Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014


This is, most likely, the 81st and final post for 2014.

I'm ready to be done with this year. In fact, I was ready just after Thanksgiving. That happens sometimes, but I'm not sure I've felt it this intensely.

Twenty-fourteen was, like every year, a mix of good and bad. Sure there was great stuff, and I don't mean to imply otherwise. The beast known as HAN Radio was nurtured this year.

There is a lot to be proud of. There is a lot to improve on. Like me, it's a work in progress.

Of course, I also worked harder than I probably ever have before, and that was often to my own detriment. At times, it was purely to keep my mind occupied. At other times, it was because I needed to. No complaints though. This is a great labor of love, and as anyone knows: it beats the alternative.

Personally, I loved and lost and loved again. Perhaps not in that order but the sentiment is fairly accurate.

I stressed. I obsessed. I was depressed. I found success.

I saw friends come and go. Even if it might have been for the best, I still didn't like it when I lost them. I loved the friendships that grew. Those who remain in my closest circle generally get it with me.

I stayed true to what I am, like it or not. I remained passionate, stubborn, open-minded, flexible.

I adapted. I compromised. Sometimes I don't think that goes both ways.

I found my voice and lost it. And I was probably never prouder of that voice.

I was never one to lose sleep, yet I feel like I lost more sleep in 2014 than I ever have as I agonized and over-analyzed.

Despite, bluntly (and not to whine or bum you out) some of the deepest stress and depression I've ever known, I don't know that I'd change a whole lot of what happened in the past 364-plus days.

Oh I can sit here and make the BS resolutions...exercise, eat better, go out more, push harder for better financial security, keep an eye on my stress level, etc. It's all foolish to me. I don't need January 1st for any of that to happen. Any day will do fine, thank you very much.

I can resolve to write more. Sure. I quite agree that these 81 posts weren't enough. I hope - sincerely - that you do as well.

I thank those who encouraged me to stay on the horse. Mick McGowan, Jon Field, Susan Shultz, and a few others spring to mind when I think of those who tell me to keep going here. Damn the stats. Who cares who is reading? Just. Keep. Writing.

I'm embarrassed to write, and have been ever since I joined Hersam Acorn, but I continue to. I've said that before, but Susan and John Kovach have been emphatically behind me, saying, "You belong."

John always says, "We'll get you through it." He hasn't been wrong.

Susan wrote a gorgeous editorial in the Darien Times about resolutions. That's a great writer (um, hello? The Blacksmith?).

*****
I argue with myself about social media. I try to step away, then realize that it's a big part of my professional and personal life. To Chris Erway, Chris Kaelin, and Ryan DeMaria, it's how I stay in touch with them on a near-daily basis.

But I do love the interaction. The "likes" mean so much to me, and I've told a few of you that personally. Not the person who likes everything that is posted. I have those, and my mom and aunt mean well and, besides, they're my mom and aunt.

That's why, when my friends step up with support, I know it's real. They review it and don't just do it by rote. They don't simply like everything just because, and I won't do that to them either.

I had misunderstandings this year. Too many of them. To those on the receiving end, I'm sorry. Deeply. Understand where I'm often coming from. Again, I'm a passionate, emotional person. I take this stuff all very personally, and feel it when I hurt or upset someone, even if it wasn't the meaning. Most of what I do is well-intentioned, trying to be the big brother, or the understanding friend. I want to see people succeed, and I don't want to see loved-ones anchored with bad news around them.

It gets overwhelming to think about what didn't get done, and what I want to do. I don't need a shiny new year for any of that.

*****
I hate New Year's Eve. Let me restate that: I. HATE. NEW. YEAR'S. EVE. I hate the ball. Carson Daly? Ryan Seacrest? Anderson Cooper? Get lost. I detest the whole thing.

For me, I want music, The Honeymooners on channel 11, and good people to be with.

But mostly, I don't see the need to celebrate because we aren't even close to finding peace, and I feel like we're a little further away than ever. But I stand firm in supporting our troops, our firemen, and yes, our police. There are bad apples in every bunch, but these are the people who keep us safe. They should be applauded. Thanked. Supported.

Peace. Jesus, is it that tough?

I know what I want in 2015. I don't know if it's obtainable, but I know it. I can feel it, and it's strong.

I'll still be me at 12:01. Nothing will have changed. The same things that I said out loud to my fathers' grave on Christmas morning will still be real. We just keep trying - as we have for a long time - to keep moving forward.

Thank you - all of you - for everything in 2014. Onward.

If tonight is your thing, enjoy. I'll see you on the flip side.

Friday, December 26, 2014

It's 4:39 in the Morning

Maybe a Star Wars bed would help me sleep? Wander, the mind does.
So I've been awake since about 3:15 or so.

Actually, that's not true. I dozed off around 11:30, following a Christmas of four movies:

- Silver Linings Playbook (very good)
- That Thing You Do (Tom Hanks and harmless 60s nostalgia)
- We're the Miller's (brash, bold, funny)
- The Perks of Being A Wallflower (pretty remarkable)

I'm not going to lie. That capped off the most introspective Christmas ever (I'm not complaining; it's a fact). The day featured a roughly two-hour walk around the cemetery my father is buried in, in which I stumbled upon gravestones from the 1700s.

I stood at my fathers grave for a stretch, just talking and thinking.

A Jehovah's Witness approached me at one point and said, "I know this is a private time, but I want to give you some literature."

I thanked him politely, but was probably just as thankful that he left as quickly as he approached.

Anyway, I've been awake off and on since 12:30, and consistently since 3:15. That was my original point.

I gave up a few minutes ago and grabbed my iPad. I scrolled through the selfies, family portraits, pictures of gifts, and deep thoughts from Christmas, 2014.

Having enough of that, I pondered something.

I have people in my life who say to call anytime. Never wanting to be a burden, I rarely do. Thus I really didn't communicate with anyone yesterday. I mean, it was Christmas. You all had much better things to do.

But what if I really needed to talk, say, now?

I know I'd answer the phone. There would be a reason that someone would be calling at 4:39 in the morning. Maybe the call would be placed by mistake, or it would be real.

I'd answer. Who else would?

I'm babbling. Deep thoughts in the depth of the night.

Maybe there are more movies on worth watching now.

It will be 5:00 soon.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas


It's officially Christmas morning as I'm typing. We have just past midnight, and I don't know that I have much more to add than to wish you and yours the best Christmas possible.

We have a lot of work to do, of course. It's a very concerning, strange time. For tonight, and later today, we'll put that all aside in the name of peace and joy.

That picture above. That's it for me.

So from us guys (Sean and Rob), Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Times Change: Christmas Edition


Well here we are: Christmas Eve and all that jazz.

I keep saying a secluded island would be nice for the month of December, and maybe one day (no, not likely).

It's a shame what the holidays have done to so many. It seems to wear us out. It seems to break us down with the crass consumerism of it all.

It bursts at the seams with stress of family and work.

It seems, most of all, to be an incredibly depressing time of year.

I try to watch it through Sean's eyes. It was he who decorated the Christmas tree, while I was unwrapping things to hang, etc. He worked diligently to get the train under the tree, just the way he likes it.

He's the one who is saddened over the like deluge of rain that will hit tonight and tomorrow. He would love to have a white Christmas, while I have no interest in shoveling, plowing, blowing, and driving in it.

I'll take the island, please. Or Florida.

