Sunday, March 31, 2013

Opening Day

There's nothing like it.  Nothing.

This is the day I wait for every year.  Even knowing the Yankees are, at best, an 88 win team, hope springs eternal.  The game is back.

My game.

It's the sure sign of the warm weather.  The smell in the air - it's different.  The days are getting longer.

The crack of the bat (they should be wood).  The popcorn and hot dogs.  The roar of the crowd.

The music, the organ (where they still play them).  The movies.  The audio.  No game - none - plays better on the radio.

Vincent Edward Scully.  You should know that name.  Just call him "Vin."

The history.  None better.  The myths.  The icons.  Willie, Mickey, the Duke, Joltin' Joe, the Babe, the Iron Horse, Stan the Man, Hammerin' Hank, and Yogi and Donnie Baseball - they move into Mo and Jeet (who some call "the GOAT").

The starting lineups.  The ceremonial first pitch.  And then.  Finally.  Those two words - so simple in their creation but married together jointly forever:

Play. Ball.

And it's more than that.  With spring, the races get tighter in hockey and basketball.  Their second seasons are about to begin, and what's better than the Stanley Cup Playoffs?  Plus the NCAA is down to the Final Four (after today).

Tonight, they'll have their little thing for national TV as ESPN opens the season.  The whoring out of sports continues in grand fashion.  But tomorrow, let the pageantry commence.  Enjoy the "Title Sponsor Here dot com Parade" in Cincinnati.

For me, I'll find a way to get a break in my day to be by a radio (or even a TV - perhaps via my iPad) for Yankees/Red Sox.

The game - my game - is flawed.  They all are.  Baseball has problems.  We'll get to them.  For now, a few hours, I continue to enjoy the romance of it all.  It is among the things I hold most closely.

It's my favorite day of the year.  A national holiday.
That's baseball, and it's my game.  Y' know, you take your worries to the game, and you leave 'em there.  You yell like crazy for your guys.  It's good for your lungs, gives you a lift, and nobody calls the cops.   -Humphrey Bogart
Check this wonderful video out from 1958 on "The Ed Sullivan Show."  Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Bill Skowron (forever, "Moose") join Jack Norworth to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."  Who's Jack Norworth, you might ask?  Watch the video.  Also of note is Yogi wishing a speedy recovery to Roy Campanella after his car accident that left him paralyzed.

Lastly, a little baseball mythology is required to get you ready.  I've learned to treat The Natural as two different pieces of work - the book versus the movie.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Farewell, Cynthia

Sorry, not a great scan.  This is when Greenwich took over Naples in 2007.  That's Cynthia Hahn  in the center.
If you've been around these parts long enough, you know that Greenwich went to Naples, Florida to take on the Golden Eagles in football in 2007.  It seemed like the whole town made the trip to the Gulf coast, and if they didn't, then they stayed home and listened to it.

Most of the Greenwich sports media was there.  Paul Silverfarb.  Jesse Quinlan. Plus the tried and trusty trio of Jason Intrieri, Nick Angotto, and me.  WGCH represented!

The picture above was taken the day of the game.  Jason and I had come out to the beach just to stick our feet in the water and walk on the pier when we saw some familiar faces.  Cynthia Hahn, the energetic, life-of-the-party mother of three athletes that I covered (Branden, Torre, and Eric), said hello and asked me to join her and some other Greenwich friends in a picture.  The looks of pure happiness on all of our faces is clear.  The Chelwicks, how I love them, are on the left.  Cynthia, maybe because of her smile, her placement in the front and center of the crowd, or maybe just because I knew her, seems to jump off the page.

It is with great sadness that I tell you that Cynthia passed away this week, far far far too young.  I had no clue she was sick.

Cynthia and I were Facebook friends, and that's the beauty of social media for you.  It's great to discover or rediscover friends, or get to know someone better.  We'd debate sports, talk about kids, and remember the fun times of covering games.  Of course, conversely, if someone stops being so active online, you either don't notice it, or you do.

And when people start posting prayers and concerns, it hits like a truck.

And a day later, when they start writing "RIP, " well, you're pretty sure.

Like any reporter, I checked my sources, hoping the news was wrong.  Sadly, no.

