Thursday, February 28, 2013

My First Editorial

I wrote the editorial in this weeks edition of the Wilton Bulletin.  It was a pleasure to do it, and I expect to do it again.

It might seem thankless, as my name isn't associated with it at all, but it doesn't need to be under my byline.

I got into writing for many of the same reasons I got into broadcasting.  I like to tell stories.  Sometimes, I get to have opinions.  In the case of writing the editorial, I get to do a little of both.

The reporting side of me is different.  Certain things, honestly, aren't my bread and butter, but they're part of the job.  Early on, I've written about a piano studio and dogs going to Westminster.  I did a story about a teenager who wrote a screenplay for a sitcom.  Yesterday I visited a group of sixth graders who put together an insanely good display on King Tut.

Today, I sat with a 12-year-old and interviewed him regarding a science fair.  Turned out, the kid is a monster baseball fan, who likes Yogi Berra and plays Strat-o-Matic baseball!  My kind of kid!

These are some of the stories I've truly enjoyed doing.

Now I can add an editorial to my resume, and I think that's cool.

I'm not sure it will make it to our website, but it's in the print edition, out today.  I'm going to wait to post it, simply because I probably shouldn't post it...yet.

Shameful: The Story of the Removal of Mike Hvizdo in Weston

(Vivian Simons, via the Weston Forum)
The Wilton Bulletin is located in an office with a few other papers, including the Weston Forum.  Rocco Valluzzo, the sports editor of the Forum, who sits just a few desks away from me, got wind of the resignation of Mike Hvizdo, the head boys basketball coach at Weston High School.

Well, maybe he resigned.  Then again, he probably didn't.

Word began to buzz around that Hvizdo (aka, "Coach Viz") was forced out.

His crime (supposedly)?  He was in a movie that was, apparently, "vulgar" and "offensive."

NOTE: The name of the movie is "Forbidden Fruit" and it was made in 2003.  It's only about nine minutes long, and as of this writing, does not exist.  It was online, but it is now gone.

I've listened as this story has grown from a small community thing to county, state, regional, and now national.

Let's start with Rocco's own work, which dates back to February 14.  It's been added to several times, most recently yesterday.  I implore you to read his stuff.

Now others are in on the act.  Gawker has taken it to the mainstream. Channel 12 did their own story on it.

Soon, Lou Young from Channel 2 in New Yok (WCBS) will be appearing in our Ridgefield home office to interview Rocco.  Since they share stories with WCBS (880), I wouldn't be shocked if it goes on there also.

NOTE: Lou Young was here, worked with Rocco to get the sound bite he wanted, and headed out.  It will run at 5:30 tonight.

A Google search on "Mike Hvizdo" will bring you so much more.

My colleague, Wilton Bulletin Sports Editor Tim Murphy has opined on it in his "Murph's Turf" column.  That is an outstanding read (available on newsstands today!).  There's an editorial in this week's paper that is worth a read, along with other fine items written by a delightful individual.

See, here's the thing: I smell a rat.  You can't tell me that Hvizdo was asked to step down because he was in a nine-minute movie that features no nudity, and nothing lascivious, other than some profanity.  Good lord, if that's the case, then most of us are in trouble.  His kids - his players - loved him (that's what I've heard anyway).

Oh do I see where this is a case of a parent, and a well-placed one at that, causing a ruckus because Johnnie Twelfthmanonthebench wasn't getting playing time.  The parent might have money, influence, or both.  It doesn't matter.  Whoever it is, they have pull with the administration in Weston.

That's what sickens me.  I've seen it before.  I'll see it again.


THIS is What We Worry About?

There's a group called One Million Moms, and they have a problem.

They're complaining about Maxwell.

Yes, Maxwell the Pig.  From the Geico commercials.  Specifically, they're in a kerfuffle over this:

That promotes bestiality, according to the moms (Huffington Post).  ABC News, via Yahoo! (where you can't work from home*...) also weighs in.

*I posted a link about the Yahoo! thing on Facebook and, well, everyone has a different take on it.  I work well from home, but that's me.  Others don't agree.  I need that flexibility, mostly due to watching Sean.  So I feel for the people at Yahoo!

