Items tagged with 'whoa'
Here's a video clip via the Albany County Sheriff's Office of the underground explosion in downtown Albany Wednesday afternoon. The explosion knocked the cover off a manhole and shot flames into the air.
The camera that captured the explosion is pointed down Steuben Street toward the intersection of Steuben and Chapel. You can see dark gray smoke first billow from the street, then BOOM! (Actually, you have to supply your own soundtrack -- there's no audio.)
There are a few stills from the video after the jump.
National Grid says the explosion was caused by an underground fire on an electrical wire. It says no one was hurt. The company is investigating what caused the fire.
Update: Here's video of the explosion.
Around 3:30 pm Wednesday afternoon, mentions of an underground fire in downtown Albany -- with exploding manhole covers -- started popping up on Twitter. Albany County exec Dan McCoy posted on Twitter at 3:53 pm: "Fire in electrical network underground. Manhole covers blew. Work underway." [@DanielleSanzone] [@MCCoyCountyExec]
The Albany County Justice Center was evacuated because smoke was drawn into the ventilation system. Albany City Hall was closed. And there were reports of other buildings being closed. [Albany County] [@LeifEngstrom1 (city auditor)] [@jessicabakeman]
Streets near the county justice center were closed for crews to work on the problem. [@MCCoyCountyExec]
The photo above -- at North Pearl and Pine -- is from Andrew Gregory (@lunchboxbrain).
Update: 8:44 pm: From National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella:
At 3 p.m. today we detected a power interruption on an underground line at North Pearl Street in Albany. We immediately dispatched crews who have been working through the evening to assess and repair damage caused by an underground fire on our electrical wire.
One manhole cover was dislodged due to the fire and no injuries were reported.
There were no outages associated with the fire since the downtown area has multiple electric feeds to each customer.
We expect to make those repairs tonight and have the street open for traffic.
We will investigate the incident in an attempt to determine an extact cause.
This sounds familiar...: Something like this happened in downtown Albany in 2009.
Updated at 3:04 pm
At about 1:54 this afternoon there was an earthquake felt in the Capital Region. Reports all over Twitter -- from people both here in Albany (@ElizabethEss at the Smith Building in downtown Albany), to Brooklyn (@MimsieSky), to DC (@jdb820).
We felt it shake for a good 30 seconds in Albany. Floor lamps were swaying noticeably. Our wheeled office chair rolled back and forth a bit. Did you feel it? Where?
After the jump, a bunch of reports, reactions -- and jokes -- from people on Twitter.
Badass of the week: Stevo Poulin of Schuylerville.
The 8-year-old and his mohawk have piled up a 256-26 record on the youth wrestling circuit. He's been described as "a blitzkrieg of speed, strength and know-how" who "scarifies" grown men -- or simply "a bad little man."
That highlight video above has been viewed on YouTube more than 6 million times. Behold the strut as he walks onto the mat.
When not blitzing his opponents, Stevo enjoys dominating spelling and math tests. He also has an outdoor cat who eats mice.
[via Post-Star Saratoga Snippets]
Updated at 4:44 pm
A fault in an electrical cable underneath Central Ave in Albany on the block between Lake and Quail caused an underground fire today. There was smoke coming out of a hole in the street. There were also periodic gurgling noises and then flames shot 3-4 feet out of the hole (that was around noon). The fire is now out, according to National Grid.
Crews from the fire department and National Grid are on the scene. We were told the smoking hole was a manhole -- and the cover reportedly blew off the hole.
Via an email from National Grid spokesperson Patrick Stella at 1:22 pm:
National Grid is currently working at the 300 block of Central Ave. to repair a secondary cable fault underground. The fault did cause a fire underground earlier today (between 11 a.m. and noon). The fire has been extinguished and crews will be working on repairs this afternoon.
In order to complete repairs, we may have to temporarily cut power along the block, but the extent and duration of that possibility has not yet been determined.
Stella says National Grid doesn't know the cause of the cable fault. He says they'll investigate the cause after repairs are made and the debris is cleaned out of the manhole. Until the cause is known, he says it's impossible to compare/contrast this incident with the March 2009 incident (which included exploding manhole covers) in downtown Albany. He says about 12 customers are without power.
Central Ave was blocked from Lake to Quail for a few hours. It's now open again. The site is in front of the I Love NY pizza shop next to Richters. That's the same block as Van's, CCK and Salsa Latina.
The first report we saw of the fire came from @MickMartin1:
Our block is barricaded because of an underground fire. Yellow smoke. If I ever have a chance to get superpowers it's now
WAMC's Sarah LaDuke -- the station's on the other side of the street, up Central -- then posted a photo from the scene. You can see flames in the photo.