Cynthia was one in a million.  She was one of the first parents who really got to know us.  I remember she once asked me to be the public address announcer for a charity basketball game at Greenwich High School.  How could I say no?  You didn't easily say no to Cynthia.

Cynthia made sure I met each of her kids, and told me to be ready to talk about all of them on the radio.

She was right.

She was super supportive of WGCH, and wasn't afraid to chide me if something needed to discussed.  But she had our backs.

She loved her kids.  Her family.  Her friends.  The tributes to her online are pouring.  She ran a wonderful little boutique (Cynthia's in Byram) that she promoted with the same vigor that she put into everything in her life.

One in a million.

My deepest condolences go to her family.  I'm glad I knew her.

I'm glad I found that picture above.  I thought of it a lot this week.

Yup...It Was a Clean Hit

This is what passes for broadcasting.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Off the Bench is Back at the Public Budget Meeting

Good seats still available.
Oh ye of little faith!  On occasion, we here at the Exit 55 home bureau get a touch swamped with other things to do.

Like life.  Work.  The son.  Relationship.  Radio.  You know, stuff.

But "Off the Bench," our collection of random thoughts, has returned.

Let us set the scene for you.  It's a chilly night in Wilton, CT.  Your author, intrepid (or insipid) reporter for the Wilton Bulletin, has been assigned to cover the public meeting for the Wilton Board of Education to present its 2014-14 budget.  He is greeted warmly by two members of the school district at Middlebrook School and escorted to the auditorium, where the program will take place.  He walks in, grabs a seat and opens his laptop.

That's where we can pick things up...

The 2013-2014 Wilton Public School Budget.

I walked into Middlebrook School auditorium around 7:25. It's a small crowd as I arrived – 25 people, tops. Thinking that A) I needed to get to a power outlet (always be prepared) and B) it might get crowded, I located myself in the farthest corner.


Like many school auditoriums, there are three sections here. The middle one has the most people in it. The one furthest over, where the most people came in, has a smattering.

My section? One. The loneliest number that you'll ever do (that's a song reference, youngins).

And we begin. 7:32. Two minutes late. I've seen worse.

No WiFi in here, of course. Not even Cablevision. Angry Birds? Continue to have my running commentary with the Playmakers? I don't know.

Ooh, one of the members of the Board of Ed just noticed me siting alone. Probably wants to know who the freak is.

Damn. Somebody just came into my section. I liked being a rogue. Damn you, my good man!

I should pay closer attention, no? I mean, I am, plus I'm recording this in my trusty recorder. And yes, I've checked the batteries, and confirmed that the audio is feeding into it. So I'm cool.

Board of Finance March 27/ public comments will be allowed. At town hall.

See?  I am paying attention.

This auditorium is nice. A big rounded roof, wood work on the ceiling and beams, with cinder block walls. There's a little control room with a deck on top for lighting. Makes me think of a press box. That, of course, makes me smile and wistful.

The Board of Ed is making their presentation now. Bruce Likly, the chairman, is speaking. I've dealt with him a few times already and I like him because he responds. We haven't actually met. So far, they've been good to work with. I wish more people would be like that. It's a small town, after all

These seats are comfortable but the rows aren't made for people over, say, 5-7. If you have legs (and know how to use them - another song reference), you're possibly a tad uncomfy. The seats are nice though. They're padded and when you're supposed to be here for approximately two and a half hours...

Wait, what was I saying? I just had a coughing fit and had to leave for a few minutes. Found a barely-working water fountain.

I'm not sure if you know this but Wilton used to be a dry town. Dry. No alcohol.

Hang on...note Likly is talking about full day kindergarten. Around 26:45 on the recorder.

I should give my recorder a name. Gotta think about that.

The cell service isn't great. Damn. That will impact chatting with the Playmakers.

8:03. First yawn of the proceedings. I probably should have had a cup of coffee (I drove right by a Dunkin Donuts on US 7 – which goes from Norwalk to the Canadian border, north of Burlington, VT).

8:04. Second yawn.

8:05. Feeling like I need to sneeze. I fought it off.