Ah, Florida. The place where I spent every Christmas from 1969 until 1975. We were all together - mother, father, sister, brother, and the young blogger. We were with our fraternal grandparents right near Tarpon Springs. Thus we bottle the memories of youth.

You didn't wear anything but your "Sunday best" back then on Christmas.

Progress, I guess.

I fought the good fight for years. I would always wear a nice sweater or button-down shirt, business-casual or even dress pants, and dress shoes. Heck, some years even featured a tie, either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Now? Nope. I finally caved. I saw everybody else was doing what they did. I saw time had marched on, and I was sitting on my front porch, imploring everyone to leave my strands of grass alone.

Maybe a nice pair of jeans will do. Maybe not. But put it this way: I feel no pressure.

Tomorrow morning, as has become the "new normal," I will drop Sean off. Then I'll probably watch movies (the 24 Hours of A Christmas Story always sounds good).

Maybe, just like the Parker's in the movie, I'll get Chinese food.

So it goes.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

ALL Lives Matter

Rafael Ramos, left, and Wenjian Liu
Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Learn those names.

They are two New York City police officers who were murdered this afternoon.

I'm sickened.

I'm pissed off, and not afraid to say so.

"They were, quite simply, assassinated," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

There probably aren't any words, yet allow me to write a few.

The media will give it a special name, of course. It's what we do.

Channel 11 has already gone with "Ambush in Brooklyn." No fancy name, no hard-hitting graphic, helps it make any sense. If anything, it seems useless.

For the love of God. TWO cops are dead, and the suspect said it was coming on Instagram.

"I'm putting wings on pigs today," he wrote.

Oh there was more than that, including hashtags that indicated these murders would be revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Think about it. This guy shot his girlfriend in Baltimore, then came to Bed-Stuy. He had that much time to ponder what he was doing. Cold-blooded is perhaps the nicest way to put it.

Sickening.

Of course, the always-upstanding Al Sharpton said he is "outraged." Jesus, way to step out on that limb there. Then again, ol' Al and I have never been on the same page, so why should I be surprised?

The great City of New York is a mess right now, led by a mayor whom the police force turned their back on. That says a lot to me.

The same mayor, who said tonight, "Now is not the time for politics." Yeah, well too bad, pal. You put yourself there. You can't cherry-pick it.

While I should just stay out of it, I can't. I know police officers, and love them. What happened today was a clear message, and it's not a good one.

Let's be quite clear here: black lives should matter. Eric Garner's life should matter. Michael Brown's life should matter.

Yet so should mine. My mother's. My son's.

And cops lives matter also. They put their lives on the line every day, whether it's in Ferguson, New York City, or Carmel.

Is this hard to understand?

I understood the need to protest what happened in Missouri and on Staten Island, albeit peacefully. I don't - and won't - understand looting, destruction, and violence.

To me, tonight, the protest card is revoked. Done.

Will LeBron James wear a pro-police T-shirt? Will members of the Rams, Jets, Giants - whatever - take the field in NYPD caps?

Will there be editorials in local papers denouncing the behavior tonight?

Or is it all just agenda-driven?

Who is advocating for the police? Rallies? Protests? Will we see those?

Al Sharpton will surely advocate for the police, right? Not. A. Chance. EVER. Apparently, neither will Mayor de Blasio, unless needed to save his own political career.

It's a strange, scary time.

Tonight, hug your kids. Your family. Express condolences and thanks to a police officer. There are so many great ones, just trying to keep us safe and do an honorable job. I get that you might want to express something on social media - I mean, come on, I'm here - but think. Think a lot. Then think again. Then, after you've thought one more time, hit send.

Remember.

They were two innocent cops sitting in a patrol car.

Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

They're now dead.

All lives matter.

The End of an Era

Sean and his dad. Traditions live. December 22, 2012

Traditions. I've always believed in them, to the point of being told I can be a "get off my lawn" type of guy. Seems strong, but OK.

I've tried to go The Big E every year, but came up short this year. Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain? I got there in, er, October. I love Opening Day in baseball and calling a football game every Thanksgiving.

Traditions change, of course (baseball has done a phenomenal job screwing up Opening Day).

Traditions also end. One of those will die tonight.

Every year for over a decade or so, my family and I have gathered to visit the Christmas display of Rick and Joan Setti in Norwalk, CT. The group has changed over the years (people come and go) but a core group has gone for a long time now.

Yes, there's been a missed date here and there. For instance, I was laid up with kidney stones in 2010, so Sean went with the rest of the family. My mom missed last year due to her open heart surgery, but a group went on Christmas Eve, as a snap decision, with the snow falling furiously.

The Setti's have decided that it's time to stop the display. According to a report in the Norwalk Daily Voice, they're not moving to Florida, as was rumored. They're just stopping because they think it's time. It's a lot of work, and you know that if you've ever been there. The number of miniature houses, wooden figures, and lights are staggering.

The couple will have their Christmas village featured on an ABC Family channel show called "The Great Christmas Light Fight" on Monday, Dec. 22. Their Facebook page has more, including the possibility of an eventual tag sale.

Selfishly, I'm sad. This night - this display - could often melt the heart of a six-foot tall Grinch. What's worse is that Sean is sad.

This is all he's known. We first brought him when he was tiny. When he had parents that brought him. Later, his dad made sure to get him there. The general routine, which grew out of my sister going with her kids, became our tradition.

Later tonight, we will meet at Post Corner Pizza in Darien. This part was my idea, since we needed a spot to grab dinner. There will be pizza, salad, laughter, figuring out how to pay the bill, and we will all leave stuffed. From there, we'll make the drive to Norwalk to visit the display. Oh sure, some years the visit might have been shorter than others due to cold weather, snow, etc. Yet we went - without fail.

The night will finish just as a night of viewing Christmas lights should: at Stew Leonard's in Norwalk for ice cream (after walking around the store, of course). I have to have to cup of coffee to sip as we stroll and look for any taste samples (cookies, donuts, etc).

I noticed, as we made the plans for tonight, most of Laura's kids are going (all grown and out of high school now). They might not have pushed to go in another year, but we all know tonight will be special. I know Michael would love to bring his girlfriend and baby to see it, but he'll be thinking of us in Arizona. Mom is going, and that is a blessing. My niece Stephanie is joining us also, as always.

And Sean.

I suggested ways we could carry the torch next year to him, but he was succinct: "It just won't be the same."

He's quite right there. It won't. We can find other light displays (of course, the Guinness record-breaking drive-around ERDAJT in LaGrangeville, NY is phenomenal) but something will be missing.

Yet it's of course more than that, and any parent should agree. This is the end. Sean is 12, and different days are approaching. That wonder, that innocence, that willingness to hang with his "old man" and the family will likely be gone. There is a sadness that will hang over tonight.

I hope to run into other friends tonight, so that they can see this before it goes away. I hope we find other things to do but we all know that there will always be that nostalgia when we think about Rick and Joan's house in Norwalk.

Things don't come easy for families. Some members have no interest in going. Yet it was always nice to have something - this thing - that most of us agreed on.

Thanks to the Setti's for this wonderful tradition. We won't try to change your mind, but you'll forgive us if there is a long look, and maybe a tear, as we say good bye.


Don't Forget the Smiley Face!


Yesterday, I made an attempt to post something. Anything.

A friend, one of my closest confidants on the planet (among several in the close circle of Robland, a small enclave of Friendlyville*), reached out to me and patted me on the back for just getting back on the horse, so to speak.