More photos from the scene after the jump. At times, the smoke had a yellow or green cast.
Mr. Cuomo, 52, snagged a coveted slot in the double issue of People, which surveys the international landscape of bulging pectorals and rippling abdominals. "I was," Mr. Cuomo said in an interview, "slightly surprised initially."
He was not, however, entirely humbled by it. Asked what kind of regimen he had followed to make the cut, Mr. Cuomo responded wryly: "A lot of it's just natural. It's genetic sculpting."
That, he said, and a sparing diet, and twice-weekly sessions on the treadmill.
Mr. Cuomo appeared in the magazine's 50-and-over cohort, alongside Sting, Liam Neeson and Michael Bolton. Asked how he was selected, Liz Sporkin, executive editor of People, did not gush about his physical attributes. "His many years of public service make him sexy," she said.
NYT also had the pleasure (?) of hearing Cuomo's "sexiest-man voice."
photo via Andrew Cuomo Facebook
And in what only seems like a skit, the real McMillan is now shilling for an online shopping site. [TU CapCon]
After seeing Jimmy McMillan's impassioned argument that "rent is TOO DAMN high!" in the gubernatorial debate, we started wondering: what else might be too damn high?
As we found out, there were some expected things -- and some not so expected things.
When you rent an older apartment, you kinda have to expect a few unwanted visitors: some odd bugs, maybe a mouse -- a bat, if you're unlucky.
But a three-foot-long white snake?
No way. No. @#$%. Way.
A man in the Syracuse area has alleged that a Price Chopper rep contacted his friend's employer and requested "disciplinary action be taken" against his friend because of a negative comment the friend made about the supermarket chain on Twitter.
This story is so odd -- and outrageous -- that we met it with great skepticism when we encountered it late Monday afternoon. But as the story quickly spread across the web Monday night, large parts of it appear to be true.
The Northeast version of the Warrior Dash -- basically a 5k mashed up with an obstacle course, run by people wearing costumes -- was this past weekend at Windham Mountain. And it looks like it was some crazy fun.
Diana ran the race with her friends -- and has in-race photos on her blog. She writes: "I've had a few crazy days during my years and this would definitely be in the Top 5!" Jen also ran the dash: "Holy crap, it was incredible, and unlike anything I've ever done in my entire life! It is safe to say that this might be one of the craziest days of my life!"
Sebastien and B used "the good old 'camera excuse' to watch the show from a safe distance" and came back with some great photos. Sebastien has helpfully broken up his photoset into collections of mud pit photos and face-painting photos. B's photoset includes some great details -- like Elvis jumping over fire or the pile of donated sneakers. B comments on his blog that the race prompted a lot of smiles and "the sense of camaraderie was impressive."
Earlier on AOA: Julie asked about where to train for the Warrior Dash.
photo: Sebastien B
That CBS appearance set off NY Post film critic Kyle Smith. From his almost-800-word piece:
Leave aside that our latest cultural commentator is too young to see PG-13 movies. Forget the shouty nonsense he thinks equals a movie review. Let's get to the real issue: me. Am I jealous? As Jackson would put it, "Of COURSE!"
Being a movie critic these last five years has been like Act 3 of a slasher flick. What happened to all my friends?
If there are beaming 11-year-old stage monsters who can do my job well enough to be on national television, WHY DIDN'T I GO TO LAW SCHOOL?
Dude. A little touchy, huh.
Smith's piece did include this bit we hadn't known: Jackson Murphy is the son of former WTEN sport anchor Dan Murphy.
The side wall of a row house at 600 Madison Ave in Albany collapsed Friday afternoon. There had been excavation going on in the empty lot next door when the wall came down. All the tenants were reportedly out of the building when it collapsed. [TU] [WNYT]
The street was closed from Robin to New Scotland.
Friday evening crews were on the scene preparing to demolish the building, which is across the street from Washington Park. The lot next door was vacant because the building that had been there burned down in 2007. Here's Google StreetView of what the row had looked like. The excavation was for construction of a new building. [CBS6]
A bunch of photos are after the jump.
This is the earthquake from June 2010. Here's the update on the August 23, 2011 earthquake.
Update 2: The quake's magnitude has been revised to 5.0.
Update: The US Geological Survey reports there was a magnitude 5.5 earthquake near Ottawa, Canada at 1:41:42 this afternoon (local reports from Ottawa). That's relatively strong. The quake's epicenter was about 245 miles from Albany. There are reports it was felt as far away as Manhattan and as Columbus, Ohio.
