts?

Snowscrapers in New York

Skiing yesterday (a Wednesday) made me think about how ski resorts survive. If it weren’t for snowboarding, they probably wouldn’t. I’d say 70% of the riders I saw at Hunter were knuckle-draggers. I’ll always be a two-planker, but you never know. We ran into a 76-year-old who took up snowboarding at age 70. Snowboarding was growing, skiing was flat or shrinking — with some ski resorts banning snowboards. Once the numbers starting coming in, they changed their minds. Sure, we’ll take your money, too. A weekday — WEEKDAY — cost me $54, but they gave me a $20 voucher for another ticket, to buy at some time in the future.

Come February, snowboarders will invade lower Manhattan to watch The Flying Tomato and other Red Bull Snowscrapers. The details, via Marketing Daily:

Red Bull is creating a massive snowboarding arena in lower Manhattan this winter as a branded venue for Red Bull Snowscrapers, a competition that pits snowboarding icons against each other for a piece of the $100,000 purse.

Sixteen pro board riders, including Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White and freestylist Travis Rice, will compete. The event will include performances by bands like Anthrax. There will also be a spectator “village” located in East River Park, at Houston Street and FDR Drive.

The structure for the event is a 90-foot tall or nine-story hill adjacent to an 80-foot-long landing area. A panel of internationally licensed judges will score the event.

To be shown live on MSG (5 February 2009), this event is going to be much bigger than the frantic sampling they did in South Beach…

Red Bull is doing a good job promoting their brand. And I like the product, too. Better than coffee in keeping you alert while motoring down the long highway, hammer down.

Time to Ski

About a year ago, I hurt my knee playing soccer and my ACL was subsequently reconstructed. Therefore, I could not ski last winter. This winter, with my knee fixed and rehabbed, and a nice black brace, I’m making time to ski.

That’s exactly what I did today: ski. Day trip to Hunter Mountain with a friend who now lives in Connecticut. We put in a full day, with the last run at closing time (4:00 p.m.).

Got a shorter, lighter pair of skis in October, thinking I’d need something easier to turn with. After the first couple of runs, I got my groove back and started rippin it.

I can ski again!