Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Upstate Police Blotter

The Story

Two charged in safe-nabbing, police say
Updated: Saturday, November 15, 2008 2:40 AM EST

GLENS FALLS - A complaint that a man had stolen a small safe late Thursday from the garage of a Ridge Street home led to the arrest of the man who took it and the man who owned it, police said.

The strange caper began at 11:55 p.m. when Donald L. Johnson, 42, of 171 Ridge St., called police to report that someone had gone into his garage and taken a safe hidden in a cabinet, said Glens Falls Police Sgt. Keith Knoop.

As police looked into the complaint, they determined that Johnson had actually invited the man into his garage to smoke marijuana, then left to walk his dogs, only to return to find the man running away with the safe in which the marijuana was kept, Knoop said.

Johnson told police he didn't know the man's name, but Glens Falls Police officers Shawn Lovelace and Dan Habshi determined he was Rodney M. Degnan, 35, of 116-1/2 Bay Street, Knoop said. The safe was recovered at Degnan's home, with nearly 3 ounces of marijuana inside, according to Knoop. Johnson told police there was also $900 in the lock box, but no money was recovered, Knoop said.

Degnan was charged with the misdemeanors of petit larceny, fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and fourth-degree criminal mischief, police said.

Johnson was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, police said.

Police learned the two had been drinking together at The Daily Double bar on South Street before going to Johnson's home. Johnson was released pending prosecution in City Court, while Degnan was arraigned in City Court and released on bail bond.

The Sequel
Police: Mower driver on drugs
Glens Falls Ride on lawn tractor brings charges for two men
Updated: Sunday, November 16, 2008 1:52 AM EST

GLENS FALLS -- A Glens Falls man who was arrested Thursday night in connection with charges that he had a safe full of pot stolen from his home was charged early Saturday when police found him driving downtown on a riding lawnmower while under the influence of marijuana, police said.

Donald L. Johnson, 42, of Ridge Street, drew police scrutiny because he had a man riding on the hood of the tractor as he crossed Glen Street near South Street at 12:09 a.m., said Glens Falls Police Sgt. Keith Knoop. Glens Falls Police Officer Seth French approached the men, and found that Johnson appeared intoxicated and admitted he had smoked marijuana, Knoop said. So he was charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI) by drugs, a misdemeanor, and issued 10 traffic tickets, Knoop said.

Among them were third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, which was filed because Johnson's driver's license was suspended for failure to pay child support, police said. He also was ticketed for driving an unregistered and uninspected motor vehicle, not using headlights and not wearing seat belts, among other violations, Knoop said.

The man riding on the hood, Carl W. Critelli, 49, was ticketed for not wearing a seat belt, Knoop said.

A tractor is considered a motor vehicle when it is taken on a public highway. A blood sample was taken to determine if there were any drugs in his bloodstream, police said.

Johnson told police he was taking the tractor to The Irish Pub on South Street, where he planned to sell it for $200, Knoop said.

Johnson also was arrested on a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge Thursday night after he reported a man had stolen a safe from the garage of his home. Police determined the lock box was taken by a man he had smoked marijuana with earlier in the evening, and it was recovered with nearly 3 ounces of marijuana.

Both Johnson and Critelli were released after Saturday's encounter with police.

The Punchline
The safe owner and lawnmower driver is represented by one John Stonner Esq.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mighty Aphrodite

If you like Woody Allen movies, this one is good. It's actually fairly typical of Woody Allen movies, dealing with troubled marriage and loss of passion... but as usual, Woody brings his own neurotic flair to the subject, so it's fun and entertaining while dealing with a fairly mundane but uneasy subject.

The thing that makes this movie most interesting is his use of a Greek Chorus. Throughout the movie they keep cutting back to an ancient Greek outdoor auditorium where the masked chorus chants in unison, moving the plot along just like in classic Greek theater. It's a nice and unique touch.

Tuner Classic Movies

I've been trying to watch some old movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's on TCM. Some are great, some not so much. Here are a few comments....

Nancy Drew and the Secret Stairs
There is a whole series of Nancy Drew movies with a cute little 15 year old spitfire playing Nancy Drew. I never read Nancy Drew, but I was a bit shocked by this G rated movie. Nancy, with a heart of gold, convinces the two old ladies to donate their mansion to the local hospital. However, they don't officially own the mansion for another two weeks, during which time one of them must remain in the home every night (as per the family will). If they move out before this time, they won't be able to donate the house. Well the neighbor next door wants them to leave the house so a race track will be built on the property, thus making his property more valuable.

Sooo, the neighbor murders the old ladies butler and threatens that they are next if they don't move out. But Nancy, with her heart of gold, tries to convince them that the butler really committed suicide, and there's no reason for them to be affraid and to move out. So she has her friend write a fake suicide note and drops it where the police can findi it.

Call me new-fashioned, but isn't that a bit creepy for a sweet innocent girl to be a) convincing old ladies that a murder was a suicide, and b) planing false evidence for the police.