But the million moms have got to get over themselves.  This is as foolish as PETA wanted to change Fishkill, NY to Fishlive.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

He Goes to 11

Eleven years ago today, the most glorious thing came into my life.  He has been the very light of my existence, when I simply didn't want to be anymore.

His name, of course, is Sean, and it is his birthday.

He makes people laugh, and sometimes shows more awareness by saying things that kids his age just aren't supposed to say.

He just doesn't care about sports, and that's OK.  He'll always connect with me in that regard, but he doesn't have to.  He loves Minecraft, and Transformers, and some really bad Nickelodeon shows.

Our common bonds include things like The Beatles, of which a wonderful look comes on his face when he hears them.  We both still love Family Guy (inappropriate or not).  In our darkest times, we sat together, and laughed.  He still doesn't get the jokes, but he's also kept the deal: repeat nothing.

I owe him a trip to Waffle House, because he's one of the few people in the world who actually wants to do that with me.

Sean has lit up the world with his laughter and his sense of humor.  He has a magnificent smile, and an innocence that is wondrous.

I'm so very proud to be his father.

Happy birthday, pal.

Edit - I had to add this in. Sean got sandwiched by two of his favorite cousins, Katie and Meaghan.  Hilarity ensued.  Christmas Eve, 2012.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Valentine's Day

Adjusting to the life of being a working man again hasn't been as easy as one might think.  For almost five full months, I went about the daily routine of looking for jobs, then doing whatever I needed to do at WGCH, and so on.  I had time for being a father and a boyfriend and everything else.

A job - this new one - changes things.  This isn't simply a matter of driving up and down New York route 22 all day, visiting stores, putting ice cream on shelves and having the flexibility.  Leaving my last stop on that route to go home or to Lisa's was no big deal  Oh no.  This is different.

It's been an adjustment, perhaps more for Lisa than me.  We see each other a lot less now as a result.  But it beat the stress of not having a job at all, except for those precious hours at WGCH.

I work in Ridgefield, and Wilton, and Greenwich.  I live in the 'Pac.  Getting to the Poughkeepsie area isn't a piece of cake these days.  My hours can stretch from nine in the morning to ten at night, especially if I have to go cover a meeting.
Nobody's complaining though.  Yet it highlights why Valentine's Day was important.

We've tried to meet up on some work nights.  It seems inevitable though that for one reason or another, we call it off.  But our moods stay positive.

Please don't interpret this as a chase for pity.  Hardly that.


It started at Marshall's.  Yes, the discount clothing/home/etc store.

I was looking around at the men's stuff, letting Lisa do her thing.  There's a pattern to Marshall's, or TJ Maxx, or HomeGoods.  She does it her way.  Generally I leave her alone.  Usually I can be spotted within 10 or 15 minutes, sitting on some piece of furniture that these stores are looking to sell.  Chances are, my phone is in my hand.  I'm in the middle of some idiotic Facebook debate, about if Yogi Berra belongs to the Mets or Yankees, or if I can watch the Oscars and still be considered a sports fan.

Yes, it's idiocy at its best.  A lot of wisecracking and obnoxiousness.  Some of it gets taken too seriously.  Some of it sends my blood pressure to dangerous levels.  Most of it is just bull.  It's much needed in these situations.  It's a diversion and a lot of laughter.

On one of these Marshall's trips, I spotted a green sweater.  Made of sweatshirt material, it was a cardigan cut.  Kelly green, it would be great for St. Patrick's Day.  On the left breast, in raised fuzziness, was the most famous of all sports logos.  Yes, the interlocking NY that screams "Twenty-seven championships."  I laughed at it.  I showed it to Lisa.  We both laughed.  She thought it was nicer than I did.  I still suffer from the notion that the Yankees are navy blue.  Still there was something about this.  Could I wear it around the house?  Maybe - possibly? - wear it on St. Pat's?  I still kind of privately struggle with March 17* anyway, as the anniversary of the death of my father.  So I'm always looking for a laugh; a relief.