There appears to have been an earthquake in the Capital Region this afternoon around 1:45.
We felt our desk shake for a good 5-10 seconds. Twitter was then filled with local reports of shaking -- from Albany, Colonie, Clifton Park, Glenville.
Updates as they come.
After hearing that Uncommon Grounds (Saratoga) got a bottle of bacon-flavored Torani syrup, Emily decided she need a bacon hot chocolate:
Disclosure: Yep, we gave away a UG prize basket during birthday week.
A recent post by Silva at DelSo about rude diners at an upscale Albany restaurant made us laugh -- and cringe. From "10 Things Restaurant Guests Should Never Do":
3. When your party arrives an hour earlier than your reservation, please make yourself comfortable at the bar and enjoy yourselves. This does not include standing on a booth to take photos of your group. Believe me, your faces are indelibly engraved on quite a few memories after your behavior - no photo necessary.
By the way: Are you reading DelSo? It's one of our favorite new local blogs.
photo: Flickr user KungPaoCajun
From the "who ever thought we might need a law for that" file: a state senator from Central New York has proposed legislation that would make it illegal to possess "embalming fluid with either the intent to use such embalming fluid or knowledge that some other person intends to use such embalming fluid for purposes of human ingestion or inhalation."
Yep, that would by people who are not dead.
The New York Law Journal reports that a New York State tax appeals tribunal ruled this week that Nite Moves, the
strip club adult juice bar on Route 9 in Latham doesn't qualify for a sales tax exemption for the "dramatic arts."
The ruling is posted online and it's actually kind of interesting. The owner of the club hired a cultural anthropologist from the University of Maryland as an expert witness (yes, she visited the club and examined videos). From the ruling (emphasis added):
Dr. Hanna described the exotic dance routines variously as:
somewhat "risqué" or "naughty" adult play, a fanciful teasing that transgresses social decorum and dress codes in an ambience (sic) ranging from sedate to carnival-like. Exotic dance is erotic fantasy and communication with a display of nudity, disclosure of more skin and different movements than are seen in public, the use of high heels (often six inch stiletto platform shoes) and incorporation of jazz-like, improvisatory movements in routines (Exhibit "7," p.7, ¶ 4).
Dr. Hanna stated, based on her review of the three DVDs that these naughty, risque, playful, teasing, erotic, nude performances at Nite Moves were "live, dramatic choreographed performances" (Tr., p. 94 [lines 14-15]). Dr. Hanna concluded that:
the presentations at Nite Moves unequivocally were live dramatic choreographic performances. They are in a theater that shows only dance routines. The theater actually is a little bit like an off Broadway theater. It's small and it's intimate, it's like theater-in-the-round (Tr., p. 94 [lines 13-19]).
Yep, it's like theater-in-the-round. As the New York Law Journal reports, Dr. Hanna's findings actually persuaded an administrative law judge last month, but the tax appeals panel wasn't buying it.
The ruling also includes details about the economics of the club (the dancers are independent contractors who "rent" the facility).
Update: WNYT reports the club owner says he'll appeal the ruling.
From the SEC complaint against Albany investment firm McGinn, Smith & Co., which alleges the firm raised more than $136 million for fraudulent investments (emphasis added):
The Defendants also used offering proceeds to make unauthorized investments in and unsecured loans to speculative, financially troubled McGinn Smith Entities, to make MS & Co.'s payroll, to pay commission and transaction fees to McGinn Smith Entities, to make interest payments to investors in other entities, to support McGinn's and Smith's lifestyle, and to procure strippers for a "sexually themed" cruise.
Oh, wait. There's more:
78. McGinn, MS Capital and MS & Co. also deceived investors into unwittingly investing in a sexually-oriented charter cruise venture created by McGinn. In February 2008, MS & Co. launched a $3,250,000 note offering for an entity 50% owned by an MS & Co. affiliate called CCV. The PPM stated that CCV "is engaged in the business of procuring whole ship charters and selling the berths to various affinity groups." The PPM stated that the net proceeds of the offering would be used to charter a ship and to "underwrite the marketing, sales and administrative expenses associated with selling [the] berths for the cruise."
79. The PPM did not disclose that CCV operated under the name YOLO (You Only Live Once) Cruises, that the affinity group was sexually oriented, that strippers and go-go dancers would be procured to entertain passengers, that investor money would be used to buy insurance for these individuals and that YOLO was run by a woman with whom McGinn was romantically involved.
YOLO would appear to be this cruise company. No, that link is probably not safe for work.