* Friendlyville was the dirt under my parent's deck. Several of my neighbors and I created a whole town down there with rocks and plastic shovels and Tonka trucks. The good old days of filthy pants, a wiffle ball game, lots of sweat, and a cold drink. Magical.

My friend knows me as well as anyone, and I can't argue the truth: that by posting something, I'd begin to conquer whatever gremlin had crawled inside of me. Well clearly something is working because I'm here again. Still gremlins to beat though.

I need to get to the point.

In our modern-day world of tweets, blogs, Facebook (evil and otherwise), Snapchat, Instagram, and so on, we get so many characters. We write, and context is lost before the vultures circle. Or we have our moment that gets filmed or reported and, again, you don't know the whole story.

Think of the Doughnut Inn story from July, in which a four-year-old child was "banned" from the store. Ah, that was one side. Not so fast.

My great friend Kait Shea hammered the story home. Interestingly, the fury died on the vine after. Incidentally, the comments on Kait's story are, well, read for yourself. Typical. Yet a little research would have indicated there was more than met the eye. We have countless other examples, and if you don't think the recent situations in Ferguson and Staten Island aren't examples, then you're not paying attention.

But let's just rush to judgement - the same thing we've cursed about for hundreds of years. Tony Stewart thanks you.

Oh by the way, Doughnut Inn is still blissfully open on Connecticut route 25 in Monroe. I drive past it all the time. The coffee's great.

Earlier today, over on Gawker, I read a fascinating story by Sam Biddle on the Justine Sacco tweet of a year ago. Oh, you don't remember it? You will.

It appears that Ms. Sacco wasn't a racist monster. She tweeted something - a parody, basically, sans emoticon - and had her career (and her life) were nearly destroyed.

This is the firestorm we live in, from Mr. Imus and "hoes" (Don't. Get. Me. Started.) to anything and everything in between, we are always just a minor flub away from personal disaster.

We all experience it to a degree. We all know these constant misunderstandings - small or not. I truly believe that. Personally, it happens a lot with me. Whether it's a tweet, text, ichat, or blog post, more often than not I have the tongue firmly planted in cheek, demonstrating my love of the fantastical.

An example: I've told you about my friend Susan Shultz's novella The Blacksmith. It is brilliant, and is just the beginning for her. I've already seen a few lines from the next novella. Wow. (Oh, and The Blacksmith is still just $.99 from Full Fathom Five Digital. So do your friend a favor and buy buy buy!)

Anyway, my silly mood went off the rails earlier this week, and I concocted a Broadway musical version of the novella. Susan would rather have her lead character make a souffle of her than ever see that happen, but even she admitted that it was rather funny. The whole conversation went via ichat, which is our standard around HAN.

Conversely, if we somehow misread the whole thing (again, it happens all the time), it could have gotten weird, but laughter prevailed and all was well. But one things gets out of context, or one sentence - one word - dripping in too much snark? It can be game on. For anyone.

It's sad that we live in a time where an emoticon - a smiley face or whatever - is the key. I had somebody say that to me several years ago, when they were becoming "the standard."

Sigh. Yet it's true. Now would have helped Justine Sacco? Probably not, and I suppose that brings us back to the old thing about thinking twice (at least) before pressing "send."

I'm also often wonderfully misread in person. Don't ask me how. I've perfected it and it's my recipe.

So do we come back around to if we are too sensitive? (We are) Do we need to just take a step back? (We do, and we won't)

We all know we're too overworked, overtaxed, overstressed, and so on. The kids need to be bathed, fed, and put to sleep. The bills need to be paid. The plumbing needs to be fixed. Plus we all need an hour to watch Real Housewives of Ridgefield.**

** YES, THAT IS PARODY! :-)

A smiley face. That's what it's come to.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Awesome. Just. Awesome.


It's December 19.

In a year in which I have published a whopping 73 (74 with this) posts, I have put just TWO up in December.

Two.

Like, Derek Jeter. Bobby Murcer (1979-1983). John Football. Moses Malone. Mike Gallego.

Two.

Awesome.

And now I've done three. Granted, that's Babe Ruth, but still.

By the way, I'm going to miss that guy in the picture. You might be all sick of him, and so be it.

I'm Trying


Sorry, folks. I know there are three or four of you (and I owe you each a beverage or grape drink* for it) who regularly read the idiocy I post here.

* Those who enjoy grape drink know who they are, specifically when they got it in the Jeffseon Valley Mall.

Lately, I haven't felt it. Not because I have wanted to.

Just because, well, I don't know.

I've tried. Goodness knows, I've tried. I've written at least four posts in the past few weeks before deleting each of them. I've tried to find some anger with the NFL (still legit, as I think the product has suffered and I've lost some interest), and other things rattling around in my noggin.

Yet I felt like each post was rudderless. Just lost.

I felt it back when I wrote after Thanksgiving night. I thought I had made a cogent post regarding shopping that night, while not defending the actual action. I'm not really in favor of it, to be honest, but it was nice to spend that time with my sister..

After I hit publish, I thought about deleting it. Somewhere in the process from brain to fingertips, it just didn't fly.

Each post since then has suffered from the same thing.

Have I lost my fastball? Hell, did I ever HAVE a fastball? Am I a bigger wreck than even I thought?

Maybe. Honestly, I'm not quite sure.

I want better here. I want to keep writing. I think about it for a few minutes every day but normally those thoughts occur away from the keyboard.

I have topics but I can't seem to get them quite clear. Thus I frequently add to the reasons that I think I suck at life.

I've been told I'm bogged down. I have too much stress and too much on my mind. I can't argue. I try, but I can't.

Worst is that I feel like I'm hurting people I care about via my posts, and I have no interest in doing so. Lots of things are written here with tongue firmly planted in cheek, in the hopes of recognizing there is a lot of parody and sarcasm on this blog.

Daily conversations product topics and, yet, I feel like damage can be done if I bring them here.

Yet when you lose faith in your writing, what's next?

I feel like I have nothing to say. Nothing even remotely interesting. Even if I did, what scares me the most is that I can't articulate it.

Anyway, I'm babbling. All in the name of getting another scintillating post up. I'll shut up now.,

Carry on.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Dec. 10

Laughing. That's best way to think of him. My dad is 56 in this picture, with granddaughters Laura, Kristy, and Stephanie in front of him. A 17-year-old future blogger is at far left. Christmas Eve, 1985.
December 10, 2014 would have been my father's 85th birthday. Thinking of him as 85 years old is as strange to me as it was at 80, 75, 70, etc.

To me, to anyone, he'll always be 59. That's what life does to you. You're thought of as we knew you.

But I wonder. I wonder what the past 25 plus years would have been like. How do things change? That's how strong the impact of his loss has been felt. Lives were change forever.

I know. I've no doubt discussed this all here before. I wonder what he would have thought of the grandkids he never met. What would he have thought of career choices, spouses, splits, triumphs, and tragedies?

How would he have reacted to the '96 Yankees? Would it have been a father-son bonding moment or no big deal?

What would he have thought of my radio work?

Would he have an iPad? Would I have loaded it with countless music? Would he have an email address or care about social media?

Would there have been a retirement?

Would modern technology have given him comfort, instead of the constant physical pain he lived in?

It reminds me of a story. A story of, arguably, the saddest night of my life, until he passed away in 1989.

I was probably eight or nine. We're talking, roughly, 1977. The pain in his legs was miserable one night, and though he was usually the soundest sleeper not named "Sean Adams," he couldn't sleep on this night.

