Monday, September 30, 2019

Just...No

In Mason Rudolph I (must) trust (CBS Sports.com)

I honestly have nothing tonight.

I'd like the Steelers to beat the Bengals because the Black and Gold need a win and beating the Bengals (whom I never used to detest) is delightful.

I'm looking forward to the Yankees in the playoffs against the Twins on Friday.

I'm looking forward to Greenwich and Bridgeport Central on Saturday in football.

I'd like to have some games to call between now and then, and after that as well.

See, that's the one thing I'll offer: I'm not calling enough games or working enough. When others get involved it impacts my paycheck.

No paycheck means several parties, including Dutchess County (NY) child support, get grumpy.

Others satisfy their desire for a hobby.

I worry about making ends meet.

So, yeah, I've got nothing tonight.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Onto the Playoffs

Beginning this week

Baseball season ended today.

There are days I truly detest. New Year's Eve, for instance, is just the worst.

I even hate the words and, basically, everything associated with it.

But I feel utter sadness at the end of baseball season.

While there are the playoffs to consider, and the World Series, and we still have (basically) another month of the sport, the large majority of baseball is done.

The day-to-day is over.

Teams are cleaning out lockers. Managers have been removed from their jobs.

Those with no playoffs to play are reveling in smallish things like individual records.

Let them.

To that end, congratulations to Pete Alonso. He's great fun to watch.

Those who have the playoffs in front of them are gearing up for that.

Still, two more teams will be done by late Wednesday night.

Then, some fans will wait until Thursday for their teams to play. Others (hi!) will wait until Friday.

There's promise, but it's painful.

Baseball is our old friend. We don't watch or listen to every game but we know it's there.

And now it's not.

I know the very bane of the Yankees' existence (meaning, most of baseball but especially Mets and Red Sox fans) are sharpening their respective knives for the eventual demise of the Bombers.

Such is life in the National Pastime.

Which it still is.

The days get shorter and bleaker now.

We'll savor the next month.

Then look forward to next year.

*****
Marty, Vin, Harry, Ueck
Secondary baseball note. I saw this picture on a Facebook page I belong to.

I mean, just idiotically ugh.

Look, I realize people are nostalgic over Marty Brennaman, the longtime voice of the Cincinnate Reds who just hung up his microphone this week.

Brewers fans love Bob Uecker, of course.

Then there's Harry Caray.

But only one of those four belongs on a Mount Rushmore of "golden voices" and it's Vin Scully.

After that, it's Red Barber, Mel Allen and Ernie Harwell.

It's that simple.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Back to Business



Jet lag wasn't really a problem today.

No, not really.

Nyquil (or a knockoff) knocked me out last night and I slept like I rarely sleep.

I had a game to do today, and since I committed to it, I had to go.

King and Albany Academy in Stamford.

I did this game really because I wanted to meet Rahill Jaiswal.

Rahill was part of the Little League World Series "Kidcast" on ESPN back in August and got virtually no attention.

That all seemed to go somewhere else for some reason.

Rahill is from Greenwich. Rahill attends King School.

Well I broadcast in Greenwich and have built a relationship with King, so it was time to fix the oversight.

I chatted with both Rahill's mother and father, and called the game with the man himself, who is also calling games at Mamaroneck High School.

My take away from working with him is that he's still very raw, but very open to learning. He doesn't think he has all of the answers. He recognizes he's young and trying to earn his place. By doing that very thing, he immediately earned my respect.

As for me, I was a lousy teacher. I was sick, a little shaken, and just off. It was one of those days where I couldn't find the words I was trying to say. So I muddled through. If anything, I hope Rahill saw that, despite how I felt, that we still show up and put in the effort.

If we don't, no one will (in this case).

I worry about the state of broadcasting frequently. Too many "me" types. Too many who haven't earned their place. Too many egos. Too many who expect perfect accommodations (we were in the top row of low-set bleachers).

Too many working on their catch phrases.

Rahill showed up, listened, talked, debated, and acted like a young pro.

With that attitude and dedication, he will go a long way.

That's when I have hope for the future of the industry I hold so dearly.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Time To Go Home



It's almost like it didn't happen.

Save for the blisters on my feet. And the head cold. Those are my souvenirs.

San Francisco came and went.

There wasn't enough time for a Giants game.

No time to get see Kezar Stadium or the Fillmore or the Kabuki Theater or the Cow Palace (all very "Rob-like" places to find).

Not enough time to get to Candlestick Point to send regards courtesy of Bobby Murcer (trust me, it wouldn't have been kind).

But...Candlestick was the site of the last Beatles concert, as well as a Paul McCartney concert to close it out.

Not enough time for the Embarcadero or the Presidio.

No, we'll need much more time in the future in San Francisco.

Oakland, too.

I'd like to come back and do it right.

But now I can at least say I've been here.

I've driven Lombard St. I've been to Fisherman's Wharf (just not for dinner). I've been on a cable car. I've traveled and walked on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Oh yeah, I saw some stuff.

I also worked and am proud of it. More importantly, my colleagues and friends seem pleased with it.

That works for me.

Chris, Scott, Mike, Andy, Eric, Liz and the team were just great. I just talk and assist where needed.

Some of them were able to enjoy the night in San Francisco. I joined them for dinner before returning to the room, taking meds and falling asleep.

Now, I'm trying to readjust to New York time before our flight.

As I write, I'm sitting in the lobby of the JW Marriott, sipping a cup of coffee in an armchair near a fire and listening to Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. "Elegant" is the first word that comes to my mind.

If only Mr. Bennett were here to give us a rendition of...come on, that one is too easy...


Lastly, and how fitting is this, Huey Lewis and the News (from Marin County -- north of the Golden Gate Bridge, mind you) released a single from their upcoming (and, as of now, possibly final) album. "Her Love is Killing Me" existed in a bootleg form as "Your Love is Killing Me" and has been a concert staple of theirs for several years.

It's pretty cool that they released it while I was out here.

So long, San Francisco, and thanks.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Conference Day

A San Francisco treat
With a full schedule on Thursday, a longer post might not be possible, so I'll say a quick hello and come back if I have time later on.

Obviously I'm here in San Francisco but there's a job to do and that's the priority.

So, fear not, if there are stories to be told, and time is on my side, I will be back.

This city is amazing and I've barely scratched the surface.

It also has a heartbreaking amount of homelessness.

But let's keep it positive, shall we?

Remember, The Beatles' last concert was here (save for the Rooftop Concert).

I'm babbling. I'll hope for more time.

*****
I'm back for a minute after serving the moderator for the Hunt Scanlon private equity conference today.

It's a roller coaster of a ride, but it works right up my alley.

There's stress but also great rewards.

And now it's over until November, when we reconvene in New York.

We leave San Francisco tomorrow morning and, if all goes well, I'll be writing from home tomorrow night.

So I'll close for now (unless I find some more time later).

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Heart of Rock and Roll

I was told this was post card worthy
DC, San Antone, and the Liberty Town.

Boston and Baton Rogue.

Tulsa, Austin, Oklahoma City. 

Seattle, San Francisco too...

("The Heart of Rock and Roll," written by Huey Lewis and Johnny Colla)

Hello from California.