WNY Media -- a news site in the Buffalo area -- has posted on a bunch of emails reportedly sent by Carl Paladino (the site seems to be getting slammed with traffic right now). Many of the messages are forwards. And they contain some nasty stuff: racist jokes, a woman and a horse, uh, you know. "Dramatically unsafe for work" is the way WNY Media describes them.
Paladino's campaign has released a statement responding to the emails. A snip, via Daily Politics:
Carl Paladino has forwarded close friends hundreds of email messages he received. Many of these emails he received were off color, some were politically incorrect, few represented his own opinion, and almost none of them were worth remembering.
Earlier on AOA: Who is Carl Paladino?
With Carl Paladino seemingly basing his campaign for governor on this clip from Network, we figured it would make for interesting viewing this morning.
It should be noted that Network is a dark satire and the Howard Beale character (the one who yells "I'm as mad as hell! I'm not going to take this anymore!") is literally crazy.
By the way: If you haven't seen Network, you should definitely watch it. It's a fantastic film. It won four Oscars.
Also: After the jump, Warren Redlich's video on why he's not qualified for higher office. The Guilderland resident has set up a long-shot bid for governor.
Earlier on AOA: Who is Carl Paladino?
The Boston Phoenix has ranked David Paterson #12 on its list of the "100 Unsexiest Men of the Year." The governor's ranking is up (or, uh, down) from #81 last year. In the politics category, Paterson is between Mark Sanford and Rod Blagojevich.
The Phoenix comments that Paterson looks like "the offspring of Stevie Wonder and Mel Brooks." Ouch.
Tiger Woods was #1 in the rankings.
photo: Runner's World
As you might have heard, state assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) has proposed a bill that would ban restaurants from using salt in the preparation of food.
That hasn't exactly gone over well. A quick spin around the table for reaction after the jump.
Also: a scan of Ortiz's other fun-filled legislation.
MB3 is a soothing external perianal cleansing lotion designed to achieve that "bidet fresh" feeling on the go. When applied to toilet paper for the final wipe, MB3 will leave you clean, comfortable, and confident.
OK, so we have to admit we thought at first this might be a joke. But it seemed to check out. So who was, uh, you know, behind this product?
The answer: Steve Markham . He's a remodeling contractor (by day) in Schenectady -- and now a personal care product developer (by night).
We emailed Steve a few questions and he bounced back answers about the origin of the idea, getting his start at a business incubator in Schenectady, and his home-brew setup for MB3.
After hearing Albany's new "theme song" on CBS6's site this morning, we were... uh... well... you're just going to have to listen for yourself:
You know, the singer has a great voice and it's... peppy. But it kind of strikes us as the sort of jingle you'd hear in a TV spot for an electronics store.
We would like to offer an alternative in the form of We Are Jeneric's "O Albany, We Hope":
Bonus: After the jump, the cheese-tastic We-Are-the-World-style Albany theme song from the tricentennial in 1986.
[via CBS6 and @KatelynBuress]
It's part of an exhibition that opens tomorrow night at the Martinez Gallery in Troy as part of Troy Night Out.
The exhibition's title takes a cue from sites such as Twitter and Facebook: "What are you Doing Now?" It features 18 local artists providing an example of their most current work, using a range of media -- including the iPhone.
The Martinez Gallery is at 3 Broadway in Troy (that's the Cannon Building). In addition to TNO, it's open Wednesday through Saturday 2-5pm.
Two acquainted women run into each other at the Washington Ave Ext Panera:
Woman One: How's ________?
Woman Two: He's good! Eight brain surgeries, but he's great!
Everything truly is relative.
image via Flickr user brain_blogger
I thought perhaps I had hallucinated this billboard when I saw it last weekend, caught without my camera, and I despaired for my sanity when several attempts to view it during the week presented me with no such public-spirited reminder. But yesterday afternoon, there it was again, tucked in among the countdown to Christmas and ads for a nightclub -- a special request from Lamar for drivers along I-787 to stop picking their noses.
(This is one of the new electronic billboards along I-787, just north of the Corning Preserve boat launch.)
Now that New York State has a ban on texting-while-driving, we can only hope our legislators will take up the issue of a picking-while-driving ban.
photo: Carl Johnson
Dupre answers five questions in her inaugural column. Among them: "Are there telltale signs a man isn't happy in his marriage?" From her answer (emphasis added):
Girlfriends do that for the most part. But I think that wives with children have so much pressure on them, the natural thing is for the kids to take priority. The husband feels secondary and in one form or another may seek out that required special attention outside the marriage.
Or so she hears.