I'd heard him snore before. I'd heard him moan in pain, but generally sleep through it. This night was different.

I heard him in the living room with my mother. The pain, by my young ears, seemed unbearable. He moaned. He groaned.

He sobbed.

My mother was consoling. Comforting. But on this night, there was nothing but despair from the old man.

I couldn't sleep. I don't remember anything of my siblings, who may or may not have been home, as they were both deeper into their later teens.

I came out of my room at one point, only to be shooed back into it. While the pain was very apparent, it was still easier with me out of sight.

What sticks out at me - what really has stayed with me all these years - was him talking about not being able to take me to ballgames.

I went to two Yankees games with my dad. We went as a family in 1972 and 1973. They beat the Orioles in '72, and the Royals the next year. A guy named Murcer had a double off of Jim Palmer in that first game.

The hook of baseball struck and it's never left.

Indeed, my dad would get me to games and other events whenever possible. So I went to Yankee Stadium with relatives. Friends. Other fathers.

This is not some sob story. I loved whatever time I had with him, and never resented any of that stuff.  I just wanted to make his pain go away. He made sure my mom and his kids came first. Physically, he simply could not be comfortable at a game. You can say maybe he should have swallowed his pride for a wheelchair or whatever, but I'm not going to question that.

It was a different time. A different world. A different life. And I won't let the passage of time make things appear 20/20.

There's an awful picture of us, taken on the day of my graduation from high school. Long story short: he didn't go. The pain of knowing he's not going is apparent in his face.

I smiled. I knew he was proud of me, and he was my dad. Sure, I was sad he didn't go, but I understood. I can still recall calling the house before the ceremony began to see if he was coming.

I think about him every day. Every. Day. I probably mention him more than I should, and have often apologized in case you're sick of reading about him.

His impact on my life can't be measured. I want to believe we go somewhere special when we die. I'd like to think, maybe, he's watching Patton, or listening to The Drum Battle (he always said Gene Krupa was better than Buddy Rich).

Most importantly. He's in my heart, and by telling you about him, I often hope you'll love him just a little.

Happy 85th, Pop.

*****

December 10th holds another significance this year. My friend Susan Shultz, editor of the Darien Times, wife, mother of Lucy and Annabelle, is the author of The Blacksmith: Tales From the Graveyard, Novella 1.

I expect you to say, "Rob. She's your friend. You're just supporting her." There is truth in that. I read it because my friend asked me to.

I was blown away. It's deep. Complex. Even, shall we say, mature.

So go visit the website, via her publisher, Full Fathom Five, and support a very talented person.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Shopping

Photo: drivesem.com
Many complain about stores being open on Thanksgiving, and I get it. Largely, I agree.

But...

We all know the drill. A place like, say, Kohl's opens. A line forms before the store does. So, in a simple-minded way (I know no other style) doesn't it figure that, if nobody shows, then the store won't open? The company will eventually get the hint and stop?

After calling yesterday's off-the-charts Darien/New Canaan FCIAC Championship football game*, I moved onto my sister's place in Fairfield.

* Side note: I don't think I've ever called a longer turkey game. I didn't leave until well after 2:30, having arrived at Boyle Stadium just after 7:30.

The topic of Thanksgiving shopping came up, and I admit that I completely understand and agree with place like CVS, Walgreens, grocery stores, and a few other places being open. Do I think Target should be open? Not really, but then my sister piped up to see if I would go with her to Kohl's.

I'm a sport, and I like seeing the madness, so why not? I'm not going there with a goal, so I can be an observer, and I'm still getting family time.

We pulled into the lot just before six, and there was already a line out front. While we both agreed that it isn't cool to be open on Thanksgiving, well, there we were anyway.

I would be OK with stores being open on this night, if the staff working was OK with it. What I don't like - where I really object - is stores that mark Thanksgiving as a "blackout date," meaning to not work is a no-no or, even a fireable offense.

However, say you're in your mid-40s and you don't have much going on for you. Say you're single and with no children or family. Then what's the harm of working for some extra scratch?

In my case, I had my family to be with. Still, beyond that, I get it.

Yet let's go further. Say a person is struggling to make ends meet. They want to get their child something for Christmas and the store has something at a price that person can afford. How do you begrudge them?

Again, I don't think such places should be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but if the staff is OK, and the people come out (present company included), then so it goes. I'm just saying maybe we should think it all through before we condemn.

So we did the Kohl's thing. The story will be the story of the TV that at first required a coupon, then didn't, then suddenly did. A Kohl's employee screwed up. That's it. Period.

I saw tempers flare but, overall, I didn't see those images that come from, say, a Wal-Mart in Houston or something like that.

The cheesecake still tasted good later.

**A clarification: For the record, I don't think that these stores generally get volunteers. If anything, those people are the exception. The norm are people who are told to work "or else." That part, bluntly, sickens me. Thus I go back to me original statement of "I don't think such places should be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas." In fact, I listened to a woman in a Walgreen's recently who said she had a choice: Thanksgiving or Christmas. One or the other. So, again, I don't like it.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The 46th Candle


Got an email earlier today, and was allowed to share it...

"Happy Birthday to one of the best human being on the planet. Look up friend in Webster's Dictionary and it says "See Rob Adams". So you look up Rob Adams - (yes there is a listing for Rob Adams in Webster's).

It says the following:

Rob Adams - (n) pronounced "Rob Adams"
- awesome human being
- a great friend
- a loving Dad
- superb broadcaster
- radio legend
- lover of Waffle House
- super fan of Huey Lewis & The News
- zealot of the open roads and it's signage
- prolific writer
- beer/craft beer aficionado

Enjoy your day my friend, the clouds might be dark now for both of us - but the sun will shine and it willshine brightly on us soon.

Love ya,
Mick"

I'm humbled and touched by this, and the thoughts of each person that took the time to call, text, and post. I'm honored that I got to spend it at Michie Stadium for the Fordham/Army football game. I'm amazed to be around the brave men and women of the United States Military Academy.

Thanks, everyone, for thinking of me.

Tomorrow, I will sit behind the mic for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers when they visit the Albany Devils. Listen live here.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Friends (the Modern Version)

I needed a picture, and a quote works. I guess.
It was a week of lost and recovered friends and relationships.

Yeah, not exactly Dickens, but it will do. You know - best of times, worst of times.

But seriously (Phil Collins, 1989) as I patrolled the social media world, I found myself thinking about it all.

I love my friends and I hate when any of them get hurt or there's a misunderstanding. What almost never happens is a definitive break. Friends lose touch a bit but they're never gone. At least, not in me eyes.

Thanks to the beast of social media, one can stay in touch.

Whether it's male or female, I love my friends.

Friends with the opposite sex can certainly be a tough line to walk. Oh I'm not saying it's impossible - in fact it's quite common (present company included). Yet it does take a certain level of understanding and, to be honest, it can be a fine line.

Indeed it can often lead to impacting personal relationships, boundaries, and perceived respect (or slights).

And misunderstandings.

I can clearly recall being at Kraft back in the day, and when I announced I was getting married, it was thought that I was marrying a coworker who I frequently had lunch with.

No, but looking back, I could understand why. In this era, had I still worked with that person, there might be social media pictures, selfies, and so on. And the talk would intensify, no doubt.

Rumours (British spelling for Fleetwood Mac, 1977) can be a beast.

