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Recipe: Seared Brussels Sprouts
This seasonal recipe is simply prepared but erupts with flavor and taste
Published: Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Thanksgiving is ALL about the sides…no news flash here to anyone. By the way, please don’t think I am suggesting for you to spend hours upon hours slaving away in the kitchen..how fair is that? It’s your holiday too. On that note, this brings me to my latest dish, “Seared Brussels Sprouts with Purple Grapes.” While this seasonal recipe is so simply prepared, it actually erupts with flavor and taste. Bonus…it’s budget friendly which will ensure a true Happy Thanksgiving To You!
10 oz. brussels sprouts halved and trimmed
3 garlic cloves grated or minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
20 portabella mushrooms halved
1/2 cup purple grapes (smaller ones are better for this dish; if you have large ones, cut them in half.)
2 thyme sprigs with leaves removed
Heat a large skillet with olive oil for Brussels sprouts.
Once sizzling hot, position Brussel sprouts face side down on the pan and let cook for 8-10 minutes.
When they appear charred, mix in mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper & thyme leaves and stir around until all is tender.
Add in grapes and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the grapes appear glossy.
Remove from pan and serve.
The Stories Behind Our Food
That entrée isn’t done yet
Everything looks so delicious.
It all smells great, too, and you can’t decide what you like best. The meat is done just right, potatoes are mashed to perfection, biscuits are to die for. And then there’s dessert! But – wait, leftovers. That’s your favorite…
You’ve got a lot on your plate this month, in more ways than one. And in “The American Plate” by Libby H. O’Connell, PhD, you’ll learn the stories our food can tell.
Imagine inviting a long-ago ancestor to dinner this week.
What he’d find at the table might astound him; surely, there’d be some dishes he wouldn’t even recognize. That’s because “remarkable changes in ingredients, recipes, and menus over the centuries” have changed how – and what – we eat.
That ancestor, for instance, might’ve enjoyed dining on grilled beavertail. Yum.
Then again, he’d know maize (corn, to us) very well. Native Americans grew it more than 9,000 years ago, and your ancestor might have had it in his garden, along with beans and squash, a farming method called the Three Sisters.
If he lived near the East Coast, he might’ve relished cod, though your Friday Night Fish Fry would seem pathetic to him. The cod he ate came in six foot long slabs, dried, salted, and kept stacked in his pantry. He might’ve added cow’s butter, dyed with gold flower petals, maybe some eel on the side, and bon appetit.
Of course, our ancestors had turkey, but they also ate offal (which sounds really awful). Those from the Netherlands brought doughnuts to the table. The British gave us syllabub. The Chinese gave us a dish, the words of which mean “odds and ends,” or chop suey. Pie was a group effort, originating from several different cultures.
Food played a role in who won The War Between the States, when Rebel forces nearly starved while Union soldiers enjoyed a bounty. At the turn of the last century, food created the first celebrity chefs. It became politicized some eighty-five years ago, then was frozen, served in front of the TV, and made fast.
And what does the future hold? Well, pull up a chair. That entrée isn’t done yet.
Ask five of your friends about their favorite comfort foods, and you’ll get five different stories that start out, “My mom made the best….”
Chances are that those dishes are found somewhere in “The American Plate.”
So many things that you’ll eat in the next few weeks are in this book, in fact, and there’s a story behind every one of them. Author and historian Libby H. O’Connell fills our minds with the things with which we fill our bellies, letting us literarily play with our food. We get plenty of aside-dishes, and – surprise! – recipes, so you, too, can try roast beavertail, syllabub, Hangtown Fry, scrapple, or Red Cross War Cake.
Historians and cooks will obviously love this book, but I think it’s also very appropriate for anyone who likes to eat. If that’s you, then dig in. You’ll devour “The American Plate” until there’s nothing left over.
How to Shop Outside the Shop—Thai Style
Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2014
After covering Borneo’s annual Rainforest World Music Festival, I visited Thailand as it weathered one of its seemingly annual government ‘coups.’ However, despite the global media portraying another Armageddon, it was business as usual in the Land of Smiles. Even better, it was June, thus blissfully offseason. The last time I visited the southern beach town of Krabi—1987 in backpacker mode—it was mostly Euro-backpackers, when $5/day covered food, thatched-roof camping, and whatever party mode you fancied. Seems everything changes (except the Knicks sucking).
Thailand’s Centara Grand Beach Resort
Krabi’s Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas sits in a private oceanfront cove surrounded by sheer mountain cliffs and abundant wildlife, including throngs of fascinating but thieving monkeys. This spectacular honeymoon-caliber resort renders time irrelevant, whether it be enjoying ultra-quiet napping any time of day or kayaking amid the lofty offshore limestone pinnacles.
Centara Grand’s ‘amusement park’ dock
Krabi’s seaside village tourism strip—foot massage shops, football-focused sports bars, retail shopping bonanza—seems a world away, but it’s actually only a 10-minute hike over the unlit hillside-ascending “monkey trail.” Guests not keen on navigating rope-tied ladders can get to town via the frequent speedboat service to ‘downtown’ Nopparathara pier, although, due to occasional big waves, some boat departures and arrivals resemble tsunami evacuation drills. If I was 10, I would have spent most of my resort time riding their amusement-park-ride-qualifying floating dock. I did manage one happy hour on this sea-surge undulating (unintentionally recreational) rollercoaster.
In central Krabi, the 1980’s groovy vibe has pretty much evaporated, except for a few old-style haunts like the Hippie Bar & Restaurant, where cozy bench/couches for four invite you and your new pals to kick back (facing each other, feet elevated) and enjoy a blast from the past.
When traveling, try shopping outside the shop and bring home something that is a part of the place you visit…
A 1992 courier flight set the stage for my first visit to Thailand since my time as a backpacker in the mid-80s. A solo motorbike safari in Thailand’s northern mountains was an existential escape from another job attempt requiring dry-cleaned shirts. Just like Homeland Security wiped out the courier flight, Thailand’s wholesomeness was being challenged by the weight of mass tourism. But you can always find a pure heart if you know where to look.
On excursions abroad, I try to acquire one unforgettable keepsake and gift. Often, things that are not officially for sale become those gems, and the tale of the transaction becomes a souvenir itself. I’m routinely on the lookout where there are no price tags. Worksites—factories, mills, home-based workshops, ports, mines—are replete with handmade tools, hunting paraphernalia, garments, and such that might complement your desk, wall, or reputation as a gift giver.
In Thailand’s misty mountains, I encountered a group from a local hilltribe returning from a day of river fishing. Along with baskets of fish, they each had fish traps slung around their shoulders. The traps fused lobster-trap utility with bamboo ingenuity. Created from one section of bamboo sliced into segments and enlarged into a vase shape, the trap’s inner bamboo-stick corkscrew entraps the fish who are lured inside by bait. I bought one for double the offering price.
I knew the fish trap—tied to the outside of my backpack while transiting Bangkok on foot—was a winner when scores of elderly men accosted me to admire the functional artwork recalling their youth and a fading way of life. Another sign was the perplexed stares it earned on the New York City subway ride home from the airport.
You’d think that savvy shopping in an out-of-the-way village defined by coconuts, hogs, and woven baskets would be a misnomer, but by focusing less on how things look and more on how they work, you can end up with a real crowd pleaser. People look at the fish trap, are puzzled by the bamboo marvel, then cave into admiration.
When buying things that aren’t officially for sale, be sensitive to cultural rape. Make sure the economically stressed are parting with possessions they can easily replace with your payment. Don’t be swayed by politeness regarding an item they will really miss. Acquiring not-for-sale genuine parts of the places you visit necessitates sensitivity, fair compromise, and bargaining with the right individual.
“Like playing flute to a buffalo.” —Thai expression about bargaining falling on deaf ears
Bankok’s Shangri-La Hotel
One of Bangkok’s swankest urban riverside retreats is the Shangri-La Hotel. The immense, luxurious lobby leads the way to its lush riverside ‘front yard’ where a huge outdoor pool fuses with outdoor dining and drinking lounges and the NEXT2 Café—site of an epic breakfast buffet. Thai-inspired décor, silk and teak finishings, high-ceiling chandeliers, and spacious river-view balconies lend an air of elegance to guest rooms.
Centrally located alongside Bangkok’s bustling Chao Phraya River, you’re minutes away from epic street life via three modes of transport: long-tail boat taxis, cabs, and Bangkok’s far-reaching Metro. This Shangri-La has 802 rooms, nine restaurants and bars, and a staff that redefines kindly. All of this mellow glory converges at Shangri-La’s Horizon Club Lounge, which has penthouse views of the city.
For more info visit Amazing Thailand.
‘Blue Bloods’ Keeps the Bar High
Five years on, ‘Blue Bloods’ still delivers excellence each week
If you’ve been reading this column for any length of time you will most assuredly know that character is of paramount importance to me when it comes to visual storytelling. Coupled with that is the acting ability of the professionals inhabiting those fictional people. The best story in the world completely falls apart if the characters and the actors portraying them aren’t convincing enough. However, terrifically acted, layered characters can raise up even the most mundane story and make it something special. CBS’ veteran cop drama “Blue Bloods” is almost an embarrassment of riches as it is consistently well-acted and written.
The central character of the show is Police Commissioner Frank Reagan, played with an effortless combination of affability and gravitas by Tom Selleck. Frank is a widower son of a cop as well as father to three cops (one of which was killed in the line of duty prior to the first episode) and an Assistant District Attorney. Selleck plays Frank as a man who clearly carries the weight of the entire NYPD on his shoulders as well as a father who has to stand aside as his grown children make their own way in the world. Selleck generally plays the Commissioner with a truthful conviction and zeal that I haven’t seen him bring forth since the final season of “Magnum P.I.” and it is awesome to behold.
“Blue Bloods” is a show about family, specifically the Reagan family. The patriarch, Henry (Len Cariou) is sparingly, yet very effectively used. He is often the voice of a by-gone, stern era of policing, but perhaps the moral middle ground for all of the Reagans. One of the more empowering relationships is that of Frank’s daughter, Erin (Bridget Moynahan) and her own daughter, Nicky (Sami Gayle). Erin is a bright ADA and wonderful single mom while Nicky is a confident young woman. They are not only positive and strong female characters, but an example of a healthy mother-daughter relationship. They both do not need to have men in their lives, however much they may sometimes want to, but are equally supportive of and supported by the Reagan men.
Youngest son, Jamie (Will Estes) is a beat cop with a partner, Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray). The fact that they are so in love with each other is so blindingly obvious to everyone but them. That may not be entirely fair as apart from an alcohol-fueled kiss the two have remained completely professional. There are times where they are written more like a couple of siblings, so it may be that the writers may not be entirely clear where the two are headed. In fact, the possibility of romance between the two was addressed by their commanding officer at the top of the season, but quickly dismissed by Jamie. The two continue to dance around the subject so we’ll possibly see where it all leads.
Danny (Donnie Wahlberg) is the oldest son and the hottest tempered. He has been a detective who has been on the job for over a decade. He is a dedicated detective as well as a loving husband to Linda (Amy Carlson) and dedicated father to Sean and Jack (Andrew and Tony Terraciano). Danny has had a few professional partners over the course of the series, his current being Maria Baez (Marisa Ramirez). Unlike the Jamie-Eddie dynamic, Danny is happily married and he and Baez are most definitely just friends, albeit close ones. The two are a most effective team, who sorely tested their long-suffering and newly promoted former boss, Sgt. Gormley (Robert Clohessy) and try the patience of their new chief, no-nonsense Lt. Carver (LaTanya Richardson).
The constant element in every episode is the Sunday dinner that the Reagan family shares. This not only serves to show how the family communicates, but is also the point of each episode where many of the themes and storylines get hashed out from multiple viewpoints. That is one of this shows strengths, in that it doesn’t shy away from or turn a blind eye to the latest headlines. While it could be argued that the show is highly pro-police, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It does acknowledge that police are fallible, like all of us, and that there are definitely times where they cross the line and actually do the harm they are sworn to protect us from. But in examining all aspects and recognizing all points of view it shows us the best and worst of the human condition. That’s what all the best drama does and this one, “Blue Bloods,” is very much worth paying attention to.
Don’t Buy Into the Latest Food Craze
Are 'superfoods' really that super?
Published: Monday, November 24, 2014
The term ‘Superfood’ has been used to describe foods that allegedly offer some sort of extraordinary health or therapeutic benefit. It is important to understand that just because a food may be preceded with a grandiose term like super does not mean it will necessarily jump start you into good health and nutrition.
Foods that I have seen given this designation include kale, goji berries, acai berries, kiwi, flaxseed, blueberries, chia seeds and many others. While these are all excellent foods filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats (flax and chia), a diet comprised of primarily Superfoods’ are really no more nutritious than the ‘normal’ healthy diet many of us are familiar with. For example, while it is true that blueberries have many antioxidants, they are also high in sugar and contain an average amount of basic nutrients, so people who need to control blood sugar levels should be more cautious.
The bottom line is that superfoods can be part of a nutritious diet, but you shouldn’t buy into the latest craze and expect chia seeds to fix a poor diet single-handedly.
Superfoods are a great addition to a normal and healthy diet.
The Wearable Edition
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday Nov. 21
Published: Friday, November 21, 2014
Expensive, But Worth It
The Narrative Clip, a new clip-on mini camera that clips to your hat, shirt or anywhere you like—snaps a high quality digital photo every 2 minutes as you travel throughout your day. It’s like a wearable-portable-digital-diary! And the best part? Like life… you never know what you’re gonna’ get! At the end of your day you download the photos, share the ones you like or just keep them all to yourself. See something you want to capture? A quick double-tap on the unit-snaps an extra picture you can cherish later. Want to stop taking pictures, no problem, just turn the camera face down on your desk or toss it in your bag…it shuts down automatically. Hand-written journals beware, it’s a digital world and the Narrative Clip is here to capture it all.
Can You Hear Me Now?
OK, now tech companies have gone too far! Wearables are the hottest trend in technology (see at the story above for proof), but this has got to be the craziest… Smart Earrings!?! Ear-o-Smart are a pair of smart earrings that connect to your smartphone and monitor your vital stats, and activity levels all day long. And we need this why? Well, Kickstarter sales pitch aside, this device will most likely morph into a valuable life saving device someday. It’s been said that wearing a monitoring device, such as the Ear-o-Smart, on your earlobe happens to be the best place to capture a person’s heart rate and blood flow. So hey, if the style isn’t the best—it definitely has a lot of function.
A utility belt that would make Batman envious! The Xoo Belt (pronounced “zoo”) is modern, stylish and also serves as a power source for your smartphone or tablet. No need to stop mid-stride to find an available place to plug in—just reach down to your waist, pull the cord and start charging! Now that’s definitely something I can use! The belt is made from durable, waterproof, damage proof material and is safe for you and your clothing. This IndieGoGo project is looking for backers and if their goal is met you’ll see this item on shelves early summer 2015. I hope they remembered to add the “hold up your pants” function.
Sorry, I Forgot My Keys
This is not exactly a wearable device, in fact this may fall into the most “regrettable device this year” category. A Swedish woman, who’s just plain sick of carrying around her pass-key-card that allows her in and out of her office, decided to simply have the small microchip implanted in her hand! This is surprising and makes you wonder why we haven’t seen something like this before. I mean, we already use these small microchips as tracking devices in our pets, so why not in ourselves. I guess you can say this woman is definitely dedicated to her job! The only drawback? Never being able to use the excuse that you forgot your keys. Read the rest of the story here.
‘Rocket’ Debuts At Los Angeles Auto Show
Punch-packing ride based on 2015 Ford Mustang
Stand back, folks - this is gonna be loud. And fast. This week, the highly anticipated low-volume production, carbon fiber-bodied, super-Mustang dubbed “Rocket” got its close-up at the Los Angeles auto show courtesy of legendary auto designer Henrik Fisker and Galpin Auto Sports President, Beau Boeckmann. Inspired by specialty pony cars of the 1960’s and early 1970’s, including the 1968 Shelby GT500, the Rocket’s sculptured hood features two large air intakes designed to channel cooler outside air through the engine compartment, supplementing the grill and front splitter in keeping the stupidly powerful 725-hp V8 engine at peak operating temperature. Two additional scoops, mounted on the rear fenders ahead of the wheels help channel air to cool oversized 15-inch Brembo Grand Turismo high performance brakes.
This Mustang-on-steroids is anchored by an imposing hexagonal carbon fiber grill split by a polished aluminum bar and wild horse running across the horizon reminiscent of the ’60’s Mustangs. The Rocket’s lines emanate from the front, through the long hood, over a set of sculptured flared fenders and converge on its integrated rear spoiler, belying the car’s extreme power and refined athleticism. Pricing will be a little more than $100,000.
725 horsepower “Rocket” debuts at Los Angeles Auto Show
Beau Boeckmann’s kvelling like a proud papa, and with good reason. “Mustang has been my favorite car for almost my entire life,” he says. “…it’s literally the most beautiful Mustang I have ever seen.” The handmade carbon-fiber bodywork—constructed by renowned concept car builder, GFMI Metalcrafters Inc., of Fountain Valley, California, features a number of scoops and vents that direct airflow where it’s needed most. A front splitter helps draw out hot air from underneath the car and improve engine cooling, while simultaneously working in conjunction with the rear spoiler, enlarged rear diffuser and polished carbon fiber aero skirts to provide needed high-speed downforce. The car’s painted with a custom mixed silver called Éminence Grise and rides on large 21-inch ADV.1 wheels with Pirelli P-Zero extreme performance tires supported by a front and rear independent, fully-adjustable suspension. That means owners can set their car up to their own preference, or specially “tune” the Rocket for optimal street or track duty. Production of the Rocket begins in December with the first deliveries beginning in early 2015. Interested buyers will have the option of purchasing a car through Galpin Ford directly or through one of several hand-picked dealers across the country and around the world.
Celebrate Thanksgiving with Blonde Redhead
Indie trio brings Barragan to NYC’s Bowery Ballroom on Nov. 25th and 26th
Published: Thursday, November 20, 2014
She does nothing all day
But sit down and cry
She touches the sky
And wishes to play
—“The One I Love” by Blonde Redhead
Image: Marlene Marino
New-York based Blonde Redhead fans, and those returning to New York City for turkey day, are in for a pre-holiday treat when the local indie dream pop trio perform two shows at the Bowery Ballroom. Japanese vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kazu Makino and Italian/Canadian twin brothers—guitarist Amedeo and drummer Simone Pace—have been making music together for 21 years. It seems like just yesterday that art student Makino randomly met the Pace brothers at an Italian restaurant in New York City. More of a noise rock band in the beginning, the band caught the attention of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and he produced Blonde Redhead’s self-titled debut in 1995.
The last decade has seen the trio go a quieter, but just as experimental, route. While 2010’s dreamy Penny Sparkle was more electronic and synth-based, Blonde Redhead’s latest album, Barragan, was recorded live in the studio with analog paraphernalia for a more stripped down sound. Barragan is the Spanish word for warrior or brave young man, but Makino said they got the title elsewhere: “I didn’t know that was the meaning, but we got the inspiration from the Mexican architect Luis Barragan.” The Modernist architect, known for his clean lines and use of raw materials, was also interested in color, emotion and serenity so one can see how his work inspired the trio’s latest effort, which was recorded with producer Drew Brown (Radiohead, Beck). Barragan would likely have appreciated the acoustic, flute-laden title track and stand-outs like the quirky “Cat on Tin Roof,” the shoegaze-y “No More Honey” and the propulsive “Dripping”: “I saw you dripping sunlight/ I saw you dripping moonlight.”
Let yourself be inspired by the creative sounds of Blonde Redhead at the Bowery Ballroom before meeting up with the relatives on Thursday.
“We’ll be playing most of the songs from Barragan except one or two,” said Makino. “The rest are a mix from from our other albums—for some reason, we are not able to play covers.”
What: Blonde Redhead—live
Where: Bowery Ballroom in NYC
When: Tuesday, November 25th AND Wednesday, November 26th, 9pm
‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Carves an Inhuman Path
Is Marvel’s TV series building the cinematic future?
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” began its sophomore season with a much improved pace that hasn’t let up in its first eight episodes. It has also incorporated more and more elements from its comic book roots as well as weaving even more intricately into the fabric of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. However, while the first season was informed by the events of the films, it is very possible that the TV series may actually be laying the groundwork for a future movie.
This year the team has discovered that the symbols that Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) has been obsessively carving are a map of a mysterious city. The symbols are somehow related to the alien being that was the source of the GH-325 formula that brought Coulson back to life. Here is where being a Marvel fanboy pays off. The blue alien is obviously a Kree, an alien race seen in the recent “Guardians of the Galaxy” film. That this particular Kree is thousands of years old is significant, especially to those that are long-time readers of Marvel Comics.
As told in various comic books, during the time of primitive Homo sapeins the Kree came to Earth and experimented on man, creating a genetically advanced race known as the Inhumans. The Kree eventually abandoned their subjects, leaving the Inhumans to live in a hidden city called Attilan, which was originally an island in the North Atlantic Ocean before moving several times to such locales as the Andes and the Moon. A blue alien responsible for a genetically enhancing serum and a hidden city with a key that kills some people that touch it, but reveals strange symbols to others. Seems to fit so far. Oh, and Marvel has announced an “Inhumans” film for 2018.
Along those same threads, we finally get to see Skye’s ill-fated mother (Dichen Lachman). She is one of the ones who survives contact with this year’s MacGuffin, the hidden city obelisk in the 1940s. It also appears to make her immortal. Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) and the Howling Commandoes manage to rescue her and capture the obelisk and its possessor, Werner Reinhardt (Reed Diamond). Forty some years and a couple of “Hail Hydra”’s later and Reinhardt manages to transplant Skye’s Mom’s undying organs into his body, with the side effect of killing her and rejuvenating him. Her body is discovered by Skye’s Dad (Kyle McLachlan) and now the other shoe has dropped as to why Daddy has aligned with Reinhardt, now named Daniel Whitehall.
