Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Rep. Weiner tweets his wienie

When Facebook tells you your password’s been compromised  … it’s probably a call to immediate action.

Anthony Weiner. BPaper photo

Brooklyn’s Rep. Anthony Weiner — recently wed but a perennial source of single-guy-on-the-prowl off-color humor — was shown on Twitter in [drumroll, please!] all his glory.

His bulging wienie, cloaked in gray briefs, appeared Friday night on his official account, available to 45,000 followers (and by extension to an indeterminable number of their friends).

The NY Post is calling it Weiner-gate.

The congressman had been warned by Facebook about a week ago that his password might have been compromised. Although he’s a proud technophile, like most users, he took no action, giving the hacker plenty of time to engineer mischief.

Weiner had been tweeting about a hockey game a few minutes before the shot went up [“followers of my lame hockey tweets recall i picked tb and nashville”]; he was monitoring his stream and quickly spiked the offending item — but not before it had been retweeted and screen-grabbed by several followers, the Post reports.

He quickly posted, “Tivo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next?” and later, “Touche Prof Moriarity. More Weiner Jokes for all my guests! #Hacked!”

The congressman’s spokesman, Dave Arnold, told the Post that the wiener wasn’t Weiner’s (although we’re not certain if Arnold used those exact words).

Once again, for members Congress and all of us plebeians, the gods of social media are not to be trifled with. Protect your passwords!

Here’s the full NY Post account.

• • •

Who’s the Weiner? Let’s say he’s not afraid to speak his mind; he will not yield. Here’s the congressman’s classic House explosion last summer in defense of 9/11 emergency responders—


To out of touch NY Times editors, New York City’s soul revolves around underworked streetwalkers

On Monday, Rupert Murdoch made it clear that he thinks the NY Times is detached from its city. Most everyday, Times readers can detect some of that detachment.

In today’s Times, as a follow-up to yesterday’s front page account on the Federal Superfunding of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal area, the Times attempts to reflect — slowly and with too many words and too few facts — on changes around the Gowanus.

I know this area well, having published The Brooklyn Paper there for 30 years. The canal is sandwiched between upscale neighborhoods; what “grit” remains was destined to be overrun soon by development. Just as the nearby neighborhoods were “gentrified” over the last 30 years, the canal zone would fall to the capitalists’ tools.

Only the canal’s toxicity and last year’s real estate collapse put those plans on hold. The Gowanus neighborhood shrank so fast (squeezed by the expansion of its richer neighbors) that, if you excluded two public housing projects, there wasn’t much left of it as a distinct area. Plans for a Whole Foods supermarket one block east of the canal would have sealed the deal on that end; on the west bank, a major developer’s plans for housing was moving forward.

So, with squalor constrained and everyone long ago on notice that the neighborhood was changing, who did Times reporter Kareem Fahim find to give the area its face today? A street hooker who bemoans the fact that her streets just aren’t the same anymore, that her customers have moved away.

Here’s Fahim’s lead:

The rain had stopped; the streets were empty. A block from the Gowanus Canal, a woman called Terri squinted into the headlights of passing cars, searched for clients and found none.

Her head was wrapped in a powder-blue scarf. The white towers of the Wyckoff Houses rose behind her. She had worked these streets in Brooklyn for years, as the neighborhood turned from a rusty industrial hub into a budding art colony, and lately, a draw for developers dreaming of condominiums.

For Terri, little good had come of all that change. “The people moving in here don’t patronize us,” she said, and got back to work, a half hour before midnight.

Do Fahim’s editors think that the crime-ridden, street-hooking Gowanus of yesteryear is preferable to what’s there today, and that instead of cleaning the canal officials should work to create a favorable work environment (financially, if not environmentally and for safety’s sake) for its prostitutes and thugs?

Local readers of the Times already know that the Gowanus has changed; streetwalkers may still work its dark corners, flagging down drive-through tricks, but they are not a part of their ‘hood anymore.

Here’s some unsolicited advice to the Times — and also to those who are organizing the Journal’s New York desk:

Hire editors who know the streets of New York and the people of New York, who are not afraid to work, and who will think and speak [excuse the coming cliche] out of the box.

Someone like the current editor at my old newspaper, Gersh Kuntzman.

Disclosure: Kuntzman did not ask for and was not advised of this endorsement. His newspaper (The Brooklyn Paper) is owned by NewsCorp’s Community Newspaper Group, a sister of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, to whom I sold The Brooklyn Paper last year. I’m extremely proud of the work he’s done there both under my ownership and under that of the Community Newspaper Group, and I would empathize with my colleagues at The Brooklyn Paper — especially my wife who is The Brooklyn Paper’s publisher — over the loss of Kuntzman were he successfully recruited. I realize, however, that with the Times is in its death throes and the with Journal determined to secure a future for the news business, there’s a lot is riding on the coming fight in New York. Both sides should choose their weapons well.

—Ed Weintrob


ADDENDUM: The Brooklyn Paper made hay yesterday — over the fact that its Website beat the Times in breaking the Federal Superfund story, and over the fact that the Times accompanied its [late] story with the photo of the wrong Brooklyn waterway (the Times pictured Newtown Creek instead of the Gowanus Canal). The Brooklyn Paper’s headline: “Hey, NY Times — get our filthy canals right!”