Similar weird stuff goes on through the whole movie, where sweet little Nancy Drew does ridiculously illegal things that should get her thrown in prison. She also abuses the heck out of her boy friend (well, friend who is a boy... no real romance) and gets him arrested 4 times during the movie. Again, I think it's odd that their is virtually no romance or anything hinted at sexual overtones, but the kids are involved in really evil stuff... and this is all looked at as sweet innocent fun.


There was a short made entirely of dogs dressed up in human clothes. They use cut frames, probably w/ food or gum in the dog's mouth, and voice overs... sort of like a dog's version of Lance Link Secret Chimp. It was a spoof on the old hard boiled detective genera. They had a flashback to a dog wedding, where a dog was dressed in a wedding gown, a dog was a priest, and dogs were in tuxedoes. They had a series of shots where the detective dog was interviewing witnesses, and each witness was a stereotype... they had a chinese dog, a football player dog, a british dog, and a really effeminate artsy dog... and then the detective dog says "I DON'T BELIEVE IT... A PANSEY !!!" Finally the detective had to rescue a dog who was hooked up to a Rube-Goldberg device that was gonna eventually drop a 2 ton weight on the victim. Unfortunately, the detective dog arives just too late and the victim dog is squashed. The detective just says "Awe... too bad." and they cut to the credits.


There was a cool Marijuana movie where the one girl is jealous of her older sister who is more beautiful and who marries a sucessful man. She begins to hang with a bad crowd, starts to smoke marijuana, and eventaully becomes the drug kingpin... and is a heroine addict. She gets herself knocked up, and her dealer mobster boss convinces her to sell her baby on the black market. Later, for revenge against her older sister, she kidnapps her sister's daughter asking for a big ransom. Eventually she finds out that it was really her own daughter who her sister bought on the black market. So she kills herself.

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

I have nothing but high praise for the movie Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The music, the imagery, and the acting all came together in a perfect culmination of horror and dark humor. Tim Burton was the right choice to create this piece of art. His is unrivaled in the fine art of cinematic imagery. Once again Johnny Depp delivered a spectacular performance... and who knew he could sing?

This was an adaptation of the play, of which I was fortunate enough to see. Not to belabor the differences of the two media, I would like to compare and contrast a few aspects worthy of note.

The play was an Operetta, so virtually all of the dialogue was sung rather than spoken. I was pleased to find that they kept the score written by Stephen Sondheim and minimized the spoken words. The sophisticated timings of his music create the perfect uneasy feeling necessary for this film. The irregular starts and stops envoke a suspenseful aura around the listener.

The only thing I missed from the origianl score from the play was the main Sweeney Todd them where the chorus chants "The tail is told of Sweeney Todd... the demon barber of fleet.... street." Again, it's all bout the timing.

The play got great acclaim for it's scenery. It was a breathtaking stylized view of old London with scenery wheeled on and off stage via mechanized tracks. This was extremely innovative and revolutionary at the time. Thankfully, Tim Burton stepped up to the challenge by recreating his own version of the dark, dank, smokey old world.

One small detail they skipped which which had a big impact at the end of the play was when the boy emerges from the sewer after seeing the most frightful things imaginable. In the play, he comes up with white hair... which I'm told is actually possible in extreme cases of fear. Burton didn't bother with this, and probably didn't need to... but I liked that touch in the play and I think it could have worked here as well.

It should be mentioned that the film is far more gory than the play. There may have been a spurt of blood at one time in the play, but mostly there was only a thrust of the arm w/ the razor in hand accompanied by dramatic lighting. In the film, there are fairly long shots of open throats with blood gushing from the wounds. Perhaps a bit gratuitous, but it works.

And finally, I want to mention Helena Bonham Carter who plays Mrs. Lovett. While last week I didn't know she existed, she has now officially caught my attention. Apparently I've seen her in many roles before, often playing creepy characters, many of which were in Tim Burton creations. She was the bride in the animated Burton film Corpse Bride, was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Big Fish among others. But perhaps her most important role is the evil villainess, Bellatrix Lestrange, in the Harry Potter series.

Sweeny Todd rates high on the list of all time greatest movies. It stands on its own and also holds up proudly when compared to the original play.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The woman behind the man

No, not Michelle Obama, but Valerie Jarrett. One of the most important people you never heard of.

Click for Wiki

Hired Michelle Obamain 1991, who then introduced her to her fiance Barack.
Was Financial Cair for Obama 2004 Senate campaign.
Is now co-chair of the transition commitee.
Obama is quoted as saying "I don't make any major decisions without asking her about them."

She will be a major influence on national policy, either behind the scene or as a cabinet member.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lando Chewbacca 08

That's '08 from a long time ago and a galaxy far far away...

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

McCain gets served...

Happy Election Day

I stuck to my guns and didn't vote for president.

Enjoy the videos. RIP George.

From 1999... I especially like the poem that starts about 2:30 into this clip...