Also among the questions: "My boyfriend wants to know how many men I've slept with. Do I give an honest answer?"
Earlier on AOA: The spitzering: one year later
There are many photos -- and some video -- after the jump.
The trailer for Salt, the Angelina Jolie spy movie that filmed in downtown Albany back in April, was posted online today. And you can make out Albany very clearly in some of the shots. (It looks like they digitally added the Washington Monument and a few other DC buildings to make it look like the Beltway.)
The full trailer is embedded after the jump. Albany's cameos start at about the 1:17 mark.
We also pulled another screengrab of a shot from I-787. It looks like the footage has been flipped horizontally. How can you tell? The interstate signs are backwards. We're guessing they'll fix that before the movie's released next year.
(Thanks, JMc and others!)
The quakes have been clustered near Berne
There were two more earthquakes near Berne last night, according to the seismographic network that monitors this area. They were described as "micro earthquakes," though one of them was 2.9 -- which is relatively strong for this area.
These little quakes have almost become common in the Hill Towns. There have been 20 there since February.
Yesterday's late afternoon rain showers -- and subsequent break in the clouds -- produced a bumper crop of rainbows around the Capital Region.
The local Twitter stream yesterday was full of rainbow sightings -- over the ESP, at RPI, over the county court building in Albany, on Henry Johnson, in Delmar, at Stuyvesant Plaza (a full double arc), at Crossgates, at Colonie Center, and over Central Warehouse.
Barry took the photo above at UAlbany. You can just make out the double rainbow in the upper left corner.
photo: Barry Trachtenberg
Jennifer sent along this photo, which was taken yesterday in Washington Park. This would be a comically bad parking job just about anywhere, but near the always parking-deficient Center Square it might have caused an angry mob.
As Jennifer wrote in the email's subject line: "Smart Car, Stupid Driver."
Our first thought on seeing the photo was: "You could probably park another Smart Car in the space between the car and the curb." Not content to just speculate, we attempted to test this guess using the photo. The result is after the jump.
AOA was at Barack Obama's speech today at HVCC.
Here's a look at some of what we saw from our little corner of the bleachers...
Pete Casellini snapped this pic this morning as Air Force One landed at Albany International Airport.
(Many thanks, Pete!)
Update: Check out more photos of Air Force One by Paul and Amy...
On our way out to breakfast yesterday we met some unexpected neighbors. Baby turtles. Sixteen of them. In our driveway.
We saw an adult snapping turtle in the middle of our street a few months back -- it was just sitting there like it was waiting to direct traffic. It appears that it -- or maybe some other turtle -- made a stop to lay eggs in our landscaping mulch. (According to the Wikipedia entry on snapping turtles, the eggs take 9-18 weeks to hatch.)
A handful of pictures are after the jump.
Like one of those super heavy elements that scientists create for mere microseconds in the lab, the chefs at Prime at Saratoga National created a dessert so heavy, caloric and oddly tempting that it could only exist for a short period of time.
Behold: bacon-chocolate-black pepper-vanilla bean ice cream with sauteed bananas, pain perdu and caramel sauce. Yes, that is a strip of bacon draped over the top.
The dessert was a special this past weekend. There's no word as to when/if it will return. Perhaps after the Large Hadron Collider is back online.
Prime at Saratoga National, like many restaurants these days, has a Facebook page and Twitter stream. If you're keen on a place, it's a good way to keep up on specials and whatnot. Bacon desserts probably fall into both categories.
photo: Kristin Campbell
We heard today that the Downtown Albany BID has put the word out with businesses and state agencies to be prepared for an avalanche of Canadians this weekend. Like 5,000 of them.
Sure enough, the Biz Review reports that a bus company is bringing in the uncommonly friendly hordes for a performance by Irish tenor Daniel O'Donnell at the TU Center. And then a bunch are sticking around for Yakov Smirnoff at the Palace.
Of course, in retrospect this all makes sense. Branson-famous Irish tenor + schlocky Russian comedian = irresistible to Canadians.
Or, perhaps, as J said in his email to us: "Canadians love Albany."
If you've been wondering what MC Hammer is up to these days, now we know: he's wishing David Paterson a happy birthday:
Hammer is right after Malcom Smith. LL Cool J, Doug E. Fresh and Emmitt Smith also make an appearance.
Sebastien spotted this guy in Washington Park on Sunday.
He emails: "We have no clue what he was doing in Washington Park. Protecting squirrels maybe."
photo: Sebastien B
This is the kind of story you just can't make up. From a press release from the state Inspector General's office:
A state janitor was arrested and his boss suspended this week amid allegations that they created a hidden party lounge at an Empire State Plaza garage to sell drugs, smoke pot and sleep for hours during work shifts.
