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Showing posts from 2011

A Small Resolution for the New Year

Drawn to my laptop in search of old Christmas songs and related nonsense, I spent a lot of time searching the obscure corners of YouTube during the holiday season. Of course, like our attics and our basements, once you start poking around You Tube, you’re bound to uncover a lot of things you weren’t looking for. My explorations took me somewhat circuitously from The Roches video rendition of The Hallelujah Chorus , to Leonard Cohen’s haunting masterpiece Halllelujah , to 2010’s Hope for Haiti Concert where Justin Timberlake covered that same song. Timberlake did a good job but, more than his performance, the concert itself has stuck with me ever since. I can’t stop thinking about its simplicity. A handful of singers each sang a song. Some celebrities answered a few phone calls. And millions of Americans texted, called or clicked in relatively small donations. Just like that, a charity that didn’t exist two weeks earlier raised more money in two hours than most non-profits will

Sundae Girl

In the summer of 1974, I was truly, madly and totally in love with the girl who worked at my local Carvel. This particular Carvel was manned by familiar faces. Most shifts were covered by some combination of the two women who had been there when the store first opened its doors a few years earlier. One was tall and thin with glasses and bottled blonde hair fashioned like the fifties housewife she had likely been. The other was short and a bit heavier with reddish-brown hair. The neighborhood kids regarded them like our friends’ mothers; women who seemed happy to see us and would probably serve us that same ice cream if we visited their homes. The third member of the crew was the owner; a man of somber – and occasionally sour – disposition who clearly viewed customer service as being beneath him. The small store was comfortable and predictable. But we occasionally saw an unfamiliar face behind the counter; a new employee augmenting or filling in for the regulars. One early sum

The Last Books?

I got a Kindle for Father’s Day; a gift from my wife. Never an early adapter of new technology, I’m also not resistant to it. I’m as cyber-reliant as anyone. My televisions have given way to flat screens, my car added a GPS unit, and I picked up an I-phone (though I’m still one “G” short of state-of-the-art). I was curious about the Kindle and must have said it aloud at some point. Unaware of my wife’s gift, my daughter recognized the same holiday with a gift card to Barnes & Noble. And therein lay the conundrum. Barnes & Noble has its own e-reader – The Nook. So, even though I had a new toy, if I wanted to use this particular gift card, I would have to buy actual books. This was still pretty exciting. Bookstores are among my favorite places. Years ago, a colleague of mine left our company to preside over the rollout of Barnes & Noble’s superstore concept. At that time, she called them “the new suburban libraries” and she was not wrong. Though I’ve nev

Arthur M. Goldberg. 1926-2003.

For Father’s Day, I am posting the remembrance of my father I wrote upon his death in 2003. It is still my first inclination to phone him when I have something to discuss. My father was a complex man in a very simple package. Growing up, I heard the tales of his earlier life. An apartment on 26th Street in a building which still had an outhouse … the move to Sunnyside … summers in Carmel and weekends in Rockaway … Xavier High School – a Catholic military school – as a twelve year old “Jew” … Manhattan College at 15 … off to war as an enlisted sailor at 17 before returning to graduate. Fordham Law … my mother … L.A. … Middle Bay Golf Club … the law practice in Jackson Heights. I heard all the stories – most many times – and I loved to listen. But I never knew that guy. I’m sure others could better capture that Arthur Goldberg on paper. I did, however, know my father and he, too, inspired a few tales worth telling. When I was young I could not imagine why he was not sitting in

The Millrose Games

My daughter, my nephew and I were on our way to a Knicks game a few seasons back when we stopped by my mother’s apartment for a quick visit. As we were leaving, I asked her if she’d like to join us since we had an extra ticket. She declined before adding, “But I’d love to go The Millrose Games if I’m still alive.” It was the last thing she’d ever say to me face to face. We spoke on the phone afterward, but I didn’t see my mother again until a massive stroke robbed her of speech and consciousness for the last few weeks of her life. That was December, 2008. The Games went on without her several weeks later. The most celebrated indoor track meet in the world has, in fact, gone on uninterrupted since before her birth having begun its run at Madison Square Garden in 1914 after a few years as a private event for the employees of Wanamaker Stores. This week, the New York Times reported that, despite the financial support of USA Track & Field, the organizers are set to take the ev

The Baseball Blogs Part II: The Curse of Julio Franco and Other Musings

In celebration of a long-anticipated Opening Day, I've confined this month's blog topics to the subject of baseball. The Mets won 148 games and lost 105 in the season and a half the indefatigable Julio Cesar Robles Franco graced their roster. They are 286-297 since. Coincidence? You decide. Franco began his major league career in 1982 and remained active until 2007. Along the way, he played for seven different teams (two of them twice) and wore six different uniform numbers. He routinely played winter ball in his native Dominican Republic and also played a few regular seasons in the Japanese and Mexican Leagues during three separate sabbaticals from MLB. In essence, he played year-round baseball for 25 years. Remembered best as a utility man, he was once a star middle infielder batting .341 and scoring 108 runs in his best season and driving in 98 in another. More importantly, he seemed to love the game the way fans imagine they would if they had the talent to play.

The Baseball Blogs: Part 1

In celebration of a long anticipated Opening Day, I've confined this month's blog topics to the subject of baseball. “I love baseball,” said Woody Allen. “It doesn’t have to mean anything. It’s just beautiful to watch.” Thomas Boswell went a bit deeper and wrote of, “… adapting the spirit to baseball’s deliberate speed and its demand for heightened awareness of detail.” He added that there is, “a coexistence of total relaxation and keen anticipation”; which I regard as the closest anyone has ever come to defining the essence of the true baseball fan. Baseball is like no other game. It is unique in its symmetry and in its artistry. The game is so flawlessly designed that a ball hit in the hole, fielded cleanly and thrown accurately by the shortstop will result in a one-step call at first base – regardless of whether the players are 9-year-olds on 45 foot sandlot bases or major leaguers in the seventh game of the World Series. The game is also unique in the madd

A Really Big Show

We all remember exactly where we were for the 1963 assassination of JFK or the great Northeast Blackout of 1965. Similarly, our parents’ generation recalled their whereabouts on V-E Day and our children will always note where they were on 9/11. We tend to share those personal details when we talk about these historic events. This month marks the anniversary of an occasion every bit as momentous to anyone born before 1960. On February 9, 1964, The Beatles came to The Ed Sullivan Show . But, nobody has a story about where they were when John, Paul, George and Ringo took to the stage in front of 728 live attendees and 73 million television viewers. That’s because we were all in the exact same place … in our living room or den, with our entire families, huddled around a grainy, black and white television. That was the power Ed Sullivan held over American families from 1948 to 1971 when audiences exceeding 50 million were the weekly norm. Though I was still very young when the Beatl