Monday, August 31, 2009

Banff Squirrel is back!

If you are reading this, chances are you follow Pat Kiernan's Twitter feed, too. But in case you don't, check out this hilarious image, sent in by a fan, of the Banff squirrel "crashing" the Pat's Papers blog.

For the five of you who haven't seen it - the Banff Squirrel is the mischevous little scamp who leapt into the frame of a timed photo being taken by a couple on vacation at Banff National Park. It's my favorite viral image this year, and Pat has gotten a big kick out of it too, which I suspect is what lead to this tribute.

In other news, will somebody give poor Cheryl Wills a day off? I feel like every time I've turned on the TV in the last two weeks or so, she's been sitting in the anchor chair. I think she might officially be the hardest working anchor at NY1 - well, maybe next to Pat, who seems to be doing something Pat-related 24/7, between the Tweeting and the blogging and the news anchoring. Anyway, take a day off and put your feet up, Chezza.*

* This is what British people call people named "Cheryl." I'm not sure why.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Friday

Yippee, it's the weekend. It's also pissing down rain.

Pat's away for like the third day in a row, and Kristin is holding down the fort. And making weird sartorial choices again. Today she's wearing that weird combination of a sweater that looks like bathrobe and that gong necklace thing that she's worn a few times in the last few weeks. I know that the anchors probably outfit themselves, but surely there is SOME stylist-type person on staff who can run down to H&M or something and get her a more attractive necklace. ANYWAY.

The news is pretty dull this morning, so I'm turning again to the commercials. There's one that's been running for awhile now that really bugs me. It's a commercial for the Edge Condominiums in Williamsburg. It's a retro-looking ad trying to ape 1940s/50s aesthetics and commercials, exhorting people to "buy an Edge Condominium... for your country!" in a nod to those old war bonds ads. It's got the drawings of the pinup girls, '40s-sounding music and even faux distress lines, to make it look like you're watching an old film strip.

"Sounds kind of cute," you might be thinking. "Why is she so annoyed by that?"

Because it basically panders to the type of stereotypical Williamsburg person that everyone thinks about when they think about that neighborhood - a trust-fund fueled, hipster douchewad that's only concerned with aesthetics and has gobs of money to throw at a place like this because they're independently wealthy.

Now, before I go any further, let me hasten to add that I personally know and like several people who live in Williamsburg. I know that not every person who lives there is a hipster d-bag.

But several people who live there do fit that description, and the people who made this ad are targeting that exact type of person and trying to up the d-bag quotient just that much higher. Even worse, a lot of developers who bought huge plots at the exact height of the market are now having problems selling, which means empty buildings, which have in many cases been taken over by squatters, which is not an ideal situation for anyone who lives in that neighborhood. Williamsburg does not need another high-end condo unit, anymore than the East Village needs another frat boy bar.

As annoying as it is though, I would STILL rather watch that commercial than the Carmel "Sex and the City" nonsense.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kennedy and Vivian Lee

Ted Kennedy has died, and in an attempt to put a local spin on the story, NY1 sent Vivian Lee to Times Square well before the crack of dawn to get reactions from New Yorkers. Many of the interviewees clearly had not had their coffee yet, and offered up profound meditations along the lines of "he was... a Senator" and "he was part of the Kennedy dynasty."

One or two people managed to opine that he was a champion of the poor; kudos to these people for mustering a modicum of eloquence at godknowswhattimeo'clock. I suspect the quotes will get better as the day progresses and she can find more than three people to interview.

One thing I've been meaning to post about but keep forgetting to - I am kind of amused by NY1's obsessive coverage of the Staten Island Little League baseball team which has made it to the Little League World Championships. On the one hand, it's a cute story. On the other hand, we DO live in New York, where real news is happening all the time, and maybe they could pull the throttle back on the daily reporting. On the other other hand, it's this kind of obsessively local coverage that makes you feel like you're living in a small town when you watch NY1; it's a big part of its charm, I suppose.

Anyway, good luck, I guess. I've been to Staten Island like twice so I have nothing invested in it, but, you know, I'm always Thinking of the Children.

Monday, August 24, 2009

High Line Club

Happy Monday, everyone. I hope you all had nice weekends.

I had a lovely one, myself. My boyfriend and I decided to check out the High Line, the beautiful new elevated urban park that has been developed along former railroad tracks in the West Village/Meatpacking District area.

