Posted by admin

February 27, Staff Report

“Hey, I’m Bo, Whiskers Holistic Petcare’s Bot!”

This is the message that greets anyone who uses the new order-by-text delivery service that is being introduced by a local pet supply store in Astoria.

Last month, Whiskers Holistic Petcare on 19-25 Ditmars Blvd began informing customers that they are trying out a new texting bot to help make it easier for them to place orders directly from their cell phone.

“We imagined, what if someone just arrived at work or a social event only to remember that they were about to run out of food for their pet?” explained Whiskers owner Randy Klein. “Well, all they have to do is text the number, and it allows them to place an order within minutes. The delivered food will be waiting for them when they arrive at home.”

The innovative text bot, created by a company named Bowtie, does not require users to download an external app, and is free to use on any texting plan.

In order to utilize the service, pet owners need to text “Hi” to 646-374-1907, and the bot will reply with a link to a full list of items that can be ordered from Whiskers. Users can then place their order by selecting which item they need, and typing in payment and delivery information. If an item isn’t specifically listed, users can then text the bot what they’re looking for in particular, and it sends that request to store employees to contact the customer.

Whiskers Holistic Petcare sells a number of items through the service and at their storefront, including dog toys, cat food, furniture, as well as vitamins and minerals to treat parasites, digestive issues, and strengthen bones and joints.

The pet supply store currently has two establishments, one in Astoria, and another on 235 E. 9th St, which is their flagship location. Customers who text the bot and are located in Manhattan, will be able to have their supplies delivered to an address in that borough as well.

“We are excited to try the service out, and hope it makes life easier for new and returning customers,” said Klein.

The texting service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Hours of operation for Whiskers Holistic Petcare in Astoria are:

Monday – Friday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm

A full list of items of sale at both the Astoria and Manhattan location can be found at their website or by calling 1-800 WHISKERS (944-7537).

Interior shot of Whiskers’ Ditmars Blvd location

Posted by admin

February 27, By Hannah Wulkan

Local parents are fighting to preserve a policy that allows children enrolled in the Gifted and Talented program at PS 122 in Astoria to automatically continue the program at middle school without having to reapply.

Parents will be holding a rally directly before a community meeting with representatives from CEC 30 and the DOE on March 1 at 6 p.m. at PS 234 at 30-15 29th Street in Astoria.

The fight began when the Superintendent of District 30 Philip Composto sent a letter to parents at PS 122 in December stating that the auto articulation program at PS 122 would end beginning with the class of students currently in the first grade at the school in an effort to “ensure equity for every student.”

PS 122 caters to children from K through 8. However, grades 6 to 8—the middle school years– are only offered to children who are part of the G&T program. Students who are part of PS 122’s G&T program from K through 5 are automatically enrolled in the middle school—grades 6 to 8–component.

Following months of back and forth between parents, the Community District Education Council, the Department of Education and elected officials, local parents plan to hold a rally on March 1 to “stand together and show the DOE that this program is something we need, and is a successful model that should be considered throughout the city,” said local parent Melissa Lee.

The parents organizing the rally are encouraging all in attendance to wear red, regardless of what school their children go to, in order to show the unity within the district, Lee said.

She said that the fight goes beyond simply allowing children at PS 122 to auto articulate, but to ensure that all children within the district have a spot at a gifted and talented program within the district.

The controversy concerning the gifted and talented program at PS 122 goes back several years. In 2013, the DOE announced that it would require students to reapply after elementary school, or 5th grade, to the middle school program, without giving them preference. After an uproar from parents and local elected officials, the DOE put a policy in place maintaining the system.

“G&T students enrolled at P.S. 122 in the elementary school grades will continue to have priority to remain at the school for 6th grade,” the policy read.

Though CEC 30 considered a resolution requiring 5th grade G&T students to reapply for the 6 through 8 program in November in an effort to “level the playing field,” it was tabled when parents pointed to the 2013 policy.

When parents received the letter in December, they began a petition, garnering over 350 signatures, and reached out to local politicians, who quickly lent their support.

Politicians including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Congressman Joe Crowley, State Senator Michael Gianaris, State Senator Jose Peralta, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas, Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Councilman Danny Dromm all signed letters in support of keeping the program intact.