This hidden lounge allegedly contained "couches, TV and scales to weigh marijuana." The press release actually uses the term "man cave."
The janitor is also accused of using his Office of General Services truck to make pot deliveries to other state workers during his shifts. Both he and his supervisor have been suspended without pay.
The severe thunderstorm that swept through the Capital Region had a little bit of everything: heavy rain, strong winds, large hail, temporary flooding, overturned cars -- and an enormous rainbow.
Photos, video and reports from others after the jump.
The storm knocked out power for more than 40,000 households in the Capital Region, according to National Grid. Most of the outages are in Saratoga County.
A guy hands over his letter to the clerk and asks enthusiastically...
Guy: "Hey, when are the Michael Jackson stamps going to be out?"
Clerk: "Uh." (pause, incredulous look) "That's probably going to be a few years."
It's called "de-classified" -- and it features photos of people who have posted missed connections and other personals on Craigslist. It. Is. Fascinating.
From Andrew's artist's statement:
When I began the project, I anticipated that by the time I got to 50, I would have captured a fairly complete representation of what was to be had. But now that I've hit that milestone, it is very obvious that I've barely touched the surface. Perhaps when I've completed another 200 I'll be closer to what has become my internal true north for the project - an exhibit that represents the human condition.
Some of the pictures are suprising. Some are sweet. Some are sexy. Some are a bit disturbing.
photo: Mark Andrew
Where are the wild things? Lately, it seems the answer is here. And by here, we mean our backyard. And your backyard.
Over the last month, there have been moose sightings in Saratoga and East Greenbush, a bear spotted in Troy and reports of rabid foxes. Every few weeks someone drops into AOA to post a comment about a fisher sighting. And we seem to be hearing about coyotes a lot more, too.
So, what's going on? We called up Roland Kays, the mammal curator at the New York State Museum, for some answers. He studies urban wildlife.
Roland says some of these sightings are probably just part of the cycle of young animals heading out on their own for the first time. But he says there's a bigger story here, too: wild animals are moving into our neighborhoods. And that's a good thing.
James snapped this picture of the yacht Lady Christine Saturday morning. The boat was docked over night in Troy up river of the Green Island Bridge.
The Monaco-based boat is also for sale, apparently. It went on the market for €45 million last year -- but you can have it now for the low low price of just €39.9 million (about $55 million). It seems the economic downturn has the super yacht market taking on water.
The Lady Christine's current owner is the infamous Irving Laidlaw -- a Scotsman who's been described as a "tax exile" in Monaco. The boat is named after his wife. Laidlaw made headlines in the UK last year when, as the Daily Mail describes it, he was "secretly filmed with four prostitutes and a male gigolo in the £6,000-a-night presidential suite of Monte Carlo's sumptuous Hermitage Hotel. He had paid £27,000 for the pleasure of their company."
So how did this boat end up in Troy? Good question. If you know, we'd love to hear it.
We've posted a wider crop of James' photo (bigger, too). As he said in an email to us: "The scale is very impressive. Nice helicopter, too."
(Thanks, James and Lissa!)
The last few days have not been the proudest in the history of this state and its capitol. So when you say that New York is bringing you down, we hear you.
But it could be worse. Really.
The site of last night's earthquake -- well, here, but 9 km down.
There was another earthquake last night near Berne -- and it was relatively big (for this area).
The seismographic network that monitors this area reports that quake was a 3 on the magnitude scale ("felt quite noticeably by persons indoors, especially on upper floors of buildings"). There are reports that people did feel this one.
Things have been a little shaky in the Hill Towns recently. Over just the last three months there have been 14 earthquakes. Most of them have been tiny. The one last night was the strongest of the group.
There's an interactive map after the jump.
We've been to more than a few events at the Hall of Springs, but we've never seen it look it did for the recent wedding of Jaimee DiGesare and Sean Willcoxon. (That photo above is by their wedding photographer, Joe Elario Photography.)
And it sounds like the food was equally extravagant.
Updated Wednesday morning
The Firebirds owner says the offer was "a big mistake."
Updated at 1:55 pm
The Albany Firebirds -- yep, the once and now-again minor league arena football team -- have announced that they're offering Michael Vick a contract. If you don't follow sports, Michael Vick is the former NFL quarterback who went to prison after he pleaded guilty to being involved with dog fighting.