Speaking of Mommy and Daddy issues, Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) finally gets to work out his parental woes with his Senator brother, Christian (Tim DeKay). The elder Ward brother is initially defiant in the face of fierce psychological duress from Grant, but finally breaks and we learn the truth about the three brothers and the well. Turns out that Mommy and Daddy Ward were unkind to their first two boys, but Mommy coddled her third. That broke Christian who in turn broke Grant by making the middle boy take out the older’s aggression on the youngest. Grant seems to have finally gotten the admission he’s always wanted and seems to reconnect with his bro. A later revelation throws fire, literally, on any possible brother and brother reunion.
So the race is on between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra to see which group finds the fabled mythical city first. While Hydra seems to have the advantage, what with having the key and someone who claims to be able to find it, Coulson and company are no slouches and scrappily keep the race neck and neck. With a mid-season break coming up and its inevitable cliffhanger, I’m guessing we don’t have long to wait until we see who wins. Will whoever gets there first find Inhumans or something else? Pick up the next issue…I mean, tune in to the next episode to find out!
Read about a girl who’s just like other girls… only different
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2014
You are a one-of-a-kind kid.
There’s nobody else like you. Nobody has eyes like yours, or fingers like yours, or ears that fold like yours. You think for yourself, have your own likes and hates, and people love you just the way you are.
In the new book “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings, pictures by Shelagh McNicholas, you’ll read about a girl who’s just like other girls… only different.
Jazz is a little girl who loves the color pink. It’s been that way for as long as she can remember; she also loves silver and green, maybe because they’re sort of mermaid colors and Jazz loves mermaids, too.
Like a lot of girls, Jazz spends her days doing “favorite things.” She likes to dance and sing and pretend that she’s someone famous. She draws, plays soccer, swims, and she loves makeup and dress-up. But when Jazz was a very little kid, there were people who didn’t want her to do any of those things.
That’s because Jazz has “a girl brain but a boy body.” She’s transgender, and she was born just like that.
For sure, that caused a lot of confusion when Jazz was small because her family didn’t understand. Though she looked like a boy, she had to remind them that she was really a girl inside and reminding made her sad.
Her brothers said that pink and mermaids were “girl stuff.” Her sister laughed when Jazz talked about “girl thoughts.” Their parents made Jazz wear boy clothes (ugh!) until they saw a new doctor. The doctor said that Jazz was transgender – and since Jazz’s parents love Jazz “no matter what,” they decided to let her be herself, to wear pretty pink clothes and play with the toys she liked.
That wasn’t an easy thing for others to accept at first, but it’s getting better. Some people are understanding, while some kids still tease Jazz and call her names - but then she remembers that those are the ones who don’t really know her very well. Those are the kids who can’t see the important parts of a person. They’re kids who can’t understand different, and “different is special!”
I really like this book. I like it’s perky, friendly cover and the kid-magnet colors that artist Shelagh McNicholas uses. I like the basic premise, and the answers it offers curious kids, parents, and teachers.
Those are the things that struck me immediately about it. Looking deeper, though, I discovered what truly makes “I Am Jazz” so valuable: it’s a unique, no-secrets tale written in a kid-friendly, easy-to-grasp, matter-of-fact way, told in part by author Jazz Jennings herself. That, with co-author Jessica Herthel, makes this story glow with a personal, upbeat and spirited touch that’s relatable for all children.
Meant for 4-to-8-year-olds, I think kids up to age 10 could very much appreciate this book, especially if there’s a transgender child in their school. For them – and for any adult who may need it – “I Am Jazz” is a one-of-a-kind tale.
The Blacklist’ Delivers More Twists
Two more numbers get erased from the Blacklist
Published: Tuesday, November 18, 2014
“The Blacklist” was one of the first shows to make a return this fall and now it is the first to take a winter break. But while we won’t see the return of Red Reddington (James Spader) until Super Bowl Sunday, these eight episodes have done what most other shows take all season to accomplish. “The Blacklist” does have one major advantage over most shows of its kind, however.
Most procedurals keep their “case of the week” storylines independent of their overall mythology arcs. “The Blacklist” has taken the interesting twist of having the two intertwine, the upshot being that the ongoing mysteries are never back-burnered and hence don’t lose their focus. It’s clear that there is a very intricately thought-out plan for this show as there is never a wasted moment or loss of momentum due to filler episodes. This first string of second season episodes does resolve a few things yet generously leaves many others spinning in new directions.
Berlin’s (Peter Stromare) plan to destroy Red comes to a definitive conclusion. In a very strong way the vendetta was why Red gave himself up to the FBI and engineered events so that he would be working with the taskforce to take down the persons on his Blacklist. One of the many twists we’ve gotten this year is that the whole vendetta against Red is meaningless as Berlin’s daughter was never murdered by Red, instead she was taken in by him and his then wife. Once that was revealed the two longtime enemies actually somewhat team up to track down who sparked the whole thing by letting it be known that Red did what he didn’t do.
The trail leads back to number twelve on the Blacklist, the Decembrist, the alias of Assistant Director of National Intelligence Alan Fitch (Alan Alda). Berlin takes explosive revenge on Fitch, literally, and then is betrayed by his own flesh and blood to be handed back to Reddington. In one of the best acted scenes you’re likely to see on TV this year, Berlin and Reddington share a bottle of vodka before Red erases number eight from the Blacklist permanently. Any of the occasions where Red has personally killed one of his enemies he has, for the most, done so in a way that pays tribute to them. At least in the cases where the enemy has proven to be an extremely worthy opponent. This is the case here and it results in a powerful moment.
In other developments, Lizzie’s (Megan Boone) day goes from bad to worse as her literally captive husband, Tom (Ryan Eggold), kills someone. Although she doesn’t report it, she does at least finally confide in her FBI partner, Ressler (Diego Klattenhoff). The fact that Ressler doesn’t immediately turn her in and instead decides to assist her in allowing Tom to get much-needed intel on Berlin says a lot about how far their partnership has progressed. He openly dismissed her at the beginning of the series, but she has slowly gained his trust and respect. However, Lizzie’s covert imprisonment of Tom, plus her allowing Red’s cleaner, Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) to sweep up the murder says a lot about how far she’s come since being just a novice profiler.
Of course, there is still the bombshell reveal that Tom has been working for Red in some capacity and the unanswered question of the true connection between Lizzie and Red (come on, we all know it’s basically a Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader type deal, right?), amongst a few other lingering tidbits. The biggest question is, what next? Considering the next new episode airs in the plumb slot following the conclusion of the Super Bowl on February 1st and features new baddie Ron Perlman, I’d say the rest of season two will prove to be as dynamic and volatile as what has gone before, if not more so.
wealth – wise
Inspire personal growth by helping people make wise choices with how they invest their time, energy and money
Hi welcome to wealth – wise!
The idea of undertaking a regular blog is both exciting and scary at the same time. We believe that we have much to say and lots of ways to add value. Today’s entry will be easy; we’re just going to touch on why we are going to blog, our purpose in blogging, and who we’re writing for.
The “why” is easy! Everything we believe and do at QCRM is built on a fundamental belief and truth: in this world the most important things we have as human beings are our families, our health, our faith, and our money! With this as a core value we take great care to do no harm and always put the needs of our clients and the readers of this blog first and foremost. As such we’re going to go to great lengths to create a body of written work that we can be proud of and most importantly that can help readers sift through all of the noise, helping them to make solid informed decisions. In this blog we’ll also challenge the status quo and the things that don’t sit right with us; in particular, the sales culture mentality in the financial services industry, financial pornography in the media, and the belief that financial planning can be reduced to investment management decisions. Now that is not to suggest that great professionals do not exist in our industry. We know plenty of them. Rather, we believe the industry as a whole has to do a better job of putting the needs of the client first. Next to critical health care services, solid client-centered, values based financial advice is some of the most critical services a person will ever purchase. We truly believe in this increasingly complex financial environment, every person needs someone to talk to about their money and their life.
The purpose of our blog is to inspire personal growth by helping people make wise choices with how they invest their time, energy, and money! And while that may sound a little strange for what is in essence a financial planning blog, if you’re not getting that from your financial plan it is under-serving you and your family!
This blog will be created and organized in such a way that there will be educational content universal to anyone who seeks to accumulate wealth and financial well-being. Initially we will create content two times per month as that is what we think we’re ready to commit to. Our initial focus will be to provide you with a context of “what is financial planning? Who should be thinking about it and why? How do you go about doing it on your own, and if you’re paying someone for it, how do you know if you’re getting real planning?”
Steven Covey said in his famous book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Begin with the end in mind”. If I think about what I would like readers of our fledgling blog to say in the future, the word empowerment comes to mind. We would like this blog to empower people to move forward and attain a level of financial well-being that will help them in other critical areas of their lives! Lastly I am more of a speaker than I will ever be a writer and thrive on dialogue! If you have a burning question and or a topic that you think is critically important, let the fine people at the LI Pulse know and we’ll see what we can do.
Thank you for reading and please share this with those you love!
Healthy Thanksgiving Eating
How to enjoy Thanksgiving without sabotaging your healthy eating
Published: Monday, November 17, 2014
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, but it can sometimes be a little tricky if you’ve been trying to eat healthily. There are a few options.
The first is of course to just enjoy for the day (or weekend), but this doesn’t work for some people. It can sometimes be really tough to get back into the patterns of healthy eating after spending a full three or four days not worrying about food at all. Another method is to try to just eat things that you’d normally be eating. A great deal of traditional Thanksgiving foods are very healthy, but of course, you miss out on desserts, cranberry sauce, etc.
With that in mind, this is what I like to do so that I can completely enjoy myself while still maintaining some structure. Since Thanksgiving dinner is Thursday afternoon, I keep my carbs low from Monday to Thursday morning. Eggs, salads, vegetables, and meat/fish make up my food until Thanksgiving dinner and I try to take a 30-45 minute walk each day and do some weight-training as well.
On Thursday morning, I will go for a quick walk and try to just eat a single light meal of chicken and salad. When it finally comes time to eat the Thanksgiving dinner, give yourself a four-hour window. After three days of preparation, you will not only be even more thankful, but your healthy eating habits will be much easier to fall back into the next day!
Watches Gone Wild
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday, Nov. 14
Published: Friday, November 14, 2014
Swift Moves at Oheka Castle
Hear her on the radio. Watch her on the TV. Now you can play the Taylor Swift video game! Well, sort of. As a companion piece to her new music video “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift takes you inside her new music video—and the mansion in which it was shot! Yes folks, that’s Long Island’s own Oheka Castle. With the free app for iOS or Android, you can follow Taylor throughout the castle going from room to room–at will! By tilting or tapping your phone you’ll glide through the castle looking for hidden objects, receive personal text messages from Taylor and purchase her new CD or tickets to an upcoming show—all without leaving the app or the comfort of the castle.
Watches Gone Wild!
The watch hasn’t gotten this crazy since the ‘80’s! Clean, crisp, light and fashionable—but not so easy to read—it’s the Ora Unica by Italian watch makers NAVA Design. This ingenious watch uses a unique graphic “squiggle” as the hands to the clock. It takes some time, (no pun intended) to get used to, but once you figure it out it’s really easy to read. This odd, but sleek timepiece won’t start a revolution but it may get you a second look from that significant other you’ve been trying to impress. For the watch collector on your list this year, take a second look (there I go again) at the Ora Unica by Nava.
All about That Bass
Don’t you just love watching a movie with surround sound? The addition of a sub-woofer, or bass cabinet, really makes the film more intense! Or, how about that feeling you get on the dance floor when the bass is really kickin’!? Well now, you can capture that surround sound feel while on your smart phone! A new company called Woojer has just released the first personal sub-woofer device for your phone, iPod or MP3 player. It’s a wearable sub-woofer that you place on your chest or on your back (it also attaches to your belt or shirt), that produces a vibration simulating a sub-woofer or bass cabinet. Hey, it’s not for everyone, but I predict this could be the start of bringing that personal listening experience to the next level!
The new EYE Phone
I don’t often fall for these cute, not so functional gadgets but I couldn’t let this one go without saying something! LG has just released (in Korea) phones with eyes AND individual personalities! At least that’s how they are being touted. The LG AKA comes in four different colorful “characters,” each with their own backstory, attitude and traits. Ah, yeah, right. The phone still works as any other smart phone would except you can lift the tiny sliding door to display eyes—that really blink! If you want to grab one of these first, you’ll have to have a bunch of disposable income. And second, you’ll have to wait till they cross the Pacific and land on U.S. shores. As for me, I’m not holding my breath.
Two-Door Coupe Delivers American Swank
ATS offers comfort, latest tech and bangin’ sound system
The ATS sedan’s carved a singular place in a crowded Caddy segment since launching two years ago, specifically this two-door model with its classic attributes - style and comfort. Style-shmile, though. I jammed my ATS tester with the contents of my apartment and moved across town. U-Haul? A pal’s pickup truck? Forget it. It was a Cadillac or nothin’. When I was done with the sublime pleasure of changing residences, I leaned back and dug my low, wide ATS, which came equipped with a 3.6 liter V6 (a turbocharged 4-cylinder is available) that glides down the street like butter on wheels, its sound system buoying you with bass and whose interior rocks you as though you’re at a spa. Blast and roar aren’t the ATS’ strong points - your neighbors will thank you – but it does giddyap from 0 to 60 in a not-bad 5.6 seconds. It also comes in a six-speed manual, which I would have liked to have sampled, but you only get it if you opt for the 2.0 litre, rear-wheel drive trim. Mileage is a reported 18-city/28 highway with the 4-cylinder, 18/26 with the 6-cylinder. I drove 80 highway miles round trip picking up my bro at the airport on a full tank and watched with dismay as the needle plunged despite taking it easy. No one buys a Caddy for its mileage, however, so that was forgivable.
The car’s feel on the highway is steady, heavy, and quiet. Your weight is just about evenly split, 50/50, front and rear, and optional Magnetic Ride Control adaptive dampers and FE3 sport suspension assist the smooth ride. You roll. You have a nice conversation with your passenger. It feels good. $1,295 buys you semi-aniline leather upholstery and high-line trim packages, with wood accents, so you smell good things as well as enjoying the glide. The back section is small and getting there requires a severe front-seat-lean-forward action unless you’re a child, so take note of the 4-door model Cadillac offers in this trim if you plan on packing family or buddies or the contents of your crib back there.
2015 Cadillac ATS Coupe, Base price: $37,995
Where this car really gets specific is in its options, which are fun and impressive and would be something I’d include if I was buying this car for someone else, as Elvis Presley might. (The King of rock’ n’ roll was notorious for buying Cadillacs for friends and family.) Lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, forward-collision alert, Cadillac’s safety alert seat, automatic high-beam control and rain-sensing wipers are just a few of the all-ins available. A Driver Assist package, which adds front and rear auto-braking, full-range adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and cross-traffic alert, automatic collision preparation, auto seatbelt tightening and a full-color head-up display not only provides a feeling of safety, but you may have the most packed-with-tech ride on your block. The ATS is aimed at the individual, and it’s under 40K starting price tag makes it even more singular. That’s a good thing in an increasing world of same-same.
Recipe: Crispy Chicken Drumsticks
A week-night dinner that meets all the criteria
Published: Thursday, November 13, 2014
Simple….check! Budget-friendly…..check! Super tasty…..check! Welcome to a week-night dinner that will meet all your criteria and the best part is NOBODY will be arguing over that last drumstick. After all they are the star of the show!
• 3 tablespoon Olive Oil, good quality
• 8 drumsticks
• 1 teaspoon adobe seasoning
• ground pepper
• 2 shallots sliced into wedges
• 8 whole garlic cloves
1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat the bottom of a large foil-lined baking pan with one 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
2.) Arrange the chicken on pan and drizzle the top of the chicken with another tablespoon of olive oil massaging it in until thoroughly coated. In a small bowl, coat garlic and shallot wedges with remaining olive oil.
3.) Sprinkle generously with Adobe Seasoning & Ground Pepper.
4.) Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 20 minutes.
5.) Switch pan over to top rack add in shallots and whole garlic cloves around chicken. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until skin looks golden and crisp with juices running clear. (Save juices in pan.)
6.) Drizzle the chicken juices from pan over chicken and veggies before serving.
Castle and Beckett Team Up For LIfe
The ‘Castle’ event we’ve all been waiting for
Just like that, the producers of “Castle” have brought me back 100%. I don’t even care that the missing months of Castle’s life are still staring at us like the drunken elephant in the room. The couple known as Caskett have finally tied the knot and on their way to the alter also reminded me of why I love this show.
“Castle” is, and always has been, a show that never goes at something directly. Much like the solutions to its cases-of-the-week, the show puts its own unique and twisty spin on every storyline. When the slow march to a big gala wedding during the back half of last season got curtailed with an automobile inferno, I was thrown. And angry. And disillusioned. I’ve been very clear about that as well as remaining skeptical about the whole Rick-returned-with-amnesia storyline. Now that we’ve gotten the wedding that the characters, the show and the fans deserve, I realize I should not have lost faith.
In dispelling my accusations of the show committing the biggest of Television tropes, that of jumping the shark, the writers chose another well used plot device – “It’s A Wonderful Life.” I wrote in my last article about “Hawaii Five-0” having just used that premise in their most recent episode, but that was just a character’s drug-induced hallucination. On this show, Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) appears to literally be sent to an alternate dimension by a mysterious artifact. In this alternate universe Castle never consulted with the NYPD, so Beckett (Stana Katic), Ryan (Seamus Dever) and Esposito (Jon Huertas) don’t know who he is. More importantly, we see how their lives would have been without his presence.
Since he never wrote his bestselling Nikki Heat books, based on his adventures with the NYPD, Castle is a washed up has been author in this reality. He grew distant with his daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn) and his mother, Martha (Susan Sullivan), had to continue acting to help pay the bills. Castle remembers his old life and has to weasel his way into the police investigation of the latest case in order to recover the artifact and return home. Of course, many wacky hi-jinks ensue, but the whole escapade only serves to make his determination to marry Beckett ever more solid. Once he gets home and recounts his tale, the couple finally break the golden rule of Television couples and get hitched.
The best shows give you what you expect in new and unexpected ways and this is one of the very best strengths of “Castle.” It has always served up a rich blend of misdirection, humor, drama, mystery and wonderful acting. Thankfully, it has always treated the Castle-Beckett relationship in an organic way, letting it age like a fine wine over several years before giving us and the characters the wedding we never knew we wanted. Generally, shows like this end with the leads getting married. We’re barely a third of the way into the new season so atypically we’ll get to see how they behave as a properly married couple. This isn’t the first series to dive into these waters, but it’s rare enough to have reinvigorated the show.
So, yes, I can admit when I’m wrong and in this case I happily do so. It’s never fun when an old favorite loses its shine, but in this case they’ve managed to recapture the magic. They could still choose to go out on a high note and make this season the finale one, although I no longer think they should be leaning in that direction. It took this long for one forgivable story slip up and I hope for many more high quality episodes to come.
Sticking with ‘Castle’: Time to re-evaluate whether or not ‘Castle’ warrants continued viewing
‘Castle’ Returns With a Mystery: Plus Storybrooke freezes, Five-0 expands, NYPD under fire
Legends in Print and on Stage
November 2014 Mixed Media Online
Published: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
© Stevie Nicks/courtesy of Morrison Hotel Gallery
Stevie Nicks Crystal Photographic Visions
Fleetwood Mac fans have recently had a chance to see the classic line-up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsay Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and, for the first time in how many years, Christine McVie. On the same day that the group announced it was extending its tour into 2015 with 40 additional dates, a private party was held for Stevie Nicks. The party took place at the downtown Manhattan Openspace Gallery. It was hosted by the Morrison Hotel Gallery, the premier art-world representatives of the world’s most distinguished rock photographers. The Morrison Hotel has a permanent downtown location and one in Los Angeles, but it held the lavish event at the cavernous Openspace to accommodate the many photographers, music biz heavyweights and over-sized framed prints of Stevie Nicks’s photographs from the 70s, which are being exhibited for the first time. There was also a massive sound system playing Nicks’s new release, 24 Karat Gold – Songs From the Vault (Reprise), on vinyl.
© Stevie Nicks/courtesy of Morrison Hotel Gallery
The event truly was a party and once Nicks entered, the crush of photographers was intense. Nicks seemed relaxed, friendly and appreciative that such a large crowd showed up not to hear her sing but to see her photographs. After a short period, her mates in the Mac, Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie, showed up. McVie was beaming, as she held her dog in her arms; she seemed to be so content surrounded by her Fleetwood Mac bandmates. Fleetwood, who towered over nearly everyone in attendance, radiated his calm, friendly manner and was also besieged by photographers. Nicks took Fleetwood around the entire gallery, giving him a personal tour of all the photos. He stayed for quite some time and appeared captivated by the photos.
© Stevie Nicks/courtesy of Morrison Hotel Gallery
Long after Nicks, Fleetwood and McVie left, the party raged on. I caught up with Dave Stewart, formerly of the Eurhythmics, who produced Nicks’s previous album and directed the documentary on Nicks entitled Stevie Nicks – In Your Dreams. Sipping a martini, Stewart indicated he is working on four projects of mostly unknown, young new artists. The affable producer seemed excited about these productions, which include London-based soul singer Hollie Stephenson; Los Angeles-based Brit singer-songwriter Kaya; the Lake Poets (great name!); and Steward and Lindsey, a duo project.
As of this writing, news from the Nicks camp is that she is planning a 24 Karat Gold – Songs From the Vault, volume two.
A Time to Celebrate
The Long Island musical event of the fall is David Amram’s 84th Birthday Concert: Remembering Pete Seeger, which will take place on November 20, 2014 at 7 pm., at the Hillwood Recital Hall at Tilles Center at C.W. Post in Brookville, NY.
The evening’s performers will include David Amram and his quintet (David Amram, Kevin Twigg, Rene Hart, Robbie Winterhawk and Adam Amram), Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul, and Mary), Tom Chapin, Holly Near, Guy Davis, Garland Jeffreys, Kim & Reggie Harris, Joel Rafael, The Amigos, The Chapin Sisters, Bethany & Rufus, and the Connecticut State Troubadour Kristen Graves.
Tickets are $55 in advance and can be purchased by visiting movementmusicrecords.com. There is also a VIP meet-and-greet with the performers available for an additional $45. For more information about Hillwood Recital Hall at the Tilles Center at C.W. Post, visit http://www.tillescenter.org and wcwp.org.
To Vaccinate or Not?
For anyone who’s interested in a hidden history of medicine, “On Immunity” is worth a shot
You’ve got a big job.
