Tag Archives: metablogging

Tony Stewart Killed A Guy?

11 Aug

Oh, hey, I’m back in town. 

Did I miss anything

What I’m Reading Now

29 Jul

Hey, it’s summertime in Buffalo, where both irony and cynicism are dead. So, I have nothing to tell you except to point you in the direction of things I’ve been reading lately: 

1. Kyiv Post: Pro-Ukraine English-language compendium of news & views about the Ukraine – Russia war.

2. Skift.com: AOL shut Gadling down, and Skift acquired it. While Gadling.com is still more or less silent, Skift has some good travel articles, despite it’s hilariously annoying pop-ups. Clicking on messages like “No I don’t want to hear about great deals” is the way you shut them down. 

3. 20 Committee: Military & foreign affairs blog written by John Schindler. Great insight into espionage, military and diplomatic tactics and strategy, and especially on-point with respect to Kremlinology. 

4. The War Room: in particular, this article about the Kremlin’s unusual panic. 

5. Reddit’s Front Page: see everything that will be in your Facebook feed two days in advance. See Buzzfeed listicles a week in advance. (Also the Buffalo Subreddit). 

6. Daily Banter: Lefty news blog that’s unusually sharp and often funny. 

7. Salon: It busts through the BS. Example. Example 2

I recently finished Robyn Doolittle’s excellent book about Rob Ford, “Crazy Town” – I’d recommend picking up the paperback, which has updated information. I have Ian Kershaw’s “The End”, which outlines the final days of Hitler’s Germany to read on vacation, and will likely grab something else. 

And Monday, I recorded this podcast with Chris Smith and Brad Riter, where we discuss society’s penchant for demanding insincere apologies and ending of careers over insults and outrages. 

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer break. 

Travel

22 Apr

Since last week was such a septimana horribilis, and because I’ve neglected posting photos of the day, I’m resetting everything by simply presenting two slideshow embeds from recent travels. One is simply a set of stuff I snapped out the window of a moving car. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip and the iPhone fed my desire to all but memorialize every moment. Between the four of us, I have well over 3,000 images through which to wade and I’ve barely begun. This is simply the first batch I’ve gone through.  The second batch is a set from London taken in mid-February. 

Because I’m a silly person, I don’t take a DSLR with two lenses because it’s “too cumbersome” and instead rely on an iPhone 5, a Canon Vixia HF200 camcorder with still capability and an awesome zoom lens, and a Nikon Coolpix S9300 which also has a phenomenal wide -> zoom capability. 

 

The 2013 Undy 5000

15 Mar

I seldom write about my personal life, and when I do I keep it as vague and general as possible. You’ll forgive me for making an exception today, but it has to do not with me, but with all of you. 

Back in October, my wife’s gynecologist Dr. Judith Ortman-Nabi advised her to undergo a colonoscopy due to a significant family history of colon cancer. Usually, people aren’t prescribed colonoscopies until the age of 50, which we haven’t yet reached. She went to the endoscopy center on Maple near Millersport. It wasn’t an uncomfortable procedure, but the sedation knocks you out for a day. Bad news – they found a polyp; devastating news – it was cancerous.

That commenced a particularly scary and difficult time. We had to find an oncologist. We had to find a surgeon. My wife returned to the endoscopy clinic, where they tattooed the area so a future surgeon would know from where the polyp had been removed. The area “looked clean” but we didn’t want to take the chance that it hadn’t all been caught. We were exceedingly lucky to discover Dr. Timothy Adams, a talented, young, and friendly surgeon who performs laparoscopically-assisted colon resection surgeries. 

In mid-November, my wife underwent a successful resection surgery and we were overjoyed to find out that the section removed contained no cancer, and the bundle of lymph nodes that were removed along with it showed that the cancer had not spread. We had found it early – had we waited another year or until we were 50, the result would have been tragically different. Just this week, her oncologist, Dr. Frederick Hong, confirmed that all her bloodwork was normal. 

Catching this early was the difference between a full and curative recovery, and something far worse. Just this week, Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon revealed that he was diagnosed with colon cancer, but he hadn’t caught it in time.  It had metastasized throughout his body, and he is told that he has months to live

I am writing this because my wife is now committed to helping raise money for the Colon Cancer Alliance.  On April 27th the 2013 Buffalo “Undy 5000” will be run in Delaware Park, and she and my older daughter will take part. She is raising money for colon cancer research via this page, and if I’ve ever made you think, laugh, or angry via this blog, I humbly ask you to donate whatever you can – however small. Your donation is 100% tax deductible. If you don’t or can’t, I understand, but I urge you to take colon cancer seriously. If caught early through a colonoscopy, it could be the difference between life and death. Here’s where the money that’s raised will go – to advocate, to promote and to expand access to screening, to educate, and for cancer research. 

Every day is a gift. Thanks for reading and for considering this. 