And the circle goes 'round. The dance continues.

I also found myself thinking about when and if to "friend" people on social media. Basically: when is it proper? I sometimes see "suggested friends" or meet people and the question comes into my brain.

For instance, I met some great people recently. Now, I wouldn't flinch and, honestly, I would be fine with it if they requested me, but I don't want to impose. Everybody has their own social media personality (and they all have a face that they hide away forever...Mr. Joel...).

Thus I don't. When in doubt, of course.

Yes, this is an inexact science, and really is part of a bigger, more socially complex conundrum in the dynamic of friendship. I have friends who are very careful about their social media relationships. As of this writing, I have 668 connections on Facebook (as of this writing), and I haven't exactly examined who they are. But I'm glad they're there.

I'm sad that I've lost friends, but I suppose there are reasons. I'm one who would rather talk them over and work it out.

In fact, I have passed on very few friend requests, and have only dropped a couple. Now I know I've been a dropped a few times also.

There are deeper things going on there, and I won't get into the minutiae. I know that a conversation was relayed online (we have mutual friends, after all), but I can say that we will agree to disagree.

I mean, aren't friends supposed to do that?

OK, so three music references in here? Ladies and gentlemen, Billy Joel!

Stuckey's

It's that time of year where I'm looking for a shirt to layer with.
Enter my Stuckey's T-shirt.

Ah yes, Stuckey's. We will leave out the story that my mother has told approximately one billion times regarding a young writer/broadcaster and the Pecan/candy/snack/junk shop, and just step ahead to the above shirt, bought for a bargain at the location on US 13 in Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula.

It reminds me of youth. It reminds me of my dad, of course. It reminds me of family trips, souvenirs, maps, french fries, an ice cold Coca Cola, and the simplicity of the road trip.

It's good nostalgia, and yet a sad reminder that most of those same roadside spots are gone, replaced by homogenous chains.

It's also a reminder of a young boy who, in his excitement, nearly made his father drive off an interstate at the site of "Stickey's."

Yes. Youth.

Thoughts from Sean


A conversation from earlier this evening, as Sean and I enjoyed dinner.*

* OK, first the meal. I am not a cook. Not. Even. Close. But I do know how to boil water, and make some spaghetti. The true shame is the use of some mass-produced jarred sauce. The meatballs, however, were made by my mother from the (should-be) world famous recipe of my beloved and saintly Aunt Fay. Just the best.

RA: So what do you think of Taylor Swift?

SA: I don't like her.

RA: Her music, or her?

SA: Both. I just don't like her.

Yes, the hater is indeed, gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Release

I need video of Fred's "cursing"
I've pondered my writing a bit lately. There's no doubt I've climbed back on the ol' horse.

Why here, when blogs appear to be so passe? Well, I guess because this is my outlet, and despite having free reign over at hanradio.com, it's just not proper for me to go there and write things like this.

It's been an up and down run lately. A friggin' roller coaster, and if you know me, you know I hate it. One minute there's good news and all is peachy-keen. Then next? It's like Fred Flinstone cursing. Or like this...



So I come here. It's a release. Yes, I sometimes say too much or tip my hand or have you all think I'm strolling the Tappan Zee Bridge considering how cold the water is, but it's largely based on a certain form of parody and exaggeration.

Tinged with sincerity.

I can't take being jerked around. Right now, I'm so f****** p***** (remember, I don't really curse here) about a broadcasting opportunity that I had been pushing for since I first heard about it. Not only did HAN Radio not even get a chance to make a bid, we didn't even get a response.

So they went to another outlet, with announcers who will flat-out...

Wait, Rob. You can't say that. You always have to take the high road. Yup. Have to. Don't let the bastards get you down.

Like I said, I'm here because it's a release. Right now, I should be posting 30 editions of Behind the News or Radio Arts and Leisure, but I'm here to help my blood pressure.

I'm redder than the traffic lights outside of Westchester County Center.

Where the Westchester Knicks play.

Sigh.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Dignity and Life and Making the Most of it All

Nina Poeta, 17. #PoetaStrong
Unless you live under a rock, you know by now that Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old wife and daughter, ended her own life over the weekend.

Brittany had an aggressive form of brain cancer, and she didn't have much longer to live. She moved to Oregon, where she was allowed to kill herself via the state's Death with Dignity Act.

I admire her decision, but like many, mourn her passing. I didn't know her. Not. At. All. I admired her grace at being able to do what she wanted, and accept her fate.

Yet...this is where I come back around to having a big ol' beef with the almighty.

Again, explain this to me. Doncha figure by now that He (or She) in the great beyond (could still be Babe Ruth, you never know) has enough "angels?" That's where the whole "reason for everything" thing doesn't resonate with me.

Best as I can tell, a 29-year-old woman is dead. She didn't "pass away." She died. She killed herself due to cancer that was going to kill her anyway. Her husband is no doubt devastated. Her parents and friends and loved ones must be also.

Sorry, what's the "reason" again?

Why is a young girl, only 17, dead of a brain tumor? A town (Seymour, CT) rallied around Nina Poeta, and now she, too, is dead.

Then there is Lauren Hill, a freshman basketball player who is dying. All she wanted to do was play college basketball. Mission accomplished.

She, too, is dealing with, yup, and inoperable brain tumor.

Back to Brittany. She served as a reminder to me - to everyone - that we need to take advantage of life. I mean, for the love of Saint Lou Gehrig (you have your religion. I have mine), we're not here for very long.

Hug your kids. Really hug your kids. Remember you only have one true set of parents (and I do, believe it or not, take stock in that, especially since last December). Do things. Make that bucket list.

Don't stay in a situation waiting for "something." Get out. For your good. For the good of others.

Better days are ahead. "Keep moving forward," remember?

Live life. Now.

Because it can be gone, and/or you might face what Brittany Maynard faced.

Maybe none of this makes any sense. Maybe it does. I guess what I'm saying is life's too short.

And life's not fair.

Staten Island: Sea/St. Peter's

St. Peter's in the rain
I've previously explained why I was going to broadcast a football game on Staten Island (short answer: for friends, and because I wanted to). Now it was time for the game.

Rain and raw temperatures hampered our efforts only slightly, as any hope of doing an outside pre and postgame show were dashed. That's about the only thing that held us back.

Oh I have nitpicks. I always have nitpicks. Overall, I'm hoping they weren't important.

I'll nitpick myself: I didn't have good pronunciations. I almost felt slightly over-prepared. I felt like I couldn't find a good rhythm with the call, which could be because I was trying too hard. But this is just me ripping on myself.

Mahopac to New Brighton on Staten Island isn't a short hop, nor is it direct. For my morning trip, I worked my way across the George Washington Bridge and down the Goethels Bridge. I let my phone's GPS do the rest, and it took me through areas that the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce would prefer I never see.

Arriving at St. Peter's a little after 9:30, I set about getting to know the place. Head coach Mark DeCristoforo wasn't anywhere to be found, but I met with several people who were kind to offer a cup of coffee, and even a warm place inside the Christian Brothers' 1859 house, behind the press box.

Eventually, I sat with Coach D and his staff in their office where they made me feel more welcome than perhaps any other football program has, with the exception of my friends at Greenwich High School.

John Kovach and Chris Erway arrived within seconds of each other around 11, and we set up the broadcast, testing the equipment before meeting with Coach D's office again for a pregame chat.