In the week following the initial letter being sent out, Gianaris said that he spoke to a DOE official who said that the existing policy would not be changed, at least for the time being, but neither he nor any parents received that assurance in writing. The parents at PS 122 have received few other updates since then.

On December 22, several weeks after the letter was initially sent out, Composto sent out a second letter explaining that he, along with CEC 30 and the DOE, “would like to further engage families regarding potential changes to the middle school G&T admission process.”

The forum on March 1 will give parents a chance to raise concerns with Composto, CEC 30 and the DOE directly.

“Families have built their lives around this program, expecting that their child will be able to continue on through middle school at their school,” Lee said. “This has been a successful model and should broaden throughout the city, not be dismantled.”

([syndicated profile] jalopnik_feed Feb. 27th, 2017 03:00 pm)

Posted by Andrew P Collins

As an attentive driver in America, there are certain sets of headlights you learn to look twice at when you see them in your rear-view. Crown Vics, Chargers, Caprices and these days, you better keep the Ford Explorer in mind, too.


telophase: (Default)
([personal profile] telophase Feb. 27th, 2017 09:16 am)
Sora haaaates the new LitterRobot we got, to the point of expressing his opinion in several places including, this morning shortly before we got up, the basket full of my clean laundry. So I am telecommuting until the laundry is finished.

While he is prone to crystals in his urine, the pattern of places he has expressed his opinion recently is unlike the places he goes when he's suffering that problem, and more like places carefully chosen for being associated with Toby or I, so we think it's "HEY PUT IT ALL BACK LIKE NORMAL" and not "I HURT FIX IT." (Note: we do have another litterbox set up next to the robot, so he doesn't have to use the robot.) But we do have a vet appointment next week and will be discussing this very problem and potential solutions, and if the vet thinks it's necessary, getting one of those kits to collect his urine and getting it analyzed to rule that out.

Cats. Argh.
ahouseforrain: closeup of a pink flower covered with water drops (Default)
([personal profile] ahouseforrain Feb. 27th, 2017 07:08 am)
Voice mails that spell out the entire web URL for where 93% of peoples' questions can be answered.
darthneko: hand with pen ([art] set pen to paper)
([personal profile] darthneko Feb. 27th, 2017 10:01 am)
March Sketch a Day template for anyone who wants to use it. ^_^ One more day left on February and I've failed totally at keeping up, but I'll have it done by tomorrow.

In other news my home computer, the 2011 iMac of Doom (named Teletraan) had some critical fail Friday night. Appears my video card has died. This would, coincidentally, explain why when my dragon and I are playing WoW on the same server, at the same time, on the same internet connection, she would have 50 FPS and I would have 9. =P Apparently my video card has been slowly dying. Repair is going to be a bit costly (it's a 2011 first gen iMac of the current model, it's so far out of warranty or applecare coverage it's not even funny) but still should be vastly cheaper than an actual new Mac. Plus it's still a workhorse machine, just need the screen to be working and display things. =P I'll drag it into the Apple store close to work tomorrow and drop it off for repairs, then cross my fingers and hope.

(My excuse is that part of my February sketch pic involves screen cap reference, which is on Teletraan and which I now don't have access to. =P Ooops. Thank goodness I did sketch rough outlines of things in with blue pencil!
anoel: vidding festivids (vidding festivids)
([personal profile] anoel Feb. 27th, 2017 09:45 am)
Just in case anyone missed them, here are the 4 festivids I made this year:

Title: Body High
Music: "Body High" by Mike Taylor
Fandom: Ghostbusters (2016)
Focus: Jillian Holtzmann
Summary: You give me a body high.
Body High DW link

Title: You're So Beautiful
Music: "You're So Beautiful (White Party Version)" by Empire Cast featuring Jussie Smollett
Fandom: The Get Down (2016)
Focus: Dizzee/Thor
Summary: It sure looks good to me.
You're So Beautiful DW link

Title: Dance
Music: "Dance" by POWERS
Fandom: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Focus: Rebecca, Paula, Valencia, Heather
Summary: Prepare to surrender to the power of femslash.
Dance DW link

Title: Crash
Music: "Crash" by Gwen Stefani
Fandom: Bound (1996)
Focus: Corky/Violet
Summary: Do me real hard.
Crash DW link

There's also a new vid exchange called Equinox that will run in both spring and fall with different themes (voted on) which you can find more about here. The current exchange is space themed and you can find a list of letters with fandoms and requests here if you want to make any treats. I didn't sign up but I maaaay make a treat depending on time and motivation. I have a bunch of vids planned for cons so I'm not sure if I will but you never know.