Ooh, Mr. Likly got a touch frisky just now, essentially saying that (paraphrasing) 'although people think “we” just kind of dump money, I think we spend it very wisely.' Well-played, sir.

8:11. Mr. Likly is done. Now it's the public's turn. Each person gets three minutes. Here we go...

The first speaker mentioned the Bulletin. Yay, us.

He addressed the public. He was supposed to address the board. Somebody complained. Wow. Alert Robert's Rules of Order!

I'm just a fly on the wall.

I'm hungry. But, well, I don't need to eat.

There is a smattering of applause for each speaker so far. I like using that word. Smattering.

It's sort of like “nibbling” or “nibble.” Which makes no sense to you.

A few speakers get no reaction.  Gulp.

Notice I am making an attempt to not criticize or even praise anyone here tonight? Yes. I'm keeping myself out of trouble.

And we've had our first speaker get told to “wrap it up.” It's like the orchestra has kicked in at the Oscars.

Someone just did a Price is Right reference as she came down the aisle. Thank you, kind lady.

It's now 8:57. People are still talking. Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying...

I hear them. I just wanted to quote Pink Floyd.  Again - a song reference.

The debate continues to rage on full day kindergarten.

I've heard some of these same speakers talk at the regular Board of Ed meeting. No judgement. Just saying.

Second speaker has been told to wrap it up. No opinion to be added. Just noting it.

“(Name redacted), you're way over.”

The debate has raged on both sides of this budget. Many like it, many don't.  For the most part, everyone has been civil.

They were about to adjourn – and had – until a last speaker came up.

And...we're done. 9:10. Peace out.

Perfect For Me

There are moments in my world at the Wilton Bulletin where parts of my life can collide nicely.  The Tom Coughlin interview that I turned into an story for the paper is a good example.  Next month, I'm going to get to cover some Ridgefield baseball games.  That, too, is a nice fit for me.

Earlier this week, I had to put a story on the Bulletin website about transportation.  I checked our media library and didn't really see anything that worked.  I didn't see any pictures of trains or the train station.  Nothing good involving roads.

Wait.  Did I say...roads?

I checked my own Flickr library.  Nope.  Nothing related to Wilton that I could find.  I might have something, but time was also an issue.

Fortunately, I had to go out to cover a story.  And wouldn't you know...right there...on the side of US 7 was...

A route seven sign!  In Wilton! With vehicles in the background (and you couldn't read their plate numbers)!

That's transportation for ya.  Problem solved, and into the story it went.

Bingo.  Winner.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tom Coughlin on the Radio and in Print

I had the pleasure of interviewing Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin two weeks ago for "The Press Box."  Originally scheduled for 20 minutes, it got backed down to 15, and then to 10 as the coach had 20 interviews that day.

I couldn't really complain.  I mean, who am I?

Anyway, the interview was good, and we ran it on the show.  I wrote an article that will be out in some of the Hersam Acorn Newspapers, including the Greenwich Post, where Paul Silverfarb was nice enough to run it.

I believe it will also run in the Wilton Bulletin, as my colleague, sports editor Tim Murphy also expressed interest.

The link to read it online is here.

The audio is here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Missing (Missing Out)

"You can't make everything," I was recently told.

No, I'm aware of that.  Parents can't make everything for their child, especially not in our hyper-overdrive era of kids with full dance cards and parents who are overworked.  Yet when you "lose" your child (and yes, "lose" is in quotes because I haven't lost Sean, but sometimes feel like I have), you try.


The thing is, I have just about made it all.  Field Day at Kent Primary School, with all of the moms and  Yes.  Me.  Every parent-teacher conference that was feasible.  Once I had to rearrange a conference for phone/email and another one had to be rescheduled.

Concerts, more field days, whatever.  Baseball games (that era has since ended), and more.  If he wanted me there, I would go.  I said I'd even go to his kids party (a Nerf gun party, I was told), but I never expected that invitation to come.

And it didn't.

Time is precious to begin with.  It feels even more precious when you're a single parent and that time together is limited to a few hours for dinner on Wednesdays and every other weekend.  So forgive me if I get a touch grumpy when someone or something gets in the way.

This Thursday, I will miss Sean's open house night at school because...wait for it...I have to cover a meeting.