The canal photo that accompanies this post is, in fact, of the Gowanus Canal, and is from The Brooklyn Paper, by Kate Emerson.

Post was slightly updated at 4:06 pm ET, with references to Newsday’s New York fiasco removed. That’s a whole ‘nother story, for another day.

ChatRoulette: Keep your clothes on and lock up the children. This social media site is nasty.

What if you could fire up your webcam and videochat with total strangers all over the world — in complete anonymity. What would you do? What would you say?

ChatRoulette is an internet sensation that is … let’s put it kindly … a bit rough around its edges.

According to a NY Times report, the site is the invention of Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old high school student in Russia who said he started it for “fun” and to bring people from different cultures together. Registered only last November, it drew one-million unique visitors in January, according to comScore as reported by the Associated Press. After the site’s viral explosion and initial press coverage, expect February’s numbers to be significantly higher.

Ternovskiy told the Times:

“It wasn’t so easy to create it for me, but I have been coding since 11 … I didn’t advertise my site or post it anywhere, but somehow, people started to talk to each other about the site. And the word started to spread.”

He said he had seven servers in Frankfurt, Germany, and would likely add more elsewhere.

“Each time the user count grew, I had to rewrite my code completely, because my software and hardware couldn’t handle it all. I never thought that handling the heavy user load would be the most difficult part of my project.”

Lots of participants, in their search for international camaraderie, are baring more than their souls. On YouTube, you’ll find several hundred videos made from Chatroulette exchanges; some are quite graphic.

“One minute you’re chatting via webcam with a mom of two from Montauk, NY — and the next you’re staring at a stark-naked man in Bangkok,” reports Fox News.

Here are a couple of YouTube videos that are arguably acceptable for family viewing.

In the first video, your hostess is clearly holding back.

Caution: The next video will begin with loud audio.

Darwin with Chat Roulette,” which ranked number one in traffic with about 520,000 YouTube views in two months, seems certain to be overtaken very soon by “Eye Vagina” — which does exactly that. “Eye Vagina” is number two in traffic after just one week, with 440,000 views.

There’s a site — ChatRoulette Images — that’s offering a bounty for the best screen grabs. So far, most (but not all) of the images posted here are harmless nonsense.

Pornography has been part of the internet from Day One; it was the Web’s first big money-maker — and it’s still there, as parodied on South Park (link here). What ChatRoulette’s done is open a new channel within a child- and teenage-targeted social media steam.

In a column in today’s Daily Collegian at Penn State, Caitlin Cullerot called Chatroulette “a disturbing experience” that’s “a lot like Russian roulette.”

You “pull the trigger,” so to speak, and breathe a sigh of relief when the bullet doesn’t come. Or if it does come, it arrives so quickly that you don’t have a chance to comprehend what’s happening until it’s already over.

Chatroulette is exactly like this, except with penises.

A TV report from Houston (video embedded) said yesterday that “at the heart of it, the Website was not made to be dangerous, but because of its simple nature, it allows kids to easily turn on their webcam and quickly talk to strangers.

“Those who have used ChatRoulette say a majority of the webcams contain obscene images, including nudity and sexual activity [and] many parental groups say kids should not be on ChatRoulette at all,” MyFoxHouston reported.

School psychologist Ann Suchyna told News4 in Buffalo (video embedded) that “it’s really quite disturbing to watch this … What they once thought might be inappropriate or deviant becomes, well, maybe this is more normal than I thought.”

From the News4 report:

“I think it’s a great tool. It has some great capabilities. But unfortunately, there’s a dark side to it,” said Chief Scott Patronik, of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Within minutes of logging on, the dark side popped up on the screen. A man, with the camera pointed only at his crotch, was exposing himself.

“There’s no restraint [the News4 producer adds]. These people are showing no restraint. Nothing is stopping them from doing this … This whole thing is really creepy.”

Last night, there was a ChatRoulette party at the Union Hall in Brooklyn, New York magazine reports. (Union Hall, in the pretentiously hip, child-friendly Park Slope neighborhood, caught all sorts of hell a couple of years ago when it banned children after 5 pm.)

It’s not inconceivable that young Ternovskiy’s purported ambition to engender international goodwill may yet be redeemed — he’s reportedly heading to the United States to raise funds for his site, and new backers may add a layer of professional management t0 clean up this mess.

Don’t count on it.

Meanwhile, keep an eye of your children — and on their computers.

—Ed Weintrob

• • •

UPDATE: What should be a pretty obvious side peril of ChatRoulette is the danger of site visitors being photographed, and having their photos distributed to millions across the internet. As seen in some of the links above and below, photographing visitors and broadcasting their silliness is part of the ChatRoulette experience. Curiosity seekers who choose to give ChatRoulette a run might end up with more fun than they bargained for — another reminder that nothing we do on the internet … especially on a social media site … is truly anonymous.

—Ed Weintrob

• • •


How to block Chatroulette on your [Windows] PC (TechNews Daily)

ChatRoulette, by the numbers (Wall Street Journal blog)

A weekend of ChatRoulette (Or: I play ChatRoulette so you don’t have to) (TrueSlant)

ChatRoulette: Beware of Danger. New spin on an old game. (Psychology Today)

The surreal world of ChatRoulette (NY Times)

Is ChatRoulette the future of the internet or its distant past? (New York)

ChatRoulette, a dangerous Website for kids and adults alike (Examiner.com)