You took it on the moment your child was born, knowing that protecting him was a lifetime assignment. And now, as part of that job, you’re questioning the viability of a rite that children have undergone for decades: vaccinate or not?
You’ve read the pros and the cons, and your mind swims. But once you read “On Immunity: An Inoculation” by Eula Biss, you’ll understand a little more.
While modern medicine is surely that, vaccination has been around for quite awhile: in the mid-1700s, many noticed that milkmaids exposed to cowpox were immune to smallpox, and they acted accordingly. Even before that, though, parents in China and India practiced a form of vaccination called variolation. And before that, birth was “the original inoculation.”
As the daughter of a doctor, Eula Biss got the full round of vaccines that most babies of her generation received. She debated, however, about vaccinating her own son from a strain of flu that was going around when he was an infant, which led to the greater question: which vaccines – if any - are necessary?
The complication, she learned, is that we can’t see vaccine “just in terms of how it affects a single body, but also in terms of how it affects the collective body of… community.” Total world-wide immunization against disease is nearly impossible, but statistics show that if the right percentage of a population is immunized, it can halt an epidemic. The majority effectively protects the minority.
So is it better to receive natural immunity from a disease by contracting it?
Not necessarily, says Biss. While it’s true that we wouldn’t be a species without viruses (a “surprising amount” of our genomes consist of “debris from ancient viral infections”), allowing your children to catch certain childhood diseases now can be detrimental to them later in their lives.
Hand sanitizers aren’t the answer, either, since they kill “indiscriminately,” promote antibiotic resistance, and leave behind traces of unsavory chemicals. And part of the vaccine-or-not issue is that misinformation can, well, go viral.
And yet, “uncomfortable with both sides” of the argument, and “overwhelmed by information,” Biss went ahead with the schedule of inoculations for her son. “I still believe,” she says, “there are reasons to vaccinate that transcend medicine.”
When you see something these days about vaccinations, it’s easy to conclude that it might fiercely be for or against. Not so with “On Immunity.”
With cautious deliberation and careful reflection, author Eula Biss offers readers a good balance in this debate, which is delightfully welcome. As a mother, she’s obviously had to ponder the issue and her conclusions are based in fact and personal anecdote, although she also includes the perfect amount of history and literature for entertainment.
I’m not sure this book will change any minds, but it does offer a fair mix to consider if you’re a parent facing the decision. For you, or for anyone who’s interested in a hidden history of medicine, “On Immunity” is worth a shot.
Steve Hackett: What Genius Sounds Like
Hackett and band visit Long Island on November 15th at The Space at Westbury
Published: Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Genesis has reentered the realm of current events with two recent releases: a career-spanning CD retrospective that also gives equal time to the solo career of its individual members, along with a filmed documentary that explores the band’s journey from inception through dissolution. It is the latter of these events that has made further headlines as guitarist Steve Hackett publically stated that he felt that the solo careers of Genesis’s individual members were not fairly apportioned, and that he would not offer the DVD of the documentary for sale on his website when it is released in January 2015.
Hackett is the sole member of Genesis who has kept the music’s flag aloft. Currently on the road for his Genesis Extended 2014-2015 World Tour, Hackett and band visit Long Island on November 15th at The Space at Westbury, performing material from Hackett’s Genesis years, 1970-1977.
Here’s some of what Hackett had to say during a long and candid conversation that covered a variety of areas, including his solo career, his innovative use of double-tapping on guitar, his collaborations with Yes members Steve Howe and Chris Squire, past albums and performances, his current world tour, and a new album that he has just completed.
“Genesis was a huge editorial school of ‘They don’t like this, and you can’t do that.’ There were lots of ifs, ands and buts.”
“I would watch gems being thrown into the pot with other people, and then we would end up not recording that stuff, and it used to drive me up the wall. I used to think that there was an agenda at work here. (Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford) stood in (Peter Gabriel’s) way, they stood in my way. At the end of the day, for Pete and me, our allegiance was to music, and not to what many people might think of as the world’s best band. You could justify that, certainly. Tons of talent, but not enough heart.”
“I think up until recently, I was always trying to cover. I didn’t want to sound like I’m ratting on the regiment, but I think that people are old enough now to realize that there is a truth. People want to know why there is no band these days, why is it the band can’t do anything? Why is it I’m out there doing a separate show of Genesis music myself?”
An excellent question, Mr. Hackett! With so many bands from rock’s halcyon days dusting off their instruments and putting aside old squabbles to take the stage once again and celebrate the music with their fans, what is preventing Genesis from standing onstage together again?
Find out the answer to this question and many more by visiting Island Zone Update.
‘Hawaii Five-0’ Reaches 100
What if the Five-0 task force had never been formed?
This is the time of year where the fates of many TV shows are decided. There have already been a few cancellations with some shows getting a full season order vote of confidence. Amidst that frenzy is something that should be celebrated and acknowledged. “Hawaii Five-0” has aired its 100th episode and has chosen the occasion to not only look back at its beginnings, but also propel things forward.
The momentous episode starts out exactly like the very first episode, with Navy SEAL Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) having taken Anton Hesse (Norman Reedus) into custody when he receives a satellite phone call from Anton’s borther, Victor (James Marsters). When I say exactly, I mean this is the exact footage used from the pilot. As before, Victor threatens the life of Steve’s dad, John (William Sadler) to secure his brother’s release. When Anton winds up dead, Steve hears a gunshot over the line and…HPD has arrived in time to save John’s life as relayed to Steve by Detective Danny Williams (Scott Caan).
Just when it seems we are viewing an unaired version of the pilot, we finally get the truth. Steve has actually been captured by his long-standing nemesis, Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos), who is torturing McGarrett with drugs that are causing him to hallucinate an alternate universe in which the venerable taskforce never existed. Wo Fat wants to know the location of his father, which is pretty rich considering the gangster was responsible for ordering the death of McGarrett’s dad originally. Along the way we finally get the answer to a long-standing mystery of the series, namely the connection between Wo Fat and Steve McGarrett.
Alternate universe storylines are an age-old “It’s A Wonderful Life” riff that generally show the characters in a new light. It seems that any show that lasts more than three seasons invariably does it. Interestingly, though, all the characters seems to be doing well without the titular conceit existing. Danny is very happily married to Rachel and loving Hawaii, Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) is a captain in the HPD, Kono (Grace Park) is still catchy the tasty waves even if she is endorsing lip gloss. The only two that don’t seem to be doing well are an incarcerated Kamekona (Taylor Wily) and a homeless Jerry (Jorge Garcia). There is even a glimpse of the once-traitorous Jenna Kaye (Larisa Oleynik), happy and free of Wo Fat’s influence.
There are also a couple of nice surprise appearances back in the real world. Other than the aforementioned Wo Fat, we also get the ever-affable Sang Min (Will Yun Lee) assisting the Five-0 team on their latest case and then later in helping to find Steve, along with Adam Noshimuri (Ian Anthony Dale). The centerpiece, of course, comes towards the end in a brutal fight between Wo Fat and Steve, the latter of which finally tells the former of how they are connected. But then a final armed stand-off between the two men closes off the longstanding conflict between the two as one lives to see the end credits and the other meets a definitive end. I’ll bet you can guess who lives to fight another day.
All in all, this 100th episode is terrific fun balanced by several emotional beats and all wrapped up with a montage of great moments from the show’s history. At the same time, it also feels like the closing of a chapter and the start of a new trajectory for the series and characters. A lot of epic moments have happened over the past four plus seasons and now that those have been celebrated, the table has been cleared for many more to come. Hau`oli la Ho’omana’o “Hawaii Five-0!”
Don’t Worry About Ebola
Why there won't be an Ebola outbreak in New York
Published: Monday, November 10, 2014
Ebola is a terrible and potentially deadly viral disease. Over the past few weeks, the news has been filled with articles and sensational headlines about the very few cases in the United States and the single case in New York State (which was contracted in Africa, where the situation is very different). There has also been a tremendous amount of political noise made about quarantines for healthcare workers and travelers from affected countries.
Why then, is there no reason to worry, unless you plan to travel to West Africa?
The first reason is that Ebola is an enveloped virus, which means that it cannot survive for very long outside of a human or animal and it is susceptible to killing via detergents when exposed outside of the body. This is why you cannot catch Ebola without touching bodily fluid from someone who is showing active symptoms. The second reason that we should not worry is that, even in West Africa, where things are worst, each Ebola patient has only led to at most two additional cases. Contrast this to a disease like measles, where a single patient can infect nearly twenty others!
Finally, hospitals in New York are fortunate to have tremendous resources and even if a person were to contract the disease in this state, it is not a stretch to say that their chance for complete recovery would be very high.
Ebola is harder to contract than you might think.
Pioneer Brewers: A Taste of Long Island
Brewing is the latest addition to Farmingdale's A Taste of Long Island
Published: Friday, November 07, 2014
Pioneer Brewers is an ongoing series profiling Long Island’s first hub for alternating brewery proprietorships at A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale. The first installment explores the host brewery, A Taste of Long Island Craft Brewery, operated by…
Jim Thompson recently unearthed his copy of Charlie Papazian’s The Complete Joy of Homebrewing from his garage. The book, once a regular read, now exists solely as a worn vestige of his former hobby: its cover is frayed and most pages are dog-eared; its spine is more wrinkled than a rhinoceros’ skinsuit. “It was in storage for a long time with the rest of my brewing stuff,” Thompson admits, pouring us a pair of beers.
Jim Thompson, co-owner of A Taste of Long Island in Farmingdale, has started a unique brewery in his commercial kitchen. Image: Doug Young
A homebrewer during the ‘90s, “when everything was extract in cans,” Thompson eventually shelved Papazian’s influential guide and stopped brewing with friends. “I started a family and life just got in the way,” he explains. The majority of his time now is dedicated to A Taste of Long Island, owned with his daughter, Courtney Citko. They provide a rentable commercial kitchen to small and budding food businesses, hosting roughly 50 rotating clients who “make and package everything from cookies to tomato sauce,” he says. The demand for their 800-square-foot space has only grown since opening in Farmingdale in 2012. “It’s hard for startup food entrepreneurs to find a good built-to-code kitchen in this area. We saw the need for it.”
Christine Goldfuss, owner of Christine’s Sweets, uses Taste to make her company’s eight types of cookies. She agrees with Thompson, telling the New York Times last year, “This has been a dream of mine for a long time. The sticking point was always trying to find a commercial kitchen.” Goldfuss, like many of Taste’s clients, also benefits from the company’s other component, an adjacent specialty grocery store that sells her products. (“One-third of our selection are goods made by our clients,” Thompson beams). It’s my first visit to the 400-square-foot store on Main Street, and my mother is with me, though our agendas are discernibly different. While she indifferently orbits the tiny room on a quest for “something sweet,” my objective is specific: I came to taste some beers from Thompson’s new in-house brewery, A Taste of Long Island Craft Brewery.
A Taste of Long Island Craft Brewery’s Farmingdale Blonde Ale. Image: Doug Young
After a hiatus of two decades, Thompson has returned to brewing—though now, with the proper federal and state licenses and equipment, he’s using his commercial kitchen, not his home, as the site to make beer as A Taste of Long Island Craft Brewery. His first release, Farmingdale Blonde Ale, debuted in September. It’s a “clean and crisp beer accessible to all the Miller and Bud drinkers,” he says. This was followed by two variations using Farmingdale’s recipe as a base: Honey Blonde Ale, brewed with honey from Raleigh’s Poultry Farms and Country Store in Kings Park, and Honey Harvest Ale, brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger. Both beers are available now.
Similar to Goldfuss and Taste’s other food-based clients, licensed brewers can rent the kitchen’s new brewing equipment, which includes a 125-gallon mash tun and two 55-gallon brew kettles (fermentators must be purchased by the tenant), to make beer. Thompson is operating his brewery as a hub for alternating proprietorships, defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau as an “arrangement in which two or more people take turns using the physical premises of a brewery. Generally, the proprietor of an existing brewery, the ‘host brewery,’ agrees to rent space and equipment to a new ‘tenant brewer.’”
A growing trend in the industry, the alternating proprietorship model is being utilized by small brewers deciding to eschew traditional—and costly—startup methods. In New York City, Grimm Artisanal Ales, Radiant Pig Craft Beers, and Third Rail Beer all rent space and equipment at large facilities to make their beers, while Evil Twin Brewing and Stillwater Artisanal Ales have both become popular brands by brewing as tenants, or gypsies, internationally. Thompson is the first to launch a home for alternating proprietorships on Long Island. As of now, he’s agreed to host three companies (more are forthcoming): 1940’s Brewing Company, Po’ Boy Brewery, and The Brewer’s Collective. This trio will have the opportunity to brew, package, and distribute their beers without the financial risk of launching a brick-and-mortar operation. “They don’t have to find a warehouse and spend $500,000 on equipment, rent, electricity, and so on. But it’s basically like owning a brewery—everything is brewed and packaged by the brewer and they pay their own taxes,” Thompson says.
“It’s not much different than a person coming here to make cookies,” he adds, though he also admits a lot of planning and restructuring was needed to accomodate the new endeavor. Thompson converted the building’s narrow basement into an area for storage and fermentation, for example, and it’s already stuffed with ingredients and equipment. He estimates tenants will brew at Taste “for only three or four years before opening their own brewery,” though, “so we’ll have the space to keep adding new brewers to the roster. I’m already getting tons of phone calls. I really think this can become the first launchpad for startup breweries on Long Island. We’re like a group of pioneer brewers,” he says.
While Thompson is confident of his brewery’s chances for long-term success, he’s still uncertain of an optimal setup to serve beer at his store. He’s using a kegerator with three drafts now, but already anticipating a flood of forthcoming beers from himself and his clients, he’s planning to upgrade to 10 drafts before Christmas. Another uhhhhhhh is the lack of seating. Thompson is selling beer to-go in 64-ounce growlers and 22-ounce bottles, but serving pints on-premise with only one table and two chairs won’t exactly draw a sizable crowd. “I have a lot of decisions to make eventually,” he says. “For now, though, I just want to get all the kinks worked out with all the brewers coming in. That’s the main focus here. We’re gonna be making a lot of beer.”
Filling Bottles at A Taste of Long Island. Image: Doug Young
After we taste Farmingdale Blonde, deliberately more refreshing than complex, Thompson pours me a beer from the second brewer to launch at Taste: Charles Becker, owner of 1940’s Brewing Company. Becker, a homebrewer from Old Bethpage, is focusing on German styles with his new company. He started brewing at Taste in…
COMING SOON: Pioneer Brewers: 1940’s Brewing Company
Locked Out? Use Your iPhone
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday Nov. 7
I’d buy this in a Heartbeat!
It’s been said that each fingerprint is unique, but did you know everyone has their own distinct heartbeat? A new wearable device called the Nymi is rumored to record and catalog your “individual cardiac rhythm” that will verify your identity and allow you pay for products and services. What makes this wearable device so different? It operates completely independent of any other device you currently own. There is no need to sync the Nymi with your phone or smart device. Think of it as a wallet you wear on your wrist. Other functions could include; keyless entry, turning on the lights, even controlling your TV.
Alright Amazon, We Give!
It seems we’re always talking about Amazon week after week on this blog but hey, they keep releasing new products and services! This time it’s the “Echo,” the… table-top personal assistant, shopping list maker, joke teller, weather tracker, music player, recipe finder, mind reader, information gatherer, blue tooth enabler, voice activated, programmable, hands-free, Wi-Fi, cloud-based what-cha-ma-call-it (Whew!). Check it out and pre-order it here. Prime members get it for half-price… mine’s already on pre-order.
Locked Out? Use your Phone
Its 2:00am, you arrive at your hotel and stand in line waiting for that plastic (often uncleansed) room key. You find your room, slide that card in-and-out of the slot on the door waiting for that little green light to let you pass. Well, struggle no more. The geniuses at Starwood Hotels have found a way around those annoying room key cards…your phone! By using your smartphone and the companion app, you’ll have your room number, your confirmation, an alert that tells you your room is ready and your room key too! Zip past the check-in lines, wave your phone by the door and you’re in! Testing has already begun at 10 different hotels in the U.S… Just make sure your cell phone is charged or you’ll give new meaning to the term “wall hugger.”
All Lap, No Top
We talk a lot about gimmicks and gadgets here but rarely about new laptops, that’s probably because the traditional laptop computer may soon be a thing of the past. Tablets, iPads and Notes are fine but they don’t have the power, speed or functionality of a PC or a Mac…till now! The Surface Pro 3 by Microsoft, just may be the device that makes the old-style laptop a relic real soon. Powerful, stylish, light and portable the Surface Pro 3 takes everything you love about the laptop, or PC and puts it together with the portability of a tablet. With too many details and perks to mention, click here to take a look at the Surface Pro 3 and get your holiday shopping list ready for its newest entry.
Kardashians Dash to the Hamptons
'Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons,' premiered on E! on Nov. 2
It all began back in 2007 with “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” Since then, the family has created an empire that seems to grow and grow. It’s unlikely, if not rare to come across someone unfamiliar with the superstars of the pop culture world.
“Keeping up with the Kardashians” is on it’s way to its 10th season, and the ladies of the family make sure to stay busy in between filming. Not only do all of the ladies participate in the main show, but they also have several successful spinoff shows. The first successful spinoff was “Kourtney and Kim Take Miami” followed by “Kourtney and Kim Take New York”, “Khloe and Lamar,” and now “Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons.”
“Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons is no different from any of the other Kardashian shows,” Christine D’Angelo of Huntington said after watching the first episode of “Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons, which premiered on E! on Nov. 2. “The girls are working on their new Dash location, Kourtney is pregnant again, and Scott is in trouble as always. I don’t know if I’ll stick around for the whole season.”
Kim, Kourtney and Khloe own a line of fashion boutiques called Dash. The boutique carries upscale clothing and accessories including the Kardashian sisters clothing line. Since opening the first location in Calabasas, California, the ladies have opened locations in Miami and New York City and this past summer the Hamptons.
The decision to open Dash in Southampton on iconic Jobs Lane where many go for some of the best shopping in the Hamptons was meet with mixed feelings from Hampton locals not too happy about the idea of the mayhem the ladies would bring. Some people were concerned that the Kardashian girls would bring trouble and cause a ruckus in the area. While others were very excited to hear the Kardashians would be spending some time in the popular Long Island town. Despite the concerns from the community and even public officials Kourtney and Khloe took over the Hamptons, filming “Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons,” this past summer.
“I love that the family came to Long Island,” Lauren Miller of Garden City said after watching the first episode of “Kourtney and Khloe Take The Hamptons.” “I have always considered Long Island the Beverly Hills of New York. It only makes sense that the girls made a spinoff here next. Excited to see how the rest of the season is going to play off.”
During the stay on Long Island the Kardashian family rented home on a peninsula in the Hamptons hamlet of North Sea. Many fans made sure to be at every club, restaurant and store to see if they could catch a glimpse of the celebrity family.
The big question, however, is whether the Kardashians brought the drama, craziness and the Hamptons know for wild times the family? We’ll let you watch the trailer for the show so you can see for yourself. And don’t worry, the title may only mention two family members, but the whole gang will make cameo appearances throughout the season.
Dems and Repubs Differ in Their Car Choices, Too
Study reveals auto buying habits of donkeys and elephants
Democrats prefer good mileage
Tuesday’s election results were either a disaster or a triumph, depending on whom you ask. Everyone still needs to get where they’re going, though, yes? Can’t all meet and get along over that? Not really, according to a study revealing Democrats and Republicans differ as much on their choice of rides as where they stand on vital issues. San Diego-based Strategic Vision published statistics two years ago revealing that for the most part, red is red and blue is blue for the autobuying public, with some variations. Polling a total of 76,103 new vehicle buyers over 24 months, they found Republicans bought most of the new cars sold overall, accounting for 37 percent market share to the Democrats’ 31 percent. That’s not a gargantuan gap, but when they broke it down to vehicle segments, the difference was stark – 69 percent of people buying convertibles were Republicans. That’s significant because not all convertibles are through the roof price-wise. Fiat’s Arbath Cabrio carries a $26,895 sticker, for example, hardly pegging it a 1 percent mobile.
Studies show Republicans prefer trucks
Another study by TotalCarScore.com polling Facebook users about their political and autobuying habits found that 29 percent of Republicans drive trucks while 27 percent of the Democrats reported buying compact/economy cars, cementing the stereotype that Elephants like gas guzzlers and Donkeys are more sensitive/sensible. Hybrids are the least popular choices for either party, but Democrats are more than twice as likely to drive one, says the study. The only common ground can be found in minivans, SUVs and muscle cars, where percentages are roughly the same with a slight Republican edge. Why does any of this matter, you ask? It doesn’t, really, to the average consumer, most of whom buy what they need and can afford rather than bringing politics into their fenders, sound systems and how far they have to drive to work and back every day. People cross party lines all the time, too, when choosing a partner, a job, or wheels. To the auto industry, though, these statistics are crucial as their hundreds of millions of marketing dollars go into trying to convince likely buyers they should spend money on their products, and each sales percentage point either up or down represents vasts amount of money. If knowing where you stand on everything from politics to whether you position your toilet paper so the first sheet flows from above the roll or under helps their bottom line, they’re very interested indeed.
The Best Show You’re Not Watching
‘Forever’ definitely deserves your attention
Published: Thursday, November 06, 2014
Every season there is at least one show with a whole lot of heart that, for whatever reason, gets overlooked by the vast majority of viewers. This year that show is “Forever.” Starting off with fairly marginal ratings for the premiere, “Forever” has seen a significant and continual drop in ratings over its first few weeks. Two things are in its favor, however, those being ABC continuing to commit to it and the fact that its numbers are in a slight upswing. The question is why?
Procedural shows seems to be all the rage right now, especially ones that pair an unlikely male and female duo that may, or may not, have an attraction to each other. The other favored factor is some sort of quirkiness to one of the main characters, specifically a quirk that allows them super-normal powers of deduction. There also should be a loose-knit family component made up of all the main characters. Even with a plethora of this type of show already on the airwaves, that hasn’t stopped the Networks from inundating their falls schedules with new procedurals.
