Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Tips

 Halloween Trick Or Treat Tips

 A few reminders which you might find helpful as your kids get prepare for some Halloween fun:

*Feed them a healthy meal before they leave the house.

*Make sure costumes are non-flammable.

*An adult should accompany elementary school-aged kids. Older kids should trick-or-treat in pairs or groups and carry a working cell phone.

*Set a curfew. Stick to it!

*Reminds kids that its hard for drivers to see them even when they can see an oncoming car.

*In neighborhoods where cars are parked on the street, remind kids to not enter the street between two parked cars.

*Trick-or-treaters should carry a flashlight, glow stick, or wear reflector tape on their costume.

*Kids should only approach homes that have lights on or a lighted display.

*For ALL trick-or-treaters, they shouldn’t eat anything until it’s been inspected by a parent.

Happy Halloween 150x150 Halloween Trick Or Treat Tips

World Series 2014: Confessions of a Fair Weather Fan

Postseason=The beginning of the Major League Baseball season for me.
KC Royals logo 150x150 World Series 2014: Confessions of a Fair Weather Fan
SF giants logo 150x150 World Series 2014: Confessions of a Fair Weather Fan

Don’t get me wrong. I like baseball. I just don’t care about the MLB until post-season. The same is true for the NFL. It wasn’t always this way.

I was raised in a small New England village with a great baseball field about 100 yards downhill from our back porch. Between the ages of 5 and 13 , during the daylight hours when I wasn’t in school, doing homework or participating in organized sports at another venue, that’s where you’d probably find me with the other guys from our neighborhood playing baseball in Spring and Summer or touch football in the Fall.

Since I was a New Englander, I grew up a Red Sox fan. The Yankees represented the Evil Empire. New England didn’t have an NFL team in those days and the Jets didn’t exist, so the New York Giants was my default team of choice.

In later years, I lived in Pittsburgh where I became a Pirates and Steelers fan.

But now I’ve lived more than half of my life as a resident of New York state and, although during some of those years I’ve been a half-hearted Yankees fan, I’m not emotionally committed to any of the New York teams. I may, at times, like certain MLB and NFL teams more than others but I’m not passionate about any of them.

I’m a fair weather fan.

Which is why baseball season has just started for me. Now that “the wheat is separated from the chaff”, “the cream has risen to the top”, or whichever metaphor you choose to use to describe the process which has brought the Royals and the Giants to the World Series, I’m now getting interested.

I’m looking forward to a World Series of close games, late nights, emotional ups and downs, and watching some amazingly gifted athletes and managers perform under pressure.

I find watching them to be inspiring and educational….even if I’m just a lowly fair weather fan.

SanFrancisco.Giants.MLB.com/                                                        KansasCity.Royals.MLB.com/

 

My Mom

I wrote this a couple of years ago. Mom celebrated her 95th birthday earlier this year. May is the month when we pay tribute to our moms, so I thought it was worth re-posting.

REB ADB 150x150 My Mom

My mother was the first born child of immigrants. She was born Alice Della but has been referred to by her nickname, “Del” for most of her life. Mom’s mother was from England and her father from Canada. Except for a few months during World War II when she and my father lived in Washington state and California, she has always lived in Rhode Island. Mom was the eldest of five kids the youngest of whom she was frequently responsible for babysitting. I always thought that her parenting skills were honed during those days when she was taking care of her little sister and brother.

Mom grew up during The Great Depression and, like many others, her family struggled financially. When she was 15, my mother quit school in order to take a job in her uncle’s mill. I’m not sure how she felt about that but, as an intelligent young woman, I suspect that she wasn’t happy about it. Yet, I’ve never heard her complain about having to quit her education in order to help support the family. She felt it was her duty and she did it.

Mom was raised a Catholic but for reasons about which I’ve never been quite clear decided to leave the Catholic church and began attending youth group meetings at a Methodist church where she met my father. Apparently, the pastor of the church, a Dr. Metzner (sic) was a charismatic man who had a great deal of influence on both my father and mother. I remember them both smiling in obvious enjoyment as they told my brother and I stories about the doctor and their adventures with the youth group. I believe he was the minister who married them.

Mom and dad met when they were 16 and it was apparently love at first sight. Except for the years when Dad was away during World War II, they were never apart. And they always seemed to enjoy one another’s company. Every morning that I can recall, Dad would stroll into the kitchen, bellow “Good morning, Alice Della!”, sweep Mom into his arms and give her an enthusiastic kiss. Her return kiss was just as enthusiastic. It was the kind of overt display of affection which provided a strong sense of security for an impressionable young boy like me.

Like any married couple, they’d sometimes quarrel or disagree often when Dad would take a detour down some unchartered route to see which way it might take us. Mom preferred the known to the unknown but I think that she secretly enjoyed Dad’s sense of adventure. Recently, Mom observed that they’d never had a fight. (Imagine how warped my perspective on married life was coming out of that environment!) .