But as Pat noted in this morning's ITP, many people checking out the High Line have been unwittingly checking out nature of another sort. The new Standard hotel overlooks the park, and as a New York Post story highlighted in ITP noted, the hotel has floor to ceiling windows. And as Pat put it, "some guests don't bother with modesty." The full Post story has all the randy details of exhibitionist hotel guests who have had sex or, uh, entertained themselves in plain view of everyone in the park. And apparently the hotel has been encouraging this behavior - kinda surprising considering it's fairly posh and expensive. Still, considering that the Meatpacking District was once the home of tranny hookers and sex clubs, I guess it's not all that unusual. But it's pretty amusing. (We didn't see anything, but then we weren't looking!)

Also noted in IPT was another story (either in the Post or the Daily News, I forget which) that declared yesterday National Topless Day. New York State is the only state where it is entirely legal for women to go topless. This day originally started as a feminist protest in the 70s, but I'm not sure the original spirit of the event still remains. At any rate, Pat noted that some people were upset by the displays, while others, shockingly, were quite pleased with it.

I also caught ITP over the weekend. I don't usually watch it on the weekend, because that's when Kristin does it, but I watched on Saturday because Pat was doing it. Boy, am I glad I did. Pat highlighted a NY Times story about how Governor Patterson blamed some of his problems on racial bias in the media. I did post awhile back about how I was not sure why Patterson's approval ratings are so low, but I gotta admit, this one did not cross my mind as a possibility. I figured it was probably because of the MTA budget issues, the Kirsten Gillibrand fiasco and the insanity in Albany. Of all those things, only the Gillibrand thing can be blamed squarely on him; the budget stuff is certainly something that governors all over the country are facing.

Anyway, in the NY Times article, Patterson slammed various media figures, including NY1's own hard-hitting political journo Dominic Carter, who hosts The Road to City Hall.

The Gov said Mr. Carter “likes to ingratiate himself with the folks trying to beat up on elected officials from our community.”

Carter responded, “I almost don’t know what to say. The governor of the state of New York was calling me a modern-day Uncle Tom.”

Oooooh, snap! The gloves are off! I really hope we get to see a Patterson/Carter smackdown on "The Road to City Hall" soon.

Also this weekend, the Plaxico Burress story got a lot of coverage; I guess he'll be doing a couple years in prison. Don't worry, Plaxico - if Michael Vick can get another job, you can too. Also, you owe it to fans not to leave the game forever, because you have the most awesome name in pro sports. Doesn't it sound like a prescription drug? "Plaxico may cause dry mouth, constipation and nausea. Do not take Plaxico while nursing."

Have a good week, everybody.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crime Stoppers complaint

Pat is FINALLY back from vacation! He told viewers this morning that he's happy to be back. I don't believe him for a second - who is ever psyched to come back from vacation? - but it's nice to have him back in the newsroom.

In other news, the heat must be making me grouchy, because for the second day in a row I am blogging about a serious complaint instead of my usual "What is Kristin wearing?" and "What's up with Whipple's eyebrows?" nonsense.

My complaint today is about a rather sensitive issue. Amanda Farinacci, who usually covers Staten Island, filed a report about a mugger who is at large in a neighborhood in Queens. My problem isn't with Amanda's report, but rather something they've been doing for awhile now at NY1 that really bothers me.

When they do that thing where they give a physical description of the suspect and then tell viewers to call Crime Stoppers if they see the person, they leave out the suspect's race. In fact, they give every other detail BUT race. Height, build, hair color, etc. But they don't tell you whether the guy is black, Latino, Middle Eastern, white with a deep tan, Italian, etc. And frequently they use those artist's sketches to represent the criminals, which does't really show you at all what race the person might be. (Today's report featured video footage, so it's a moot point in this particular case, but frequently they don't have that.)

At the HUGE risk of sounding like Andy Rooney, that's just preposterous. Look, racial profiling is real, it exists, it happens every single day, and it sucks. I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be to be stopped and frisked, when you're a hard working and law-abiding citizen, when you're just trying to go on about your daily business. So I understand why some ethnic groups might be sensitive to the issue; I really do.

But if there's a serial rapist in the neighborhood, I want to have at least a vaguely accurate picture of what he might look like. Doesn't that just seem like basic common sense?

Opine away in the comments, gentle readers...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kafi giveth, and Kafi taketh away

So I may have complimented Kafi Drexel too soon, because the report she filed today actually infuriated me.

It was about the risks associated with the Gardasil vaccine, which, if administered in time, prevents the cancer-causing strains of the extremly common and potentially deadly Human Papilloma Virus.

In the report, she outlined the risks, which is fair enough - patients should know the risks. But she didn't counter this by providing data on how deadly cervical cancer is and how effective Gardasil is in preventing it. Also, she quoted some dingbat who said she would recommend it for women "in their early 20s."

This WRONG. Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong! Why? Because the vaccine should be given BEFORE a woman becomes sexually active, and most women are sexually active by the time they hit their early 20s. HPV is EXTREMELY common, which is why it's so important to get the vaccine BEFORE becoming sexually active.