“Forever” has all the right ingredients. Attractive duo? Check. The handsome Medical Examiner Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) has teamed up with the beautiful and sharp NYPD Detective Jo Martinez? (Alana de la Garza). Lead character with a quirk? Well, the hook of the series is that Dr. Morgan has been alive for over 200 years and anytime he is killed he awakens in a nearby body of water. He’s also has the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes.
Loose-knit family? Ok, that may not quite be there yet. There’s Morgan’s son, Abe (Judd Hirsch), who brings heart and humor to the show. There is also Martinez’s police partner, Hanson (Donnie Keshawarz), their commanding officer, Lt. Reece (Lorraine Toussaint) and Morgan’s assistant, Lucas (Joel David Moore), but the ensemble hasn’t gelled yet as a familial unit. But the show is letting that happen organically over time, much like the relationship between Morgan and Martinez. That is firmly a friendship, which is just as well as Morgan is still pining over his dead love, Abigail (MacKenzie Mauzy) and Martinez is not quite over the sudden death of her husband.
There is also an ongoing mystery in the form of Adam, a man stalking and taunting Morgan, a man who also happens to be long-lived having been alive for a couple of millennia. This, of course, leaves the door open to widening the narrative into new and interesting areas in the future. Both Adam and Morgan’s flashbacks to his wife poignantly display both the romance and the curse of immortality. Plus, the bitter sweetness of Morgan having a son that is at least twice as old as the immortal man appears to be along with Abe susceptible to the ravages of old age and an eventual death only add to that.
All the right chemistry is there between the actors. The stories are well-written, sharp and mostly self-contained with just enough of Adam thrown in to keep interest well and truly piqued. Humor, drama and emotional heartstrings are all dealt in equal measure. This is a show that mainstream audiences should be lapping up with glee. While they haven’t been in large numbers, I am hopeful that is beginning to change. Check out “Forever” Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on ABC and see what you’ve been missing.
Beasts to Scare You
A great book for sleepovers and campfires this fall
Published: Wednesday, November 05, 2014
The nights are getting longer.
Dark falls much earlier these days; there are more shadows and more things hiding in corners, beneath, and behind. More beasts to scare you.
More creatures to catch you.
You can probably name a few of them but do you know what, exactly, lurks where you’re not expecting it? Read “M is for Monster” by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Gerald Kelley and find out… if you dare!
A is at the top of the alphabet, so maybe it’s right that we start at the top of the world where A is for Amarok. It’s a fierce wolf-like creature that’s almost as big as a man and that hides in the forest. The Inuit fear the Amarok – and you should, too.
“Almost every culture has its own favorite dragon,” says J. Patrick Lewis, so that’s what D stands for: dragons. Most of them breathe fire and they make excellent guards for your castle. Some are tamed, but there’s no word on housebreaking issues.
If you live in a big city, you might be familiar with Gargoyles, which is the G word here. Originally meant to help keep buildings safe from rainwater, there’s an interesting (and frightening) myth that goes along with them. No wonder the stone beasts are so scary!
Is it a bird? Is it a snake? It’s both, because Q is for Quetzalcoatl, a creature that appears to be many parts, including a bit of human. He’s huge and he’s terrifying, but he’s not such a bad guy underneath: the Aztecs thought he invented books and calendars and that he brought corn, so they worshipped him.
U is for unicorn, a creature that’s hardly a monster. Legend has it that the shy, gentle horse-with-a-horn can cleanse water and heal injuries, and it’s attracted by purity and innocence. In truth, however, the creatures have never been seen – although several kinds of animals could really fool you.
And then we end at the end with Z for zombies. Yes, the Undead are shocking – maybe because they’re portrayed as a sign of the end of the world!
Looking for a great book for sleepovers and campfires this fall? “M is for Monster” fits that fine, but beware of who you’re scaring…
You probably wouldn’t think, for example, that an alphabet book is for older kids but this one definitely is. Author J. Patrick Lewis offers a basic intro to twenty-six monsters from different cultures, while illustrator Gerald Kelley’s artwork enhances the narrative to lend an eerie feeling to each creature profile.
But there’s the beware: small, sensitive children may run, screaming, into a bedtime full of nightmares after they see what’s inside this book. The artwork is incredible but it works its magic entirely too well for little ones.
And so, while you may want to keep this out of 3-to-6-year-old hands, I think 7-to-12-year-olds (and some adults) will cherish this book for its info and its art. “M is for Monster” may be something they’ll want to read a little longer.
The Game is Afoot Again
‘Elementary’ returns with a fractured team
Published: Tuesday, November 04, 2014
It’s a great time to be a Sherlock Holmes fan. The character is featured in a film franchise starring Robert Downey, Jr., a modern day retelling hit series on the BBC in England and even a series of audio plays, also produced in Britain. Not to be left out of the mix, the US has its own present day retelling of the mythos courtesy of CBS’ “Elementary.” Starring Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson, the venerable series has returned for its third season and finds the crime-solving duo no longer a team.
The ending of season two left Watson feeling like she needed some space from the eccentric private detective and Holmes has seemingly obliged by not only disappearing from their partnership, but also from New York. The premiere shows us a Watson who has firmly moved on with her life. She has flourished on her own as a private investigator and has a new boyfriend. She is still ably assisting NYPD Captain Gregson (Aidan Quinn) and Detective Bell (Jon Michael Hill). Invariably, Holmes re-appears, but he finds his return less than warmly welcomed, especially when he introduces an ersatz Watson in the form of a new protégé, Kitty Winter(Ophelia Lovibond).
Of course, in typical Holmes’ fashion, he returns well before Watson, Gregson and Bell know he is back, even going so far as to have Kitty follow Watson on her latest case. This does not help repair his relationship with Watson, in fact quite the opposite. She agrees that he can return as a consultant to the police, but not as a partner to her. They work their own cases although she does allow that he may consult with her on more difficult cases. While he does assist with her current investigation, it is made clear that Watson is more than capable without him and has grown to be his equal in the investigative arts.
It is painfully obvious that Holmes greatly misses the dynamic between the two and has attempted to recreate that with Kitty. However, it is also as painfully obvious that the newbie doesn’t really fit the exacting standards set out by Holmes and, judging by a conversation she has with her predecessor, Kitty is not sure she really belongs under his wing. Kitty has plenty of vim and vigor, but her deductive reasoning skills aren’t as sharp as the famous team. I’m not sure yet where this will all lead, but there is a sense that it won’t end well for Ms. Winters.
Out of all the current Sherlock Holmes in the various formats, I think Johnny Lee Miller’s version might be my favorite right now. This Holmes is a recovering drug addict who understands that normal relationships are good, he just doesn’t know how to meaningfully pull them off. It’s obvious that he has a great deal of affection for all three of his colleagues, he just doesn’t always know what to do with that. Lucy Liu turns in a delightful performance as Watson and it has been a joy watching her grow from sober companion to first-class investigator over the last two seasons. Both leads continue to play off each other in new and unexpected ways.
There are a few moments that Holmes and Watson ignore the elephant in the room and work together as only they can. Whether or not that spark of the old magic will be enough to eventually reunite the pair remains to be seen. But this show is very good at making the characters earn their development and nothing happens easily. I’m very happy this show is back and look forward to where the story goes this season.
The Best Exercise Regimen for You
Published: Monday, November 03, 2014
Once you start hitting the gym regularly, what exactly should you be doing?
A gym regimen should be tailored to the fitness goal that you are trying to achieve. My recommendation for workouts is to set goals that are physical tasks rather than appearance based. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k, plan your workouts with that in mind.
Even when your ultimate goal is appearance based, you can use measurable physical goals to get there. Setting a poundage goal in a strength exercise or a time goal on the track or treadmill is far more measurable and meaningful than simply saying that you’d like to ‘look better’. I’ll go through some examples next week, but start thinking about some physical goals you might want to achieve.
Infiniti Continues Its Delivery of First-class Rides
Tech-loaded crossover mod, ballsy, handsome
Published: Friday, October 31, 2014
Sometimes a ride hits you in a Homer Simpson donut way – there are no words, just “Ahgggh.” Or, in the case of the QX70, I just kept thinking, “Damn, this is a nice (expletive) car.” It’s tough to be surprised when you’ve tested over 800 cars and trucks, but when I sat down behind the wheel and was enveloped by the smell of sweet aromatic leather (standard), placed fingers on a cockpit festooned with wood, brushed aluminum and fine materials, saw the twinkling center console seeming to smile back at me, it was love at first drive. You can’t ask any more of a car.
So what makes the QX70 top in its class? It’s got a healthy, kickin’ engine, first - a 325-hp 3.7-liter V6 equipped with technology called “Variable Valve Event and Lift” (VVEL) that helps the power plant breathe freely for instant acceleration and enhanced efficiency; no wonder I thought it was a V-8. (There was a V-8 available, but it’s been discontinued.) Behind the car, the combined dual intake and exhaust creates a blorty-snorty note you can feel as well as hear. It also handles the road like a sportster, putting up with a thrashing at high (ish) speeds and holding steady. Some fear flipping over in a bigger ride, but this one didn’t leave the ground even when I dared it, a little.
Its interior controls are operated by good ol’ buttons instead of a universal controller as with some other luxe rides that complicate the bejeezus out of stuff that should be left alone. Infiniti tosses in a lot of standard goodies, too, like a sunroof, power-operated, heated front seats, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, dual zone automatic climate control, a power rear liftgate, foglamps, cruise control, a dash-mounted seven-inch color information display and 18-inch alloy wheels. Go for the Premium Package – one of a few offered - and you’ll get a nav system with an eight-inch touch-screen display and real-time traffic and weather services, an around-view parking monitor with front and rear sonar systems, memory functionality for the front seats, power tilt and telescoping functionality for the steering wheel, audio streaming via Bluetooth and more. Check the The Deluxe Touring Package brings 20-inch alloy wheels, maple interior accents, aluminum pedals and a tonneau cover. The Technology Package delivers a laser-based Intelligent Cruise Control system with Distance Control Assist and other accoutrements.
If you’re already an Infiniti fan, the QX70 will make a further believer out of you - or may cause you to second-guess its German rivals.
Suzanne Vega plays Westhampton Beach Performing Arts
Folk songstress brings Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles to New York
I never wear white
White is for virgins
Children in summer
Brides in the park.
My color is black black black
Black is for secrets
Outlaws and dancers
For the poet of the dark.
It’s been 27 years since singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega released the a cappella “Tom’s Diner,” which was named after NYC’s Tom’s Restaurant on W 112th Street and Broadway. (Shots of Tom’s Restaurant were also used to represent Monk’s, the diner where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer gnoshed on Seinfeld). Since the British dance duo DNA successfully remixed “Tom’s Diner” in 1990 (one of Vega’s most commercially successful songs along with “Luka” and “Marlene on the Wall”), numerous musicians have sampled the song. And it can be heard on Fall Out Boy’s latest single, “Centuries.”
“There have been so many samples,” admits Vega, who recently joined Fall Out Boy in a performance of “Centuries” on Ellen. “I really like Nikki D’s ‘Daddy’s Little Girl,’ Fall Out Boy, Michigan & Smiley and Danger Mouse’s versions.”
On her first album of original music in seven years, Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles,Vega actually samples 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop” and makes reference to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” on “Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain.” Produced by David Bowie’s former musical director Gerry Leonard, The Queen is quintessential Vega with a few more guitars thrown in with the help of former Bob Dylan sideman Larry Campbell, Peter Gabriel and King Crimson bassist Tony Levin.
One of the dark poetess’s more rockin’ songs is the semi-autobiographical “I Never Wear White.” And while she admits to wearing white from time to time—like when she got married—the woman with the penchant for dark-colored suits really does prefer black.
“‘I Never Wear White’ is a juicy song that I can really get into performing,” said Vega, who studied modern dance as a teenager. “I also like performing ‘Don’t Uncork What You Can’t Contain’ because it’s a lot of fun.”
While the folk songstress was influenced by artists like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles and Laura Nyro, Vega is looking forward to hearing the new albums by Taylor Swift and Lucinda Williams. More music from Vega and a book could also be on the horizon.
“There could be more music at the end of 2015,” said Vega. “I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and revisiting all of Fall Out Boy’s back catalog. I also love Cibo Matto’s new album—great stuff!”
What: Suzanne Vega live– her distinct voice is smoother than ever
Where: Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday, November 1st, 8pm
For more info: www.whbpac.org/pages/event_detail.php?event_id=812
Vega will also be playing at Joe’s Pub in NYC on November 14th with shows at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, and on November 15th with shows at 7:30pm and 9:30pm
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday October 31st
Welcome to the Halloween Edition of Fast Friday’s Tech Update!
USB Kidding Me?
Looking for a gift for the Goth-Geek in your life? Why not give the SkullHub a try! This clever and useful decorative desktop appliance is functional and down-right creepy. With four, 2.0 USB ports and a nifty storage compartment (where the victims brains used to be), the SkullHub will dress up your workstation for that spooky Halloween feeling all year round. This unique accessory for your PC looks so life-like it may even keep the boss away from your cubical… making the 20 bucks you’ll spend well worth it! Get yours here.
Not going anywhere tonight for Halloween? That’s okay, you can still participate in all the festivities by simply downloading these original Halloween themed wallpapers…for free! Now when you’re sitting at your desk, or your kids are passing by the computer, they’ll know you’re definitely in the holiday spirit! Plus, you won’t have to get dressed up in a silly costume or slap all that disgusting make-up on your face. Celebrating this year was never so easy, download your Halloween themed wallpaper here.
There are plenty of ways to keep your children safe while they’re out-on-the-town gathering treats this Halloween. Simple tips like making sure their phones are fully charged before they leave the house, to having emergency numbers of family members and relatives on speed dial. These are just two simple ways a parent can feel confident that their child is out there playing-it-safe! But, did you know there are smartphone apps specifically designed for the teen, or tween, who will partake in this year’s festivities? Click here for some great apps you can download and use tonight!
This is Scary
We all know there are rules to checking candy that comes home in our children’s goodie bags right? Well, in case you just crawled out from under a gravestone (or you just want to take a look at a silly video at the office), click here (or watch the video below) for some great tips that’ll help you scour your children’s candy bag for yummy “safe” treats.
Halloween’s Best TV Bets
‘Grimm’ and ‘Constantine’ provide the tricky treats
Published: Thursday, October 30, 2014
If you are looking for thrills, chills, ghouls and scares on TV this Halloween Night, NBC has you covered with two shows sure to hit all the right horror notes. Brand new demon-filled series “Constantine” and devilishly delightful veteran “Grimm” air new episodes on the scariest night of the year. Both had their season premieres last week in spooktacular fashion!
“Grimm” is back and when we were last in Portland, Oregon Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) had been shot a few times and Nick (David Giuntoli) had been de-Grimmed. Renard’s would-be assassin (played by C. Thomas Howell, who only returns in the premiere as a replica disembodied head) was quickly dispatched by Truble (Jacqueline Toboni), but her sudden departure left the Police with a bunch of unanswered questions. Thankfully, unlike “Castle” (I know, let it go), the season-ending wedding between Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and Rosalee (Bree Turner) was able to actually get past the “I Do” stage before falling into chaos.
It doesn’t look like Nick is getting his monster-divining mojo back soon, but despite having lost his powers in a sex-romp with a magically disguised Adalind (Claire Coffee), it appears that girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) is being adult about the whole thing. Surprisingly, “Grimm” isn’t using this to drive another wedge between the two, but considering she was previously literally spellbound to constantly make out with his boss, she may realize she doesn’t really have a moral high ground to stand on. For now, Trubel is the only Grimm in town. The rookie seems to be enjoying being needed in such an important role, but Halloween may not be bringing her any treats in that department.
Similarly, the dear Captain may not even make it to being able to trick-or-treat as he flatlined and time was called in the closing moments of the premiere. This was all observed by a mysterious blonde woman (Louise Lombard). Renard’s story may not be finished because if “Grimm” has taught us anything it’s that blonde women have a way of making very unexpected, if not completely undesirable, things happen. You can almost certainly trust that she is up to no good, but whether or not that bodes well for Renard making a recovery remains to be seen. No matter what happens, Halloween promises a plastic pumpkin bucket full of treats for the viewers.
Newcomer “Constantine” got off to a dynamic and demonic start. John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is a man of few scruples and even less of a soul. He’s an occult detective and con-man who has done way too many deals with several devils and only occasionally manages to pay the price. That’s mostly the province of those around him, which is why he can count his friends on one hand. Chas Chandler (Charles Halford) and the angel Manny (Harold Perrineau) are the only two beings he is on speaking terms with and at least one of them isn’t human.
“Constantine” is based on the best-selling and much-beloved comic book series “Hellblazer.” While there has been much contention amongst die-hard fans that this is a watered-down version of the usually manipulative bastard John Constantine, the TV show still holds up pretty well as its own entity. The original pilot was changed a bit before broadcast to accommodate a change in direction regarding the female lead and I think it still holds up even better as a strong premiere. There are striking horror elements as well as interesting insights into what makes the live-action Constantine tick, plus it did a great job introducing the characters and the premise without getting overburdened by exposition. The second episode looks to be a real corker, so I encourage everyone, including the die-hard fans, to give it a chance.
After a night out gathering Halloween treats you can be assured of coming home to a nice cup of your favorite witch’s brew and a couple of shows that will provide you with a few more scares before you call it a night. The great thing is every Friday night can be Halloween with the back-to-back NBC scare-fest that is “Grimm” and “Constantine.”
Books to Scare You
These hair-raising paperbacks are not for the kiddies
Published: Wednesday, October 29, 2014
The days of plastic masks are over for you.
No more Mom’s makeshift monster costumes; no more department-store, mass-produced everybody’s-wearing-its. You dress yourself on Halloween because you know you create a better costume than anybody, a fact you’re proud of.
You might know make-up, but there are scares you just can’t make up. You’ll find them in “Haunted Stuff” by Stacey Graham and “ America ’s Most Haunted” by Theresa Argie and Eric Olsen.
“America ’s Most Haunted” by Theresa Argie and Eric Olsen, c.2014, Berkeley, $16.00 / $18.00 Canada, 341 pages
Those old Halloween decorations you brought home last year are going to scare the Dickens out of the neighborhood kids. You can’t wait to put them up – but maybe you should. In “Haunted Stuff,” you’ll see why you should wait, maybe forever. Cast-off belongings, you see, could be thick with things you can’t see.
It’s fun to find a bargain, for instance, but Graham says that many second-hand items – including clothing, toys, furniture, and collectibles – may’ve had owners that are still quite attached to them. Bring the item home, she says, and you could be inviting a spirit into your house.
That could be charming… or it could be terrorizing.
“Haunted Stuff” by Stacey Graham, c.2014, Llewellyn, $15.99 / $18.50 Canada, 240 pages
Once-loved dolls, for instance, could be imbedded with the spirit of the child who played with them, but that’s not all. She includes stories of demon dolls that caused mayhem (at best) and insanity (or worse). And whatever you do, don’t think badly about those toys because, well, they’ll know.
And if you’re a brave soul and things don’t scare you, let’s see how you do with places. In “ America ’s Most Haunted,” you’ll learn about paranormal homes, hotels, and hotspots that you can actually visit.
In Ohio , you could meet a ghost from the long-ago past who may haunt in tandem with a ghost from the 1990s. In West Virginia , tour a former “lunatic asylum” that might harbor Civil War spirits. In Colorado , take a room-by-tunnel trip in a hotel where the scenery is beautiful and the screamery is boooo-tiful. In California , you can visit a ship that one Hollywood star admitted has an “otherworldly” feel about it.
What’s nice about this book is that it’s so thorough. The authors tell you where you’ll have the best likelihood of spotting or hearing something eerie; whether it can be explained by natural reasons; and phone numbers, addresses, and tips on going there to see for yourself.
Halloween: fun & games, or frights & ghouls? How about both?
I, personally, find the cover of “Haunted Stuff” to be deliciously disturbing. Happily, the inside matches the outside but beware: read it, and you’ll think twice about bargain-hunting, forever.
And if a good old-fashioned ghost story completes your Halloween, then “ America ’s Most Haunted” is your (spooky) book. Just remember, as you’re reading: it’s all chillingly true!
Bear in mind that these hair-raising paperbacks are not for the kiddies; in fact, the cover of one of them is nightmarish. “Haunted Stuff” and “America’s Most Haunted” are great to have, but be sure to keep them out of little hands because sometimes, Halloween isn’t for kids – and neither are these books.
Playing Against Expectations
‘The Good Wife’ continues to get it right
Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
“The Good Wife” has always gone against expectations and usually finds a way to twists its unexpected roads through absurd corners, sometimes in surreal ways. From a recurring judge that demands all the legal representatives bookend their statements with “in my opinion” to a manically unfocused lawyer and a highly eccentric AUSA flirting by the merits of each other’s personal grooming products, this show seldom follows a plotline from point A to B directly.
While “The Good Wife” is unmistakably Julianna Marguiles’ vehicle, her dominance is challenged in every scene she shares with co-stars Christine Baranski, Matthew Goode and Matt Czuchry. It isn’t really a fight, however, as all those actors only serve to bring out the best in each other and the underlying truth in each and every scene. Apart from its brilliant ensemble, sharp writing and superb direction, one of the show’s lesser appreciated strengths is in its eclectic mix of recurring and guest star actors.
Very few shows could get away with casting real life Parkinson’s Disease sufferer Michael J. Fox as Louise Canning, a lawyer inflicted with a similar disease. But “The Good Wife” takes that a step further and to the left of expectations by making Canning a conniving bastard who doesn’t hesitate to use his condition to engender sympathy in the court room or use privately revealed information against the person who confessed it. This may be the defining role of Fox’s career, certainly Emmy-worthy, and he’s not even a main character. All of us of a certain age have a certain fondness for Fox, but relish seeing Canning get his comeuppance.
On the opposite side of despicable is Elsbeth Tascioni, played with unbridled vigor by Carrie Preston. Elsbeth always appears to be engaged in several different conversations at once in her head, none of which appear to be with the person talking to her. That strange aloofness doesn’t undermine her razor-sharp skills as a lawyer, however, as she can disarm an opponent or win over a judge well before they’ve realized what’s happened. Her near-erotic obsession with Josh Perotti’s (Kyle MacLachlan) choice of deodorant notwithstanding, Elsbeth is someone you always want on your side.