There are days that can't be explained.

This is one.

I've been up since midnight, Pacific Coast time. Or 3 a.m. in New York.

With a thanks to Chris Kaelin, I was at JFK and on a spiffy American Airlines flight at 7 a.m.

It was just before 10:30 a.m. here when I got off the plane (1:30 in New York, of course).

A BART train ride to the fantastic JW Marriott hotel near Union Square and I was off and running.

I had a rental car reserved with a nearby Enterprise, but had begun to talk myself out of it. Don't spend the money and so on.

But when I found out I couldn't check in at the Marriott I knew I needed to do something. Sure I could walk around or take a cable car, but I decided to keep the rental car reservation. I walked three blocks to the Enterprise office, and was soon shown a choice of cars.

A quick note about this Enterprise office. There was no hard sell about anything. Nothing about gas or insurance or whatever. They were awesome.

They also gave me the choice of upgrading to a Tesla (!) or choosing a Chevrolet Camaro convertible.

I put the top down and I was on the road.

As with London years ago, I had truly one goal here. It was Abbey Road in the UK. It was the Golden Gate Bridge here.

It appeared in front of me in all of its majesty as I headed northbound on "The 101." But I decided not to stop, for I was going to hit another goal.

You might have heard of a little band called Huey Lewis and the News. We've talked about them here a few times.

Well with little fuss, I drove into the town of Mill Valley and passed Tamalpais High School. Now, I'm not sure where exactly, and given it was a school day, I wasn't going to try to find it, but "Tam" was the site for the album cover of FORE! in 1986.

Only a few blocks away sat a little bar called The 2am Club. In there, in all its glory, was the part of the bar that was featured on the cover of Sports.


Something to know about that cover. Huey Lewis is actually pasted into it from a separate photo, and if you look closely, guitarist Chris Hayes is also augmented because the photographer didn't like the way he looked in the actual photo.


But this was the bar, and the locals couldn't been nicer. The bartender (and I'm sorry to say I didn't get his name because I think he was the owner) was thrilled to hear that this nut from New York had traveled across the country to come to the site of the Sports shot.

"We see Huey occasionally, but he lives mostly in Montana now," he said.

Later, as I paid my tab, a man asked what I was talking about.

"Wait," he said. Get out of here. That was really shot here. Holy..."

Sort of made my day to pass that info along.

Needing food, I shot over to a nearby In-N-Out Burger for a fast food lunch. Pretty tasty, I'll say that.

Then it was back to the Golden Gate and my goodness this really was a thrill. I photographed it from numerous angles before walking most of the way across it.

It's amazing, on this hot day, how you could feel the temperature get considerably lower as I walked out onto the bridge.

It was astoundingly beautiful, but duty called. I'm here to serve as moderator for the latest Hunt Scanlon conference, and Chris, Scott, Mike, Andy, and Eric were back at the JW Marriott. I needed to get back into San Francisco and earn my keep.

But first, I discovered Lombard Street.

The truth is, I wasn't going to go out of my way to see the famed "crookedest road in the world," but it was easy enough to find. Soon, I was navigating the tourists and the twisting turns.

Then it was back to the Marriott to help however I could before dinner, laughs, two cable car rides, more laughs, more work, and now, bed.

I'll reflect on this special day for many years, and it's a credit to Susan that I did it, because she kept encouraging me to do so.

I'm eternally grateful to her, and to Chris and Scott for asking me to be their moderator, as well as allowing me to come out here early to be a tourist.

(I realize this post is hitting after 1 a.m. on Thursday in New York, while it's still 10:30 p.m. on the west coast. For my money, that means #Project365 is still valid.)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

She Wins. Again.

Not reality. But your mind sees it like this (Juno from Beetlejuice)

The man across the room from me was on his cell phone.

"I have to come back later," he said. "She's going to get everything she wants.

"She wins. Again."

Family Court is perhaps the most soulless place you'll find. In fact, I don't think "perhaps" applies.

The people who are there cut across literally every socioeconomic category.

MAGA meets snowflake. Race and gender don't matter. Or maybe they do but you want to believe they don't.

They come in all shapes and sizes, all in the name of "family."

Which, more often than not, has fallen apart before arriving at that very location.

Sometimes it gets cantankerous.

"Knock it off!" an office bellows. Later, you hear: "We'll see how tough you are outside."

Moments later, you hear someone got arrested.

I've made more trips to that building than I'd rather admit.

It always starts the same way: park in the nearby garage and hoof it a few blocks. Then walk into the lifeless building on the corner. Empty the pockets to walk through the metal detector, then proceed to the second floor.

Check-in: "Do you have a lawyer? Have a seat."

Then sit on one of the benches, be it in the main room or in one of the two adjoining rooms. Long wooden benches -- reminiscent of a courtroom -- await. They're as uncomfortable as the building you're in.

Then you wait.

Some do it calmly. Some are agitated.

Some are nervous, feeling like their very soul will drop out on the repellent carpet.

Many have support. Barristers chat with their clients, while others have family or friends.

My sister went with me the first time when I felt like I had gone through a meat grinder and watched helplessly as judge and counselor babbled over my fate. I'm not sure I even uttered a word.

The process was demoralizing.

You see all types of dress. Ripped jeans and stretch pants and work pants. Men who just want to get to their construction job.

I once went in a jacket and dress pants. I don't recall, but I might have had a tie on. I was asked if I was a lawyer. Then I looked around. Lesson learned. So, being me, it's khakis and a button-down shirt.

Everyone has a story there. Nearby a few small children laugh and gurgle near their parents. While offputting to some, the laughter brings a much-needed sense of innocence and charm.

You've sat on those benches and been told how awful you are.

You wait. Listen. Perfect your solitaire skills.

If you're like me, your already small fingernails get a workout.

Then you hear it: "Party for Adams please proceed...and wait outside the door." The cadence never changes.

So, you wait at the door. It has the sense of being in Beetlejuice. You want to ask about Coach, but you know that Juno's answer won't be kind.

The door opens, and a court officer greets you. You confirm you are, in fact, the face of evil. Or so it seems.

"Is your cell phone off? Follow me"

It's like proceeding to see Santa Claus in A Christmas Story. Every bit as nerve-wracking and not remotely fun.

Walk straight. Turn right. Stand at the table. There are a microphone and forms.

They talk. It might be mean. Harsh. Cruel. Real.

It can feel like staring down Judge Judy, sans the cameras and studio audience. You even remember the time you heard them all laughing inside that room before you walked in. It did anything but instill confidence in you.

You mumble your name. You know you're not a deadbeat dad but you might be viewed as one.

They don't know you. They don't know your story. They don't know your relationship with your child. But, more to the point, they don't care.

It can be over almost as quickly as it began.

In this case, it's over within five minutes.

You walk out and the emotions swell. Laugh? No. Cry? Wait. Nauseated? Nearly every time.

Overall there's a sense of relief because you're done.

You'll do better but you simply can't wait until this portion of your life is finished.

You thank people. The judge. The lawyers. The officer who helped you at the metal detector.

"Have a nice day," you murmur.

It sucks. Every ounce of it sucks.

Soon, you're back in the car, paying a couple of dollars for parking and heading out onto Market St.