Oh rapture!

But it's part of the job.  I get it.  I have to cover another event on a Wednesday (our fairly sacred dinner night).  His mother and I will adjust on that one, and I appreciate the flexibility, yet I still feel like there are things I'm missing out on.

So I'm going to do my job on Thursday because, well, that's what I should do.  It's.  My.  Job.

It's the right thing to do, and it's open house.  Not the end of the world.

Like I said, time is precious.  So precious.  When I've had a game conflict with a day that he's with me, I try to take him with me, and we make it work.  Same goes for teaching.  And other things.  He's tagged along a lot and has been a good sport.

But the clock is ticking.  Soon he'll grow to an age where daddy isn't cool.  Or he'll have something else going on.  Or he just won't want to hang with "dear old Dad."  You know - "Cats in the Cradle."

And fathers everywhere cry.

Someone also recently told me that they've never seen someone try so hard and care so much for their son - or words to that effect.  I hope that's true.  I have tried

There was once a time when I went to the doctors appointment.  The dentist.  The parties.  Everything.

Now I'm missing out.  And it hurts.

So please understand why I fight tooth and nail for that time with him.

I'll say it again.  It's precious.

It's gone before we know it.

*I had originally named this post "Missing" but got an email concerned that Sean was missing.  I've altered it - don't want anyone to worry.  To be sure, Sean is absolutely NOT missing.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Circa 1972

Always a mixed blessing, ol' St. Pat.  Drink, eat, parade, drink more, eat more, drink even more.

Chances are you're not new around these parts, so you know what St. Patrick's Day means to me.  It was the day, 24 years ago, that my father died.  After a long week of working, he came home hoping to chill out in his recliner (not the one in the picture above), watch The Quiet Man and call it a night.

By the end of that night, a lot of lives changed irreparably.

I was out on a date.  I'd thought about staying around the house that night, since I really hadn't seen my dad to talk to.  Our last face to face was while he was eating breakfast two days earlier.  I walked into the kitchen, around 5:00 that morning, let the cat out, and went back to bed.

We didn't say a word to each other.  Not. A. Sound.

Ever since, I've tried to make the day be a celebration.  There have been some very good ones.  I was driving on the M40 in England on March 17, 1998, for instance.  I remember that being a very cool day.

Other years featured parties, or a good meal.  I always do what I can to keep it light.  Just another day.

But let's go back to the recliner for a moment.  The thing that helped earn him "Archie Bunker" status, if you will.  He died on a Friday and, as you can imagine, the next few days were a blur.  Go to the funeral home on Saturday.  Take care of other arrangements that day.  First wake Sunday night.  Two wakes on Monday.  The funeral on Tuesday.

After the funeral, everyone gathered back at the house.  Of course, that's where some of the reality begins to settle in.  It's a time to laugh and maybe relax a touch, hug a little more, and begin to move on a bit.  People gathered in the living room.  The kitchen.  My bedroom.  A few outside.

Nobody would go near the recliner.  Damn.  It was like a shrine.  So identified with him.

His car had been moved from the driveway (I remember doing that either the night he died or the next morning - absolutely numb).

But the recliner?  Oh no.  Nobody would sit in it.  Few, it seemed, could even look at it.  It was how you saw my dad.  Considering the arthritis that wracked his body, he longed for the comfort of that chair.  If you called the house, he talked to you from it.  You came to the front door (in summer), he would look over his shoulder at you from the chair.  He watched his movies, listened to his music, and entertained his world from there.

Finally, my mom asked my uncle - my dad's brother - to sit there.  It was OK.  It was time.

A recliner still resides in that space.  My mom uses it now.

My father loved music.  Loved it.  There was one record in particular that I recall him loving.  The Drum Battle: Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich at JATP.  And when I say "loved it," I mean to window-shattering levels.  I can recall being outside as a kid, with only my dad in the house, and being able to hear that album as the house shook.  He played it on the big "Hi-Fi" stereo that hung from wall (and still does) just inside the front door.  This is them matching up on "Flying Home" from that record in 1952.

I have the record now, and it took me a long time before I found it on CD.  Needless to say, I cherish it.