A side note: as I'm checking things out on the field, Coach D walks over to me - I'm a good 20 yards away - to tell me that it would be OK if I wanted to move the banner somewhere else for better visibility. Here's a guy running his team through drills, and he's thinking about our banner?

The broadcast went pretty much the way I wanted it to. I was trying make this about New York and, particularly, Staten Island, a place where Rodney Dangerfield would feel comfortable, given it's lack of respect from the world at large. Sea was up to the task, playing the Eagles tough. When it looked like StP would pull away, the Vikings came back. In the end, the Eagles survived, 35-28.

In the booth, it was a family affair, as Chris's father-in-law Ed Yates (a St. Peter's alum) stopped up for an interview. Mr. Yates brought the school's principal, John Fodera, on as well. Susan Shultz (sister of Coach D, and our friend), brought her dad up to say hello. Eventually, Susan returned with her daughters, as well as Coach D's little girl. Father and daughter were able to talk to each other on the air, as John Kovach interviewed Mark on the field.

Genna Erway and Genna's mom also made cameo appearances.

With the broadcast over, it was time to experience the "true reason" for the visit: Staten Island pizza!

Susan's aunt Kathy invited us to the beautiful house just around the corner from St. Peter's. John had to get back to Connecticut, and Chris left with Mr. Yates to join their wives. Me? Pizza? Um...

So I joined the whole crew for the big moment. The tension was off the charts. The moment built...what would the "pizza snob hick from Mahopac" think of the cuisine?

OK, only Susan watched as I took my first bite.

Then I feigned spitting it out.

It was actually wonderful. A little different from what I'm used to (thinner crust, sauce-to-cheese ratio leaned towards more sauce) but the flavor was outstanding. Knowing they were dealing with a pro (or freak, your choice), mozzarella sticks were also presented.

I sat and and took the whole scene in, talking with Susan's dad quite a bit as the female-dominated room laughed. The prevailing notion was that they scared me away (the women, not Mr. DeCristoforo), but despite my often quiet demeanor, I enjoyed the atmosphere. I'm not one who will fight to be heard, so I sit, listen, watch, zone out, etc.

The kids climbed on me, covered me with cheery ice pop, and I thought about how - at this very point in my life, on this very day - I really needed it.

Family, cousin Tara says, is everything. At least, she wants the credit for that quote, and who am I to dispute it? I think I would be bruised if I tried to. Family does, indeed mean a lot, but where would I be without the friends that I've made in my life, many of whom might as well have been family?

I drove home via the Verrazano Bridge, up the BQE before crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on my way to The Bronx and home. Familiar territory for me, and I was reminded that, although traffic moved, I haven't missed it.

But I enjoyed the day. I love calling games, and I'd do it again.

That night, I watched my friend Scott rock Baldwin Place, as I sat with old friends Greg and JoAnn. I tumbled in and chilled.

I didn't want to be alone but I was glad it was a good day.

Blocked Writers (As Opposed to Writer's Block)

I used this for no particular reason. I just wanted to.
I'm bummed that this has been the worst year in the albeit brief (8-plus years) history of our little gathering spot here.

To be honest, I've been guarded for some time, and that doesn't help things.

There's nothing worse for a writer than to feel like he or she is held back, yet there are writers - incredible writers - who get bogged down for one reason or another. It could be due to the scrutiny on each word, or that those same words can be over analyzed or, worse, used against you in ways too creepy to expand upon.

Of course, there are also just so many hours in the day and, believe it or not, I'm a fan of occasionally sleeping.

There are writers who amaze me and inspire me, as well as intimidate me. They are my Hersam Acorn coworkers, a few of whom read this site. At least, maybe.

My time at the Wilton Bulletin was wonderful. I learned things. I learned what I liked and disliked about reporting. I also learned that I'm not in the same stratosphere as those writers/reporters.

Could I write some sports? Sure. Could I have become a sports editor? I simply don't know. Yes, I liked writing features, and would have loved to have done a column. Why do you think I'm still writing here?

Seriously, I panic with each instant message, email, and text I send my colleagues, for fear of the grammatical and spelling errors. Therefore, you can only imagine how I feel about writing a blog, be it here or over at hanradio.com.

Some of them are crazy-talented. They write horror stories and investigative pieces. They edit professionally and are "grammar snobs" (their words). Hell, some of them LIVE to pick other writers apart, often to boost their own ego as they aim to rule the world's web hits.

Sort of like picking apart other play-by-play broadcasters, but I digress.

I admire people who survive. Those who work their asses off to put brilliant work out. Quality, not quantity. Perhaps you know the names (just go look at the bylines and staff lists of Hersam Acorn). I admire those who aren't driven by statistics, but just want to put out a great product. Those who strive for words. Those who are brilliant reporters.

I was chatting with a friend one day who said he wanted to sit in a local watering hole and take notes all day. Then he would take those notes and turn them into a great story. I don't doubt it. I'd love to read it and be a part of that process.

These people inspire me. Big time. They work their sources, write their stories, and have a conscience. It took a lot for one editor to essentially endorse "none of the above" for election day. The crap from readers was incredibly borderline-insulting; thus is the entitlement of some of these towns we cover.

I don't want to feel held back about my writing. I remember a stretch a few years ago where I felt that, and I didn't like it. Those of you who do read this do so for a reason. I don't think you do it because I'm a train wreck that you can't look away from. You're legitimately supporting a friend, or, GASP, you like the writing.

I should embrace that confidently yet, if you know me, I can't.

If you know me, you know the torment that each broadcast brings me, and that's the one place where I do feel a certain sense of confidence.

Occasionally.

Anyway, I'm rambling. The point is, whether it's my HAN peeps such as Paul Silverfarb, John Kovach, Susan Shultz, Christopher Burns, Kaitlin Bradshaw, Kait Shea, Kate Czaplinski, Donald Eng, Aaron Marsh (I can't name everyone), former colleagues like James Passeri or the late Susan Wolf, or writers that I've chatted with such as Jeff Pearlman, Jonathan Eig, Curt Smith, Mike Vaccaro, or Joe Posnanski, I really dig what you all do.

And the fear of any of you reading intimidates the hell out of me.

At the same time, if you're Jon Field, Harold, Mick from LawnGuyland, Lisa Slocum, or my mom, I still worry what you think.

In short, I worry what you all think, even when I shouldn't. Do I worry about the opinions, or the content? Not always. Sometimes.

Sure, I want people to read. Sure, I want hits. I just always assume, like my broadcasting, that nobody is really paying attention.

Then I reach the end of this post and wonder if I should just hit delete because it was sort of worthless.

"He's the radio guy because he sucked as a reporter."

Sigh.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Moments Like This

NOTE: Sometimes, writers write just because of mood, muse, or whatever. I wrote this the other night, and didn't post it because I didn't want it broken down. Of course, that's also the very nature of writing as well, and any author will tell you that. What I'm saying is: I'm fine. Maybe. Sort of. Just read it and don't make too much of it. And thanks for your concern.


Moments like this get over-analyzed.

You'll get the Facebook comments. The texts. The tweets.

"Dude. Are you OK?"

Moments like this have you disgusted watching TV. The Rangers are laying an egg.

Moments like this have you upstairs, staring at the fridge.

Moments like this make you eat a bowl of cereal.

Snap! Crackle! Pop!

Not because you're hungry. Just...well...because.

Because you're eating in anger. Or something.

Moments like this you look for a friend, but wonder: who can you exactly trust?