You breathe. Sigh.

Get on the phone.

Sigh more.

And let it all pour out.

I don't wish it on many people.

Ever.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Ninety-nine Posts To Go On The Wall



This is post number 266 of 2019.

Meaning 99 days are remaining in the year.

I guess I could say I've got 99 problems...but no.

We're turning towards the end of our #Project365.

As I sit here, right now, on Sept 23, I find that what I actually set out to do has worked. I started writing last Dec 30, with the intention of doing more. Then I took up #Project365 and haven't looked back.

So I plan to keep going on Jan 1, 2020 (as of now).

Still, tonight is one of those nights where I would consider sitting out.

I don't necessarily want to do that since this has become a habit, but it's tempting.

Social media (and other things) have worked my blood pressure to dangerous levels today and I don't always know when to say "when."

The inner curmudgeon, currently overwhelmed with an upcoming trip, a football game that he won't be a part of, and other things that he chooses to not discuss, is winning out.

But there's a post to write, so here I am.

This project has so consumed me, to the point that it is basically the sole reason I'm taking a computer to San Francisco with me, beginning Wednesday morning.

It's tempting to write something ahead of time, and I still might, just as a backup plan.

Of course, there are still a few "evergreen" posts that sit in my drafts folder, just in case.

If you'd like something more to read, perhaps you could visit this post that I wrote after the passing of Yogi Berra. I posted it four years ago today. It is, quite honestly, one of the few pieces of writing that I'm proud of.

I'm hoping a little bit of me will be back to normal tomorrow.

Whatever normal is.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

September 22

Ellie, Isabel, Evelyn, and Emma ride the subway back in February
Things abound today in my attempt to not talk about depressing real-life things.

September 22 is a reminder that it's my parents' wedding anniversary. They were married on a hot September day 62 years ago.

There are love stories that give me faith. I know my parents would be still very much the kids they were back in 1957.

Call me crazy or just a romantic.

I suppose there's a deeper thought in there.

September 22 is also the birthday of my great-niece Eleanor. I wrote on Facebook how she's my pal with a variety of other things. But the thing about Ellie is that she just loves to smile. That's about the coolest thing in the world.

Being known for a smile is a nice thing.

But Ellie is just one of a collection of nieces and nephews. I've never been known to play favorites and won't start now. Each one brings something great to the table. I've been a proud uncle since my first niece was born when I was 12.

September 22 has some notoriety as well. From Susan comes the note that Sept 22 was the date of the execution of eight people in Salem, MA in 1692. As a history buff, I was fascinated by her knowledge of the Salem Witch Trials, which took 19 lives via hanging and one via "pressing" (or crushing).

We toss around the term "witch-hunt" and there is, quite honestly, a far-deeper meaning to it. While one shouldn't let Wikipedia be their guide, it's still not a bad jumping-off point. So here's their article on the history and meaning of a witch-hunt.

Say what you want (and, believe me, you do in the number of reads we get here) but we really do cover a lot of ground here.

Beyond that, I have plenty of things to growl about, but really, why? Blah blah blah depression blah blah blah annoying broadcasters blah blah blah and so on.

I'll say this again: quality doesn't matter anymore. It's what can yo do for "me," be it financially or prestige.

I'll also say this again: umpires and officials are not the stars of a game. Joe West is an embarrassment to baseball (from Yahoo). Then there's this story, via Deadspin. The NFL is simply a mercenary league. There's no excuse to throw a penalize a player who threw his helmet because said player was injured.

But yeah, go ahead and tell me how whiny the #Savages are. Because no other team whines. No Red Sox team. No Mets team (Gary Carter whined over Mike Scott in '86). Nope. Just the Yankees.

Or maybe sour grapes?

I'm tired of the nonsensical rhetoric.

Just silly.

Today's not the day for it.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Exhausted

See that landing on the stairs? That was my press box today.
I've got nothing tonight.

I'm home from calling Brunswick at Hotchkiss today in the northwest corner of the Nutmeg State.

The Bruins won, 21-14, on a Kevonne Wilder punt return with under two minutes to play.

While it wasn't a particularly well-played game, it was still a dramatic game, capped by Wilder's scamper to get the win.

We had great weather -- hot and in the 80s.

Sure, there's always that one fan that yells suggestions to the coach, but it's worth a laugh.

But it was a fun atmosphere on a beautiful campus.

Something to know is that the number of places with a private broadcasting area is very few.

For instance, I've added Albany Academy at King School next Saturday to the Robcasting schedule. King's football field does not have a press box at all, so Rahill Jaiswal and I will work from the small set of bleachers.

Today, I stood on a landing at the middle of a set of stairs climbing to an open-air crows news.

To be clear: it's no press box. The coaches need it, as do cameras for filming.

But it was a decent angle. It's all in what you make of it.

That's the joy of it all for me: figuring it out and making it work.

Indeed, to quote Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith of "The A-Team": "I love it when a plan comes together."

But you have to have the desire to drag the bags and a small folding table while dodging yellow jackets. You have to have the drive to stand for 2-3 hours, often talking alone, with possibly few to no viewers/listeners.

You have to give your all.

At the cost of being exhausted when it's over.



Check this out on Chirbit

Friday, September 20, 2019

Stay Focused

Greenwich (in white) and Trumbull before tonight's game.
Things got...dark today.

I can't (or, maybe, shouldn't) really talk about it, but it got bad.

Stress on top of stress for myriad reasons.

And then, I discovered I was missing a power cord, and it felt like the world was over.

It's funny how something so small can ruin so much. In that moment, I realized I left not one but TWO power cords at home and needed them to run my computer.

The lack of said cord could put the status of our broadcast tonight in peril.

I began asking around...Chris Erway...Jeff Alterman...DJ Furano...and Susan asked around as well.

It took a while, but finally, Chris Erway found one and all was well.

My rational mind told me that we'd survive with or without the cord. I'd use my skills to come up with Plan B.

But it was still friendly fire, and I was my own worst enemy. I was so mad at myself for losing site of things and forgetting the damn cord.

TWO of them.

I realize it was the cherry on my sundae but it just put me in dire straits.

I couldn't keep my eye on the ball.

But back to Susan, who gets an MVP nod. As any great friend will do, she steadied the ship by reminding me to focus on the here and now.

I told myself that at three in the morning last night, but my brain just wouldn't listen.

Nothing gets solved at that point.

But I simply felt overwhelmed.

I needed to remind myself to go a step at a time.

A day at a time.

Then, after sitting in awful traffic, I made my way to Trumbull for the game in question.

Greenwich rolled along, eventually running away from the Eagles, 42-7.

For one night, Chris Erway and I reigned again on WGCH. We're off next week when Chris Kaelin and Paul Silverfarb fill in for us as Greenwich hosts Norwalk.

In a stroke of genius, we stood outside on a beautiful night, and let the sardine can press box fill up like the booth in The Naked Gun.

There was no battling with other voices. There was just us, doing out thing.

I was back in my element. I was back to laughing. I could breathe again.

I began to see clearly.

I live to fight another day, as I often say, and that day will feature Hotchkiss and Brunswick, tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.