So, um, he has baggage. But everyone deserves a second chance, right? Especially if you're 0-5. From the Firebirds press release (emphasis added):
"At the start of the season we'd made the decision as an organization not to pursue Michael," said General Manager Garen Szablewski. "However, in light of the team's recent struggles, we were forced to re-examine the issue. After days of heated debate within the front office, we put together an offer that made everyone comfortable with the idea of singing [sic] him."
The Firebirds are trying to cover themselves by including a clause in the contract that requires Vick to give $100,000 to the Mohawk and Hudson River Humane Society.
Look what an enterprising web editor at the TU dug out of the archives today: the (in)famous Fountain Day soft-porn photo.
That photo graced the front page of the paper a few years back. We remember doing a double take when we picked up the bundle of papers that morning. And then blushing a little bit.
Anyway, that pic must be like click-through crack.
Here's the meta-info for the photo:
Times Union staff photo by Michael P. Farrell
SUNY Albany freshman Tatiana Shvachus and second year student Eric Fisher (both center) bask in the cool water during Fountain Day at the State University at Albany, New York Thursday April 22, 2004.
Does anyone know what's become of Ms. Shvachus? Amazingly, a Google search for her name comes up... empty. We have an email in with the Eric Fisher we think might be the photo's Eric Fisher.
Also: as Naomi pointed out, that is an award-winning photo. It won both AP and National Press Photographers Association awards.
screengrab: Times Union
Gerwin Schalk, who got his PhD at RPI, is developing software that processes and translates brain signals into action. He and other researchers at Wadsworth helped develop the "keyboard" for the brain-to-Twitter device.
Wadsworth has gained attention over the last few years for its researchers' work on brain-computer interfaces. The institute's Jonathan Wolpaw was on 60 Minutes last year as part of a story about the technology.
Tickets for the Dalai Lama's on-again Albany visit will go on sale this Friday at 10 am. The Buddhist spiritual leader will be appearing at the Palace Theatre on May 6 (that's a Wednesday) at 2 pm. Tickets are $85 and $55.
There's also going to be a simulcast at The Egg -- those tickets are $18 and also go on sale Friday (the info's isn't posted on The Egg's site, but we called and confirmed today.)
Check it out: someone's put together a page that aggregates local traffic and web cams. There are 38 camera feeds on the page, including coverage of places such as downtown Albany, Union College and The Track.
It's a little like those huge screens superheroes -- and villains -- always seem to have in their secret lair.
Far be it from us to be the ultimate arbiters of what's in and what's out -- but we're pretty sure sporting a "bull's eye" sticker on your windshield is no longer fashionable in Albany.
So when we got a tip that some of Albany's finest are still displaying the "get out of parking fines free" stickers on their cars, we took a walk past the APD station where Western and Madison come together. Sure enough, we spotted a couple of the tags.
According to previous comments by the APD, the stickers don't work anymore (and they really give your car a look that's so "Old Albany"). Because we like to help, here are instructions on how to remove stickers from windshields.
With New York State scraping to cover a seemingly ever-widening budget gap, state leaders have been exploring all sorts of options for new revenue. But here's one that, as far as we know, hasn't come up, yet: taxing marijuana.
Ha! That's a joke, right? Well, in California -- which is facing a $42 billion budget gap -- a state assemblyman has proposed doing just that. And by some estimates, the Golden State could bring in more than a billion dollars that way.
OK. If New York started taxing pot, how much could it bring in?
Poor David Paterson can't catch a break these days. The economy's tanking, his poll numbers just keep on dropping-- and now this. Boston's alt weekly newspaper, The Phoenix, has named New York's accidental governor to its list of the 100 Unsexiest Men of 2009.
The Phoenix doesn't define sexy the same way as, say, People Magazine. Their "most unsexy" list is made up of what they call "the 100 most karmically bankrupt men on the planet."
Where did NY's governor land on the list? And who is he keeping company with?
Mayor Brian Stratton recently told Capital News 9 that calling in the National Guard and declaring martial law is an option. As you might imagine, that idea set off a few bells for people -- especially people who are concerned about government conspiracies and the "police state."
So we went back and forth on posting about this because it all seemed kind of trashy and a little stupid. But the sad truth of the matter seems to be: people are having a hard time distinguishing the streets of Center Square from a bathroom. So they're just letting it go... right there... on the sidewalk and in backyards.
The latest episode of this, um, condition played out over the weekend during/after the St. Patrick's Day parade. We've heard from a handful of people in the neighborhood that many parade-goers just couldn't seem to help themselves.
And this has prompted a few questions.
Because you wouldn't want your Glitter Jesus to get lonely, would you?