Canning and Elsbeth being as richly developed and creatively nuanced as they are and being only recurring characters should give you a better idea of how well-crafted the main characters are. The bedrock upon which “The Good Wife” house is built has been and always will be comprised of Marguiles’ Alicia Florrick and Baranski’s Diane Lockhart. These are two of the best actresses on Television right now and they bring more to a single scene than most people give in an entire episode.
Most recently, the pair and their new law firm took over the offices of the firm they jumped ship from. Diane reclaimed her old office and Alicia set up shop in the offices of the recently deceased Will Gardner, her longtime friend and onetime lover. The end of that scene, with not a word spoken, was just sublimely acted by Marguiles and Baranski and spoke volumes of how they each viewed their collective journey back to a place they’d called home.
Now in its sixth season, “The Good Wife” feels as fresh and new as if it had just premiered this year. It has really hit its stride and only promises great things ahead. After last year’s shocking main character death shifted the dynamics somewhat, there is another paradigm shift promised later this year as it has already been announced that Archie Panjabi would be exiting the show. How that will shake things up will remain to be seen, but the storyline leading up to it is sure to be unexpected, if nothing else
Should we be using it as often?
Published: Monday, October 27, 2014
The use of artificial sweeteners is a subject fraught with controversy. On one hand, they can be used freely by diabetic patients, they don’t contribute to tooth decay and they have assisted in many people’s weight loss efforts. On the other, there has been recent research indicating that even though sugar substitutes don’t themselves contribute as many calories to the diet, they might actually stimulate you to eat more for your next meal. More recently, there has been some evidence linking use of artificial sweeteners to a poorer ability to regulate sugar in the blood, but this is still developing. For now, recognize that sugar substitutes are safe overall but try to be mindful that they don’t alter your food intake.
The iPod Turns 13
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday Oct. 24
Published: Friday, October 24, 2014
A Suitcase you can Ride?
It’s a suitcase and a scooter. It’s a backpack and a skateboard. It’s luggage without the lugging…it’s the Olaf. Imagine taking everything you need for the entire day… including your transportation! The Olaf is just that and has two models to choose. The “Urban” is a removable backpack, a trolley, a steerable kick scooter and a wooden skateboard. The “Business” design is a three in one (airline approved) carry-on suitcase, trolley and kick-scooter. Would’ve made a great holiday gift but production will not be complete until January 2015. Watch the video to see the Olaf in action.
These Apps are Scary Good!
Long Islander’s just love Halloween! For some, it takes over their entire month. This year Halloween fans can truly have-it-all with these absolutely spook-tacular apps for iPhone and Android. Create greeting cards to send to friends (or enemies), download ghostly wallpapers for your screen or choose a game to play with friends. Grab the list of Halloween themed app’s here.
Email, Gmail Everywhere
How many emails accounts do you have? I have six, no wait… I think it’s seven! Yes, that’s right it’s seven…and yes, I “do” check them all! Well, coming soon from android you’ll be able to check your Yahoo, Outlook and Gmail all within the same app on your android phone. No more switching from application to application, browsing your other email accounts when google makes it easy to see them all in one cozy little interface. So, why is google granting easy access to other email services? It’s just Google doing what it does best… inviting you in with their shiny new object and never letting you leave. How’s that for scary?
The iPod Turns 13!
This week we give a big shout-out to the thirteen year old white knight…the iPod. The music device that started it all has turned thirteen this month. I don’t know about you, but these days most of my mp3 listening sessions happen on my smartphone. Although I will say I continue to use those cute little white earbuds…they still sound great! How many readers still have their original iPod? Let us know in the comments below! See you next week!
Here Come the Car Spiders
Manufacturers admit 8-legged pests can harm components
Arachnids aren’t the only pests plaguing car owners, either. As the weather cools, animals and insects alike are attracted to various components of a car that stay warm for long periods of time, like the engine, certain hoses, and undercarriage. The list of animals you might share with your car includes cats, snakes, birds, crabs, raccoons, geckos, bed bugs, mud chiggers - and spiders. And you don’t always know they’re there, either, as many a motorist who suddenly discovers a bee in the car knows.
Back to the spiders, though - there are several ways to minimize the chances a spider will move into your ride.
*Try not to park under trees. Spiders like high places, and the warmth of your newly-parked car might lead them to think there’s a mother lode of insects under your hood. Down they come and spin a web.
*Close your windows. This may sound like a no-brainer, but there are certain times when spiders disperse via “ballooning” on little web strands that catch the wind and carry the insects for up to many miles, including but not limited to into your car window.
*Try to minimize lights that burn all night near your car. You may find it a toss-up to keep the lights on and potential car thieves at bay, or turn them off and hope the spiders seek other accommodations.
If you do catch a spider in your ride and you’re the kindly sort, use a glass or cup and a piece of cardboard to scoop up Charlotte and dump her in the grass. Finally, there isn’t any such thing as spider repellant for your car. It’s enough to wrap your mind around the fact that they may be riding with you without your knowledge.
Recipe: Halloween Mix
The perfect nibble to whip out for some company
Published: Thursday, October 23, 2014
I have to tell you that I am a sucker for a festive party mix and Halloween is just the time to do it! I made my first one about a year ago and I can already predict it will be a tradition in my house. The kids obviously LOVE it and this nosh is the perfect nibble to whip out for some company. Just know my friends, that it is VERY ADDICTING! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2/3 cup sunflower butter
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips
9 cups Chex Rice Cereal
1 cup powdered sugar
1 /2 cup M&M’s (only yellow, brown and orange colors)
1 cup packaged white chocolate pretzels crushed
1/2 cup candy corns
1 cup yellow candy melting pieces
1.) Pour cereal into a large mixing bowl.
2.) In another microwave-safe bowl melt sunflower butter, butter and white chocolate chips for 2 minutes stirring every 30 seconds to prevent burning.
3.) Add vanilla and mix with cereal until thoroughly coated.
4.) Place all into a large re-sealable bag coat with the powdered sugar. Lay all on a large cookie sheet covered with sprayed waxed or parchment paper.
5.) In a separate bowl melt yellow candy pieces until smooth: same as directions in step 2. (If needed use a teaspoon of vegetable oil)
6.) Sprinkle M&M’s, candy corns and pretzels into mix and drizzle the yellow candy on top. Transfer sheet to refrigerator or freezer to let set.
7.) Break apart as needed and evenly distribute into Halloween treat bags and ENJOY!
Character Evolution at its Best
'Person of Interest' continues to surprise viewers
We’ve all known for some time now that Orwell’s fabled Big Brother is among us and that most everything we do is observed in some fashion. Since its premiere in 2011 “Person of Interest” has used that as its central premise and shown us how a machine that scrutinizes that surveillance could interpolate that data to help a group of heroes save the common man. Last season a similar, yet more advanced, machine was brought online with much more utilitarian intentions and we’ve begun to see how that same data can be used in a much more malicious manner.
Much like the never-seen Machine at the core of the plot, the show itself has evolved over the last few years. Initially, “Person of Interest” was about the Machine supplying a social security number to our unlikely team of heroes (an ex black ops officer, an isolated computer nerd, a dedicated cop and a dirty detective) and they would race to save that person from a horrible fate or from inflicting violence on others. The core of the group has remained Harold Finch (Michael Emmerson), the Machine’s creator, and John Reese (Jim Caviezel), with new faces added along the way and one cut down too soon. And, as the world in which they inhabit has opened and expanded, their original mandate has become much more complicated to adhere to.
What has been most interesting to watch over the last three seasons is how the characters have developed and grown. The dirty detective, Fusco (Kevin Chapman), was originally just a pawn who was blackmailed into helping our scofflaw dynamic duo. He is now a valued member of the team and a trusted ally. Similarly, former assassin Shaw (Sarah Shahi) originally worked at cross-purposes to what Finch and Reese were trying to accomplish before joining their crusade. Lacking empathy, she has slowly been learning to be human again.
Then there is Root (Amy Acker), a former contract killer who is the human interface with the Machine, thanks to an ear implant. She was clearly a murderous psychopath early on, but, like Shaw, has been learning to regain her humanity and is a friend to the rest of the team. Everyone in the group is now what would be considered a “good guy,” but for some the change hasn’t been instant. They have all had to learn to be better people through both interactions with the Machine and with each other.
Now that Samaritan, the second, more malevolent machine has gone online, Finch, Reese, Shaw and Root have been painted as threats and are forced to take on false identities in order to hide in plain sight and continue their mission. Fusco has always been kept in the dark about the Machine and thus has been spared being targeted. Those in the shadows can’t take any actions that would alert Samaritan to their real identities. With each new number, the team is not only trying to help the helpless, but also survive themselves.
“Person of Interest” is consistently superbly written and acted and has been constantly shaking up the central premise in intriguing and refreshing ways. Now in its fourth year it almost feels like a brand new show, but in a way that has been a natural progression of the ongoing story. It will be a long while before this show feels stale and loses any of its edge. I see no reason for it not to be around for several more seasons. Hopefully the characters can stay alive to see a well-deserved happy ending.
Sticking with ‘Castle’
Time to re-evaluate whether or not ‘Castle’ warrants continued viewing
Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2014
A few weeks back I wrote about my massive disappointment with the last season finale of “Castle” and how the new season premiere still left the show on tenuous ground with me. It’s been a few weeks since its return, so it’s time to re-evaluate whether or not “Castle” warrants continued viewing.
The good news is that the most recent episode feels very much like the “Castle” of old. There was quite a bit of humor thanks to the antics of Mr. Nathan Fillion and also from the dynamic duo of Jon Huertas and Seamus Dever. Whereas Fillion’s Rick Castle gets to live up to his true juvenile potential while searching for a witness amongst a classroom of second graders, Esposito and Ryan are at their brothers from other mothers best. We also get the central relationship between Castle and Beckett (Stan Katic) back on track.
The downside is that we are still dealing with the ongoing mystery of where Castle was and what he was doing during his missing three months. Apart from him discovering that he himself is responsible for his memory loss there has been no further traction on resolving this clunker of a plotline. And I’m pretty sure there will be no further developments until the mid-season finale. Even then I fear it will be another dangling carrot and not a true resolution.
As annoying as that mystery is, it did make for some touching characters moments between Castle and his daughter, Alexis (Molly Quinn). It’s easy to forget what a terrific actress Quinn is until she gets a meaty scene with Fillion. This episode’s denouement is particularly fantastic and further strengthens the great father-daughter relationship that the show has handled so well since the beginning. The criminally underutilized Susan Sullivan gets a couple of choice scenes this week as well.
Through all of this, Castle and Beckett at least know they still want to marry each other, but agree that they need a little time to readjust to each other. They’ve decided on a timeframe of one month. However, as time proceeds at a different rate within the show than it does in the real world, it is unclear if they mean sometime in November or an arbitrary “month from now” that occurs at a more advantageous time ratings-wise. I hope that the production team is aware that they can’t attempt another bait-and-switch, didn’t-quite-happen wedding a second time and get away with it.
Yes, I’m still invested in this show and the characters. It’s because I care that I am so critical. I do think it’s time to look at an end-game, preferably a happily ever after one, and think about going out on a high note but calling it quits at the end of the current season. Although, while “Castle” may not be the ratings juggernaut it once was, it hasn’t shed enough viewers to make ABC even entertain the idea of pulling the plug. It’s probably safe to say it will be sticking around for a while longer. Hopefully there will be a creative renaissance among the writing staff to make the extended journey worthwhile.
Casual Chic Trends at HIFF
Filmmakers, staff, journalists and actors kept it classy by going more modest
On a tempestuous Saturday in the Hamptons several layers of the film industry gathered for the Hamptons International Film Festival. Several factions including filmmakers, staff, journalists or actors made up this celebration of the on screen art. You would think such an occasion in an upscale setting would arouse buttoned down and flashy attire. Especially with actors like Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo attending their screenings. However, whether you were in front of the screen or on the screen, the trend was something a bit more casual chic or believe it or not, humble. It was refreshing to see individuals who kept it classy by going more modest, especially with all these cameras around.
My experience began in East Hampton at the films headquarters, the Maidstone. The scene at this art covered and cozy inn was relaxed and created the perfect setting for socializing with well-dressed film professionals. Networking and local vino were on everyone’s to do list. Present and sporting comfy yet fresh styles were press and on screen talents with their producers.
Filmmaker, Emily Lobsenz was promoting one of two movies she wrote and produced in 2014, titled “Sandorkraut”. Emily stood out immediately with her original style and I was intent to find out where it originated. I wasn’t surprised when she told me it was purchased in Barcelona, Spain and it was vintage. One of the many things I appreciate about shopping in Europe are the one of a kinds you stumble upon while window shopping. Who needs souvenirs when you bring back retro silk jump suits and irreplaceable hand tailored pea coats. It is probably the reason why I travel with a suitcase that is not full.
Actor Avi Nash and producer Jeffrey Abramson of “Learning to Drive” were comfortable yet sharp dressed in zipper trimmed black leather by street wear brand Obey and Calvin Klein. Smart option on a stormy and cool day.
Julie Silcox caught my attention with her fun use of jewel tones. Hanging from her shoulder is what prompted me to snap her photo. The outfit went from casual to posh with the addition of a leather handbag from boutique designer Meg Erickson of Boston. What I love most about this accessory is that it’s all stitching and not trim, simplicity made the style.
It was time for a change from the Maidstone to Guild Hall. Socializing turned to hush. I sat for the only film that was a musical in the festival, recommended by a good friend. It was titled “The Last Five Years” starring Anna Kendrick’s and Jeremy Jordon and as expected the two actors had you glued to the screen in this story of the evolution and fall of love set in two big cities. The film is scheduled for release next spring. Unfortunately the two young talents did not make an appearance for the Q&A after. The movie to follow was an upcoming bio drama, “Foxcatcher” staring Marc Ruffalo so I claimed my space on the press line after the movie to grab a few shots and yet another example of casual cool. This handsome actor was sporting a relaxed and gracious attitude as he stopped for everyone who requested an interview, probably making him the most loved star of the evening. Marc thought ahead and added the knits after dark as the temperature dropped.
It was refreshing when talent relies on the whole package to make an impression. So often we see a lot of face painting and glitz and that’s all you see. The Hamptons International Film Festival will be a great memory of the celebration of cinema and the people who attend. It will only make me look forward to the next.
Book Review: ‘Leaving Time’
Clear your calendar
A good mother loves her child unconditionally.
She cares for her little one, making sure the baby is dry, safe, and comforted. She feeds her child and tends to him, no matter what time of day or night.
You can add to this list at will, because we all know what a good mother does. But, as in the new book “Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult, a good mother does not abandon her child.
Thirteen-year-old Jenna Metcalf had a routine that she kept every morning: she got dressed and logged on to the Department of Justice website to see if her mother had been found yet.
A decade before, after one of the caretakers at their elephant sanctuary was trampled by accident, Jenna’s mother, Alice, was found nearby, unconscious, and was taken to the hospital. When she regained her wits, Alice bolted from the building and disappeared.
It haunted Jenna ever since.
What kind of mother abandons her little daughter? Was Alice hurt or killed? That was something Jenna absolutely needed to know – and so, old enough to have saved money from babysitting and birthday gifts, she hired a psychic and a detective.
Once upon a time, Virgil Stanhope was proud of his career.
He’d been one of the lead detectives on the death of the elephant caretaker and the disappearance of Alice Metcalf – but he was having second thoughts. He knew back then that he’d done a hack job. Why hadn’t he dug further into this case?
It had been a long time since The Dead had spoken to Serenity Jones, and she missed it. Ever since a brash, egotistical mistake ruined her TV career, she couldn’t get a human to talk to her, much less a spirit. So when Jenna showed up on Serenity’s doorstep, asking for help, and messages began whispering in Serenity’s head, what could the seer do but listen?
For most of her life, Alice Metcalf was devoted to the study of elephants. They were fascinating to her, and the ultimate reason her life had turned out as it had. She saw so many parallels between pachyderms and humans: love, joy, grief.
Got a calendar?
Clear it. Cancel your plans. Once you’ve got “Leaving Time” in your hands, you won’t want to do anything but spend time with this book.
Through the voices of four main characters, author Jodi Picoult gives readers the kind of novel they’ve come to expect, but with a twist: there’s some mystery in this book. We aren’t sure what happened to Alice , if she’s a killer, a victim, or something else. That keeps-you-guessing factor appears in every Picoult novel, but in this book, it’ll make you page back to see how you didn’t catch the clues and to marvel at where you went in the meantime.
And I’m going to stop there. I can’t bear to ruin your enjoyment of unwrapping the layers in this excellent book. Just know that if you’ve got “Leaving Time,” you’ll only want everyone to leave you alone to read.
Isles on Point with “Tradition on Ice” Sales
Coliseum team store packed with commemorative memorabilia
Published: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Over the summer, the New York Islanders released a special “Tradition on Ice” logo to commemorate the final season of play at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Aside from some marketing campaigns that work well with the “Tradition on Ice” slogan, I wasn’t sure how the team would capitalize on the logo. I took a trip to the team store at the Coliseum the day prior to Opening Night and was pleasantly surprised by the breadth of assortment available.
You can find everything from photos and pucks to pennants and apparel. There really isn’t much you’d hope for after a visit to the store. The sales staff did a solid job in creating sellable items with the new commemorative logo.
For many, this final season at the Coliseum seems like a hockey funeral. Some are completely against the logo and commemorating such a horrible point in franchise history. But a logo is a logo and it honors the history and tradition of the Coliseum. You can’t argue that.
Among the top items available for sale at the team store (while supplies last, of course):
*Canvas print, in white or blue, featuring the Coliseum “Tradition on Ice” logo
*Lineage banners, showing all of the franchise anniversary logos
*Apparel, including special hats, sweatshirts and tee shirts, some from ’47 Brand
*Ticket stub holders to collect as many tickets from the final season as you can
*Mini copies of retired jerseys and championship banners
If you’re looking to just purchase the patch that the players are wearing on their jerseys, you’re not going to be happy. According to members of the store sales staff, you can only get the patch on a jersey, not by itself.
Bad Deals With Rumpelstiltskin
'Once Upon A Time' invests in its characters this season
When last May’s season finale of “Once Upon A Time” ended with the promise of bringing the characters of the hit film “Frozen” to Storybrooke there was the fear that it was too soon. All of the fairy tale characters depicted so far had been around for decades while Disney’s version of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” was barely half a year old at that time. Even the least cynical of viewers had to be wondering if it was just an attempt to cash in on “Frozen”’s crazy success to try to boost the TV series’ ratings. We are now four episodes into the new season’s storyline and anyone who has a lingering negative doubt should take a cue from the feature film’s most popular song and let it go.
Last season was a difficult one for “Once Upon A Time” as third seasons seem to be problematic for all shows. The Peter Pan storyline that ran through the first eleven episodes seemed to not quite come together and got bogged down in its determination to stay the course no matter what, even as viewers abandoned ship. The show was able to recover in the back half of the season with a lovely twist on its original premise and the inclusion of Elsa at the end all but guaranteed a strong premiere this fall. The big surprise is that not only has it worked, but it has provided a creative jolt
The big twist is that Elsa (Georgina Haig) is not the antagonist of the season, but rather her Aunt, the Snow Queen (Elizabeth Mitchell). Not-so-dear auntie has been hiding in plain sight as the owner of an ice cream shop and uses Elsa’s arrival in Storybrooke to frame her niece and wreak a little havoc. Of course, Emma (Jennifer Morrison) and Hook (Colin O’Donoghue) figure out the charade and before long Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) are helping the younger Queen of Arendelle in her search for her sister, Anna (Elizabeth Lail).
In the meantime, former Evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrilla) has embroiled her adopted son, Henry (Jared S. Gilmore) in a quest to discover the author of Henry’s book of fairy tales. Regina wants to enlist the original author in rewriting sections of the book to give her a happy ending. However, she is sidetracked with finding a way to unfreeze Marion (Christie Lang), the recently returned wife of the man who has both their hearts, Robin Hood (Sean Maguire). To say that there are no straightforward relationships in Storybrooke would be a monumental understatement.
One of the main themes of this season so far is the conflict of not so nice characters attempting to fight their nature with varying degrees of success and sincerity. Regina could have quite easily returned to her nefarious ways with the return of Marion, but Henry, and to a lesser degree, Emma, showed her that there is a better way and she continues to try to walk the righteous path. Mr.
Gold (Robert Carlyle) got a second chance with the love of his life, Belle (Emilie de Ravin), and renounced his previously malicious ways, but in words only. Hook has foregone his piratical past to be with Emma, but a series of unwise deals with Gold (aka Rumpelstiltskin) has shown him that the past is not so easy to escape from.
Seeing the anti-heroes strive to be better people, either truly or by massive misdirection, makes for a very compelling show. “Once Upon A Time” investing heavily in its characters and their motivations is the show’s biggest strength and when it resists dampening that with a dull plot it fires on all cylinders. Right now, the folks making the show have found the right balance of chemistry, character wizardry and dynamically creative story. Here’s hoping they keep the ship (and ‘ships) on a true and steady course.
The Other ‘Supergreens’
Despite the hype, kale is not the only 'supergreen'
Published: Monday, October 20, 2014
We’ve all heard that the darker the green, the healthier it is (primarily because of an increased density of phytochemicals and vitamins), but despite the hype, kale is not the only ‘supergreen’ that falls into this delicious dark green category. Spinach, swiss chard and watercress contain as many vitamins and minerals as kale, with even a slightly lower carbohydrate and calorie count. Spinach contains the highest amounts of folate and iron (which contribute to red blood cell production) of all leafy greens. Swiss chard contains 400% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K and watercress contains as much calcium by weight as milk. Most dark leafy greens are healthy, so don’t limit yourself to a single type. All you have to do is start exploring!