*Last March 17, the person whom I was spending a lot of time with decided to spend that day with a another friend.  Then she met a new man.  Apparently they're still together.  I couldn't quite figure out why my text messages weren't being returned that night, but I'm not dumb either.  Our trip to Las Vegas a few days later was...just...weird.  So, yeah, St. Patrick's Day.  Sure.  Great.  In this case, it was probably serendipity.  Lisa and I came together a little over a month later.  It all worked out just fine.

I took the picture above of the sweater that night, in part so that friends like Tim Parry could have a good laugh at it.  As I look back at the comments from Facebook, they are swift.

"Yogi Berra would wear that."
"George Costanza would wear that."
"FRANK Costanza would wear that."
And, simply, "Yuk."

So the votes were in.  Regardless of what I, or Lisa, thought, $24.99 was too steep.  We would continue to go back to Lisa's little slice of heaven hard by US route 9 in Poughkeepsie.  The price would continue to drop too as the sweater was sent to clearance.  Nobody, it seemed, wanted it.  Fifteen bucks?  Still, no.  Ten?  Nope.

I would see it, marvel at it still being there, then laugh.  Again.  And again.  And so on.

Lisa is very practical.  She doesn't get hung up in what a teams colors are.  She knows which interlocking NY is the right one, and which one will get her a look of disdain from me.  She saw this sweater as a wise buy.  Good around the house.  Use it to throw on like a sweatshirt or jacket.  But still, it was never purchased.  Certainly somebody was going to buy it, or the price was just going to stay too high.

I should also mention that Lisa appreciates the value of a dollar.  That is not to say cheap or frugal, but smart.  Then again, if she wants something, then she just might get it.  However, it isn't usual for her to pay full price for anything.

But she also knows I still have a soft spot for sports clothing.  I still love jerseys, for instance, and I don't give a damn about those who say a grown 44-year-old man shouldn't be wearing one.  When Chris Erway decided to buy us all jerseys for Christmas, I was pleased.
Mark Bavaro, Terrell Davis, Terry Bradshaw, and Justin Tuck - Jan, 2013 at WGCH.


I was psyched for Valentine's Day.  That's unusual for me.  I have nothing against it, except the "Hallmark-ization" of it.  The awful stress that it puts on people both taken and not.  But I felt ready, and I hadn't seen Lisa in close to a week.  I drove up the Taconic Parkway with a smile on my face.

The flowers were ordered (against her wishes).  No red roses.  A yellow paint can filled with daisies and spring-like flowers.  I wore a muted red shirt with stripes.  Jeans.  A cool blazer that I get complimented on.

I arrived to see some snow on her driveway.  I scraped some of it off (hardly a heroic effort).  Then I made my way to the door.

She seemed down or something.  But no, she was OK.  Maybe just tired, and not interested in going out to dinner.  "Too crowded," she told me.  The flowers were nowhere to be found.  I gave her a card with something I wrote inside.  We stayed in.  We had some wine, and watched some TV.  In the end, a very low-key evening.

Which was more than just fine.

Neither of us slept well that night.  I was awake around 2:45, and Lisa joined me around 3:30.  We talked some, and tried to sleep at other times.  She eventually stepped to the living room to let her cat, Ginger, in.

"The flowers arrived," she laughed.

I was relieved and annoyed all at once.  But I was happy she had them.

Soon, the dawn of the new day was upon us and it was time for me to head home, to meet Sean and go off to work.  That's when Lisa brought a bag to me.  White, with pink tissue paper.

"Open it now?" I asked.

"No," she said.

I got to the car, and glanced inside.  I could see the green.  I could see just enough of the interlocking NY.  It's not that the sweater is a fashion statement.  It's not that it's good or bad.  It's was about a bond - something we've both talked about for months.  You may also see it as a commitment in a sense, and that's not unfair.  There's certainly symbolism, but also practicality.  It will be nice to wear at her house.  In the yard.  Plus, at that point, it was also about the price.

Seven dollars.

So goes a story of love, devotion, laughter, and longing.  Most of all, a girls' heart for shopping.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Online Story

Remember that first byline that I spoke about last week?  Well I saw that the story is online.

So there's that.

The new issue of the Bulletin is out today, with more Robaliciousness for your reading pleasure.

Friday, February 08, 2013

The First Byline

I am obviously neither Woodward or Bernstein.  But that's OK.