A note about tomorrow: the game -- carried via the Brunswick website, produced by Local Live with audio via Robcasting -- might encounter transmission problems. Hotchkiss, located in the northwest corner of the state, is notable for not having great cell phone service in the area.

We will all do our best to get the game on the air live and uninterrupted. Barring that, I will post the audio in the archive.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mixed Emotions

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees just won the American League East Division for the 19th time.

The Bombers closed out the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of California of the West Coast of the United States, 9-1 a short time ago.

It's their first division title in seven years, and they remain the gold standard of doing so.

Still, there's a prevailing feeling of disgust mixed in with the taste of champagne tonight.

The Yankees stand to be without starting pitcher Domingo German for some time.

A team that has been decimated by injuries all year has lost a pitcher with 18 wins because (apparently) he slapped his girlfriend.


What a prince.

We do still live in a land where people are innocent until proven guilty, but the stench of such a thing in our world of social media means the court of public opinion is open for business and German has been found guilty.

It really should take little effort or common sense to say that there's no place for that behavior.

In baseball or anywhere else.

And so I found myself a bit annoyed as I prepared to watch the Yankees take the first step towards a possible 28th championship.

Admittedly, I finally got into the game and put the German stuff aside, and certainly felt a smile as they wrapped it up.

In the end love of sports -- always meant to be a distraction from "real" life -- won out.

But as a man -- a father, who has tried to bring his son up to be respectful -- I found myself also feeling a little sick after the game.

This is not a Yankees thing, of course. It's a people thing, but it still clouded the evening just a hair.

I had other feelings of anxiety and such through the night, but they're not necessary to discuss and, good grief, you have to be sick of hearing them by now.

So, is it right to feel good about the 2019 New York Yankees tonight?

I guess that's a personal thing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bell-Bottom Blues



I saw the above picture in my memories today and immediately cringed.

Among the myriad things during my time at HAN, this was a standout.

It seemed at times like I could do nothing right, and then came the day of Sep 18, 2014.

As we figured out exactly what we were, the Hersam Acorn Radio/HAN Network team would go to different things.

We'd do street fairs and sidewalk sales and news and sports and lots of things.

Really, our potential was endless.

I digress.

On this morning, we were to go to a country club for interviews, chat, and so on.

It was one of those late summer/fall days. Pretty, and even just right for shorts.

But I worried shorts wouldn't be the right look to be on the air.

So I opted for a nice crisp pair of jeans.

The thing to know about me is that I care about how I look.

No, I don't spend time in front of a mirror anymore, but comfort, function, and appearance sort of matters.

So when money was less of an option, I'd shoot for classic, and so on.

Trendy? Not really. Occasionally, I suppose.

Anyway, for me to wear jeans, they had to be neat and nice-looking.

I drove to the broadcast feeling OK.

I turned into the parking lot, ahead of literally everyone else in our crew.

There was to be a golf tournament there and we'd be conducting interviews.

I got closer to where the golfers were to check in when it suddenly hit me.

"Uh oh," I mused. "I wonder if they have a no denim policy."

Yup. They did.

I got us all set at our broadcast site, and eventually, I was told the bad news.

"So, you have to stay seated, behind the table the whole time," I was told. "You can stay, but you can't wear jeans here. Had you worn shorts, you'd be fine."

I just figured I'd be fired then and there. Or mocked forever.

I'm sure the talking behind my back was off the charts. Thus my ears rang for hours.

Honestly, I couldn't win. I thought about running into town and buying shorts.

It was Caddyshack.
I wonder if you get a free bowl of soup with that hat.
I was waiting for Ted Knight to hunt me down, and for Rodney Dangerfield to tell everyone to calm down.

It was mortifying, given that I had actually put thought into it that morning. Just not enough thought.

My embarrassment was off the charts. My colleagues even had to bring me food. I couldn't wait to get out of there (lovely place, to be quite clear).

I always try to be invisible and, that day, I was part of the story.

The following year? Oh yeah, I wore shorts without a doubt.

Live and learn, I guess.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Too Coincidental

The old General Foods headquarters in Rye Brook, NY
Life is weird. But you knew that already.

Social media has made our small world even smaller.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's go back in time...

Once upon a time, I was an idiot. Oh, wait. You knew that also.

I didn't plan to go away to school. I decided I wasn't ready to do that, so I'd stay local and attend Westchester Community College. Nope, it's not Harvard, but I got my first degree there, and there was a lot of hard work and sadness and triumph in all of that.

There's a longer story in there, but it's for another time. Still, some of it is pertinent to our tale today.

After a year of full-time school, I was essentially told that I needed a full-time job. So I switched what I did in my freshman year, going from full-time school/part-time work to the exact opposite.

Through my neighbor, I got a job in the mailroom of General Foods, at the large spaceship-looking building on the side of Interstate 287 in Rye Brook, NY.

I was there just about a year when a few things happened: first, I applied for a finance job (which had nothing to do with radio, of course). Second, my father died. Third, just after returning to work following his funeral, I found out I got that job, which I was told was unusual because most people in the mailroom take a little longer to get promoted.

I moved from the Rye Brook building over to 250 North Street in White Plains in April 1989.

Anyway, I'm babbling. I eventually worked for a man named John Hepburn. He became a bit of a mentor for this radio-loving Yankees fan that hung around his office a lot and drove him fairly crazy. We played softball, had occasional lunches, and so on in the happy culture that was General...er...Kraft General...er...Kraft Foods of the 1990s.

Eventually, we were all laid off, with me saluting my coworkers on WREF Radio in Dec 1996.

John wasn't much for such sentimentality. At least not publicly. I wrote him a letter (through the MAIL!) in 1997 when I became a manager at my next gig, looking for advice and to catch up.

It went unanswered.

I'd think of him from time to time.

Then came today.

I was on Facebook, of course, looking at something related to the Jets when I noticed a comment from a Katie Hepburn. John (and his wife, Eileen) had a daughter named Katie who used to hang out with me when she'd visit her dad at the office. Nah. Too coincidental.

Obviously, I'm giving up the mystery here.

I scrolled through her Facebook page. There it was: just one picture from a Father's Day of Katie posing with her dad years ago.

Through more digging, I discovered a variety of things about John and Katie. I found out Eileen had died and that John had remarried and, at least in the pictures that I saw with his second wife, looks very happy.

It's still John, but the hair is whiter. He looks great, and could probably get a few more hits on the softball field if his knees would hold up.

I'm sure he still lives and dies with the Jets and Mets.

So, what does one do with this? Sure -- message Katie and ask if she remembers me or write to his second wife and tell her all of this? All of that is in play, I guess.

Then, at the same time, I can't help but wonder if people are content to let these things go for a reason.

Just like Frank Viggiano, as I wrote back in April.

So, as of right now, I'm content to see who and what Katie has become, and see the joy in John's face. I can love my old friends from afar.

And flashback to days when I was young, immature, headstrong, and dumb.

And innocent.

The end of the innocence happened a long time ago and that's a whole different topic.

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Monday Night


I feel a little tapped out tonight.

- I could jump in on the kerfuffle involving the Mets and Joe Torre, but I don't think I have the brainpower to handle it.