Leaving and Coming Home Again

25 Feb

I was out of town for a week visiting London, and neither know nor care what may or may not be happening in WNY politics, much less general American politics. So, instead, just a few logistical observations: 

1. The HAILO app that works in New York, Boston, and Toronto, is fantastic.  It tells you how long you’ll have to wait to hail a cab to your location, tells you when the cab is coming and sends you a receipt. You can pay by credit card with an automatic tip precalculated. Check out the screenshot, which identifies the driver who’s coming, and see how the license plate given matches up with the car that pulled up. I was impressed. You can tell the driver via the app where you’re headed, and when it’s particularly busy, the app gives you the option of letting prospective drivers know that the fare will exceed a certain threshold, bringing a quicker response time. The driver was great. 

 

2. One of the secrets of traveling with little kids is to just let stuff go. Didn’t make it in time for a parade? Go somewhere else. Also – put limits on museums. Two hours max is plenty, and be choosy about what you see. Get a map, select what you like (say, 15th – 17th century Flanders art) and go see it, then leave. Take the kids for ice cream or something. We found that the kids actually enjoyed and didn’t complain about the museums, ice cream notwithstanding. We went to one museum 1 1/2 hours before it closed, so we were forced to keep it short, but learned it was one of the best of the bunch. Another museum was a bit disappointing, so we just left after about an hour. Be flexible, and check your coats; museums suck when you’re too warm. Also, if you go to foodie paradise like Borough Market and it’s 34 degrees out and windy, you don’t eat street food outside while standing up, after 2 hours at the Tate Modern. You find a little Italian place, warm up, sit down, and have pizza and pasta. 

3. Bus vs. Subway – subway bypasses traffic, so it gets you places quickly. However, you see nothing. Bus may be slower, but you see things. Also, kids love the upstairs of double-deckers.  We used buses maybe 85% of the time we were commuting. 

4. From London, we did a day trip to Canterbury to see the historic cathedral of Thomas Becket and Chaucer. It was something of a counterpoint to seeing Chartres two years ago. The cathedral has guides wearing sashes who are all too happy to tell you stories about the history there, and the town itself is a charming reprieve from London bustle. To reach it, we took the high speed rail from St. Pancras, which reached speeds of 140 MPH. 

5. Rent an apartment as a home base. We used www.ivylettings.com and rented a one-bedroom apartment that had a washer/dryer. It had plenty of room for 4 – it was difficult to find affordable hotel rooms for 4 – as well as a full kitchen. We bought groceries like locals and became regulars at local restaurants and cafes.  It was cheaper than most hotels, and although you sacrifice things like daily maid service, the washer/dryer meant we could pack a lot less clothes. 

6. The signage at Toronto Pearson Airport for the Viscount Discount Parking Garage is atrocious. Upon arrival after going through immigration and customs, the first sign we saw for it was a small plaque by an elevator up on the departures level. There was all kids of signage for the daily lot across the street, but nothing for the airport’s own discount lot. This is also true of the signage as you approach the airport – I had to circle both terminals before I finally got a sign directing me to that lot. 

7. I thought this was the coolest food truck: 

 

Buffalo Eats Podcast

7 Jun

Thanks to Donnie Burtless from Buffalo Eats for a fun interview, which you can listen to here. We touch on all kinds of topics like food, blogging, pizza, cocktails, and the finer points of arguing.  Courtesy of Buffalo Eats and Audio Buffalo

[audio:http://buffaloeats.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/podcast-21-alan-b.mp3%5D

Good Stuff

19 Mar

1. Great Movie I saw this weekend: Senna, an award-winning documentary about the racing career of Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna. (The 2012 Formula 1 season just began, and will return to the US in November in Austin, TX.  Runner-up great movie: Spirited Away.

2.  Great Show I discovered last week: Airplane Repo. Exactly as it sounds, it tracks a team of people who travel the world repossessing aircraft for their secured creditors. It’s got travel, thrills, and legal procedure. I want a job with Sage-Popovich, LLC. 

3. Great Thing this Weekend: This weather is awesome. Washed two cars, cooked on the grill, wore shorts, and enjoyed early summer. 

4. Great Company I dealt with: I had to travel for the day on Friday on Southwest. My final of four flights of the day was to take me from Baltimore to Buffalo, but with the fog, this happened instead: 

When we returned, it was amazing to watch people out-do themselves for getting angry at the ground crew who were just trying to rebook people. After about 15 minutes, the airline realized that rebooking wasn’t going to work, and they just added a 6am flight the following morning. Perfect. 

174 people were mildly inconvenienced by the weather-related delay that was completely out of the airline’s control. We were best off going back to BWI, which is a Southwest hub. My favorite comment came as it was revealed that there were more bags than people, and the aircraft we had might not fit all the bags. Given that small chance that not all of her bags would be on the flight, a woman angrily barked at the woman taking boarding passes (as if she had anything to do with it) that it was a “disaster”. 

No, the plane plunging into the mountains of Pennsylvania would be a “disaster”. A missing bag is merely an inconvenience. 

They handed out new boarding passes in the order of our boarding, and I grabbed a room at an airport hotel and got a few hours’ of sleep before returning to the airport at 5am. The fog was still in place on Saturday morning, and when we landed I didn’t see the ground until we were over the Thruway on final approach to runway 23. Kudos to Southwest for so quickly and effectively accommodating us. 