I didn't know it had arrived.

As I got ready to leave the home office of the Wilton Bulletin yesterday, I noticed what looked like the latest issue of the paper.  Being new, I wasn't sure when the it came out.  Now I know that it hits on Thursday.

I'm not jaded.  Never have been.  I still smile when I hear a promo, commercial, or a tape of something I've done on the radio.  I smile at seeing the work I've done with Tom Prizeman on PCTV, or sheepishly grin when my mug showed up in a recent story on NBC Connecticut.

So it was that I felt proud at seeing page A3.  There it was: a story I wrote about new trees being planted in Wilton Center.  Sure, it got edited, and in the end, some of the words aren't mine, but that's a reality of the business.  Each criticism that my work has gotten has been met with a shrug of the shoulders and a hearty "OK."  Such is the nature of the beast.

There are other things in this issue that I wrote, or edited, but only the tree story has those magic words:
By Rob Adams
I'll always have that to fall back on.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I've been published in the Greenwich Citizen, the Greenwich Post, the Times of Brunswick, and countless websites.  Pretty cool.  But there was something different about this.  Maybe it was because it wasn't sports.  I'm not sure.

Future stories will be about a piano school, a science fair, and dogs appearing in the Westminster dog show.  More, obviously, are on the way.

Among my concerns one week in is that I'm trying too hard to write the way management wants me to write.  I still have to find my own voice, which can't quite be the one I've used here, and really can't be the same that I've used writing sports (and Paul Silverfarb has graciously never edited me much, which I always took as a compliment).  So I have to strike the balance.  That seems to be the theme.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to looking out my window as I watch the snow fall from a beast named Nemo.

And writing my next story.

I'll add links and tell you more as we go along here.  This story isn't online yet.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Super Bowl Halftime Show

For those of you who think the answer to "Best Super Bowl Halftime Show" is Michael Jackson or Prince, I hope you live burn in effigy with a loop of Up with People running.

Indeed, around these parts, as I've said before, there have been a lot of bad halftime shows.  For a while, I used halftime to eat, stretch, use the rest room, or watch the special edition of "In Living Color" that FOX would air to spare us from Gloria Estefan or whatever.

That being said, I was recently asked if I thought everything Mr. Bruce Springsteen of New Jersey did was the greatest ever.  And the answer was no!  To make sure, I put the E Street halftime performance on from Super Bowl XLVIII (2009).  Any chance that, four years later, I might think it wasn't as good as I thought?

Nope.  No shot.

I had chills as soon as I saw the silhouette of Bruce and the Big Man.

The best halftime show.  Ever.  Complete with crotch cam!

To those who say otherwise, I ask you this:


Plus, that Super Bowl was a pretty good game as I recall (hmmm...who won again?)

U2 in 2002 were pretty incredible also.  Still chills inducing with the list of those lost on September 11, 2001.

This guy was pretty good too.

So Beyonce, have fun later.  It's your time to face the critics.

A Brief Beatles Interlude

There's noting quite like "Breakfast with The Beatles."  I'm listening to that show right now (hosted by Chris Carter on Sirius XM).  It airs on their Little Steven's Underground Garage channel.

The wonderful Fleer Sticker Project has this post on the uncropped cover photo of the legendary Rubber Soul album.  Very cool stuff.

We now return to the seven hour Super Bowl pregame show.

Super Bowl 47

I made my pick the other night on "The Press Box."

I repeated it for Tony Savino on Friday morning's NewsCenter.

And, keeping up a tradition that I've had for a few years now, I gave the same info to Ken McMillan, who put in on his blog.

San Francisco 27, Baltimore 23.

I hate the score.  I hate the result.  But I'm just hoping we have a game.

See, here's my logic.  I don't like the 49ers.  They have five Super Bowl wins without a loss.  They epitomized the obnoxious ways of the 80's.  Thanks to them (and a few others, like Tom Landry's Cowboys) the game is more sophisticated.  As a result, gunslingers like, ahem, Terry Bradshaw can't call their own plays.  They're now computerized robots getting plays shipped into their headsets so that they can throw three yard passes to receivers who run the rest of the way.

Yet we revere Saint Joe Montana.  Blech.