Short answer? Torre, acting as a lackey for Rob Manfred, took the brunt of the heat because MLB wants uniformity in regard to hats. They allowed special cleats, as chosen by Pete Alonso of the Mets.

Simple answer? It's about the money. The end.

What began to grind my gears was how it became a Mets vs. Yankees thing, with one stooge saying the Metsies did everything after 9/11.

Correction, Bucko. The Mets did everything PUBLIC after 9/11. The Yankees did things privately, in keeping with George Steinbrenner's benevolent style that few saw.

Don't go down that path. Both teams -- in fact, ALL New York/New Jersey teams did a lot.

Focus on the task at hand.

- The Jets are currently wearing godawful black uniforms in their matchup with the Browns on Monday Night Football. That, if you didn't know, was the original game on "MNF" on Sept. 21 1970.

Joe Namath was the Kets' quarterback that night.

Tonight, thanks to injury, Luke Falk is now taking the snaps.

Al Woodall is said to be warming up, just in case.

Apparently, Tainy and Anwell will be the halftime entertainment. Is that a new kind of deli sandwich?

- Mariano Rivera was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. He was introduced by a recording of Bob Sheppard and the sounds of -- what else? -- "Enter Sandman."

The current occupant of the White House said Mo debuted in 1955. While the Yankees made the World Series in '55, they probably could have used Mo that year.

Mo actually first made it to the Yankees in 1995.

Anyway, Mo is the GOAT.

- Of course, earlier today, the Steelers announced Ben Roethlisberger is done for the year. I'm fairly bummed. To say the least.

Honestly, that's about it for tonight. The week is full so I'll have to be on my blogging game this week.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Thoughts

Ric Ocasek
News just broke that Ric Ocasek of The Cars has died at 75. Ocasek was the main voice behind the bands' work, along with Benjamin Orr, who died in 2000. The Cars were a unique combination of New Wave, rock, and pop who made their way to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Not that they needed that validation. There was enough music to back that up.

Another week and more hatred towards Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.

I tweeted it before, and I stand by it: the obsession of hatred (especially towards Joe) rivals only the President and it's kind of sad.

So I'll muster along and hit on other things.

Quick note on the roster thing from yesterday. Let there be no confusion that it wasn't a knock on Greenwich High or the parents or their Quarterback Club. The beginning of a season (especially football) can lead to either no rosters or incomplete rosters (or rosters full of errors).

The great Brian Kennedy got me a fresh Greenwich roster not long before kickoff, as well as copies for my booth mates.

The Danbury roster was messy and I should have gone done to the field and asked around more.

Still, the roster issue is one that astounds me. This is nothing new.

I had a little back and forth with Verizon this week on some charges. Without telling the whole story, let me say this: I'll call you out when you're bad and I'll note when you've been good. Verizon gets a solid for working with me to resolve the issue. Would I feel differently if it didn't get resolved? Of course, but the point is, they did resolve it. Solid.

The NFL TV thing remains something that will infuriate me for all time. Because of the myriad foolish rules, we got Bills/Giants on CBS and some infomercial on FOX. Now we have Saints/Rams on FOX, as the officials screw the Saints...again.

But, hey, the stripes deserve no criticism, eh?

Speaking of no criticism, Antonio Brown faces myriad sexual abuse charges, catches a touchdown, and all is well. Just another day in Goodellboro.

The Patriots Way, indeed.

Oh, the Steelers suck, by the way. I don't mind owning that. Both sides of the ball committed mistakes.

What Stamford High School's football team did on Friday, beating Staples on an emotional night at Boyle Stadium, was simply sports at its most cathartic. Congrats to the Black Knights.

I only wish I had been there to call and you know what? I should have been.

Speaking of calling games, I've added my first soccer broadcast to the 2019-2020 schedule, as Brunswick hosts Loomis Chaffee Wednesday at 3:00. That will give me enough time to fly over to Grand Prix New York for The Clubhouse after that. Watch the action on Local Live.

On Friday, the A-Team reunites! Chris Erway and I have the call as Greenwich travels to play the Trumbull Eagles. The pregame show starts at 6:50 p.m. on WGCH.

Saturday is still up in the air and the rest of the week is currently open to discussion. I'd love to jump on more broadcasts.


An album called "Sports" came out on this day in 1983. It impacted me like literally nothing I've ever listened to. Certainly, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, and so many others have played a part in shaping my musical taste. But "Sports" opened my eyes. It seems ridiculous to say it, but it's true. In the middle of a collection of '80s one-hit wonders, Huey Lewis and The News harkened back to a different time in music. "The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost," said Patrick Bateman.

I'll be in San Francisco for the first time in 10 days and I'd really like to go to the site of the album shoot (the 2 AM Club in Mill Valley, CA). Dumb, I know. Nerd, geek, etc. The site of the FORE! album cover is nearby also (Tamalpais High School). But...anyway.

Time and funds will likely squash my heart and soul. I guess bad is bad after all (see what I did there?).

Thanks to Huey, Johnny, Chris, Mario, Bill, and Sean for the music and the memories.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Get 'em Next Week



So, week one has come and gone.

After a scoreless first quarter, Greenwich found themselves down 3-0 to Danbury before roaring to a 49-3 win.

I was ready in the booth. I swear.

I saw all of the old gang.

The rosters looked OK. Not great, but OK.

The equipment set up easily.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you can't show up at Cardinal Stadium expecting peace and quiet for setup. Literally, your only hope for peace is to be very early.

Which I was. I was there over three hours before kickoff.

So, thankfully, setup was sort of uneventful.

The sweat poured off of me as I crawled around, plugging into electricity and ethernet ports.

Soon, I was set. I went to the tailgate outside of the stadium and grabbed some food at the tailgate. (Note: thank you to everyone there).

All was good.

Then...the internet appeared to crap out.

Then...the Greenwich roster that I had printed was reprinted with new numbers.

OK, we'll survive.

Wound tighter than a baseball hit by Aaron Judge, I steadied myself as the theme music swelled.

The lump built in my throat as I thought about what it all meant to me.

But I could hear the theme music garbling -- a sure sign of internet problems.

Undeterred, I stayed the course and began talking as I felt my emotions push at me.

I was back. We were good.

I wasn't sure I would be back, but here we were.

I stumbled through pregame, having had too much time on my hands.

Then, as kickoff approached, I glanced at the field and saw number 42 for Danbury ready to kick off.

There was no number 42 on the Danbury roster.

I made the best of it, but it was frustrating.

Mostly, I'm mad at me for not pushing people for better information.

Yes, in a perfect world, rosters would be online and accurate. They weren't. It's on me to dig deeper.

So, to recap, the internet dropped on us occasionally and the rosters were a headache.

It was a typical day, I guess.

While it was not up to my standards, we still got the game on the air. We did our best, and there is far worse. Days like this can rattle confidence.

I'll get over it.

We'll see you next Friday night at Trumbull.

Friday, September 13, 2019

'Twas the Night Before Football



I've got rosters.

Hopefully, they're accurate.

I've got a scoresheet.

I've got some notes.

In a perfect world, I'd add in stats.

I'd love to have all of it, but my workspace just never allows it. I admire those who can be so fancy.

Otherwise, let's put the ball in the air.

I've heard enough games at this point. I've watched enough.

