A Kickstarter to Hold Stingy Landlords Accountable For Withholding Heat

Categories: Kickstarter

Heat Seek via Kickstarter
The Heat Seek cell records the air temperature every hour.
Veraline McFarlane has lived in the same apartment for more than 20 years, but this past winter was uncommonly brutal for the Crown Heights resident. She had to use her oven and three space heaters to try to warm the place up. Her electric bill more than doubled in the process, but she says, "I'm asthmatic, I cannot sleep without heat."

It hasn't always been this bad; McFarlane traces the problems to the moment her new landlord bought the building two years ago. "Since this landlord took over the building, we go days without heat. And when it does come on, he gives you ten, fifteen minutes in the morning; ten, fifteen minutes in the evening."

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Venice Film Festival: Al Pacino Re-Discovers His Inside Voice

Categories: Film and TV

Courtesy of Millennium Films
Most of us would agree that there's only one Al Pacino. But this year in Venice, there are actually two: Pacino appears in two films at the festival this year, David Gordon Green's Manglehorn, about a lonely Texas locksmith stuck in a romantic dream, and, playing out of competition, Barry Levinson's The Humbling, the story of an actor who, after being struck with crippling anxiety, gets his mojo restored - some of it, anyway - by a manipulative muse (played by Greta Gerwig). In some ways, they're two versions of the same character, grizzled romantics who reach out toward love just one more time. But in only one of these films does Pacino utter the line "I was thinking of going to the pancake jamboree down at the Legion."

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The G Train Is Back, So We Can All Resume Complaining About It

Thumbnail image for g train.jpg
There it is.
After five weeks of beauty sleep and Sandy repairs, the G train is back in service between Nassau Avenue in Brooklyn and Court Square in Queens. Time to resume your awkward jogs to the middle of the platform, as well as your ceaseless complaints about the train's unpredictable schedule, long wait times, and overall suck.

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Trial Begins for Man Accused of Stealing $240k from Long Island Bank in 1993

Nassau County Police Department
In March 1993, two masked men with guns entered an a Long Island branch of European American Bank and left with $241,000. An armored car had delivered the cash right before the men arrived. It was the biggest bank robbery in Nassau County history.

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Here's 100 Ways to Love Your Wife, From a 1988 Evangelical Book That Presumes You Can't Stand Her

Categories: Studies in Crap

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

If Only He Knew: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, & Loving Your Wife

Author: Gary Smalley
Date: 1988
Publisher: Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids
Discovered at: East Village Thrift Shop, 186 Second Ave.

The Cover Promises: Rick Santorum and Markie Post cosplay!

Representative Quote:

"While a man needs little or no preparation for sex, a woman often needs hours of emotional and mental preparation." (page 16)

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Obama Doesn't "Have a Strategy" on ISIS? Rightbloggers Do: Scare the Voters

[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

Hey, who's up for another foreign war? Hard to believe that just last year, on the 10th anniversary of America's less-than-excellent adventure in Iraq, rightbloggers seemed too demoralized for such activities. And when Obama poked the nation's nose into Libya in 2011, and threatened to do so in Syria last year, rightbloggers condemned his aggressiveness.

But times change -- we're on the cusp of a new set of midterm elections, and it usually helps Republicans if they can make a Democratic President look like a foreign-policy wimp. Now the brethren are yelling that Obama refuses to attack the supervillains of the moment, ISIS, and that as a result we're all going to be blown up.

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Venice Film Fest: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence Is More Honest Than The Act of Killing

Categories: Film and TV

In 2012, documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer made a splash with The Act of Killing, in which he sought out members of Indonesian killing squads, individuals who murdered thousands of innocent citizens accused of being communists after a military takeover in 1965, and invited them to re-enact their crimes in the style of Hollywood movies.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo Is Still Ignoring Challenger Zephyr Teachout's Requests for a Debate

Photo by Caleb Ferguson
Zephyr Teachout
With 11 days to go until the Democratic primary election, it looks pretty unlikely that Governor Andrew Cuomo will ever debate Zephyr Teachout, his main challenger, despite many requests from her, and even an online petition circulated by her campaign. Cuomo missed New York 1's August 28 deadline to respond to an invitation for a debate on September 2.

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Venice Film Fest: In Birdman, Michael Keaton Is Haunted by His Superhero Past

Categories: Film and TV

The gent at the Delta check-in counter back in New York sighed when he saw where I was headed. "Romantic Venezia!" he said, and the comment stopped me short, because film festivals located in the most beautiful settings in the world have a way of making you forget - almost - that you're in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The Venice Film Festival - this is the 71st edition - is held not in Venice proper, but on Lido, a summertime island where winter seems impossible, resplendent with dusty pink and ochre stucco villas. It is also the home of the formerly grand Hotel des Bains, where Thomas Mann wrote Death in Venice, and which, sadly, closed in 2010, destined to become a luxury apartment complex that has not yet materialized. I haven't yet walked by the Hotel des Bains on this trip, but I hope it's looking more cheerful than it did last year, when it sat dejected behind its majestic iron grillwork gate, a sad relic of past glory that even a Venetian Miss Havisham might find hard to love.