You know you don't want to be alone and, of course, you never really are, given that many are a call away.

But in moments like this, you want a face to look at.

You need to yell. Scream. Laugh. Cry. Something. Anything.

In moments like this, you need someone to review your back for the tire tracks.

Those things might be metaphysical, but they are oh-so-real.

Moments like this, you realize that the Rangers have made a great comeback.

Down 3-0, they come back and win 5-4. OK, that's something.

Moments like this, you feel confused. Burnt. Fried. Frustrated.

Moments like this, you don't know what to feel. Ambivalence? Nah.

Moments like this, you also feel very raw. The nerve has been exposed and it needs time to heal.

Moments like this, the loneliness can be palpable. Most of the time, you just don't care.

Except you care about pretty much everything.

Moments like this, you can self-medicate but you know that's not the answer.

Thank God you've at least got some self-awareness.

Back to those friends. Be careful what you wish for.

In moments like this, you don't need to be brought down. You need to be kept going.

Moments like this, you want the night to end.

But you don't want the next day to begin.

Moments like this are what tests the meddle of a person.

At least that's the bull shite we are taught.

Until you hear the next batch of garbage.

Then you're back at start.

Moments like this, readers wonder if it's real. I mean, really, really real.

Moments like this, maybe it is.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

HAN Radio Is Going to Staten Island

So I'm broadcasting a football game next Saturday in New York. HAN Radio is going to Staten Island to cover St. Joseph by-the-Sea (aka "Sea") and St. Peter's.

Why? I'm glad you asked.

Go here and read more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tire Tracks

Not this bus.
I got run over by a bus today. No, not the one in the picture, but the theoretical one.
The details are unimportant, and it wouldn't be proper of me to tell them anyway. The bottom line is, somebody told a blatant untruth. Nah, that's too kind. They lied. About me. I don't even know if there will be repercussions, but I'm freaking furious right now regardless.

You screw up? Say so. I'm awesome at it. An absolute professional. Hell, I've accepted blame for things that were never my fault to begin with, just to make it go away.

But, dammit.

See, here's the thing. I don't mind a good debate. The truth is that I'm not a truly confrontational person. I don't like to fight (haven't thrown a punch in 30 years) and I really don't like to get into skirmishes - be it at work, with my family, or with my friends. Oh sure, I'll get into debates about Don Mattingly and Cal Ripken with my brother that will leave us hoarse from screaming at each other. I'll go bonkers arguing about Sandy Alderson with Chris Kaelin.

At the end of the day, my brother is still family and Kato is still Kato. So it goes.

But I have a memory.

A pretty good one.

Mike Goldberg and Play-by-Play Announcing


Mike Goldberg is a broadcaster who works primarily on Ultimate Fighting Championship broadcasts, as well as various other programs. He has also handled some play-by-play of Arizona Cardinals preseason broadcasts.

Last Sunday, Mr. Goldberg got his shot to call a regular season NFL game, on FOX when the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions met.

It did not go so well. Goldberg was mocked in multiple corners of the world for his mistakes.

If only it had ended there. The keyboard geniuses (the non-Joe Buck division) were out for blood.

Goldberg would have been well-served to step away from the keyboard and not engage the trolls (yes, advice we all need to take). I've seen broadcasters respond to them in appropriate manners, but often, it doesn't end well, and it didn't work out here.

Goldberg went back at critics with expletives. That's the kind of thing that will get the attention (and not good attention) of a lot of people. Mainly, his bosses. Of course, then he apologized.

The NFL is hyper-image conscious right now. Think they were thrilled to see a Fox broadcaster cursing out the public? Yeah...no. So FOX pulled him from his second assignment, a Vikings/Bills game in Buffalo.

I used to think anyone could do play-by-play. I figured, I can do it. Why can't others? All you're doing is describing what you see. I realized, quickly, how wrong I was. It's a skill. It's not like being a nurse or performing brain surgery, but it's still a skill, and one that I'm proud of. I'm pleased that I am able to make something of a broadcast when I get a roster just minutes (sometimes seconds) before a game begins.

Goldberg appeared to sound horribly unprepared, and while he still would have dealt with critics, he probably would have gotten a second chance if he had just stayed away from Twitter for a few days.

I saw where Laxworm, a Connecticut-based website that is primarily devoted to lacrosse, has stuck its toe into the increasingly crowded high school sports field. Hey, I mean anybody can start up a webcasting station, right? The Worm had put together a small list of high school football games to broadcast, though I haven't heard how they sound.

You might know, I'm somewhat busy with my own games to call. I have no idea how things sound over on WGCH either.

Worm tweeted that they need a PBP (yes, play-by-play) voice for an upcoming Newtown/Ansonia game. I had marked that one as a potential broadcast for HAN (we're still deciding the rest of our schedule). Another tweeter suggested a friend of his. A quick scan of that potential "voices" Twitter feed indicated that he wouldn't be the kind of guy I'd want on my radio.

Image, social media behavior, and ability all combine. They mean a lot. Goodness knows I'm not immune to a social media screwup. It all counts.

Still it comes back to ability. At least I like to believe it does (and it doesn't entirely). On the local level, I can't just hand the keys over to somebody that hasn't demonstrated some skill. There is a lot to doing play-by-play. In short, you become engineer, producer, and talent. You need to open and close the broadcast (not as easy as it sounds). You're watching social media for storylines and scores. You're running commercials. You're doing prep work (if there's actually time) for the game. You're balancing egos both on and off the air, and potentially dealing with any and all distractions, including in the press box.

Oh yeah, and you also have to report and describe the action, while keeping your listeners entertained and engaged.


You have to also be smooth.

My guess? Mike Goldberg will get another shot. The reasons are various, but there are a lot of bad broadcasters and politics often works to get a guy another shot. Maybe FOX lets him back on because Dana White, the MMA impresario, wants Goldberg to get another chance. FOX and MMA are business partners, after all. Think about the amount of dreck that gets recycled out there.

It can be disheartening to see and hear.

Pageviews: 2


I was just looking at the stats for this site, and found this not-so-pleasant fact.

Pageviews today: 2.

Ugh.

Of course the answer is simple: write more. Much more. But, seriously, this has never been about pageviews. Oh, sure, I want eyeballs to visit and so on, but it was never about that.

Yet, one doesn't truly want to write for no one to see. 

So it goes, I guess.

The blog has never been heavily promoted, so the fault of all of this falls on the shoulders of the proprietor: me.

I'm rambling here.

This post isn't likely to help drive up the page views. Onto another day.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thug For Life

Yup. Living large.
Keep that above gentlemen in your cranium. We'll come back to him.

I went to the Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain yesterday with Sean and other myriad members of the family. We had a nice time, nobody fought, yada yada.

Sean made me take him up to the top of the mountain on the ski lift again. I've found that the only way for me to not lose my mind on the ride is to engage it, by talking and/or taking pictures.
Yes, on the ski lift. Not the first time I've done this. It's therapeutic.
As always, the scenery was beautiful, the beverages were cold, the food was good, it was all overpriced, and the Fräuleins were fräuleining.

It's not quite "the flux capacitor is fluxing," but you get the point.