As was normal in those days, Mom was a housewife. She didn’t even know how to drive. In fact, she didn’t get her driver’s license until she was in her 40s. However, when I was in elementary school, Mom became the first woman president of the Smithfield (RI) PTA. Smithfield was a small New England town and that was a big deal. My father was well-known in town because of his business activities and members hips in the Lions Club and Volunteer Fire Department but it also made me proud when I saw the respect with which teachers, school principals, and prominent members of the community treated her. My mother is not an ambitious person so I suspect that she was nominated for the PTA presidency by people who wanted someone in the position whose opinions they respected and integrity they trusted.

One prominent memory from my younger days is Saturday nights at our house. As the big sister and surrogate parent, Mom always hosted her younger siblings and their families on Saturday nights. Invariably, we males would congregate in the living room to watch TV and banter with occasional conversation. But I can still see all the women gathered around the dining room table to get my mother’s opinion. It’s not that she sought to impose her opinions on them but that they seemed to value her insights and advice. My observation was that they always thought of my mother as well-grounded and a source of common sense. They trusted her opinion.

Dad died just after Thanksgiving in 2006. After all their years together, it’s hard for her to not have Dad but she’s adapted well and has realized how self-sufficient she really is. With age have come some challenges but she is still surprisingly alert and present. Since I take after my mother and her side of the family, I find this especially encouraging!
I know that everybody feels this way about their mother but my Mom is a very special lady. I’m proud to be her son and especially pleased that I was able to bring a granddaughter into her life.

Boomers Reimagined

“In the mid-1880s,…growth of colossal corporations in the aftermath of the Civil War had produced immense, consolidated wealth for business owners, but the lives of the working people…had become increasingly difficult.” In her book, The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin quotes one of Teddy Roosevelt’s political rivals as observing: “We plow new fields, …open new mines,…found new cities…we add knowledge and utilize invention after invention. (Yet) it becomes no easier for the masses of our people to make a living. On the contrary, it is becoming harder.”

Sound familiar?

Although America’s unemployment rate has been dropping, long term unemployment remains a major issue. It’s estimated that over a million Baby Boomers are members of the long term unemployed cohort.

More than 15% percent of the approximately thirty-six million Baby Boomers born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1954 are expected to live active, healthy lives into their 90s. Since retirement savings for many of those Boomers were severely diminished during the recent financial crisis, many of them will need to continue working at jobs which are both psychically and financially rewarding well past the traditional 65 year old retirement age. Meanwhile, American businesses including the legal and medical professions are reducing their labor forces through the use of automation and robotics.

To remain a successful capitalist economy, America needs consumers for the goods and services it produces. Although many of American industries’ customers may come from outside of the United States, it will also be necessary for Americans to consume local goods and services. To do so, they will require sufficient incomes.

As columnist Tom Friedman points out, the US needs to rethink its social contracts because labor is important to a person’s identity and dignity as well as to societal stability.

For the country’s future well-being, political and business leaders need to focus not only on helping millennials who are entering the workforce but also on redeveloping the American economy to keep healthy Baby Boomers engaged in jobs which are both psychically and financially rewarding. The challenge will be to create opportunities to unite the natural resources of Boomer experience and expertise with the 21st century skill sets of Millennials.

Suggestions?

Confessions of a Fair Weather Football Fan

seattle seahawks logo 600x337 150x150 Confessions of a Fair Weather Football FanDenver Broncos 150x150 Confessions of a Fair Weather Football Fan
The NFL season has just gotten started for me.

Don’t get me wrong. I like football. I just don’t care about the NFL until post-season. The same is true for baseball. It wasn’t always this way.

I was raised in a small New England village with a great baseball field about 100 yards downhill from our back porch. Between the ages of 5 and 13 , during the daylight hours when I wasn’t in school, doing homework or participating in organized sports at another venue, that’s where you’d probably find me with the other guys from our neighborhood playing baseball in Spring and Summer or touch football in the Fall.

When I was growing up, New England didn’t have an NFL team and the Jets didn’t exist, so the New York Giants was my default team of choice.

In later years, I lived in Pittsburgh where I became a Steelers fan. But now, although, I’ve lived more than half of my life as a resident of New York State, I’m not emotionally committed to the Giants or the Jets. I may, at times, like certain NFL teams more than others but I’m not passionate about any of them. Although, during the Broncos/ Patriots game I was definitely rooting for New England. But, since the Patriots lost, I have no Superbowl preference.

I’m a fair weather fan.

Which is why the NFL season started for me earlier this month. Now that “the wheat is separated from the chaff”, “the cream has risen to the top”, or whichever metaphor you choose to use to describe the process which brought the contending teams to the playoffs, I’ve gotten interested.

So, I’m looking forward to the SuperBowl’s emotional ups & downs, and to watching some amazingly gifted athletes and their coaches perform under pressure. The commercials will be fun, too.

I’ll find watching them to be inspiring and educational….even if I’m just a lowly fair weather fan.

Let Us Turn Our Thoughts Today To Martin Luther King

The centennial of the Civil War was being commemorated in 1962. Nelson Rockefeller was New York’s governor. Racism was matter-of-fact for most white American, whether overt or unconscious. So it took a certain amount of political courage for the Republican governor to select a controversial African-American like Martin Luther King, Jr. to deliver Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

No one had heard Dr. King’s speech for more than 50 years until last Fall when staff members of the New York State Museum in Albany discovered a long forgotten reel-to-reel tape.