I've been a caged animal for weeks.

I was down in North Carolina on Aug. 23, when they were starting their season.

Mike Hirn has already called several football games in Ohio, as well as volleyball and soccer, pro wrestling and who knows what else? Professional cornhole? Who knows?

I've called two games since early August.

I'm tired of listening to everyone else.

I enjoy reading the tweets of all of the reporters. Always quality content to be found (Fairfield Prep gives me a good laugh, for instance).

But I'm ready. I hope you are also, and that you'll join us tomorrow (and keep me company).

Tomorrow at 3:50, the defending state champions get their chance to kick-off as Greenwich hosts Danbury.

On a personal note, it's the beginning of my 21st year around Greenwich football. It's my 20th year calling any Greenwich football games (remember: two years of HAN), and my 18th as lead broadcaster of Cardinals' games on WGCH.

I'll have Cardinals/Hatters on WGCH, wgch.com (anywhere) and though I never mention it, it's worth reminding you we're on TuneIn. Also available on Local Live from the Greenwich Athletic Foundation.

I'll talk to you then.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Oh, You Mean THAT Guy?

Maybe you've heard of him? (Photo: Frank Sinatra Enterprises)

Sometimes just being a fly on the wall is the way to go.

I'm sitting in a place where the regulars come and go.

There's one guy. You know...that one.

He thinks he runs the place. He takes over the TV and, without fail, insists on watching old movies.

Currently, he's telling the girl behind the counter about Peter Lawford.

"He was married to President Kennedy's sister," he says. Which, OK, fair enough. She might not have known that one.

"His career fizzled in the early '60s," he continued. "He fell out of favor with a guy named Frank Sinatra."

"I might have heard of him a few times," she said, laughing.

I mean, seriously. I realize not everyone is a history buff. He went on to tell her about June Allyson, which, I get it. Allyson is remembered by older movie fans (like...oh...me), but a girl working the day shift might not care.

But...Sinatra?

I can just hear him now: "So here are these four boys from England called The Beatles."

"There was a guy named Elvis Presley, whose hips gyrated on TV."

"So we had a president named George Washington, who is more than just a bridge."

Can we give people a little more benefit of the doubt, as opposed to being a condescending fool?

There are ways to phrase it and let her retain a slice of dignity.

Try it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

After 18 Years


I wrote the following just a few months after the events of September 11, 2001. I wrote it so that Sean could have my memories of the awful day. I've made the decision to edit it slightly. I'm not the person that I was in 2001. What I've cut is minor at best, because as you know, we're mostly about moving forward around here. 

The original is elsewhere on Exit 55, and you're invited to read it of course.

In these words, I hope to honor the memory of those lost, as well as what we all lost that day.

Of course, may we Never Forget, though I fear we have.

To begin, I guess one must understand where we were prior to that day. Just 11 days earlier, I had finished my final Hudson Valley Renegades game and was ready for Labor Day, which I had hoped would be a turning point in my job hunt. That nations' economy wasn’t doing great, but I think we all hoped for the best. In fact, I had just been asked to do some temporary work that would allow me to train for the position in White Plains and work from home for about four months or more. The company providing me with the work would be American Express, and I would work with the Premier agency of White Plains. So overall, I was hopeful. I was to begin my training with Premier on Tuesday, September 11 at 1:00. That morning, I would go to a job fair at the Westchester County Center. But first, I would go to WGCH to do a little prep work for the beginning of football season. Now you know what was on my mind that morning.

Believe it or not, I don’t remember now what I wore that day, except to say that I left the house ready to look professional. I walked out of the house around 8:30 and headed off in the Honda for Greenwich. It was an absolutely perfect day – sunny, warm, my favorite kind of weather. It wasn’t too hot yet it was not cold. As always, I was listening to Imus in the Morning. My ride was uneventful, until just around 8:50. That’s when Imus reports that Warner Wolf saw a plane go into the World Trade Center from his nearby apartment. I had merged from NY route 139 onto route 100, heading for 35 and eventually, Interstate 684. My first thought was of the plane that went into the Empire State Building in 1945 that killed 29 people. As the story began to develop, it appeared that it was a commuter plane that had hit the building, the north tower. Obviously, I felt somewhat horrified that this had happened. There would have to be casualties, and quite a disaster. Looking back now, it seems like we (the media, the general world) weren’t taking this too seriously. Sure, there was a certain amount of horror at what had happened, but things seemed to be calm. As a reporter and media hound, I began to think that I couldn’t get to the station fast enough. I wanted to follow the story via television and radio, and cover it if needed.

Back on the radio, Imus talked with Warner about what he could see from his apartment. But as news breaks, I become a flipper, in that I change stations looking for more information, and to see how different stations are covering it. So I switched between Imus and WCBS. By and large, Imus (who’s extraordinary in these times) was sticking to the normal show, bringing in Warner as necessary, playing commercials, and going to Charles McCord for the news at the top of the hour. They even played a comedy bit at one point. Chuck didn’t seem to have much more to say so I switched over to WCBS for more. By 9:05, WCBS had an eyewitness saying that a second plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, this time into Tower 2, the south tower. At this point I had two reactions. Number one was to flip the dial to see if Imus could confirm what was being reported (he did), and number two was to look at the sky. Clearly, we were under attack. I was now on Interstate 684, near the Bedford rest area. I looked around at the other cars on the road. If they had the radio on, they now had to know what was going on. What were they thinking? And why didn’t they look concerned?

My drive continued without incident. Imus and WCBS continued to report what they were seeing. I took note of nothing spectacular going on at the Westchester County Airport. As I got into Greenwich, the radio was now reporting the type of planes that had hit the World Trade Center. Armed with that information, I bolted into the station to try and assist if I could. Jim Thompson and Dima Joseph were hard at work, trying to get the story on the air without killing each other at the same time. In truth, that’s the way they always work. The faces that were at WGCH (note: our old location on Dayton Ave.) will never be forgotten. Jim and Dima were airing the story; Bob Small was trying to clear coverage with CNN and get the network on the air; John Iannuzzi was along to help Jim and Dima, and to anchor his own coverage on sister station WVIP; Jane Crawford had come in to watch the coverage and prepare for her afternoon show (she had recently announced that she would leave the station); Dana Masini was in her usual role as executive assistant; Peter Baumann (GM) and Janet Beckley (VP) were both playing the “boss” role. Mary Hamel and Audrey Young would also be in during the day. All of this only gets us to about 9:15, and it amazed me that people didn’t seem more horrified. In some ways, I could go sit down and not know any better that the world was going crazy.

The televisions in the newsroom and conference room at WGCH were now humming with coverage of the events. I could see how smoky and badly damaged the two towers were. Around 9:30, the unthinkable happened. Tower 2, the south tower, crumbled to the ground. I wasn’t in the room to see it, having walked out to sit in the WVIP studio to work and make some phone calls. But I heard the yelling and returned to the conference room to see that there wasn’t a tower there anymore. Tears rolled down Dana’s cheeks and I just stood there, thinking this was a dream. The crowd would eventually thin down to just Jane and myself, who stared at the screen and talked casually about the events. I couldn’t help but wonder – were there bombs aboard those planes? And if one tower had come down, how long before the second one? The television cameras – CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox – all focused on the remaining tower. I knew not to take my eyes off of that monitor in the conference room at WGCH in Greenwich, Connecticut on this Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001. I was watching history – our day of infamy. Around 10:00, my suspicions, sadly, came true. I watched as the remaining tower, its antennae waving, came down. It was sickening.