Oh yeah, and brides, grooms, bridal parties, and wedding guests were getting off the ski lift. Just another day at Hunter Mountain.
Yeah, so, um, let's get married or something.
Yes. You'll ride THAT ski lift to the top of THAT mountain.
I always enjoy the mountain once I'm up there. Sean and I watched zip liners zip away (entertaining for a few minutes). We strolled around a bit, knowing that there's plenty more to see, and that we never see it all. We could have done some hiking, but we didn't. 
Definitely a view I could get used to.
Back at the base lodge, I pondered things while Schweinsteiger checked out the vendors.
Screw the World Cup. I want CONDIMENTS!
I first went to the Oktoberfest at Hunter Mountain in 2005, where Sean and I did some form of dancing. At least that's the rumor.
Sean and Daddy doing whatever this is. (Oct, 2005)
I've missed one or two since then, to go along with two missed Big E's since the mid-90s. It's been a part of my fall routine. Every year throws a different wrinkle into the mix:


- It's too crowded.
- It's too empty.
- It's too expensive.
- It's too hot/cold (the weather stinks).
- There aren't enough vendors.

And so on. But still, I normally walk away with some form of a smile on my face.

Now let's return to our friend up top. I was enjoying my funnel cake (I'll spare you the picture), when I looked up to spot the gentleman wearing the Thug for Life t-shirt, with an image of Tupac Shakur giving a double-barrel middle finger to the camera.

I suppose the image should just be left for you to interpret, but really, why? Let's look: here's a white guy at an Oktoberfest who maybe thinks he is "all that" with his "gangsta" mentality. Is the shirt a joke? Was it a gift? I guess I give him credit for wearing it in public, because I probably wouldn't.

Let's put it this way: I know my limits. Bravo to him.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Sad, Yet Real, Conversation

Yes, that's a circa 1997 TV. Can't afford to do better.
When Sean is here, he often stays upstairs doing his thing, while I do mine. We bounce around and spend plenty of time together, but I generally give him his space.

I stopped upstairs to make some dinner and check on him. The following took place:

SA: Daddy, can I come downstairs and watch Doctor Who*?

* The only way to watch Doctor Who is on Netflix, which I have on my ancient TV (seen above)

RA: Well if you do that, then I'm going to come up here** and watch baseball.

** The upstairs TV is of this century - 2012, I think.

SA: Oh. I was going to come down and watch it with you.

RA: You were going to come down and watch BASEBALL with me? (Yes, I knew the answer)

SA: Um...no. I meant I'd come down and watch Doctor Who with you.

Somewhere, people are laughing at my sports-dismissive child. That's OK.

Yo, This is Richmond


Facebook friend Michelle Adams Flynn posted a link to a really funny, well-done video posted by RiverCityVA804 on YouTube.

The post itself is from Maggie Owens on movoto.

A little research indicates that the video is actually five years old, but I'm all for any chance to spread some love regarding the 8-0-4 and RVa.



Every time I drive through the 8-0...well, you know, I get deep in thought about what a great place it is and the friends I have there.

The Rubber Band Man

Last night, I spotted a rubber band in my car. I usually tie my iPad/iPhone cables with one to keep them together.

For the heck of it, I initially placed it on my fingers as I sat in traffic on the Merritt Parkway (hardly a new phenomenon).

Later, I put it around my wrist as I made my way to Fairfield Warde High School for the football game between Fairfield Prep and Shelton.

I was pretty surprised at the lack of media coverage for this game (an SCC matchup between 4-0 Prep and 3-1 Shelton), but was thrilled to discover that I was the only person doing the game. It feels like CPTV, MSG, WELI, and other outlets have been covering the same games as us, but in this case, I was the lone wolf.

Literally.

Several times this year, I've had to work solo, and it's fine, yet it's not. The truth is, with such a wide collection of colleagues and friends, you would think I could have found someone to jump in and keep me company, but no dice.



However, I enjoy the solitude. I had a blast doing so during the baseball playoffs and, again, last night. Many broadcasters are on their own, including the legendary Vin Scully. Vin, of course, is in the majors so there are assistants and producers to help him out, but the call is his own.

For those in the lower levels, there generally is no assistance. That's the downside of this plan. You need a drink? A restroom break? Have a coughing fit? Have you simply run out of things to say?

Tough. Prepare. Bring water and throat drops. Use the restroom before the game. Find things to say. Simply put: deal with it. All of it.

Still a partner is nice to work with. Chris Erway and I, for instance, seem to have a good chemistry. The same goes for so many people that I've worked with.

That's the thing: chemistry is huge in a booth. Have I worked with people I've never spoken with or met? Sure - my first Hudson Valley Renegades game with Sean Ford was on the day I laid eyes on him for the first time. However we had spoken before that day. But it's still a risk. You just don't know for sure.

So I called the game by myself and generally enjoyed every second of it. Thanks to Bill Bloxsom for being my halftime guest, and to Paul Silverfarb for joining me via phone from the Greenwich/Norwalk game. Chris Erway and John Kovach will be back with me next Friday at Fairfield Warde as Prep hosts Daniel Hand.

As for the rubber band, it became a good luck charm. Or I left it on to make me laugh.

Or I just forgot about it.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Selfies

The statue of Robert L. Cosby and I at the field that bears his name at Brunswick School in Greenwich. Yep. This is a selfie.
I was doing my morning reading when I stumbled on Jeff Pearlman's two cents regarding selfies.

No doubt that there are different meanings of what a selfie is, but I'm quite sure I've seen Jeff in several selfies over time on his website. Still I get his take. They can be easily interpreted as narcissistic.

And they are.

But still, like everything in moderation, aren't they also fun? I mean, that's sort of the idea, so much so that there is a new show on ABC called, er, Selfie*.

*I watched the first episode. A modern take on "My Fair Lady"/Pygmalion. Cute. Not bad. Couple of chuckles, and Karen Gillan is sweet. Sean and I know her as Amy Pond from "Dr. Who."

I suppose, for a nearly 46-year-old goof, the point is that I sometimes want pictures with or of something. So what's the harm if I turn the iPhone on myself? How is it bad if Paul Silverfarb takes one with Big Red, the Greenwich Cardinal mascot, to send to his sons?

Paul's the one on the left. I promise.
#Re2pect
Sean and I posted a #Re2pect-ful picture to Derek Jeter last Sunday. Pretty benign, no? Must be, because some 50 or so Facebook users "liked" it.

Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't For instance, I was going to send this one to Lisa, to show that, on occasion, I clean up OK. I didn't like it, and never sent it. The point is, I had no photographer, so this would have to do. I'll risk the embarrassment now.
Yeah. I don't know.
Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't. One more. Why? Why not? I was bored, I guess.
That's a big head.
And, still! ONE MORE! HA!
Derek Jeter Day

Connecticut School of Broadcasting
HA! TWO!

I guess what I'm getting at is: what's the problem? Why do we over-analyze and judge so much? I get it - if it's harmful, then that's a problem. But tell me - seriously - where I've set society back in any of the above photos? They're mostly just goofy pictures of a guy having some fun. Most of the time it's boredom and silliness taking over; other times it's lack of a photographer.

Sometimes I think, as a society, we fret over things that really aren't worth fretting over. Let's also be clear: I'm not after Jeff Pearlman here. Jeff's opinion is hardly new. Yet there seems to be those who just want to hate because, well, they like to be a contrarian. They think it's simply the way to go. They're so uncool that they're cool because, oooh, they hate selfies!

See: Challenge, Ice Bucket.

By the way, I have one of Lisa and I taken outside of Crystal Cave in Pennsylvania. She objected to the photo (she looks great). Thus that won't be posted.

OK, nothing more to see here.