I'm mostly still on Twitter these days but I'm enjoying all the posts on DW and hope to post more here soon!
prettygoodword: (Default)
([personal profile] prettygoodword Feb. 27th, 2017 07:47 am)
fylfot (FIL-fot) - n., (rare) a swastika.

Especially one with arms bent anticlockwise and truncated. This is probably a non-word, supposedly revived by 19th century antiquarians based on a conjectural reading of one manuscript (where it was understood as a design used to fill the foot of stained-glass windows) and then applied to a heraldic design. Usage has since expanded among design historians and collectors, as a way to distinguish other uses of the symbol than that of the Nazi Party (and modern spiritual descendants).

Argent a fylfot azure

([personal profile] calimac Feb. 27th, 2017 06:01 am)
A few years ago, the Best Picture Oscar went to a movie called Crash. This year's Best Picture Oscar was a crash.

I was the Hugo Awards administrator the year after the presenter was given a card with the wrong winner on it. I was earnestly instructed by the executive committee not to do that. I said, "Don't worry: we will only make new and original mistakes." (I later learned that the late great George Flynn had said the same thing the first time he ran the Hugos, so it wasn't a new and original joke.)

I have no idea how the wrong name on the card happened, and it would never have happened under my watch. We didn't prepare anything except the templates until we finalized the winners, and then we made the cards, the press release, instructions for the plaque-maker, and everything else.

But that's not what happened at the Oscars. Instead of the card being incorrect, Beatty was given the card for the wrong award. How that happened, I don't know either. And so Dunaway saw the name of the movie the Best Actress winner was in and read that. I'd give them both some slack for screwing up: they weren't expecting this; they're actors, they work from scripts; and also but not only because of their ages, they may have "senior moments" from time to time, something that's fuddled previous venerable presenters worse than this without the wrong card as an excuse.

Contrary to statements that nothing like this has ever happened before at the Oscars, it has. In 1964, Sammy Davis Jr. was given the card for the wrong film score award (in those days there were two awards).
He read the nominees for the first award — scoring of music, adaptation or treatment — opened the envelope and proudly announced that John Addison had won the Oscar for "Tom Jones." The problem was Addison actually had won the Oscar in the music score, substantially original category. "They gave me the wrong envelope?" asked Davis, as a representative of Price Waterhouse quickly came out with the envelope that had the correct winner — Andre Previn for "Irma la Douce." "Wait'll the NAACP hears about this!" he quipped.
I've seen neither Moonlight nor La La Land - they don't sound like my kind of movies. I like musicals, but an attempt to watch Chicago proved that's not enough to save a movie for me if I'm otherwise uninterested in it. The only movies that won Oscars this year that I have seen are:
  • Manchester by the Sea - a very close cousin of Seth Meyers' Oscar Bait parody. Story about really depressed people with a happy ending consisting of their becoming slightly less depressed. Arrival was supposed to be the hard-to-follow movie this year, but this is the one whose plot confused me, because the flashback scenes were not stylized in any way, and I often didn't realize I was in one.
  • Zootopia - I realize this movie wasn't about its plot, but the plot was such a tedious routine crime-detection story it bored me, and the parallels with race relations were painfully self-conscious to the point of agony.
  • Arrival - hey, a movie I actually liked.
Other nominated movies I've seen:
  • Hell or High Water - a caper film, fun to watch, but typically for the genre quite amoral. And if the scene where the brothers are getting into separate cars to drive away didn't telegraph what was going to happen next, Samuel Morse never lived.
  • Hidden Figures - I saw this because I like historical movies about the Moon program, not to feel virtuous. But gosh, does it ever make you feel virtuous.
  • Jackie - far duller than I'd expected, and an uncomfortably eerie movie. Felt as if it had been filmed in that weird apartment at the end of 2001.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins - I saw this out of curiosity as to what would be done with a movie about the worst singer of all time. Turned out that they toned down the badness of her singing (she was actually much worse than Streep portrays her), and made the moral out of turning her into the kind of person who'd have sung "I did it my way!" if that song had been written yet.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings - arresting animation, sprightly dialog, but rambling and wayward story.
  • Sully - a vicious libel on the investigating commission, but other than that, pretty good.
  • Hail, Caesar! - If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like. Turned out I didn't.
aldersprig: (Ciara)
([personal profile] aldersprig Feb. 27th, 2017 09:49 am)
The meme is here: Give me the names of two characters and I will tell you why character A loves character B.