Now the news came fast and furiously – a car bomb at the State Department, an explosion on Capitol Hill, a fire at the Pentagon, and a plane missing over Pennsylvania. What the hell was going on, I thought. How much of this information was true? What we would find out was that the Pentagon and Pennsylvania stories were unfortunately true. But now, the United States was under siege, or fear of it. The skies were closed to all air traffic. Monuments and tourist attractions were closed – Disney World, Mount Rushmore, the Sears Tower, the Space Needle and more. Bridges, tunnels and buildings of commerce were also closed – the Hoover Dam, and all crossings into and out of New York City. Back inside WGCH, we wondered what was next. We knew it was terrorism, so they had to be looking at more ways to hurt us. The Sears Tower seemed logical, so did the Golden Gate Bridge. Or maybe something in Las Vegas.

For me, as for so many, it was time to take a personal inventory. Obviously, except for the raw emotions of what I was seeing and feeling, I was physically fine. My mom was at her job, and was fine also. She thinks I have all of the answers, so she looked to me for any news that I could provide. I called her back as stories broke. My sister was at home, and she was well. Her concern was with her children. Does she bring them home from school? She decided to leave them there and let the school district figure it out. The kids would eventually be sent home. There was no easy way for me to get in touch with my brother, but I would talk with him later on.

By 11:00, it had become apparent to me that I had some decisions to make. I still had to go to White Plains for both the job fair and training. I quickly decided that the job fair wasn’t worth it. The training was a bigger issue. I felt that it seemed foolish to go, but I don’t like to blow off my responsibilities. I called Premier to find out if we were going forward and they said things were fine. My sister thought I was crazy to go to White Plains at all. She thought I should go home. Janet Beckley asked me to go into downtown Greenwich and get reactions. This last option seemed the least appealing. I had always wanted to be in on a big story, and here I was with the mother of them all, but I just could not see myself going to Greenwich Avenue to ask people what they thought. On this day, it was just not appropriate. I called Premier and cancelled with them. They were very gracious, if not a bit surprised that I was reacting like this.

I turned the radio dial to hear more and was stunned at what I was hearing. Nearly every radio station had committed to following the news. Shock jocks, news people, sportscasters and more were combining to cover the story. On “K Rock”, Howard Stern had appropriately toned his show down. He knew, wisely, that many of the “regular folks” who were in the Trade Center were listeners. And now, many emergency personnel were missing. Many of those people were Stern fans. Over at WPLJ, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill were covering it with passion and dignity. The same could be said for Z100, WNEW, and so on. Many stations that traditionally carry music had switched over to their networks for coverage. On WFAN, Imus stayed right where he had been, covering the story as only he could. Charles McCord and Warner Wolf (via phone) would continue to provide updates. Amazingly, nobody was playing commercials. Q104 was the only station that I recall playing music and were making appropriate choices. They too would go all news eventually.

By now, Westchester County Airport was closed. The police stood at the ready in case anything happened and watching cars as they passed by. As I approached Interstate 684, I looked for the road to be clogged with cars trying to get home. Yet it seemed normal. The radio reported that construction projects would be picked up, as I would discover at Exit 6 (Katonah). This would slow me up for a moment. Again, the rest of the ride was nothing special. I followed it all via radio and glanced at the sky occasionally, almost expecting to see an armada of planes bringing Armageddon. I was home by 1:00, heading inside to throw the TV and radio on. Fred (the cat) was unfazed and unaware, living the good life of a cat. He probably didn’t understand why I wanted to pet him. Yet despite getting the media on in full force, I was restless. So I headed back outside, telephone in hand. Patience would have to be key. I called my sister to thank her for making me come home. I called Mom to tell her where I was. As I stood out in the driveway and waited, I could not get over what an absolutely fabulous day it was. The weather was beautiful and the sky was a remarkable blue with a few stray clouds. And there was nothing else up there.

Now it was time to watch it all happen on TV. We watched the scrolls at the bottom of the screen tell the details. Of note to me, and quite upsetting, was that Yankee Stadium had been evacuated. We saw the planes hit the towers and the buildings subsequently collapsing over…and over…and over…and over… I checked to see how each channel was following it. Every channel had coverage, except for networks that were aimed at children, like Disney and Nickelodeon. HBO tried to entertain people with family shows. Otherwise, virtually everybody had it. ESPN, ESPN Classic, Madison Square Garden, home shopping channels, VH1, MTV, and so on. The networks had agreed to go with wall-to-wall coverage, no commercial and a sharing of information, at least for a while. Then there were the stations that were knocked off by collapse. Remember that antennae that I mentioned earlier? That took several stations off with it. Many of them scrambled to get alternate options up, but for some it would take a few days. I wanted to watch this story from the local angle, because who could cover it better? But Channel 4 was off, so was Channel 5. Channel 9 was off, and I think Channel 7 was down also. Later in the day, I watched as RCN, our local cable network, tried to get their satellites straightened out to bring us the news on these channels. For a short time, I know we had an NBC affiliate from Philadelphia on Channel 4, followed by a Los Angeles affiliate.

Back on the radio, Imus had gone home but announced that he would start his show the following morning at 5:00 AM. Charles McCord had now teamed up with Mike Francesa and was doing a remarkable job. I don’t care what people say about non-news people covering a news event. Mike Francesa, specifically, gave the story humanity and a different angle. I remember him during the Gulf War also, and thought he was great then. He and his partner, Chris Russo (known as. “Mad Dog”) did a nice job on their September 12 show. So long as it was accurate and dignified, I didn’t care who covered it. I knew I could do it well, and I’m a sports reporter.

I was glued to the TV. At one point, I did go to the computer to check my email and wondered if the terrorists could upset the Internet. Were we in danger out on the web? The answer would eventually be no, but strange things go through your mind at times like this.

Up until this point, my emotions had been under control. I felt sadness for the losses, which were surely to be in the thousands, but felt fortunate that my immediate loved ones were fine. Yet it was a bomb threat to the Empire State Building that nearly did me in. This was well into the evening and I watched as cameras again focused on the historic structure. As I always do, I feared the worst. Ultimately, the threat was a hoax. If the Empire State Building went down, I think I would have sat in my place on our couch and sobbed. It didn’t and I decided that was enough for me. It was time to turn off the TV and go to bed.