Krupa and Rich teamed up on the Sammy Davis Jr Show in 1966.

My father was a Gene Krupa guy.  Loved him since he was with Benny Goodman (and was part of the concert at Carnegie Hall on January 16, 1938, another cherished record that I also have on CD).  But Buddy Rich versus Gene Krupa?  To this, there was no debate.  None.

So to finish (if I haven't worn you out with this little jazz trip down memory lane), here's Benny Goodman and his Orchestra (with Krupa destroying it on drums), playing "Sing Sing Sing" from The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert.  Besides Goodman and  Krupa, the legendary names playing that night included Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson, Harry James, Count Basie, and Lester Young.

The significance of that recording and the concert itself can't be ignored.  The album was the first "long playing"  - and thus, the reason we say "LP" for albums.  It was the first double album.  It was the first jazz performance at Carnegie Hall.  The recording was lost for about a decade before Goodman's sister-in-law discovered the acetates in 1950.

Yes, it is the 1950 recording that I have.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weston's Wild Ride is Over

In case you didn't see it, Weston lost to Valley Regional last night 52-45 in the Class M championship (Weston Forum)at Mohegan Sun Arena.  Heck of a story, but the writers don't always give a happy ending.

I'm guessing Valley Regional think it's a pretty happy ending.

That's real life for ya.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Wild Ride of Weston Basketball

I couldn't find a better picture.  Seriously.
I've shown way too many times why sports can be so great.

Oh I get it. It's always horrifically flawed. What sports has become, at time, is so frustrating. No need to run through the list.

Yet if you've been following the tale of coach Mike Hvizdo and the Weston boys basketball team, then you know that we're seeing something remarkable.

The Trojans have had quite a season, make no mistake. They finished the regular season at 10-10, which is good enough to make it into the Connecticut Class M state tournament*.

* Yes, at .500, they're a playoff team. Basically, if you win 40% of your games, you're in. That's right. It's not uncommon for an 8-12 team to be in the playoffs.

The story is fine right there. But now let's let the screenwriters have at it. As the team is heading towards the end of the regular season, go ahead and have the coach resign. Or be forced out. Make the reason be a movie that he made 10 years ago. Just a short movie, maybe nine minutes, but the topic is a threesome. Not exactly wholesome stuff, but not illegal either.

Write in some villains. A team parent, and an affluent and influential one at that. Make him the one that alerted school officials to the film. Make the school board look clueless. Yeah, they're comic relief.

Now bring on the people! BRING OUR COACH BACK! Chaos and drama spike! Then...have the school board change their mind as the townspeople cheer!

Now, strike up the band. We need dramatic music! Maybe John Williams, or maybe Jerry Goldsmith (he did Hoosiers). The team heads to the playoffs as the 23rd seed. They open against 10th seeded University* on the road and darned if they don't beat them, 54-53. The seventh seeded team (Windham) gets knocked off by Tolland (who is 26th).

* Seeding in Connecticut is based solely on record, with various tiebreakers. Strength of conference, schedule, etc, matter very little in this case.

The Trojans meet Tolland in the second round at home, and there's no drama here. They win, easily, 74-50. Onto the quarterfinals where number two Kaynor Tech is waiting. Playing on the road in Waterbury, the Trojans do it again. They win 62-54.

This can't be happening. The Weston Trojans – the very ones who were just 10-10 when the playoffs started, with the quote-unquote controversial coach, are now heading to the state semifinals. Sixth ranked Enfield is the opponent, to be played on a neutral court. The winner plays in the state championship, at Mohegan Sun Arena, no less*.

* I like that Connecticut makes their hoops tourney finish big time. They tried it with football at Rentschler Field, and have abandoned it. Those games are heading to Arute Field at Central Connecticut State. Whatever.

That HAS to make you think of this scene...


So, come on.  It can't be. Can it?

The Weston Trojans will play tomorrow night for the state championship. The number five team in Class M, Valley Regional, awaits. The Warriors are 22-2.

David, meet Goliath. Jets-Colts. Giants-Pats (Super Bowl 42 version). Maybe the best comparison is Villanova-Georgetown, 1985.