Subaru Hops onto Hybrid Bandwagon
Angular, capable family crossover’s gas/electric flavor scores high marks
Published: Friday, October 17, 2014
The XV Crosstrek Hybrid is the perfect ride for people who don’t want to feel as though they’re compromising style, feel and flavor in favor of a more compassionate carbon footprint. It doesn’t exactly fit the mold of the label “crossover” – it’s more a wagon with a beefed-up rear – but it’s the Subaru that’ll satisfy anyone needing a family taxi without excessive bulk, and it’s also fun to drive, unlike some blow-dryer Hybrids. It’s all-wheel drive, first, thus handling in advance most snowstorms. It stands about 3 inches taller than Subaru’s Impreza, with 8.7 inches ground clearance, meaning you can also drive it across the beach or over dirt or off-road. The tall stance and black plastic wheel well flares will also help prevent gravel, rocks and road debris from bashing the car’s body. The interior is fairly standard Subaru – materials are reasonably high-quality and there wasn’t anything annoying in basic operation. Some reports have criticized the nav system, but I had no issue with it other than the same issue I have with all auto nav systems as compared to my iPhone – when you type into a car nav system, it’s like like asking a 110-year old to run a mile in under 3 minutes - it ain’t gonna happen quick.
You’re purely electric at slow speed and it’s a satisfying feeling to look at your gauge and see you’re getting 30 miles per gallon. Don’t crow yet, though – the Crosstek Hybrid gets only about 3 miles per gallon more than the non-hybrid. Why buy the hybrid, then? The short answer is that
Hybrids are hot, and Subaru doesn’t want a customer to start looking Toyota-ward if they can help it. It takes corners well, its seats are comfortable, there is more than enough room for a load of what-have-you, and my Grasshopper Green model was more than easy to spot in parking lots with its 17-inch wheels, chrome door handles, grille shutters and foldable side mirror.
Go for the upscale Hybrid Touring and you get leather upholstery, a sunroof, nav system with voice controls, smartphone integration, HD radio and satellite radio. You’re powered by a four-cylinder, 148 horsepower engine making 145 pound-feet of torque. Your electric motor contributes 13 more horses and 48 more pound-feet of torque. Its safety rating from the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an across-the-board “Good.” If you like Subarus to begin with, this is a car you should investigate. If you’re on the fence, it’s still worth a drive.
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday Oct. 17
The Eyes Have It!
In addition to releasing updates to their popular iPad this week, Apple announces their new iMac desktop with Retina display. So what the heck is Retina Display? It’s the highest resolution screen that Apple has positioned on a desktop yet. Details are still seeping out, but early reports say the new iMac is the thinnest and fastest yet! Stay up to date with all the details here.
All grown up!
I’m all about the backpack, but I’m also not in college any longer so I need something a little more grown up…enter the Hex Onyx Origin. Stylish and functional it can store your laptop, appointment book, smartphone, tablet or whatever you may need at the office or job interview. Black Leather trim gives it a more adult appearance and the extra padding provided will protect fragile items (like the aforementioned Laptop). This the perfect daily companion for the professional who is always on the move.
Wearable, moveable, rechargeable and all around excitable…Rocket Skates are here! Rocket Skates easily strap over your favorite walking shoes and can travel 8 to 10 miles on a single charge! Part Roller Blade and part Segway, Rocket Skates have no hand held controls and a companion app that tracks your progress and helps you connect with fellow Rocket Skaters. Rocket Skates…easy to master, great for the environment and so much fun! Check out the video here!
Who Needs a Wallet?
Remember that story your mom used to tell, “Someday Johnny, you won’t need paper money to pay for anything!” Well, mom is closer to correct than she’s ever been. Apple just took a giant leap forward with their Apple Pay system. And on October 20th we’ll see if Apple CEO Tim Cook can deliver on his promise to have some of the largest retailers in America utilize Apple’s pay by phone application. See the list of retailers that are on participating here.
The Great Garden City Pumpkin Patch
Head to UUCCN for pumpkins and baked goods throughout the month of October
Published: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Linus: Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He’s gotta pick this one. He’s got to. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see…
Let the Pumpkin Scarecrow lead the way when heading to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau (UUCCN) at the corner of Nassau Boulevard and Stewart Avenue. Throughout the month of October, the grounds will be covered with pumpkins from the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, which tend to last longer than those grown in the eastern United States. The sale is open daily from 11am to 7pm through Halloween on October 31st.
Close to 6,000 pumpkins in various shapes and sizes were delivered, as well as some variety pumpkins, gourds and decorative corn. Bring friends and family and enjoy some of the congregation’s homemade baked goods available for purchase—including homemade apple pies available on Sundays baked fresh from the oven! Admission is FREE and you are welcome to take pictures and wander through the patch in search of your Great Pumpkin…
Happy Halloween! For more info head to: https://www.facebook.com/UUCCN/timeline?ref=page_internal
Book Review: ‘The Language of Houses’
Houses speak of gender, status, and age of their occupants.
Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
“The Language of Houses: How Buildings Speak to Us” by Alison Lurie, c.2014, Delphinium Books, $24.95, 311 pages.
The building must be nearly done.
Every day for months, you’ve seen it on your way to work. You’ve watched it go from a hole in the ground, to a steel skeleton, to a behemoth structure that you’re glad you’ll never have to enter. The whole place seems unwelcoming.
But why? Why get the heebie-jeebies over a building? In the new book “The Language of Houses” by Alison Lurie, you’ll see how that place and your home both have a lot to say.
Ask any preschooler to draw a house and, if she’s happy and secure, you’ll probably get “Happy House” with peaked roof, a door in the lower middle and symmetrical windows, surrounded by trees and a smiling sun. Yes, even at that age, we tend to instinctively link a simple home with good feelings.
We also instinctively know what a building is for, just by looking at it. There’s no mistaking a hospital, for instance, with a night club. A public building constructed of wood “is slightly suspect unless it’s a church.” Huge stone columns generally indicate that we’re entering somewhere formal (real or imagined), just as a porch swing and flowers (even artificial ones) say “welcome.”
A building’s color says a lot, too: like business clothes, public buildings are usually neutrally-toned. Colors can indicate an intended décor or the kind of merchandise you’ll find in a store. Even lack of color speaks volumes about the people inside.
As for that interior, we expect it to match the exterior. In our minds, therefore, Victorian charmers shouldn’t contain post-modern furniture. Ranch homes, once the most popular builds, should be cozy and relaxed. It feels wrong to find otherwise.
On that note, consider this: many newly-built houses contain rooms that are rarely, if ever, used. Or this: when you were a kid, you were likely familiar with your friends’ bedrooms. That’s probably not the case now.
Houses speak of gender, status, and age of their occupants. They can speak with local dialect or foreign accents. And despite that they’re inanimate objects, we fondly remember some and mourn others – and that’s natural.
“After all,” says Lurie, “we are a territorial species.”
When you think about it, what’s in “The Language of Houses” is quite commonsensical. And maybe that’s the point: author Alison Lurie makes you think about your home, your workplace, and what the outside world knows from them.
Indeed, after reading this book, it’s really very difficult not to look at buildings in a different way – and that includes churches, prisons, hospitals, and schools, all of which Lurie touches upon here. You’ll also learn about the things inside our buildings, why we place furniture as we do, what specific rooms say about who we think we are, and a basic history of housing and fads.
If you enjoy decorating, this book will build on your knowledge. Architecture fans will demolish it, as will historians. Readers in the mood for something different will also love “The Language of Houses.” Don’t you have room for it, too?
‘The Walking Dead’ Live Again
Will this season shamble through the mistakes of the past?
Published: Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I’ll give “The Walking Dead” this much, each season it sure knows how to make an entrance. The latest premiere for season five was the most watched single episode in the history of cable television. That is a pretty impressive feat that certainly justifies the early renewal for season six that the show received last week. Unfortunately, I think this may send the wrong signal to the producers, namely that they are doing something right.
Basically, I think the show has been falling apart ever since the end of its spectacular first season. The show began with six superb episodes, but then they had two huge misfires. Showrunner, and exemplary filmmaker, Frank Darabont was fired and the episode count was increased. Darabont’s vision for the show, at least the taster we got in the first season, made for a compelling show and there didn’t seem to be a wasted hour. It may have differed from the tone of the comic book source material somewhat, but it was far preferable to the meandering mess we now have.
Again, each season starts of strong and cranks up the drama, suspense and intrigue. But then that sharply declines and by the third episode we wind up with a bunch of people lamenting their situation while dealing with some sort of banal crisis over the next half dozen installments. Usually something huge and game-changing happens for the mid-season break, wherein one or several main characters die horribly and tragically. Then we rinse and repeat the formula until the final moments of the season where, finally, something else happens.
There is no dramatic balance, it’s either stress times eleven or a yawn-fest and I feel sixteen episodes a year is the main problem. Half that number would maintain the tension throughout the season and make for much better pacing. It seems, based on the panicked posts rampant on social media that the massive audience that the show pulls is only really tuned in to see if a main character gets snuffed. Not much about the actual storylines, what there is of them, is ever discussed. Actually, there is one other point that gets discussed and is yet another problem for the show.
Apparently, in the zombie apocalypse the only morally righteous people left on the planet are our main characters. It seems the rest of the world consists of a series of “Saw” sequels in that any other group of survivors is an ever-increasing bunch of amoral monsters. With the camp encountered in the season five premiere the show has just flat out given up even trying to argue any sort of ambiguity and gone straight for the ultimate in depravity.
If there was even a small hint that Rick Grimes and company had learned from their last three or four encounters, there might be a glimmer of hope, but, no, the characters remain as clueless as ever. I suppose there is something to be said about the group of good guys finally being reunited by the end of the episode, thus rectify the grievous error of the second half of last season.
A bonus scene after the closing credits hints at something possibly very cool. However, and I know I’m in the miniscule minority here, I fear that we’ll be back to meandering and meaningless until a shock-filled midseason finale in November.
What treatment can do for you
Published: Monday, October 13, 2014
Depression is a concept that almost everyone is familiar with, but many often fail to recognize its signs in friends, family and themselves. When physicians say ‘clinical depression,’ we are referring to a grouping of symptoms including unusual feelings of sadness or decreased ability or desire to carry out activities an individual would typically enjoy. This type of depression (which is distinguished from typical sadness by severity and duration) is actually quite common: up to 17 percent of Americans experience at least one episode throughout their lives. What is most important is that once diagnosed, clinical depression is very treatable when action is finally taken. The hardest part might be seeking help but once it is sought, treatment might very well be life changing.
Sideswiped by a Robot
Will future robot cars choose to smack your sports utility vehicle?
Published: Friday, October 10, 2014
Many people buy an S.U.V. in the hopes that they’ll fare better in the event of a crash. But cars of the future, equipped with software automatically programmed to hit something more able to take the brunt of a crash than the smaller object next to it, behind it or in front of it, may bash into an S.U.V. minding its own business rather than the compact car that’s weaving in and out of lanes if a crash cannot be avoided. The concept is not far removed from military weapons capable of making “smart” strikes, which inevitably though not intentionally hit schools, hospitals or civilians by mistake. The smart crash concept in theory prevents injuries and fatalities, but is it fair that someone who buys an S.U.V. does so knowing that their ride is first target of choice when other drivers lose control of their vehicles through mechanical failures and/or driver inattention or ineptitude?
Noah J. Goodall, Ph.D., P.E. research scientist at the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research, is an expert on the ins and outs of robot cars. “When you add automation into the mix of driving and a crash happens where your vehicle ‘chose’ to hit one thing and not another,” he said in a telephone interview for Long Island Pulse, “You have to defend why you did that. Part of my job is to articulate what the long term effects of this software might be, anticipate problems and hopefully solve those problems.”
Another big subject is whether or not the software can determine the difference between a human being and, say, an animal when choosing what to run into. “The software’s not completely accurate,” Goodall says. “Sensors are getting close to be able to tell the difference between a deer and a person, but we’re not there yet.” The sensors are also unable to tell if a human being is in their teens or someone in their 90s. That’s a slippery ethical slope because we like to think of all life as sacrosanct, but in truth, a younger person is more valuable to society at large – or at least to marketers, corporations and advertisers – than someone who has lived most of their life.
The software will, however, be able to tell the difference between a motorcyclist wearing a helmet and one without. The sensible thing for a robot to do would be to hit the guy wearing a helmet as he has a better chance of survival, but what’s happening is the guy wearing the helmet is actually increasing his odds of injury or death because of the very means he’s using to protect himself.
It’s an exciting time, Goodall says, but he also concedes we’ll never get fender-benders down to zero, software notwithstanding. “As long as you want to go above, say, 30 miles per hour,” he says, “The crashes will occur.”
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday Oct. 10
So many new gadgets, so little money! From head rests to staplers, Inventors are having the time of their lives reinventing the things we use every day.
Hey, that’s my Stapler
Who knew this item could get any better… but Japanese firm Nikkei Technology have designed a stapler that will “crimp” up to five pages together in a tight seal that come apart by simply by using a pen cap, or similar object, to rub the pages apart… Genius! Read more here!
Headphones not working out for you? Maybe you need an Amp! Using the same technology that powers hearing aids, Tech Company SoundFocus have developed a case that wraps comfortably around your iPhone with two dynamic speakers that improve the audio performance of your phone. The device first, takes a quick hearing test of each user then outputs the audio for music, calls or video to your specific listening profile. The unit will not hit stores until 2015, but you can sample the features now by downloading the app… just click here.
It’s Nap Time
I’m not sure if I recommend this item, but for those who can literally nap anywhere, grab a “NapAnywhere!” This clever device molds and shapes to your head and neck, lays comfortable on your shoulder and helps you drift off to dreamland. You’ll wake up refreshed without that pesky crick in your neck. Take a snooze at your desk, in a chair, on a plane, or in the car (just not while driving please). Okay, so it looks a little funky… who cares! You’ll be so relaxed it won’t matter what people say… you got this!
App of the Week
Planning a trip to L.A.? Want to see some stars? Well this app has got you covered! The “Hollywood Walk of Fame” app allows you to pre-plan your trip and helps you map your walk down memory lane. Plus you can watch videos, see photos, take a quiz and read bios on all your favorite stars! The app is free. As for the plane tickets…you’re on your own.
‘Big Shot’ Nets Sports Emmy
Isles fan, director Kevin Connolly takes home hardware
Published: Thursday, October 09, 2014
Image: Instagram account of Doug Ellin
If you haven’t seen the Islanders documentary “Big Shot,” an ESPN 30-for-30 film, you should.
Directed, written, narrated and produced by Long Island native and Islanders fan Kevin Connolly, the film was recently honored with an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Sports Documentary Series.”
The film breaks down the misguided and criminally stirred ownership stint by John Spano. It’ll make you laugh at just how bizarre the time period was in franchise history. It’s eye-opening, interesting and engaging for hockey fans.
‘Arrow’ Returns With a Flash
CW’s super-hero twofer bring strong premieres
This week the CW delivers a one-two punch of super-heroics as we get the debut of “The Flash” and the third season premiere of “Arrow.”
Late last year Forensics Investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) appeared in two episodes of “Arrow.” At the end of the second episode Allen returned to Central City where he got caught up in an accident with an experimental particle accelerator. The pilot episode of the new series “The Flash” recaps that accident and then dives right into what happens next. Allen wakes up in the home of the accelerator, fabled S.T.A.R. Labs, nine months later, inexplicably with muscles and being watched over by Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes).
The two scientists explain that they, along with the man behind S.T.A.R. Labs, Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), have been monitoring Allen for any unusual side-effects of the accident. It seems that the young Mr. Allen has gained super-speed, but he is not alone. The accident also gifted many others with unknown meta-human abilities and the pariahed lab has decided to find them all and help them. One of these new meta-humans, Clyde Mardon (Chad Rook) can control the weather and is using his newfound ability for nefarious purposes, namely robbing banks.
Returning to work at the C.C.P.D., Allen ends up tracking down Mardon with the help of Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin), who witnesses Allen using his super-speed. Allen also vows to use his new power to find out who really killed his mother many years ago, a crime that his father (John Wesley Shipp, who played The Flash in the 1990s TV series) has been serving a jail sentence for. However, both Allens witnessed unexplained red and yellow blurs whisking around Barry’s mom before she was killed. Allen now realizes that there must be another super-speedster who was responsible. Oh, and The Flash gets some solid heroing advice from none other than The Arrow (Stephen Amell) who drops in from his season premiere. And the surprise little tag at the very end raises a whole lot of questions.
Over on “Arrow” the show starts off with a tone we’ve rarely seen, with everyone basically happy. Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) has joined Team Arrow, Diggle (David Ramsey) is about to be a dad and Oliver (Amell) has decided to ask Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) out on an actual real date. Even the Lances seem to be in a good place with Laurel (Katie Cassidy) happily prosecuting the criminals that The Arrow brings in and Quentin (Paul Blackthorne) having redeemed himself and been promoted to police Captain. Of course, complications arise and several things go askew, otherwise this would become a boring show real fast.
Oliver’s attempt to reclaim his family’s company is derailed by savvy Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), the felonious Werner Zytle (Peter Stromare) is dealing a new version of the deadly drug Vertigo and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) has returned to town following her rejoining the League of Assassins. At least one of those things results in a pretty shocking event in the final moments of the episode. Oliver also gets a phone call from Barry Allen, newly revived from his coma and seeking advice (see “The Flash” recap above). Last but not least, we get a flashback to five years previously with Oliver’s adventure off the island he was stranded on. Amanda Waller (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) has brought him to Hong Kong for unknown reasons, but you can bet it isn’t anything good.
Both shows are amazing in their premieres, together acting as a template for how comic book shows should be done. It doesn’t hurt that they are borrowing from Marvel Comics’ cinematic rulebook and closely linking both shows. Even though they are different in tome, “The Flash” being the bright side to the dark broodiness of “Arrow,” they really complement each other well. Both shows promise to share characters and storylines in the future and that’s a really good thing. Now is the perfect time to jump on board the DC Comics TV bandwagon. It’ll be a super fun ride!
LI Connection to New Baseball Documentary
Rob Nelson, co-founder of Big League Chew, played ball in Portland
Published: Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Another intricate sports story and another connection to Long Island. Did you know the founder of Big League Chew grew up on Long Island?
Rob Nelson, a pitcher at Nassau County Community College and at Cornell University, partnered with former teammate and baseball notable Jim Bouton to launch the product in the 1970s.
Nelson played with Bouton on the Portland Mavericks in 1977, an independent team founded by Bing Russell, the late actor and father of Kurt Russell, and grandfather of former big leaguer Matt Franco.
Nelson’s name came across the sports radar again this year after the younger Russell released a documentary on Netflix about the Portland squad called “The Battered Bastards of Baseball.” He was a vocal piece of the documentary.
The film captures Bing’s legacy and love of the game, which brought back baseball to the Portland area after a Triple A club there had been disbanded. At one point there were no independent teams in the nation, but Bing changed that and is the reason independent teams can co-exist with affiliated ball clubs. He’s even the reason the Long Island Ducks are able to play today if you think about. But onto the gum …
According to a story on the Cornell Athletic website, Nelson and Bouton watched teammates spit chewing tobacco on each other’s cleats. Nelson, as a kid on Long Island, had an idea for shredded bubble gum.
“I told him, ‘I always thought it would be cool to have shredded gum so we could look as good as these guys, but not get ill,’ explains Nelson in an interview with Cornell. “And I remember Bouton’s eyes got really big and he said ‘Jeez, I really like that idea.’ I like to say that I had the inspiration, but truth is, Jim was the perspiration because he was really the guy that did the bulk of the work. He said, ‘I can sell that idea. I can go to a company and I can find somebody that would manufacture this gum.’ And on a handshake, we became partners.”
Famous gum. Famous ball player. Legendary actor’s baseball documentary. And yes, a Long Island connection.
Show Biz Kids
60s and 70s survivors outshine current chart-toppers at two Long Island shows
Steely Dan rolled into the Paramount in Huntington on September 13th as part of the group’s Jamalot Ever After tour. For several years now the group has been avoiding the summer concert season and touring in the fall. Recent years have seen the group do multi-night runs at the Beacon Theatre, often playing entire albums from its 70s golden era in one night.
At the Paramount, with 14 musicians on stage, the group played a familiar selection of songs, including a healthy serving of its defining Aja album. Particular favorites included “Hey Nineteen,” “Show Biz Kids,” “Bodhisattva,” and the night’s grand finale, “Kid Charlemagne.” The lone cover was the Joe Tex chestnut “I Want to (Do Everything for You).”
While early r&b and particularly soul music had an obvious major influence on the group’s biggest hits, there is a structure in the way that Donald Fagen and Walter Becker approach the composing and arranging of their music that is similar to that of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Of course, Strayhorn wasn’t really a performer and wasn’t part of Ellington’s orchestra, but the Ellington/Strayhorn model does seem to be the base structure from which their music springs.
The two-hour show featured impeccable musicianship, and slight variations from the original studio tracks freshened up the music for the stage. With the high level of musicianship and featuring songs as good as any in rock history, Steely Dan’s music, more than 30 years after the group’s heyday, still out-shines nearly anything on the charts today. Steely Dan was not just an album band; it scored many hit singles as well. There isn’t one song on the charts today that could rival the Dan’s mightiest hits.
For all their focus on the music, both Fagan and particularly Becker had fun telling stories, including their heartfelt fondness for their Long Island connections, in a dry, deadpan manner that was hilarious and often had the crowd convulsive with laughter.
The British Invade Again
The following night at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury was the 2014 British Invasion Tour, featuring Mike Pender’s Searchers, Chad & Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer and Denny Laine. Terry Sylvester, formerly of the Hollies, opened the show, replacing headliner Gerry & the Pacemakers, due to Gerry Marsden’s being hospitalized in Spain. Pender’s jangly Rickenbacker 12-string and his still-strong voice brought alive such Searchers British Invasion gold as “Needles and Pins,” “Love Potion #9,” “Sweet for My Sweet” and “Sugar and Spice.” It would be great to see another full Searchers reunion, given how successful the group was even beyond its 60s heyday. Next up was Chad & Jeremy. The pair played some of their biggest hits, told stories and maintained the magic chemistry that made them one of the biggest duos of the British Invasion. Long Island resident Billy J. Kramer stole the show. Playing with the house band for the evening, which included former Billy Joel drummer and current drummer in Kramer’s band, Liberty Devito’s perfect back-beat, Kramer brought his regular guitarist out and mixed his biggest hits, new songs and more to rapturous applause. Kramer’s new album I Won the Fight, features strong material he wrote and spotlights a new-found toughness and depth to his vocals that if possible sounds even better than back in the 60s. Kramer closed with a cover of the Walker Brothers’ “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More” that was stunning. Denny Laine closed the show and brought the house down with the hit he sang with the Moody Blues, “Go Now.” All the artists came on in the end and performed a spirited “Band On The Run.” The entire evening was augmented by wonderful visual video images of the various artists’ 60s singles and album sleeves and photos, something rarely seen at a concert like this and very welcome.