Their wine-and-cheese-sucking fans, well, never mind.  I want them all to know defeat.

But...on the other side...are the Baltimore Ravens.  You know, the former (and, yet, not really) Cleveland Browns.  The Steelers' primary rival.  Ray Lewis and his, let's say, questionable background.  His crying.  His "glory to God" approach (yep, because He wants the Ravens to win).

The Niners have snarky Jim Harbaugh as their head coach.  The Ravens have more affable John Harbaugh.


Now throw in the "Chris Erway" factor.  I hold second place in the Playmakers football poll by one over CJ, while Ryan DeMaria has already won the title.  To me, this matters so...very...little.  I could have picked the Ravens just to screw with things and secure my second place finish.

Did I mention it doesn't matter?  Like I don't care.

So I picked the Niners.  And, yeah, I hope they lose.  The old approach I'm taking is, pick one way, and hope for the other.

But, then again, do I really - REALLY - want to see Ray Lewis win?

Do I really want to see the Ravens win?

Well, as Max Barefoot said, there is normally a drop off after a team wins the Super Bowl, due to the usual "hangover."  We Stillers fans will happily take that.

So, in the end, maybe I'm rooting for Ray Rice, the New Rochelle product.

Yeah.  That works.

Then again, when it's this kind of Super Bowl, with no definitive rooting interest, give me a one-score difference with three minutes to play.  Give me David Akers, lining it up for the 49ers!  Give me Joe Flacco, leading Baltimer on a clutch drive, drilling a pass into the arms of Anquan Boldin - finally in the Super Bowl!  Let's see Randy Moss leave the field as a Super Bowl loser again! 

Jeez, this is hard.

Just give me a good game.

Just give me good commercials.

Just give me a good performance, Beyonce!  Honestly, I don't - DO NOT - care for or need a Destiny's Child reunion.  You can't be worse than Madonna or the Black Eyed Peas (or Prince, for that matter).

You won't be better than Bruce, or U2, or Sir Paul, or Tom Petty.

Besides, to most of us football ended two weeks ago.

Oh, before we run, how - HOW - did Michael Strahan not make the Hall of Fame?  Shameful (and, as a reminder, I'm not a Giants fan per se).  Of course, I'm also bummed that Jerome Bettis also has to continue to wait to enter Canton.  That being said, it's a numbers game, and the seven total selections are worthy (yes, that includes Bill Parcells, who did more than enough to earn his place).

Friday, February 01, 2013

I Saw a Sign

You don't expect to see the sign, but it's there.  It's just up the little hill from the traffic light, where Connecticut Route 34 simply disappears at what used to be US 6.  It takes your breath away, this sign does.  It speaks of being in a school zone, but you simply aren't sure how that can be.  How can that sign be there?

Yet it will always be a school zone.  Now and forever, even if they tear it down.  Even at this hour, in the dark, through a peaceful but chilly January night.  You know you're in a school zone, even if you don't want to be.  You pass Dickinson Drive, but there are cones stretched across the road.  The firehouse is there.  A couple of police cars sit off to the side.

You blink.  It's sad.  Eerie.  Serene.  It's tangible and, yet, not so.  Maybe, if you didn't know any better, if you missed the sign telling you what village you've stumbled into, then you might not know the difference.  But you'd have to really miss it.  The names are there.  The tributes to them all.  There's hope.  Hope that the tributes haven't faded like the post-September 11th flags.  Those names.  They all need to be remembered:

Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Rachel Davino, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana M. Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Dawn Hochsprung, Madeleine F. Hsu, Catherine V. Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli , Grace McDonnell, Anne Marie Murphy, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Benjamin Wheeler, Allison Wyatt.

The news trucks are long gone.  Life has resumed.  Can it?  Has it really?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  They're all still gasping for air, hoping that the likes of the prying eyes are gone.  In that way, you feel bad.  Yet it felt like it was time, having driven up Route 25 from Stratford, home of Vicki Soto.  You feel like you want, even need, to do the drive, and go home.

In the darkness, the sadness is still there.  So, too, are the questions that will never be answered.

Why did this happen?

Why in Sandy Hook?

Why in Newtown?

You drive home.  Empty.