If that doesn't draw your attention, then I don't know what to say.

It's a great story. Up until now, it's been all real. The final chapter will be written tomorrow night.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Flo - you know, the Progressive Insurance woman - hit five million followers on some social media site*.

*I've just about hit the point where the word combining where my eyes, nose, and mouth reside, along with something we read, is filthy to me.  I'm sick of hearing it.  Anyway, carry on.

Anyway, I like Flo.  I have a soft spot for Flo.  Sean didn't seem to be bothered when I said I liked Flo, and he called her "my girlfriend."  That meant he wanted me to be happy and move on.  So, yeah, I'll always have a special space for Flo.

The Progressive people did a commercial for her best moments.  Enjoy*.

* I also like Maxwell, the Gecko, the cavemen, and even the Aflac duck.  Oh, and Mayhem.  And Pedro Cerrano. And the "blah blah insurance people."  Have I missed anyone?

Monday, March 11, 2013

This Post Isn't Comprised Of Bad English

So I learned something today. Even though I'm...puffs chest out...a “writer,” I am happy to say that I continue to pick things up.

I overheard my friend and colleague (and New England Rookie of the Year at NENPA), James Passeri, say that the phrase “comprised of” is, essentially, poor wording. His point was that it is redundant.

One can be composed of. Things can be comprised. You can find a place for comprises.

But comprised of? No.

So there.

In a sentence, then, "Mariano Rivera's career has been composed of complete dominance.  Over six-hundred saves, plus 42 in the post-season, Rivera has been, unquestionably, the greatest relief pitcher of all time."

On this #MarianoMonday, it's just too easy.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Not Exactly Out of Touch

I've been a fan of Daryl Hall and John Oates since the mid-70s, when they did "Rich Girl."

I have some of their CD's, greatest hits, etc.  I've never seen them live (bummer) but always liked them.  To some, they are considered a guilty pleasure, largely due to their string of major hits on the pop charts in the early 80's.

To each their own, I guess.

Anyway, I saw John Oates post a link to an article, that began with the title/question:
One on one with John Oates After more than 40 years, is it finally cool to like Hall and Oates?
 I tweeted to Mr. Oates that it's always been cool.

Anyway, I got a response in a matter of speaking:

Hey, for whatever it is worth, a retweet and a favorite is, to me, sort of cool.

All of this means nothing, I suppose.  It's just nice to see.

Carry on.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

I Probably Owe You All an Apology

It's possible, even likely, that you're all sick of me by now.

No, I mean that.

I do my Facebook thing, and Twitter too.  I'm here (on the ol' bloggo).  I'm on WGCH (when I can actually get there).  I'm in the Wilton Bulletin.

Shamelessly, I post about all of these things.

I interviewed Tom Coughlin, the head coach of the New York Giants (as if there is any other Tom Coughlin) this morning.  That will air Monday night on "The Press Box."  I was on WGCH, doing sports reports with my friend Tony Savino.  I came to Ridgefield, and saw the paper, and posted about a story that I wrote.

I also have a story on page one.  Yup.  My first time on the cover.  Even Sean thought that was a big deal.

I'm proud of all of this - 100%.  I'm also humbled.

I don't post these things to boast.  If anything, I do it to promote - to get you to read, listen, watch, etc.  But truthfully, I'm amazed.  I'm still stunned, and not jaded in the least, that I get to do these things.

Everybody on "The Press Box" wanted to talk to Coach Coughlin after I found out that we could get him for the show, and I don't blame them.

I was also going to let my writing colleague Paul Silverfarb in on the fun, as I've been trying to build a good give and take between us and the paper.  Folks, you have to be multiple platforms in this era.  Print, video, audio, electronic - everything.  It's needed for survival.

In the end, the Coughlin interview got whittled down to 10 precious minutes and I did it alone, which is probably just as well since we just didn't have a lot of time.

So when you see the posts - on the blog, on social media ("Facebook" as almost become a dirty word to me), please excuse me as I mean no harm.  I apologize in advance for coming off like a braggart or a narcissistic clown.

I'm proud, and I want you all to see these things.

But I'm sorry if it's too much.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Just One of Those Days happens.