British Invasion, Beatles and John Lennon fans will want to be at The Dix Hills Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, October 26th at 2:00 P.M., featuring Mostly Moptop, as part of The #9 Lennon Birthday Special. The band will be joined by percussionist Donald Larsen and nine additional guest artists: Susan Devita; Judith Zweiman; Gear Head Freaks; Joe Gioglio; EV Sweet; Andrew Lubman; Marci Geller; Ben Phillip and former Strawbs member and Long Island-resident John Ford. The Dix Hills Performing Arts Center is located at Five Towns College, 305 North Service Road in Dix Hills.
Recipe: Tomato Vodka Sauce Fussili with Broccoli
A higher in fiber and lower in fat version of Pasta alla Vodka
Published: Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Back in the early stages of our relationship, my husband, without fail would always order the “Pasta alla Vodka” whenever we did Italian food on our dates. Cute it was, but it started to get a little boring. I used to corner him and try to convert him into some other rustic Italian fare. However, he wasn’t budgeting; not even more a second on this meal. Many years later…we are talking a good 13 or so, crazily enough, I’m not sure that he has picked up a fork to this dish at all. Could he have forgotten about it OR maybe his healthier side kicked in a bit. However, not tonight ☺ I am going to surprise him with this higher in fiber and lower in fat version. I also had to include some chopped up broccoli; a wives duty!
• 8 ozs whole grain fussili (I tend to find a brand with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving to boost up the fiber content!)
• 1/4 cup light cream (I have tried the fat free version, but the low fat has much more body and there is not a severe caloric difference)
• 1 pint cherry tomatoes
• 2 garlic cloves sliced thinly
• 1 small onion chopped
• 2 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 head slightly steamed broccoli chopped into medium sized pieces (or 3 cups frozen broccoli cuts thawed and cooked according to directions)
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese plus more for topping
• 1/4 cup of vodka (Please don’t whip out your Grey Goose, the alcohol reduces down when heated, so unlike cooking with wine, the quality is not so important.)
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
1.) Boil water (Don’t forget to salt it once it’s bubbling as it adds flavor to the pasta) Cook pasta according to directions and put aside.
2.) Heat oil in a large sauté pan and add butter over medium heat and add onion. Cook for 6-8 minutes until tender.
3.) Increase heat and add the light cream, garlic, red pepper flakes and vodka. Cook until it reduces.
4.) Add in tomatoes and cook for a minute or two more until tomatoes get slightly wilted.
5.) Remove sauce and let cool slightly. Blend in blender or vitamix until smooth.
6.) Toss with cooked pasta and broccoli until thoroughly coated.
7.) Sprinkle more parmesan cheese on top and enjoy!!
Amidst Fall Premieres, Two Finales
‘Dome,’ ‘Strain’ leave us wondering ‘what’s next?’
It may seem odd during the height of fall premiere season to talk about season finales, but we have a couple of summer holdouts to talk about. One of these has already been renewed, while the other has a far less certain future. Both of them has left viewers clamoring to know what happens next.
“Under the Dome” ended its sophomore year with Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris) going full tilt psycho and Dale Barbara (Mike Vogel) stuck down a hole with the rest of the town of Chester’s Mill. The final two episodes of the season also served as a clearing house of characters and things started going straight downhill when the Dome itself started contracting. Impossible Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox), still suffering from the egg leaving town, was literally sucked down a hole, causing Junior (Alexander Koch) to barely keep from flipping out.
Jim and Pauline (Sherry Stringfield) finally reconnect only for Lyle (Dwight Yoakam) to literally stab the former Mrs. Rennie in the back. Jim immediately gives Lyle a one-way ticket to the afterlife. Unfortunately, Pauline is on her way to join Lyle when Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome) decides to ease her suffering and help her meet her end painlessly. Guess who Big Jim kills next? He further adds to his already considerable bodycount by offing hoarder Andrea (Dale Raoul) and nearly takes Julia’s (Rachelle Lefevre) life before Junior stops him with a bullet to the shoulder.
Amid all of this, Barbie leads the townspeople down the hole thinking this will lead them out of the Dome. They’d have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for that meddling dead end. Except, after a dance of butterflies, the cave wall falls away to reveal a bright white light surrounding a serene Melanie beckoning everyone to come home. “Under the Dome” has yet to be renewed so we’re left wondering if Melanie means a bright future outside the dome or one the way George Milton promised Lennie Small.
Over on “The Strain” season finale, all kinds of wacky hi-jinks ensue. Erstwhile gang banger Gus (Miguel Gomez) discovers that his kidnappers are vampires, but ones that kill other vampires. Their leader, Mr. Quinlan (Stephen McHattie) explains that The Master (Robert Maillet, voice of Robin Atkins Downe) has broken a long-held truce and the vampire-slaying vampires need a human champion. Gus vengefully vows to be their first employee of the month.
Meanwhile, the decidedly more human group of vamp killers has discovered that The Master is rebuilding his coffin of power at Bolivar’s (Jack Kesey) renovated theater. Eph (Corey Stoll, still sporting a wig), concerned for his son’s safety, decides it is time for Zack (Ben Hyland) to earn his vampire killer merit badge and agrees to take him on the raid to destroy The Master. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. The final stand seems to go pretty well until the group drives The Master into direct sunlight, only to discover it isn’t deadly to the ancient undead leader. He just scampers away to hunt our heroes another day. Oh, and Zack gets to find out his mother has been turned and is intent on killing him. Bad day all around.
“The Strain” returns next summer for a second season of 13 episodes. This first year was uneven, but always exciting so I’m in for more. As stated above, no decision has been reached for “Under the Dome” yet. It shed an average of three million viewers in between seasons so it is uncertain if CBS will be willing to risk a further erosion. I, for one, am hoping we haven’t had our last dramatic adventures in the domed Chester’s Mill.
Which Diet is Best?
It’s simple: the one that you choose
Published: Monday, October 06, 2014
Starting, stopping and jumping between diets has become a nationwide phenomenon in a constant effort to lose weight. Dozens of differently named diets boasting new techniques and methods promise rapid results but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how you diet, just as long as you stick to it. A recent review of 48 randomized weight loss trials showed that all popular diets cause weight loss because they cut down on overall calorie count, and not because of any unique aspects of each diet. All of the different types of diets produced similar results. Therefore, the best diet for you is really the one that you think you can stick to over an extended period of time.
Passat Reconfirms Its Family-Friendly Rep
Smaller engine offered for 2014 equals better mileage
Published: Friday, October 03, 2014
2014 VW Passat, as tested: $31,715.
There isn’t much not to love about the Passat. It’s German, first, and die Deutschen do cars right. (The actual car is put together in America, though.) The 2014 Passat is wide, authoritative, handsome and lends the driver a feeling of “I can handle anything” as opposed to “You better not push me too hard” or “You can pass that guy if you want but I wouldn’t if I were you.”
For 2014, they’ve parked a 1.8 turbo four cylinder under the hood, replacing the naturally aspirated 2.5 litre inline 5-cylinder jobs of old – you can still get a V-6, however. The new engine sacrifices close to zero power, feel-wise, making the new plant a smarter move as it’ll deliver better mileage. Four trannys are offered, depending which Passat model and trim you choose: two manuals, an automatic and an automated manual. All make your feet-hands combo a well-oiled team.The ride is smooth, the cockpit plush and roomy and upmarket, and you can still squeeze somewhere around 30 miles per highway/city per gallon if you don’t go nuts with the acceleration. The car can also be equipped with goodies like VW’s new Car-Net connected services, pairing your smartphone to offer roadside assistance, automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle location assistance, remote car access, speed alerts, a car health report and an improved point of interest service on models with navigation. Other items on the menu include two different navigation systems, a rearview camera, HD Radio, satellite radio, a sunroof, remote start, push-button start, dual-zone climate control and two different premium sound systems.
It’s roomy in back as well as front, ditto the gargantuan trunk. Finally, it happens to be one of the safest sedans you’ll ever ride in, with a near perfect 5-star across-the-board rating from the Institute for Highway Safety. Our tester was $31,715; base Passats can be had in the low 20’s.
The Passat’s 2014 tweaks happily make it a better car. Fans will be pleased.
Fast Friday Tech Roundup: Friday Oct. 3
Each week we scour the digital world looking for the hottest gadgets, trending topics, new apps and more!
Zero to 10
Don’t look now here’s Windows 9! Oh Wait, I mean Windows 10! Wait, what happened to 9? After the luke-warm response from consumers for Windows 8, the development team at Microsoft has abandoned Windows 9 completely and jumped straight to Windows 10! Microsoft listened to its customers and altered their “touch screen” focused 8, for a more responsive and familiar PC based operating system with some great additions for both tablet and desktop users! See all the features here and look for the release in 2015.
Life is but a Stream
Still watching videos on YouTube with three friends hovering over your shoulder? Streaming devices like Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV (just to name two) are getting a boost from consumers who find watching movies, videos or listening to music on a tablet or smartphone just too clunky and unproductive. At the unbelievably low price of just $35.00 (in the case of Chromecast), you can immediately launch the latest viral video or music playlist straight to your TV in full HD picture and sound! Usable apps for these devices are emerging every day! From Netflix to Pandora, Crackle to MLB.tv. If it’s on your phone…it can be on your TV!
What’s a Book?
I remember the first reading device I ever saw was Amazon’s Kindle (black and white text, and pages that turned just like a book—wow!). Since then, the tablet, e-reader (or whatever you call it), has taken off exponentially! Now Amazon, in an effort to capture the entire market, explodes with multiple new devices. There’s HD, 3G, Wi-Fi versions. Models with cameras, some made exclusively for the kids, whatever your pleasure-Kindle certainly has a device for you. Click here for a look at one that’s right for you.
The Price is Right After All
Love Netflix? Love Adam Sandler? Well then you’re in luck. Netflix and Adam Sandler have inked a deal that will grant Netflix exclusive rights to four upcoming Adam Sandler movies! According to a press release issued by Netflix, Adam Sandler will produce and star in the films that Netflix will release in the nearly 50 countries where they operate. In the release Adam Sandler is quoted as saying, “When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only, Netflix rhymes with wet chicks. Let the streaming begin!”
Ratings, What are They Good For?
What may or may not determine your favorite show's fate
Published: Thursday, October 02, 2014
Television series live and die by their ratings, but there are very few people who not only understand how ratings work, but also how they are generated. Generally, it works by estimation. That is, a relatively small number of television viewing households agree to have their television viewing habits recorded. Each of those households represent a percentage of the viewing public and from there the number of people viewing a show is calculated the day after to see how many people likely watched a given show. These numbers are further broken down into viewership by age groups. That last part is key as it determines advertising revenue that shows can bring to their respective networks. It’s actually way more intricate than that, but you get the general idea.
Occasionally, this archaic tea-leaf reading method can create oddities. As an example, the high rated series “Longmire” was abruptly cancelled at the end of its latest season. The reason was that although a lot of people were watching it, the vast majority of those people were not in a particularly coveted age group which is ages 18-49. This is considered the prime age group that advertisers think they can convince the most to buy their products. “Longmire”’s main age group was above that, therefore advertisers were not interested in the show, hence its surprise cancellation. Right now, there are committees of people pouring over extrapolated viewing and age group figures to already start speculating on whether or not to cancel your favorite show.
Of course, technology has complicated things. In this day and age of DVRs, Video on Demand and streaming services most folks no longer have to watch a show the day and time that it airs. The Networks are quickly wising up to this new model as they are now looking at viewing figures over the following days after broadcast. This tends to provide even more detailed numbers as it is easier to quantify streaming and VOD number more precisely than extrapolation from a representative few viewers. This can increasingly mean the difference between a show getting a full season or getting cancelled within three episodes. This will also affect a number of shows in the next few weeks.
All of that is to say that you should expect the Networks to wait a little longer before yanking a series this fall. Everything is basically going into its second week and there doesn’t appear to be any real clunkers just yet. There are several shows I will be keeping an eye. “Forever” is one of those. It debuted as ABCs top fall debut in its time slot in four years. A new episode was aired the next night and while the total viewing numbers dropped it actually increased the number viewers in the 18-49 age group. Its third outing dropped in both, but still remains high. The next couple of weeks will probably determine its fate. If the numbers have plateaued then it should be fine for the rest of the season and a great candidate for renewal. A continuing drop in viewers and age group will probably mean it is fated for the chopping block.
On the other hand “Scorpion” premiered with strong numbers and basically retained its audience in its second week. Unless it suddenly experiences a drastic audience loss, CBS should be very pleased with it sticking around. The ratings for “Madam Secretary” fell in its second week, but it still scored higher than “The Good Wife,” which airs right after it on the same network. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” came back with significantly lower numbers than its first season premiere, but up from the end of last season, so that would be considered good.
Again, the next two or three weeks will give us a good idea of what shows we should worry about and the ones that are probably safe. Feel free to sound off below if there are any shows you would like to see me pay attention to.
Experience Sharon Van Etten at The New Yorker Festival
Conversations with Music in October at the Sheen Center on Bleecker Street
Turn on the charm
Call to response now
Sitting on the porch
Looking for a way out
—From “Taking Chances” by Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten’s voice can be as powerful as that of Kristin Hersh or Fiona Apple, and as whisper-soft as Chan Marshall or Suzanne Vega. And the New Jersey-bred singer/songwriter’s lyrics are as candid and emotionally heavy as the lot. Van Etten’s latest cd, Are We There, is her heaviest one yet. When discussing the record with Fred Armisen, Van Etten said it basically chronicled the last two years of her Tramp tour:
“It’s about things I’ve been working through—trying to have a career but also trying to have a home life and relationship,” said Van Etten, who lives in NYC. “And you know, in the end, I had to choose my work over having a relationship because the person I was with couldn’t handle it. It was someone that I loved very deeply, but it just plays on people’s insecurities when you’re in a place that they’re not. And that’s kinda what the whole record’s about.”
The indie-folk songstress has worked with The National’s Aaron Dessner and collaborated with the likes of J Mascis and Nick Cave. Covering Van Etten’s “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” brought Tim Presley of the band White Fence to tears.
In addition to Van Etten’s interview and performance on October 11th, The New Yorker Festival, which takes place the weekend of October 10th-12th, includes appearances by Neil Young, Malcolm Gladwell, Randy Newman, Imagine Dragons, Juliana Margulies, Laurie Anderson and Larry David, among others.
What: Conversations with Music: Sharon Van Etten talks with Sasha Frere-Jones about lyrical honesty.
She will also be performing solo during the 90-minute presentation at The New Yorker Festival.
Where: Sheen Center for Thought and Culture, 18 Bleecker Street, NYC
When: Saturday, October 11th, 7pm
For more info: http://festival.newyorker.com/program
Book Review: ‘A Cup of Water Under My Bed’
Sometimes what you don’t see is better than what you do see
Published: Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Good question – and once you learned that you can determine the answer by taking things apart, well, nothing was safe. The hidden parts, an object’s guts, were always more complicated and more interesting than what was on the outside.
Isn’t life like that: what you don’t see is sometimes better than what you do? Unraveling her story for examination in “A Cup of Water Under My Bed,” author Daisy Hernández, lets us find out.
Until she was in kindergarten, Daisy Hernández’s entire world sat in Union City , New Jersey . Her parents, her Cuban father and Colombian mother, spoke only Spanish at home – although Hernández learned a smattering of English here and there; more, once she was sent to Catholic school.
English always held a certain fascination for her but Hernández’s three tías insisted she keep up with her Spanish, which she resented. There were words that didn’t translate easily from English to her parents’ language, so there were things she couldn’t share with her elders. To “make that leap… to leave for another language hurts.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, when she told her father that she wanted to be a writer, he told her she’d “gone crazy.” Still, Hernández pursued her dream, maybe because storytelling was in her blood: her Mami loved sharing tales of her own immigration from Colombia , how she’d heard that money grew on trees but, instead of finding cash on the ground like leaves, she’d had to find a factory job.
Such stories of strength in her mostly-female household gave Hernández a map of life and relationships. She learned about men and whom to marry, disappointing her Mami and tías with her first Colombian boyfriend. American boys, they told her, were better because “Anything made in America works” but, at seventeen, Hernández was sure she was in love.
That Colombian boy taught her a lot about sex. So did a feminist body-awareness class she took early in her college career, which was where she suddenly understood a long-held feeling that, once articulated, would hurt her mother and cause a rift with her favorite auntie.
“I love kissing boys,” Hernández says, “but a girl. I could kiss a girl.”
My first impression of “A Cup of Water Under My Bed” led to heavy sighing. It starts with a dismaying tale of invisibility and poverty, which made me think I had another pity-party memoir in my hands.
Ach, I was wrong.
With wit and respectful grace, author Daisy Hernández shares stories of love for family, of strong (despite herself) roots, and of assimilation and claiming who you are without losing who you were.
These tales are sprinkled, essay style, with powerful anecdotes of self-discovery that I couldn’t get enough of. I also enjoyed the unwavering tone that Hernández takes, speaking her truth, firmly, no arguments.
That no-nonsense attitude mixes nicely with quiet humor and familial devotion to make this a don’t-miss for memoir fans. And if that’s you, then have “A Cup of Water Under My Bed.” You’ll like what’s inside.
The Beginning of the End
Isles set to kick off final season at Coliseum
Perhaps the greatest line written about the Islanders pre-season game against the Devils in Brooklyn was from the Isles Point Blank blog on SNY: “After two trips to the Barclays Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano wasn’t ready to say the building felt like home.”
“It’s a great venue,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano told Point Blank. “There’s no question it’s a beautiful place. We know we’re going to be here at a certain point, but it was good to come. Preseason and now we have to focus on the Coliseum and our fans there.”
Barclays CEO Brett Yormark told Newsday that this year’s pre-season game felt like a dress rehearsal compared to the first go on ice in 2013.
“We’re that much closer to it being a reality and we’re trying to refine the experience for our fans,” he told Newsday.
There were between 11,000 and 12,000 fans in attendance, but not near the 15,000 full capacity the Barclays can hold. The Coliseum, if all goes right, should see more sellouts this season then usual, and possibly the most since the 1980s.
—Former Isles goalie Rick DiPietro just grabbed himself a regular gig on ESPN Radio. He’ll join former Islanders beat writer Alan Hahn on Friday’s from 7-10 p.m. on air, according to Newsday’s Neil Best.
—The team has not yet updated its shop website with any “Farewell Coliseum” items. Check “Orange & Blue” sometime in October to see what the team is doing in the team shop at the building.
—It was announced that Denis Potvin’s mini locker will be available to fans who have full-season tickets. This is part of a season-long collection of locker stalls, which also include Billy Smith, Clark Gillies and Bobby Nystrom during the first half of the season. There will be others in the second half as well. Potvin will be on-hand at the Coliseum on Nov. 29 as the organization honors him.
‘Castle’ Returns With a Mystery
Plus Storybrooke freezes, Five-0 expands, NYPD under fire
Published: Tuesday, September 30, 2014
As we move into another week of Fall TV Premiere Season some more of my favorites make some pretty dramatic returns. As you’ll see below, not all shows left us hanging off the cliff with their season ending storylines. However, let’s tackle the big one first.
I have been very vocal about the season 6 finale of “Castle,” even going so far as to wonder if the show might have jumped the shark so far as to not being able to come back as anything worth watching. While the premiere didn’t exactly restore my faith in the show, nor was it as satisfying as I’d come to expect of the writers, it was ok enough to keep me watching. It should be no mystery that Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is still alive, as the show bears his name, but what happened to him seems to be as needlessly mysterious as the inexcusable cliffhanger wasn’t. If its only purpose was just to postpone his wedding to Beckett (Stana Katic) for another whole season then there should be serious consideration given to ending the show this year.
On the flipside, a move that could have easily derailed “Once Upon a Time” into the land of no return seems to have actually worked in its favor. To the cynical-minded, introducing characters from the less than a year old hit film “Frozen” could easily be seen as desperation on the part of the veteran show. However, Elsa (Georgina Haig), Anna (Elizabeth Lail) and Kristoff (Scott Michael Foster) bring a breath of fresh, chilly air to the proceedings and their story enriches the already multi-layered backstory of the show. Of course, everyone, both audience and characters, are wondering if Regina (Lana Parrilla) will give in to her dark side again now that her love-life has been derailed. By the end of the episode that question leads to an even more intriguing question no one has thought to ask since the beginning of the show.
One of the best acted and best written cop shows on television makes a spectacular return to its Friday night home. “Blue Bloods” consistently keeps my eyes glued to the screen and the premiere was no exception. While there was no cliffhanger to resolve, the show still managed to surprise, especially during a rather insane shootout early in the episode. Tom Selleck is always riveting in every scene he’s in and Donny Wahlberg always excels, but Will Estes really gets his due in the kick-off to the fifth season. Estes’ Jamie Reagan is forced to seriously ponder something that has been apparent to everyone for the last year, namely possible romantic feelings for his partner, Officer Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray). Still, Selleck steals the show with a final scene monologue that will leave you thinking long after it has ended.
Meanwhile, on “Blue Bloods” lead-in, the cast has grown a little. Michelle Borth may have left the series, but Chi McBride is now in the opening credits as is Jorge Garcia. Garcia’s Jerry Ortega is welcome comic relief, but the highlight of the premiere is the opening mandated therapy session with McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Danno (Scott Caan). One of the underlying gags of the series is the way the two behave as a couple, so basically seeing them in “marriage counseling” is sublimely amusing bordering on laugh-out-loud hilarious. Apart from that we get a mechanized threat to the whole island of Oahu, plus a couple of breadcrumbs as to some over-arching plot threads for the season. Aloha!
Most everything has premiered for the season and we’ll be checking out the stragglers as they air over the next few weeks. Check back Thursday to see how these new and returning show we’ve been looking at are faring in their second outings of the season.
Speedy Claxton Inducted to NYCB HOF
Hofstra great honored with another Hall of Fame induction
The honors keep piling up for Hofstra and Long Island basketball great Speedy Claxton. He was inducted to the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month.