Sleep did not come easily to me that night. I tossed and turned with a hundred thoughts racing through me. By this point, we ALL knew that billionaire terrorist Osama bin Laden, a man who despises the United States and Christianity, was behind the attack. It was he and his cronies who were behind the attempted bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. I was positive this attempt had something to do with him as soon as the second plane hit. I couldn’t help but fear that he had nuclear weapons or perhaps some other kind of weapon of mass destruction at his fingertips. So what was next? And one must always wonder if the government is truly telling us everything. Obviously, they can’t for reasons of national security. So what didn’t we know? And when we will find it out, if ever? Will we someday find out that there was truly a “Bay of Pigs” – type incident that had us just seconds away from destruction? Who knows, and that’s exactly what raced through me that night. I think I woke up every hour on the hour. But I will never, ever forget 4:00 in the morning of September 12. I began to hear a humming overhead. It was obviously a plane or jet of some kind. I lay there in my bed and wondered exactly what it was. It also sounded like it was right over the house. My heart raced as I listened to it. (I got up) Upon looking out the front window, I saw the newspaper at the end of the driveway. I walked out to get the paper and at the bottom of the driveway, I looked up into a sky full of fabulously bright stars. Among them was one moving star with a flashing red light. I was later told that it was a F-18 fighter jet. Whatever it was, it scared the “F” out of me. I was through sleeping. When Imus went on the air at 5:00 on Wednesday morning, I was there to listen.

The postscript of September 11, 2001 is that I went to WGCH that night to do the final edition of the golf show “Tee Time” that I co-host with Michael Breed. We didn’t talk about golf once. Tom Henderson and Sean Kilkelly, who had both hosted the show at one time or another during the season, joined us. I produced a collection of sounds from the day before that Michael said was perhaps the finest production I had done for him. I will always keep it as a reminder, just as I will always keep a copy of that very sad show, one that I am forever proud of. While most high school football games went on that weekend, the game that I was due to broadcast, Norwalk at Greenwich, was cancelled. Charles Zion, the father of a Greenwich football player, Zach Zion, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald and died. I can’t even begin to imagine what he went through.

I would have liked to have the game played but understood why it wouldn’t be. I felt that same way about professional sports. In the days after “9/11” I needed entertainment. By September 12, I vowed to not watch the coverage, except for an occasional check of the headlines. The constant images were too upsetting and I didn’t like the fear it was instilling. So without burying my head in the sand, I checked in at the top of random hours for updates. Our politically correct world went insane. The Clear Channel radio company distributed a list of songs that they felt were questionable to play on their stations. Some choices were questionable. Others were understandable. Still I thought it was stupid. Even President Bush (who at first looked like a dear in the headlights but eventually shined in this dark hour, along with New York Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Guiliani) told us to get back to normal, whatever that was. Clear Channel had “Bridge Over Troubled Water” on their questionable song list. Paul Simon played it on the worldwide telethon broadcast on September 20. So what was right?

In the sports world, baseball, after some hesitation, did not play again for over a week. Football did the same, especially after some of their players, most notably Vinnie Testaverde of the Jets, said he would not play if the league told him to. I thought his stance was reprehensible. This pampered million-dollar prima donna could charter his own flight to Oakland for the game against the Raiders and yet on September 12, most of the world went back to work. Once the skies opened again to air traffic, millions of business people began flying again, because it was their jobs. But this athlete gets to dictate that he won’t play. Let’s trade places for a day or two, OK Vinnie? Again I understand why many sports shut down that weekend. A lot of it had to do with nearly 38 years of guilt left from when the NFL played their games after President Kennedy was assassinated. But many people needed to have sports in their lives that weekend. I know I did. In any event, I know I lost some respect for some people for their actions following 9/11.

How to wrap this all up? It can’t be wrapped up. As I write this, we are just four months removed from September 11. In some ways, it still doesn’t feel real. In other ways, it’s very real. By and large, life did get back to normal. The holidays came and went without incident. Many traditions went on as scheduled. Yet every now and then something happens that either brings panic or reminds us of that awful day. In October, fighting began in Afghanistan to rid the world of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. But there were other events closer to home that rattled us. A commercial jet crashed in Queens after takeoff from JFK. Terrorism was suspected but never confirmed. A man tried to blow up a jet from Paris to Miami with a bomb in his show. There were anthrax scares all across the country, specifically in Washington DC, with several deaths. The World Series went on, though pushed back a week due to the attack, with the Yankees losing a heartbreaker in seven games to the Diamondbacks. I was at Game 5, the first baseball game to be played in November, and the second in a row to end dramatically, with the Yankees rallying from behind to win in extra innings. As New Yorkers, it seemed that we should win this series, but it doesn’t matter in the bigger scheme. Of course, it still matters a lot to me.

When all is said and done, some nearly 3000 people died on September 11. People across all religions, races, nationalities and classes. And while we got back to “normal”, things would never be the same for those of us who lived through that day. I’ve been told that if you were not from the Northeast, you wouldn’t know the difference. Yeah people are more patriotic (“Bandwagon Patriotism” I call it), but in places like Arizona, life IS normal. That’s what I heard during the World Series. But it is very real in New York, and in places like Boston, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC. I know this is only my part of the story and I’ve probably neglected a lot of things. But this is how I will remember it. And I will never hear a jet the same way again.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Chico and Taylor: An Instagram Story

Either he needs to calm down or I do.
I stumbled up the stairs around 7 a.m.

"Purrow," was heard from the top.

Oh Chico, the large great mini-bear of a cat, who doesn't just meow, but combines purring and meowing into a strange brew.

"Purrow."

"Cheeks, you need to calm down," I grumbled.

Crap.

Now the song was was in my head.

Yeah. That song. The one by Taylor Swift.

* Please note that a young friend of mine is a huge-mega-monstrous Tay-Tay T-Swizzle fan. So we will not judge in these words today.

"Purrow."

I was out of my mind. He wanted wet food because he's spoiled. He doesn't need the wet food when there is a supply of dry food -- and water -- in his bowls. I even gave him a few treats.

But now the song was rolling around my skull.

"Uh oh uh oh uh oh! You need to calm down. You're being too loud."

"(BLEEP)."

"Purrow."

I was now going out of my mind. I shot video of Chico and began to create an Instagram story.

Thanks to some goofy Taylor Swift GIFs and the ability to use music in the story, I had some fun with it.

I started with a video of him purrowing as my breakfast ticked away in the nearby toaster oven. Taylor had her head explode in GIF form as the words "you need to calm down" appeared on the screen.

In the second segment, I used a still shot of Chico with the words "you're being too loud" on the screen.

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Part 2 of the Chico story from this morning.

A post shared by Rob Adams (@dble5) on

Chico moves in segment three, rubbing up against my leg with a GIF of Tay Tay doing a victorious dance appearing on him, and word "savage" (a nod to him being a cat, and the Savage Yankees) above him.


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A post shared by Rob Adams (@dble5) on

(I can't embed the rest because I started using music)

Then another still shot with the words to "You Need to Calm Down" scrolling as the chorus plays.

Next is a still shot from behind, as I realize "this is what my life has come to." The word "King" is on Chico's body as he looks out the window.

Now, I jump in, with a selfie saying "Save me" on the screen as "Hip to be Square" by Huey Lewis and the News (of course).

Finally, we finish with a still shot of Chico, as "Help" (by The Beatles, naturally) plays. Above Chico's head, I wrote "Aaaaaaah" above him, as a way to express my relief, and "This was kind of fun" below him.

It was fun, and I realize describing it serves it no justice but I couldn't find a way to post everything on here, so head over to Instagram, where I've saved it as a highlight.

Otherwise, take my word for it. I was losing my mind.

But if it produced some laughs then that's all I can ask for.