Over the weekend I got news that WGCH would be broadcasting the Greenwich/Ridgefield hockey game, but there was a caveat.  If it started after 6:00, we would be OK.  It not, then we had a conflict.

The Cards and Tigers face off at 5:10 on Wednesday.  Despite our efforts, we just can't make it happen.  So that was disappointing news, but I'm taking a good approach to it, since after 16 years, I have no other choice.  Be mad?  What good does it do me?

Back at the office in Ridgefield, the phone rang with a perturbed reader on the line.  The object of her ire?


I wrote an article last week about a young man who is in a school program.  I liked him - he was refreshing in his candor that school comes easy to him.  He doesn't go crazy studying, and strikes the best balance between fun and school.

Apparently, that didn't sit well with the person on the phone, who felt our guy wasn't the best representation.  Additionally, he wasn't the only one in the scholarship program.

Let me be clear: the article I was assigned was about him.  Only.  Him.

In other words: I did my job.

But from across the office, I could hear the phone conversation.

"If Rob had taken two minutes, he would have seen there was another finalist."

Well, that's great, but the story wasn't about the other finalist.  It was about the one I wrote the story on - whose family touched base with us in the first place.

I also heard perhaps the ultimate veiled putdown: "Is Rob new?"

It looks like I'll be doing a follow-up story on this second kid, but here again we find ourselves waging the "everybody gets a trophy" war.


EDIT - These stories are meant to be lighthearted and fun.   I meant no harm or ill will here, so I apologize if this offends.  I'm not trying to air dirty laundry.  Honestly it was attempt to make light of something.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Am I a Dinosaur?

As time and technology marches on, it makes me wonder about the viability of the blog.

There's a part of me that occasionally says, softly with a hint of embarrassment, "I write a blog," but, in truth, I feel like blogosaurus rex.

Many of my contemporaries are gone.  Mick, Matt, Sean, Tim...the list goes on.  Is it, at this point, a guilty pleasure?  A joke?

I'm not planning on walking away, mind you, but the more I look around, the less I see.

At the same time, many of the people I respect are still going along.  Jeff Pearlman, Joe Posnanski, etc.  A lot of it has also gone mainstream, in that people have moved them to places with, GASP, a certain amount of editorial control.  Kind of like selling ones soul.  Which, hey, I totally get.  I can be bought too you know!

I still enjoy it, but the output ebbs and flows admittedly, mostly due to life concerns (you know, overrated things like sleep, relationships, kid, work, and so on).

Still, this is where I get to write and have "fun."  Nothing is assigned.  I get to write what I want (within reason and with a certain - large - amount of responsibility).

I know that some "respected writers" look down on blogs.  Bloggers have that stereotype of being poorly reported.  Certain broadcasters thumb their noses as well.  Then again, they always have and probably always will.  Conversely, a friend recently noticed that I gave him a shout out and thanked me.  He had no idea this little home on the range even existed.

I'm babbling.  Just thinking.

All apropos of nothing.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

More Writing

I'm baffled as to why you all haven't ordered your subscriptions for the Bulletin yet?!?!

OK, maybe I'm not baffled.

Still, the latest issue is out, and there's much goodness to be found.  I can be found on page one of the Wilton Life section, with a story about a group of adults who decided they wanted to become adults.

Wait, what?

Well, they all received their b'nai mitzvah (the plural of bar or bat mitzvah), which is essentially the Jewish equivalent of being seen as an adult.

I didn't attend the ceremony, but I did speak with the rabbi and one of the celebrants.

Look, I'm no religion guy (shocker), but I respect these people for doing what they wanted to do.

Apparently, you can see many of the online stories that I've written here.

As for my editorial, well, it feeds off of that b'nai mitzvah story.

The Work From Home Issue

Marissa Mayer.  Associated Press Photo.

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer caused a rather large uproar when she announced, via a leaked memo, that telecommuting would not be allowed at the company.

Depending on whom you believe, Mayer is doing this as a temporary measure to slow down the decline of the company.  I was quite annoyed by the announcement (and, no, I have no interest in Yahoo! whatsoever) and found that, at least in my social media circles, many men thought it was the right call, while a lot of women were outraged.