You can listen to it here http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/mlk/index.html

Sherlock Holmes, Season 3

sherlock season 3 start date 300x157 Sherlock Holmes, Season 3

 

I’ve been a fan of PBS’s updated version of the Sherlock Holmes series but I’m concerned that I’ll be disappointed with Season 3.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock has perfectly captured the main character’s charismatic, highly intelligent, extremely analytical, anti-social, and slightly annoying personality. The concentrated blue-eyed gaze,deep voice, and unkempt air of the unknown British actor made for compelling TV.

During the series second season, Cumberbatch had gained a bit more exposure to American audiences in supporting roles in the remake of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and “War Horse” but those roles didn’t diminish Cumberbatch’s credibility in his primary role as Sherlock Holmes. I had no problem buying into the premise that Cumberbatch was Sherlock or that Martin Freeman was Dr. Watson. As a fan and viewer,  I bought into the premise and identified the actors with their roles.

However, prior to Season 3′s debut things have changed.

Not only have appearances by Cumberbatch in prominent roles such as the lead in HBO’s “Parade’s End”, the latest Star Trek movie, and the voice of Smaug in The Hobbit become more frequent. But Martin Freeman’s role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit films have also heightened his profile.

So, my concern is that as I watch Season 3, I’ll find it more difficult to become as emotionally involved in the series as I have during the previous two seasons because my objective, analytical brain will be reminding me about the actors’ other roles.

I’m hoping I’m wrong.

Postscript:

After watching the first two episodes of Season 3, I sensed a certain smugness which I found disappointing and off-putting. However, after reading Emily Nussbaum’s assessment in The New Yorker http://ow.ly/t6EQB , my attitude has been somewhat altered.

 

Elvis & Me

Elvis Presley 1 300x225 Elvis & Me

On Elvis Presley’s birthday in 1973, the general manager of WGLD-FM in Chicago, an Elvis fan, decided to change the format of the radio station from progressive album rock to pop oldies. He made this rather rash decision without consulting with the station’s corporate headquarters at Sonderling Broadcasting. The general manager’s name was…Charles Manson. (No, not THAT Charles Manson).

Meanwhile, I was living in Washington, DC where just after Christmas I had been relieved of my duties as a DJ at Sonderling’s WMOD-FM and collecting severance pay because of a Chicken Man joke. Allow me to explain.

While introducing a recorded commercial message for a sale on chicken at the Giant Foods chain voiced by  the owner of the chain’s local advertising agency, the morning DJ had introduced the spot “And now, a word from Chicken Man”. The Chicken Man radio series which satirized the superhero genre was a favorite among young radio announcers at the time.

Unfortunately, an associate at the advertising agency who was monitoring WMOD-FM and heard the comment was unamused. She complained to the station’s local sales manager who then mentioned it to me. As it happened, I was unofficially in charge of the programming department while most of the other managers were out of town on business. I had also attended a holiday party on the previous evening at the home of the advertising exec who had voiced the spot.

Confused about why the agency would find the DJ’s comment offensive, I decided to contact the agency owner to get a better understanding of the problem so that management could address the situation upon their return. Luck wasn’t with me that day and the person who answered the phone was the young woman who’d made the original complaint. I attempted to explain that radio listeners tend to presume that the relationship between a radio station and the businesses it advertises are friendly and that the Chicken Man comment was obviously meant to be cutely humorous. Her response was that she didn’t like my attitude. She then hung up, complained about me to station management, and I was summarily fired.

That brings us to January 8th, 1973 when the company suddenly found itself in need of my services to help get the situation in Chicago under control. So, I found myself in the odd situation of collecting severance from the Sonderling’s Washington station while simultaneously collecting a management paycheck from its Chicago station where I had been hired as program director.

As it turned out, Charles Manson resented my appointment by corporate management to the Chicago position and he ended up dismissing me 6 months after I’d taken the job.

However, my former college radio station manager at Northeastern University at just taken a job in Pittsburgh to launch a new Top 40 station and he offered me a job as one of his first two employees. The other person he hired was a young kid named Bob Pittman. And, together, the three of us launched one of America’s first FM Top 40 radio stations, WPEZ.

Pittman later hired me at WNBC, New York and at MTV: Music Television.

So, you might say that I ended up as a member of MTV’s original management team because of Elvis.

Here’s to The King!


 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014 300x187 Happy New Year!

Video Content Is Revolutionizing Learning

We Baby Boomers are “digital immigrants”. We’ve had to learn to adapt to computers, email, digital downloads, smartphones, texting, tablets, etc. The Millennials are “digital natives”. To them, the constant stream of rapidly changing media tools have always been a part of their lives. Here’s an interesting infographic about “digital natives” and learning courtesy of KZO Innovations:

KZO Innovation Final REV Video Content Is Revolutionizing Learning

Presented by Kzoinnovations.com

Twitter