Okay, so maybe hearing all the terrible news about the economy has got you thinking you need a little extra help. You can have your very own box of household saints, complete with three figurines (St. Joseph, St. Clare, and St. Jude) and a book with almost two dozen saints with household-related patronages to plead your case to.
What can they do for you? I'm glad you asked.
(This post continues the short post started at 3:36 pm)
@erikimorton reported this afternoon that there was some kind of underground explosion in downtown Albany that caused a loud boom -- smoke was coming out of utility holes at Broadway and State near the SUNY Admin building. Firefighters were on the scene. Another pic from @bickersmith.
Update: WNYT reports that the fire department says the fire is out.
There's also a report from @AndileeC of smoking utility hole at Washington and Swan.
Update: WTEN is reporting street closures downtown.
Update at 4:45: From a comment by bill (location link added by editors):
not near the suny admin building- it was the corner of washington and swan. i walked out of one commerce plaza and a manhole cover was on fire. about 10 minutes later, a 4 story fireball erupted from the ground. after that, there was smoke for a good 15 minutes then another explosion that i heard, but didn't see. all has been clear there for about an hour.
Update at 4:53 pm: We just got off the phone with Patrick Stella, a spokesperson with National Grid. He confirmed that there were two "cable fires" this afternoon in downtown Albany. He said crews found that manhole covers had been "dislodged" at two intersections -- State and Broadway as well as Washington and Swan (both locations had two manhole covers off their holes).
Stella said the cable that caught fire was a "secondary cable." He said there are "several different" possible causes of such a fire, but he wouldn't speculate what was to blame in this case. He says there have been no outages because of the fires. As he described it, the downtown grid is built with redundancies -- and those backups have kept the power on.
Also: a National Grid worker on the scene told AOA that one of the covers at Washington and Swan did "explode."
Update at 5:17 pm: Troy had something similar happen almost a year ago.
And from a comment by seg:
One blew right next to my office window here at System Administration, along with the one that blew about 50 feet away at the bottom of State and Broadway.
Scared the HECK out of us. We saw flames shoot out and it shot the covers up into the air about six feet up.
It shook the building...no small feat considering how large this old D&H building is.
Know anything else? Share, please.
Updated at 7:15 pm: After the jump, pictures of the crew working on the holes at Washington and Swan.
So it turns out that I know a guy who lives in the bung factory. Yep, the bung factory.
Seriously, is there anything not funny about the term? Try saying it with a straight face. Go ahead -- bung factory. Told ya.
So what exactly is bung? Probably not what you'd think.
Piper and dojo are two words that, we have to admit, we never thought we'd see in the same sentence. And yet, here they are-- together. The Piper's Dojo is an intensive school for bagpipers in the Capital Region.
Master piping sensei Andrew Douglas (just call him Andrew) drew a deep breath to talk with us about the dojo, the art of piping and the local pipe band culture (think the Jets and the Sharks in kilts).
An interview with David Paterson appears in this month's issue of Runner's World. And it includes a pic of the Gov -- in running shorts -- with his foot up on his desk. (And you thought his poll numbers were low before this.)
From the interview:
It's difficult to find the time to run because we travel back and forth to Albany a lot. And I'm unable to read my speeches so I have to memorize them which takes time. These days I might get out [for a run] every couple of weeks. That's why I like some of these local races, because they're projects. If I see it as part of my work, I'm a lot more disciplined.
Paterson ran in the Utica Boilermaker last year. And he ran in the 1999 NYC Marathon (he talks in the interview about being hospitalized after that race).
The New York Post has a bigger version of the pic -- if you dare.
photo: Runner's World
Update May 18, 2009: There have been a bunch of other local earthquakes since this cluster. One on May 17, 2009 was particularly strong.
Updated Thursday at 4:30 pm
The US Geological Survey reports that there were two earthquakes in the Capital Region Tuesday.
Though maybe earthquake! is more like it.
Albany's crow problem is apparently serious enough that the city is now employing fireworks and lasers in an attempt to scare away the flocks. And as we can attest, the huge murders are kind of freaky.
But the city might be going about this wrong way. Maybe it just needs to find those crows a job.
So when we were looking up info on the Albany Parking Ticket Amnesty, we noticed a link at the bottom of the Parking Violations page: "CITY OF ALBANY TOP 20 SCOFFLAWS." And what do you know, there are some people who really need amnesty.
The list is after the jump.
A piece looked at how a brain-computer interface developed by Wadsworth's Jonathan Wolpaw is helping people with conditions such as ALS communicate with the world. The device allows people to control a computer just by thinking.