That is symbolic of nothing, of course.  Just something I noted.

My take comes from my own empirical data.  I've worked from home - a lot - in my career, especially after Sean was born.  In my last stretch of doing the morning sports on WGCH, I got up each day, recorded my sportscasts, then remotely logged into my PC in Stamford to do the bulk of my day-to-day duties.  Even now, I log in remotely to Stamford from places like McDonald's, Starbucks, Lisa's house, Mahopac, Ridgefield...anywhere but the actual office.

Heck, I even once used my cell phone to allow me to connect to my PC to remotely connect to my Stamford computer...from Lisa's car while she was driving!

I'm always better when there's a door that can be closed; where there's some sort of serenity to be found.  As a student, I could have the TV on, or the radio.  In my professional life, there's almost always been  music in the background.  It's just best for me.

At home, Sean is largely self-sufficient.  Even if he is in the room with me, he does his thing, and I do mine.  If he talks to me, it's not a distraction.

But I get it.  I might me the exception.

As for that whole thing of "collaboration" by being in the office, please spare me.  For one thing, I find "the office" to often be a toxic environment not fueled by collaboration, but by gossip, cakes, and agendas.  You want a true waste of time?  Have a meeting!  You know, that lost wasteland of two hours in which one person sets the agenda and another person spends the entire time droning on with questions that could be answered privately?  Many people have either zoned out or have fallen asleep altogether (I recently witnessed that).

I once worked in an office with people I truly loved and miss.  A lot of good times were had with food, laughs, and other pitfalls of office life.  We were mostly all great friends who worked our tails off.

The company also, sadly, either laid everyone off (that's me) or moved them to another office.  Essentially, the company diversified, although the name still exists.

Funny thing is, the statement about that office could have been made about any of at least THREE that I worked in between 1989 and 2006.

Climbing back on-topic, if you're so hell bent on the face-to-face, then go to Skype, or some other technology.  Phones still work (as far as I know) as do instant messaging, a constant for many of us.  Heck, we're more connected than ever, remember?  Texts, G-chat, email, cell phone, etc.

But I get it.  The other side of the coin at Yahoo! and elsewhere is that people take advantage of the work-from-home advantage.  To me, I feel I always gave more when I telecommuted.  Using my old WGCH example, I was up at 5:30 to do the sports, and just stayed there to work.  I could take breaks as needed, but I could also work - on and off - until 5:00 in the afternoon (sometimes later).  So, overall, I could crank out a nearly 12-hour day if necessary.

Again, that's just me.

I suppose it ultimately comes down to the individual.  For someone like me, telecommuting works.  I enjoy my workspace.  It helps me save on my car (now with 218,000 miles).  No wear and tear.  No gas.  It helps - drastically - with the obscene cost of daycare.  Sean can stay with me and have a perfectly good day.

For many, and in many industries, it doesn't work.

To each their own, I guess.

Many people need that flexibility for multiple reasons. 

But for Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, the problem is that she, with her own money, had a nursery built adjacent to her office.  That's probably the wrong message to send when you're banning your staff from doing the home-work thing.  A bit hypocritical, no?

Even now, as I sit here, I think about how much I could do from home.  Again, it works for me.

It doesn't for others.

So it goes.

PS, I saw one writer opine that the outrage over Ms. Mayer would have been minimal if a man had made the same demands.  And there's your truly most-idiotic statement of all.  Stop.  Now.

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Mike Hvizdo Movie...and He's Back!

"Forbidden Fruit," the movie in question that got Mike Hvizdo ousted at Weston High School, is back online, with an explanation by the director.

I can tell you that it is definitely not safe for work, and not appropriate for younger ears.  There is no doubt that the short film is a mature one.  It would fit into the "Hangover" genre.  Kevin Smith could make something like this.

Is it something that a coach should have lost his job over?  I say no, but your opinion might differ.

Around 4:00 this afternoon, Weston released a statement reinstating Coach Hvizdo.  With that, it is over.  And it should be.

CBS 2 on the Mike Hvizdo Story

Here's the link to the report from Lou Young of CBS 2 on the Mike Hvizdo story.  My colleague Rocco Valluzzo appears in it.