Moving

21 Nov

If everything goes as planned, this will be my first post as an online writer for Artvoice. Thankfully, it’s somewhat of a slow week, what with Thanksgiving and all.  Many thanks to Geoff Kelly and Jamie Moses for this unique and special opportunity.

To those of you who may be unfamiliar with my work with WNYMedia.net, I mostly write about local and regional political matters under the pen name “Buffalopundit”. You can follow me on Twitter and become a fan on the bookface. You can email tips, etc. here.

By way of background, I’m an immigrant to Buffalo – I’m not a native, and I’m not repatriated. I’m also not a sports fan, so I have little use for Buffalo’s most popular pastimes – sports and nostalgia.

By way of introduction, here’s a post I wrote in 2005 explaining why someone would pick up and move from Boston to Buffalo out of, essentially, the clear blue sky. A few things are different; the 5 year-old is now 11 and has a 5 year-old little sister. I work at a new place, but the sentiments remain the same: Continue reading

WNYMedia.net Demands a Retraction from the Buffalo News

16 Aug

Dear Mr. McCarthy:

The Society of Professional Journalists posts a voluntary code of ethics on its website. Among other things, it admonishes professional journalists to:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

In connection with this story, which appeared in the Buffalo News on August 7, 2011: http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial-page/columns/bob-mccarthy/article514711.ece, you did no such thing. What you did was to (a) read something that Joe Illuzzi wrote; (b) double-check Illuzzi’s work-product with the Board of Elections; and (c) connect the dots, directly and unequivocally accusing Chris Smith of being paid by the Poloncarz campaign to blast your facile non-story about Jennifer Hibit’s connection with a health care worker’s union.

Upon seeing your August 7th piece, I immediately emailed you to inquire whether you had contacted Chris Smith before drawing that specific conclusion of payola. You did not deign to respond. I simultaneously contacted Chris and confirmed through him that you never tested the accuracy of Mr. Illuzzi’s conclusion by diligently seeking Chris out to give him the opportunity to respond to Illuzzi’s – and your – allegations of wrongdoing.

You were – quite rightly – blasted by most writers at WNYMedia.net within the following few days for being hypocritical. The Buffalo News has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from campaigns for advertisements over the years, yet none of us ever accused you of payola. How dare you do the same without checking with us first?

Your hurt feelings over Chris’ specific allegations of your lazy hackery (none of which you addressed or rebutted, by the way), were enough to get you to overlook your ethics as a journalist, and instead clumsily lob an accusation of payola directly at Chris, (and indirectly at me and everyone else who writes for WNYMedia.net). Our site is a blog made up of commentary and opinion. Since this is an unpaid hobby for Chris, me, and others, we tend to stick with topics that interest us. Chris and I are both deeply in the red viz. what we’ve paid to keep that site up & running.

I’m gobsmacked that you so cavalierly accused us of payola without checking with any of us first; without even making an effort to contact Chris or me to verify whether we got any of the Poloncarz money. We’re not one guy; we’re a network of people with different roles. What you’ve done, quite frankly, is defame us. You have – with reckless disregard for its truth or accuracy – accused the bloggers at WNYMedia.net of being paid to write positive things about Mark Poloncarz. As you’re no doubt aware, that’s the legal definition of “actual malice”, which is the higher standard accorded to public figures. You have destroyed our credibility on the County Executive’s race with a lie – a lie you could have, but did not, checked with us about first.

Printing a lie in the singular local newspaper with reckless disregard for the truth or accuracy of said lie is a textbook case of libel.

In obvious recognition of that fact, the paper printed a “clarification”, a lazy attempt at damage control. It basically informed the reader that, when Bob McCarthy wrote that Chris Smith was paid off by the Poloncarz to write nice stuff about Poloncarz, this may have given people the impression that Chris Smith was paid off by Poloncarz.

Today, I wanted to write something about the campaign for County Executive. I found that I could not. I found that I am now tarnished with an image of being a paid hack for the Poloncarz campaign. I don’t know yet what I’m going to do about that, but I’m writing to you, with a cc to your boss – without seeking the pre-approval of anyone at WNYMedia.net – to demand the following:

1. As prominently as your accusation of payola was on August 7, you devote an equal amount of column space to publicly retracting and apologizing for accusing Chris Smith (and by extension the other bloggers at WNYMedia.net) of payola, and that you specifically acknowledge that you were incorrect, and had never bothered to ask Chris before accusing him of being on the Poloncarz payroll;

2. That the Buffalo News issue a proper and complete correction and retraction of McCarthy’s August 7th libel;

3. That the Buffalo News add such correction and retraction to the website containing Bob McCarthy’s column of August 7th, so that anyone who may come upon it via Google search will see the retraction and apology accompanying the original libel;

4. That the foregoing take place before September 7, 2011.

I’m going to go out on a limb and expect the courtesy of a reply – from either you, your editor(s), or the News’ legal counsel.

Alan Bedenko

(The foregoing was transmitted today via e-mail).

Bleg

13 Jun

If anyone knows someone who is an expert in handwriting analysis; i.e., taking two handwriting samples and giving an opinion as to whether they are from the same source, please contact me at alan[at]wnymedia.net.