This kind of misinformation is potentially deadly. I really hope she sets the record straight very soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kafi Drexel finally posts a useful report

Today, NY1's health and fitness reporter Kafi Drexel did something she rarely does, which is to say she filed a story that is actually useful.

Now, to be fair to Kafi, she files a story like every single DAY, which is very hard to do in broadcast when you're doing features, and she probably comes up with a lot of her stories herself, which is also impressive. As someone who generally needs to have stories assigned to me, I respect both her work ethic and her ability to drum up ideas all the time.

BUT. When you file that much, a lot of what you produce is fillah, not killah. And I feel like a lot of the time, she just shows up at really swanky gyms and exercise studios and does stories on whatever new dim-bulb exercise class the spoiled yuppies/biddies uptown are doing.

Today, however, she filed a genuinely useful story on how to pick out sunscreen, the difference between UVB and UVA rays, and how to apply it.

Granted, this information would have been more helpful at the BEGINNING of the summer, but the blame for that lies less with her than the government, which is announcing new labeling requirements for sunscreens that will come out this fall. I guess that was the news hook for this story. Again, that updated labeling information would have been more useful in, say, May than in October, but whatevs.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Maybe NOT a slow news week

Okay, SECONDS after I posted that, NY1 broadcast a segment that made my boyfriend and I laugh out loud, it was so unintentionally hilarious.

It was a Stephanie Simon report on musicians that make a kind of Indonesian folk percussion music with found objects. Now, I'm a drummer, and I actually think drumming with found objects is very cool, but these musicians were SO unbearably earnest, it was really hard not to make fun of them. They were doing the whole eyes-closed-and-swaying, white-man's-overbite dance while they were playing this music that was... perfectly pleasant, but not worth getting quite so worked up over.

To cap it off, Simon ended the segment by saying, "Re-use, Recycle, and Rock!"


Slow news week

First of all, Valerie D'elia's eyebrows: discuss.

Also, what is with EVERY lady anchor on NY1 wearing a pastel blazer with a camisole underneath today? Is that the new uniform?

I was overdosing on a backlog of DVR'd "What Not to Wear" repeats earlier today, I had the BEST idea for a show - what if Stacy and Clinton restyled all the lady anchors on NY1? Tell me that would not be fantastic! (Not to be too hard on the ladies; the men are not exactly giving Clooney a run for his money in the threads department either.)

Sorry for all the fashion-related critiques this week. It's been a bit of a slow news week. Plus, the gals are giving me fodder.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tangled up in blue

The sky in New York was gray today, but it was ALL KINDS of blue in the NY1 newsroom today.

First, dig Kristin's getup. Then, co-anchor Roma Torre showed up in another blazing blue ensemble (I couldn't find a news report online from today that showed it, but take my word for it, it was blue).

What in God's name is behind this? Is it some sort of weird, silent protest on the part of Kristin and Roma? Are they trying to send some strange subliminal message? Or is it a game of one-upmanship, to see which can out-blue the other?

I'm trying to envision the thought process.

Kristin: "Nice try, Torre. I was here first."

Torre: "Amateur. I just wore this to show you how it's done."


(It's probably not like that at all. But wouldn't it be fun if it were?)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What up, dawg

I'm baaaaack!

It took exactly 30 minutes and one hair-raising cab ride back home to completely erase the relaxed vibe I cultivated on vacation and to re-enter my usual teeth-grinding levels of anxiety. Seriously, after 10 years you'd think I'd be used to insane NYC taxi drivers, but this dude brought a whole new level of crazy.

Anyway, one story that NY1 started reporting on right before I left has reached a new development. The Brooklyn teen who threw a dog off a roof in Red Hook has been indicted. The dog, Oreo, lived but has suffered serious injuries and faces a long recovery time.

Now, the story itself is not funny, but the original report, which I'd meant to post before I left, is a shining example of one of the things I love most about NY1: their amazing vox pops, aka "man on the street" interviews. Watch until the halfway point for an interview with the suspect's brother. You can't script that kind of television.

Today's broadcast has been kind of boring. Kristin is filling in for Pat this week, who is apparently vacationing in Canada (though still Tweeting like a madman). The only news of real interest has been the ongoing story about the helicopter and plane that collided over the Hudson this weekend, killing everyone involved, including several Italian tourists.

Roger Clark is reporting the story this morning from Hoboken, giving pretty straightforward accounts about the difficulties the divers are facing in trying to remove the plane from the Hudson. As NY1 reader Heather noted, it would be great if planes could stop crashing into the Hudson. Kthxbye.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

see you later

I'm out of here for a week - see you August 10th!