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New York City's Wealthy Neighborhoods See Spike in Heroin Deaths

Photo Credit: wstryder via Compfight cc
Overdoses are down in Staten Island, but overall things are still ugly.

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Five Unaccompanied Children To Be Deported From New York, The First Since Hearings Began

Categories: Immigration
Between October 2013 and July 2014, 62,998 unaccompanied children crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Customs and Border Protection. An estimated 10,000 of those children are being released to family members or sponsors in New York state, where they must appear before a judge (and opposite an Immigration and Customs Enforcement lawyer) to make their case for remaining in this country.

On August 22, a week and a half after expedited hearings began in New York's federal immigration court, five teenagers were ordered back to their home countries after failing to show up for their initial hearings. These are the first deportations of the so-called "surge docket."

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Filmmaker Miranda July's New Somebody App Lets Your Intimate Messages Be Delivered By a Complete Stranger

Image via Miranda July's Twitter
If Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr don't allow you to air quite enough of your private life, Miranda July's got the app for you. The filmmaker, artist, and author launched Somebody today, a messaging service that enlists strangers to verbally deliver your messages.

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Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly Talks Militarized Cops, Body Cams and ISIS

Categories: NYPD

Photo Credit: azipaybarah via Compfight cc
Ray Kelly in days gone by.
Former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly had a some surprising things to say about current events in an interview on WABC radio on Wednesday, in a conversation ranging from the events in Ferguson, MO to police body cameras and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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Wide Racial Divide on How New Yorkers Feel About NYPD & Eric Garner's Death, Poll Shows

One thing most New Yorker agree on: Officer Daniel Pantaleo should face prosecution for killing Eric Garner.

In a new Quinnipiac University poll, 68 percent of New Yorkers said that "there is absolutely no excuse for how the police acted" and 64 percent believe that Staten Island Distriact Attorney Daniel Donovan should press criminal charges.

But even within that general point of agreement there are stark racial divides.

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Video: This New Yorker is the National Pole Champion

Shaina Cruea is the 2014 U.S. National Pole Champion, known for combining her signature contemporary dance style with the beauty of fluid strength and grace. But she wasn't always so confident.

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Video: Watch the March for Eric Garner & Michael Brown on Staten Island

On August 23, 2014, about 5,000 protesters peacefully marched through Staten Island to protest police brutality, spurred by the deaths of two black men by white police officers in the space of a month.

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Westboro Baptist Church Will Also Picket Gawker, Buzzfeed, Foursquare, Basically Everybody Else

Photo by Flickr user Shamey Jo, who is not affiliated with the WBC.
A fuzzy kitten pile: the direct opposite of the Westboro Baptist Church.
Last week, we told you that the Westboro Baptist Church, a merry band of noxious trolls with questionable ties to Jesus, is returning to New York to picket the New York Times, Facebook, the Huffington Post, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. It appears that the WBC has realized that picketing media outlets is a good way to get attention: they've added a couple dozen other websites, publishing companies and tech ventures to their picket schedule. This is probably our fault. Sorry, everyone. Sorry.

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Queens Assemblymember Fears Chalk-based Graffiti Toy Will Usher in New Urban Dystopia

Photo Credit: Kevin Labianco via Compfight cc
Is it chalk or cocaine? And is there really any difference?
State Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder is very worried; there's a toy on local shelves that's turning children into criminals.

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Friendly Skies Flight Diversion Over Knee Defender an Airline First?

Categories: Air Travel, Beefs

The Knee Defender, a device marketed to airline passengers fed up with fellow fliers who hog their legroom by reclining, has been around for more than 10 years.

But the low-tech gadget appears to have registered a first yesterday morning, when United Airlines diverted a Newark-to-Denver flight to Chicago after a knee defender and his target got into a physical altercation.

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Against Football Author Steve Almond Blasts the NFL and Its Hypocritical Media Machine

Categories: Longform

ESPN bloviator Colin Cowherd has a blind spot when it comes to the violence in football.
SSG Dale Sweetnam/US Army
ESPN bloviator Colin Cowherd has a blind spot when it comes to the violence in football.
The dog days of summer aren't much fun in the land of sports talk radio. The only major league in play is baseball, with the pennant races still two months off. Amid these doldrums, the Ray Rice story hit the airwaves last month like a gale.

In late July, word leaked that the National Football League was going to mete out its punishment to the Baltimore Ravens' star running back, who was alleged to have assaulted his fiancée in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino in February. Surveillance footage, leaked online, captured Rice attempting to remove the insensate body of the woman -- whom he subsequently wed -- from the elevator. To this task, he brought all the empathy of a hog butcher tugging at a carcass.

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