Here is [personal profile] clare_dragonfly's third prompt. Reid and Regine are from Addergoole. This was a wee bit tricky~

Read more... )
Want More?

Posted by Patrick George

Good morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.


catvalente: (pic#941394)
([personal profile] catvalente Feb. 27th, 2017 09:50 am)

We’re excited to announce that Cat is now a Patreon creator, offering you exclusive content and goodies via Patreon’s flexible crowdfunding platform!

As our resident Mad Fiction Scientist puts it on her landing page, “… I want to put more fiction into the world. And I don’t just mean my own fiction. I want to help you guys write awesome books and stunning stories!”

Cat’s doing this by offering professional writing advice every month – in the form of comedic essays on the craft and business of writing. You’ll learn about characterization, dialogue, how to get a writing agent, and so much more. Beyond signing up to receive these exclusive Cat Valente essays, there are plenty of additional fantastic benefits you can score: sneak peeks at Cat’s works-in-progress, personal Skype calls, virtual writing dates, Tuckerizations, acknowledgements, and – well, see for yourself:

To get involved with Cat’s latest project and to support her work directly, just head over to Patreon: you can sign up for recurring donations, get access to the patron-only stream, interact with the Mad Fiction Scientist herself, and edit your pledge at any time. And remember: your support means the world to Cat, especially in these trying times. You get huge thanks from everyone at the lab, and we promise it’s pathogen-free. (Probably.)

Hurry on over! The Mad Fiction Laboratory awaits!

And, please – do hit the share buttons and spread the Patreon page on Twitter, Facebook, and your other social media platforms of choice. The Laboratory Denizens appreciate all you do!

Mirrored from Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

kay_brooke: Snowy landscape with a fence, an evergreen forest, and a pink sky (winter)
([personal profile] kay_brooke posting in [community profile] rainbowfic Feb. 27th, 2017 09:45 am)
Name: [personal profile] kay_brooke
Story: Unusual Florida
Colors: Rain Cloud #21 (Writers' block), Valentine's Day Pink #6 (heart)
Styles/Supplies: Frame, Eraser
Word Count: 892
Rating/Warnings: PG-13; no standard warnings apply.
Summary: Marsha and James have a disagreement.
Note: Constructive criticism is welcome, either through comments or PM.

They were sitting in a coffee shop )

The comic book tie-in to the 90s X-Men animated series outlasted the animated series itself, at least for a while, telling series set after the final episode.

Eventually, though, sales dictated that the comic needed to end too. When that happened, the creative team decided to put the final bow on this universe in a very unexpected fashion. As you'll see, things got a little crazy.

Read more... )
([syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed Feb. 27th, 2017 02:00 pm)

Posted by Jen

I was an honorary cub scout around age 6, because A) my brother was an actual cub scout, B) our mom was troupe leader, and C) we didn't have a babysitter. My only clear memory of that time was making salt dough pretzels with the boys, though, which tasted terrible. The pretzels, I mean. I didn't taste the WHOA THIS GOT DIRTY FAST.

Er, my point is, I don't remember cake at any of our troupe meetings, but maybe that was for the best:


These are the extra tiny Cub Scouts. From the future.

Dangit, Michael, not again!


This month was the 102nd birthday of the Boy Scouts, so naturally:

The only thing missing is u.

Or a bad Scottish accent. ("Ach! Me wee bairns!"*)

[*Sorry, that's from all the Star Trek books I read as a child. Scotty said it all the time, but I have no idea what it means. If it's something dirty, please accept my apologies/knowing looks & elbow jabs.]


And finally, bakers, why don't you give us the 411?

Or, sure, that works.



Thanks to Colleen R., Miranda E., Robert W., & Amy H. for always being prepared... with their phone cameras.


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

Posted by Stef Schrader

The NIO EP9 electric supercar wasn’t content with merely entering the never-ending vehicular stat war—it recently set a couple of lap records at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, including one for the fastest production car ever to run there. In case that wasn’t enough, it set a driverless lap record for the track,…



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