Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Shopping

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


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,

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!


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


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, 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.


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

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.


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."