Already a member of Hofstra’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Claxton jumped on board as an assistant coach with the basketball program last season after spending the previous two years as a scout with Golden State in the NBA.
The Speedy Claxton File (Hofstra)
• Graduated from Hofstra in 2000 as one of only six players in school history to score 2,000 career points (2,015)
• Graduated as the program’s all-time leader in both assists (660) and steals (288)
• Two-time Player of the Year selection in the America East Conference (1998, 2000)
• Named the 2000 winner of the Haggerty Award, given to the top player in the Metropolitan New York area, after leading Hofstra to an America East Conference championship and its first NCAA Division I tournament berth in 23 years
The Speedy Claxton File (Pros)
• First round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000
• Earned an NBA title as a member of the San Antonio Spurs in 2003
• Averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game
Cruising Route 66, Ozarks Style
Published: Monday, September 29, 2014
“Do you need a ride?” –offer from elderly woman at Springfield Airport
Author with Springfield Mayor Robert Stephens (and charitable parking meter)
I’m nearing the detour in my travel writing career where I’m sometimes ready to just say no—I’m hoping it’s just a temporary burnout. To weather this hiatus, I’ve released my fourth book, The Directions to Happiness, which chronicles my 135-country quest for, well, everything. Feeling homey, I now pine for moments of Americana bliss. Given the chance to write about LA, Boston, Miami, or say, Springfield, Missouri, I’d choose the latter.
Well, greetings from Springfield, Missouri, a classic stopover on old Route 66 and a blues music hub in the legendary Ozark Mountains. I’m pursuing Middle America’s music, food, personality, and timing—some destinations make you dig for the good stuff, but Springfield seems to be ready when you are.
Kentucky Gentlemen. Image: Skip Kaltenheuser
I’m here to tune into The Greater Ozarks Blues Festival. I’ve covered legendary music festivals—Telluride Bluegrass, Gathering of the Vibes, Woodstock II, Borneo’s Rainforest World Music—but have since tired of winding lines leading to porta-potties and cattle-style metal gate crowd control. The Greater Ozarks Blues Festival is now on my permanent hit-list; intimate, spacious, unencumbered, complete with amazing talent. This annual two-day affair (early September) allows the crowd to mingle with the acts before and after their gigs. Premiere local and regional bands are brought in by the Blues Society of the Ozarks. Held on the fringe of Springfield in the backyard of the American Legion Hall, this festival rounds out the fun with $3 beers and barbecue. Acts included Kentucky Gentlemen (hard blues duo of an electric guitar-playing singer and a bassist thumping a drum with his foot), the Brenda Meyer Band (take note Bonnie Raitt), and John Nemeth (classic harmonica-burning vocalist backed by a powerhouse retro blues band that can also bend toward soul or R&B). Ps, this blues storm is not a singular event. Springfield is bursting at the seams with venues that showcase the blues.
Springfield’s retro Ramada Oasis
Old “where you should stay advice” usually leans toward the “you’re only there to sleep” model, but I now view your snooze palace as vital to the overall travel experience. It can be all about the home base. The Ramada Oasis, on the “north side” of town, is another world set behind an otherwise generic turnpike setting—a behind-the-scenes retro world. Its 60s glam matches what Route 66 once represented to the USA: the trendy route between Chicago and Los Angeles. If James Bond visited Missouri in the 60s, this place would be his pad. Once the most sprawling Howard Johnson’s in the land, Ramada has since resurrected the glory of this 173-room classic—whose centerpiece, bisecting two rows of rooms, is an indoor soccer-court-sized atrium with pool, Jacuzzi, and lush jungle foliage. Its open-kitchen restaurant and ice bar, Fire & Ice, is the only part of the property not left to the past. Breakfast is included every morning in the atrium. It’s also a great work environment, I’ll miss the place.
Brad Pitt’s hometown—rumor has it he was “a social” in high school—has many layers, including a deep-seeded music scene. I sat down with Ozark Mountain Daredevils founder Randle Chowning (one of the Daredevils enormous 70s hits was Jackie Blue). He explained how the legendary Ozark Jubilee television show (1955-60) either attracted or launched many famous acts, including Les Paul, Porter Wagner, Brenda Lee, and Chet Atkins. Springfield’s place on the then vital Route 66 meant that cross country traffic had no option but to tune in; the music makers knew this, and so did Si Siman, founder of the Ozark Jubilee. Other touristy music towns like Nashville or Memphis have lost their intimacy—Springfield is just now realizing its place in the history of American music.
Smallin Civil War Cave
Caving In: Missouri has an underworld, and I’m not talking about pawn shops or strip clubs. This is cave country, where geology, history, and unsung tour guides shine. I visited three…
* Missouri Institute of Natural Science sits atop Riverbluff Cave, which was discovered on September 11, 2001. It was originally an open-ended half-mile tunnel that was sealed (and left undisturbed) by the elements 75,000 years ago. On that infamous date, a road crew was about to blow the entire area, tunnel included, for a new road, but blasting was halted nationwide. Later that day, they blew only two of the set charges by necessity, which opened up the cave again—inside they found 735,000-year-old bones of woolly mammoths, giant short-faced bears (make Grizzlies seem puny), and (gnarly) peccary pigs. Riverbluff Cave now has the ear of New York’s Museum of Natural History, and the world. A volunteer on a mission, Brett Houser, is part of a team excavating tons of silt in the newfound otherworld to find more skeletons. He told me that it’s only a matter of time before they find something that sends the eyes of the world here, hopefully in their lifetime. As the digging continues, they are finding remains in the sediment that date a million years. Stay tuned.
*Fantastic Caverns—my daughter has taught me to enjoy kid-friendly charms. This is one. Imagine a rollercoaster ride on a red Jeep-drawn tram into the land of stone sculptures formed by millions of years of dripping water. A former speakeasy and music venue, this underworld will make you rethink entertaining in hard times.
*Smallin Civil War Cave—Missouri was the most fought over state in the Union, having more per capita casualties than any other state. This beautiful cave served as a refuge for Confederate sympathizers. Smallin’s passionate tour guides not only know Civil War history, but the tour is an entertaining millennial odyssey through the ages of all things rock. With the largest cave opening in Missouri, it was used by Native Americans, then settlers. At 54-degrees year-round, the spring flowing through the cave has always been the neighborhood fridge.
Previously, as a frequent grade-school visitor to Roosevelt Field (America’s first mega-mall on lovely Long Island), I viewed the only value in such expanses as mild shoplifting and the restaurant dine-and-dash. Returning to lawful citizenry by age 16, I then avoided malls like dentists. But, I found one that people who’ve even abandoned televisions might like, even if you don’t hunt (I don’t). Bass Pro Shops “granddaddy” store and national headquarters is here. The owner, John L. Morris, is not only the wealthiest man in Missouri but also one of the more environmentally active. Sure, he peddles hunting equipment, but he also redoubles awareness for sensible conservation. Four million people visit Springfield’s Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World every year, making it Missouri’s busiest attraction. This place resembles a sprawling, multi-theatre nature atrium, but it’s all one store. Inside, their mind-bending in-house gun museum, which starts at the very beginning, is where I learned that Native Americans called rifles “thunder sticks.” Moving on, the store overflows with indoor duck and alligator ponds. Every other wall is a mammoth aquarium; the fresh water aquariums alone make a visit worthwhile. Further telling, there is no shortage of fans who choose this “mall” as their honeymoon destination.
Bass Pro Shops - Hemingway’s Blue Water Café. Image Skip Kaltenheuser.
Suffering tourist traps is a state of mind. So, don’t let the café in Lambert’s Café throw you. This humongous tourist megahit serves up hog jowl with cucumber and onions in the salooniest multi-room restaurant to not serve alcohol. The menu doesn’t scream health food, but the trip to this roadside attraction is worth it just to witness “throwed rolls,” where waiters literally huck tasty bread rolls at/to customers. I caught one (which actually exploded in my hand upon impact) pitched by a sidearm whiz from 40 feet away. That same waiter then waltzed up to paint the remnants of my fractured roll with molasses. Yep.
On the other side of Springfield’s food scene is Leong’s Asian Diner, founded by a young Chinaman who was quickly drafted into WWII after immigrating to the US. In combat in Europe, he routinely dazzled his troopmates with his ability to render tasty meals from the ingredients of their otherwise nearly inedible rations. He later brought his recipes to Springfield and invented Springfield Style Cashew Chicken. The rest is history.
My heartland luck multiplied when I got a mayoral sendoff. Springfield Mayor Robert Stephens bought me a beer at Springfield Brewing Company—which doubles as a local history museum. He then explained the deep relationship his city has with one of its sister cities, Isesaki, Japan; Springfield’s locals sent major donations to aid the nearby earthquake victims of 2011. Outside the brewery, he pointed at another form of his town’s charitable nature for their own homeless population, a retired and resurrected parking meter designed by MSU students that asked: Feed me to feed others. And that says it all.
Springfield, Missouri, is not LA (Look, my cocktail is blue!), Boston (So, ah, you’re not from he-ah?), or Miami (Hmm, uneven tan?). A portion of the folks here might not be versed in ‘what’s happening’ on America’s salty coasts, but this true crossroads of the Heartland won’t let you down…unless, of course, you’re imagination stops short on Route’s 66’s musical pit-stop.
For more information about Springfield, MO, go here.
Springfield Brewing Co.
Is Social Media an Appropriate Outlet For Frustration?
Social media juggernauts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are defining features of today’s society. As they have become the primary mode of widespread communication, people often use these platforms to convey their thoughts- both positive and negative. A recent study showed that users who saw less negative posts on their mini-feeds unconsciously produced more positive posts and less negative emotions in their own posts, and vice versa. The bottom line: social media is an inappropriate outlet to convey one’s frustrations as it not only affects how other people feel, but may also subconsciously affect their opinions of you, especially in a professional setting. It may be easier said than done, but it really is better to just think positive, positive, positive.
Google’s Driverless Car Faces Competition
Other automakers scramble to be first
Published: Friday, September 26, 2014
The time has obviously come, depending on whom you ask, to take driving out of the hands of drivers, who text, talk, apply makeup, shave, play air guitar, argue, read books on the steering wheel and more and while drunk, stoned, angry, bored, tired or otherwise unfit to navigate 3,000-plus hunks o’metal. Driverless cars are getting more and more press, but they’re hardly “new.” It was 6 years ago at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance when a Volvo rep and I climbed into a prototype, aimed toward a brick wall and I followed his directive to “floor it.” About 20 feet from the wall, he said, “Ok, now take your hands off the wheel and put your hands over your eyes.” I’m here to type about it, so you know it worked out well – the Volvo stopped the car from hitting the wall whether my foot was on the gas or not. Not long after, in midtown Manhattan bumper-to-bumper traffic, my test Benz mistook itself for my mother and jammed on my brakes even though I still had a good amount of space between me and the car in front of me.
Google’s long been touting their driverless car, but it’s still years away from market. In the meantime, Audi, BMW and Benz have publicly jumped into the game using the same basic concept but with radically different execution. Audi recently announced it’s become the first automaker to be granted a permit from the state government to test its self-driving cars on California’s public roads, so here they come. The main difference is Google’s car – the prototype, anyway – is a cutesy-wootsy egg-shaped thing. The Germans are determined to mach schau and provide upscale, stylish, no-nonsense vehicles nobody’s going to giggle at and, most significantly, will perhaps get people to open their wallets. What will probably happen is that features of driverless cars, such as my abovementioned Volvo experience and the midtown fender-bender avoidance will become more and more common on upscale cars until finally everyone’s comfortable enough to turn at least a few of us loose on the road without having 100% control of the wheel, brake, gas and parking.
Fast Friday Tech Roundup – Friday Sept. 26
Each week we scour the digital world looking for the hottest gadgets, trending topics, new apps and more! We pass it on to you in easy to read bite-size morsels…after that you are on your own to surf at will!
Ah Fall, it’s the best time of the year! Everything cools down and the leaves paint a beautiful landscape. A veritable feast for the eyes! Are you always searching for the best fall foliage in your area? Then download “LeafPeepr”, the iPhone app that helps Fall-Foliage lovers find the best and brightest colors in the United States. And for those who want that Fall feeling all year round, download “Falling Leaves” for Android and enjoy the relaxed feel of falling leaves on your smartphone screen anytime you like.
Sleeping with your phone again?
Remember those old alarm clocks that played the soothing sounds of the beach, with rolling waves and seagull sounds that were supposed to help you sleep? Well, by now, those clocks are probably off our nightstands and smartphones are our new nighttime pacifiers…so leave it to genius App creators to concoct 10 new apps that help you fall asleep and stay asleep!
On the Bend
What’s this week’s newest wrinkle with the iPhone6? It bends! This is actually not a good thing folks. Apple has told consumers it might not be a good idea to keep this phone in their jeans (especially tight ones) for an extended period or they risk damaging their new phone. Huh? They suggest a case as a quick fix…really? So this is the quality of work Apple puts out now that Steve Jobs is no longer at the helm. I’m sure he would not be happy.
Less Than a Minute
I want it now! Ok then, here you go. Everything you need to know about life in less than a minute…its true! Learn the secret to losing weight. See how to spot a fake smile. Are you a good liar? What’s the advantage of having a mirror in your kitchen? Psychologist and Author Richard Wiseman fill’s you in on all this and more…in just 59 seconds! Watch the amazing videos here.
Sports on Plum Island
American soldiers kept occupied on grounds of Fort Terry
Published: Thursday, September 25, 2014
Imagine Plum Island as something other than the Animal Disease Center that it is today and people would think you’re crazy. But long before it was used by the Department of Homeland Security to study foreign animal diseases it was occupied by soldiers at Fort Terry.
Those soldiers had to keep occupied on the island just off the coast of the North Fork, so they took to open land and played sports. Photos of the athletic history on Plum Island are currently being featured in the administrative complex on the island in an exhibit supplied by the Southold Historical Society. Tours and access to the island are by appointment for approved groups only.
At the time, it wasn’t easy to attract and maintain a fit, fighting force for the United States Army prior to World War I.
The military encouraged men to participate in various sports and to form teams with their companies. At Fort Terry, there are acres of open land that was once home to football and baseball fields. Soldiers also boxed, swam and took part in track and field activities. The structures from Fort Terry are still standing on the island.
Soldiers often played against other competition from around Long Island and Connecticut.
Fort Terry was a coastal fortification and defense area to protect New York and America from foreign invaders and enemies. It was established in 1897 and used through the end of World War II.
The photo collection is on loan from Bolling Smith and the Coast Defense Study Group who is dedicated to the study and preservation of U.S. Coastal Defense Structures.
‘The Blacklist,’ ‘Person of Interest’ Have Strong Returns
More Fall TV returns and debuts
The Fall TV premiere train keeps rolling along this week with even more dynamic returns and debuts. A few more favorites of mine have returned plus there is a bonus second outing for a new show that I am fond of. Let’s get right to it.
How James Spader didn’t even garner an Emmy nomination for his turn as Raymond “Red” Reddington on “The Blacklist” is beyond me. He is phenomenally good in this role, never more so than in the first few minutes of the season premiere. Even as the cliffhangers from May were resolved, the show twisted and turned the story yet again to send us off on the trajectory for the first batch of episodes. While it was good to see what is left of the Blacklist Task Force reunited by episode’s end, it was bittersweet knowing that they are a damaged team, both emotionally and, at least in one case, physically. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Speaking of cliffhangers, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” certainly had a few major ones left at the end of its first season. Now that Coulson (Clark Gregg) has been made Director and tasked with rebuilding the once mighty organization, he’s been recruiting as evidenced by the new faces around the hidden HQ. There is no rest for the weary, however, as the team is quickly embroiled in a race against a super-human for some of their own tech. They are also being hunted along with the group that brought them down, Hydra, by General Glen Talbot (Adrian Pasdar). Amidst the twists and revelations it becomes evident that everything won’t be tied up neatly right away. Looks like we’re in for a wild ride on the road to rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D.
If there was ever drama show that served as a shining example of everything to do right, it would be “Person of Interest.” In order to escape the new computerized overlord bent on murdering them, our band of do-gooders has taken to hiding in plain sight. Reese (Jim Caviezel) is narcotics Detective Riley, Shaw (Sarah Shahi) is a cosmetics counter salesperson at Bloomindales, Finch (Michael Emerson) is now Professor Whistler and Root (Amy Acker) is, well, still being Root, tiptoeing through the scenes in between the danger. It’s interesting to note that originally our intrepid team was what the unseen machine relied upon in order to save everyday folks, but now the fantastic four rely on the machine to keep them safe from its malevolent “brother”, Samaritan.
Lastly for this week is the second episode of what is quickly becoming a new favorite of mine, “Forever.” ABC double-downed on this show this week by airing the pilot on one day and a second episode the next night. The second outing picks up a few weeks after the premiere as it is noted that Dr. Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) has assisted Detective Martinez (Alana de la Garza) in successfully closing several cases. We get some more info on Morgan’s background with Abe (Judd Hirsch) and Abigail (MacKenzie Mauzy) along with a doozy of a bombshell regarding the mysterious other immortal who has been stalking Morgan. All that plus what happens when Morgan dies from the witnesses side and more makes for an even more intriguing show.
That’s it for now, but next week I will catch you up on a few more premieres as well as checking in on some of the shows discussed this week. Fall 2014 has started off strong and promises to give us some great episodes through the end of the year.
Book Review: ‘Skink – No Surrender’ by Carl Hiaasen
Yeah, you learned the truth about the Jolly Old Elf years ago
Published: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Sorry to say, but know all about Santa.
Yeah, you learned the truth about the Jolly Old Elf years ago, but you let your younger sibs believe. Same with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy: get past grade school and you’re a little old for that stuff. So if, in the new book “Skink – No Surrender” by Carl Hiaasen, fourteen-year-old Richard Sloan said he met a one-eyed, bearded, beak-wearing man-bear on a Florida beach, who’d believe him?
Malley was almost never late.
It’s true that she was a rebel and gave her parents plenty of grief, but late? No, Richard Sloan knew his cousin Mal hated tardiness, which is why he was surprised when she didn’t show up on their nightly turtle nest hunt.
Figuring that Malley was grounded (again), Richard decided to scout for egg-laying loggerheads anyhow. He was sitting next to a turtle nest when he saw a drinking straw poking out of the ground – right before the sand exploded and a gigantic man burst from the beach, scaring the daylights out of Richard.
The guy was well over six feet tall, with different colored eyes pointing in different directions. He was wearing an ancient army jacket, camo pants, and vulture beaks tied in his long, scraggly beard. When he said his name was Clint Tyree, Richard couldn’t wait to Google it.
It turned out that Clint Tyree, college football star and Vietnam vet, had somehow gotten elected to the Florida governor’s office years ago. Halfway through his term, he disappeared. Rumors said he lived in the wilderness as a hermit called Skink; one post said Skink was dead, but Richard knew that wasn’t true.
He’d met Clint “Skink” Tyree. And Skink knew where Malley was.
She’d lied to her parents when she said she was leaving early for boarding school, and had instead run away with a man with a strange alias. But now there was trouble, few clues to her whereabouts, and a lot of places to hide in Florida ’s Gulf Coast . Riding with Skink in a plain gray car heading north, Richard hoped the governor knew all that.
And he hoped they weren’t too late…
So you’ve known the truth about Santa for a few years: the dude doesn’t exist. It’s a fact, but after reading this book you’ll wish that Skink did. I mean, what can you say about an old guy who eats road kill, barely bathes, is moral and kind, but hates trouble?
“Weirdly addictive.” That’s what you can say because author Carl Hiaasen’s main man – here in a teen novel for the first time – is someone you can’t resist. Indeed, the title character in “Skink – No Surrender” is outrageously, appealingly wild and the story is rompish with a surprisingly keen element of suspense, which will keep readers laughing and turning pages.
Adult fans of Skink will run to find this book, but it’s mostly meant for readers age 14 and up. Still, you know you want it because “Skink – No Surrender” will make you say ho-ho-ho.
Catching Up with Jason Brescia
Malverne local becomes big-time film director
It is not every day that you hear of a Long Island native tuned big-time writer-director. Jason Michael Brescia grew up in Valley Stream and Malverne, attending Kellenberg Catholic High School in Uniondale.
In 2006, Brescia attended the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, California. And that rest as they say is history.
In 2008 he received an award for “Best Undergraduate Director.” At the young age of 23, Brescia began working on his first feature film, “The Newest Pledge.” Now at age 28 he has written and directed his second film “Bridge and Tunnel.” Set in Nassau County and staring Ryan Metcalf and Mary Kate Wiles, the film is about a group of twenty-something’s that struggle to cope with break-ups, student debt, and the transition to adulthood while living with their parents in the suburbs of New York.
“The goal of ‘Bridge and Tunnel’ is to capture my generation as we are, without the hindsight of history guiding my hand,” Brescia said. “This is a story that pertains to all of America; I wanted to make a cinematic time capsule to reflect how it was for us at this point in time, and hopefully audiences will appreciate that.”
Being a native Long Islander, Brescia thought it would be great for most of the films scenes to take place in and around the area. Some of the filming locations include Stingers Irish Pub in Rockville Centre, The Long Beach Boardwalk, Luanne’s Boutique in Merrick and Monsoon Asian Kitchen and Lounge in Babylon Village. In total, there were more than 20 filming locations in the Long Island area for “Bridge and Tunnel.”
“I grew up as, and remain to this day, a history buff,” Brescia said. “I remember the concept of ‘primary sources’ being taught to us, and I felt as an artist that I was given a really unique opportunity to create a primary source for future generations to look back on. “
The film wrapped production in August of 2013 and started appearing in film festivals all over the country in May 2014, including the Long Island International Film Expo.
“I think that audience today will enjoy ‘Bridge and Tunnel,’ but ultimately I hope that the project serves as a tool for future generations to use to get an idea of what life was like at the beginning of the twenty-first century for the “millennial” generation” Brescia said.
Keep an eye on Brescia as he continues to raise in the film industry.
The Fall Premiere Onslaught Begins
"The Good Wife," "Big Bang Theory" return plus more debuts
Published: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
I readily admit that I ring in the new fall television season with the same unbridled glee that Navin Johnson greets the release of the new phone books. Sure, the increasing number of summer series may have taken the bloom off the rose somewhat, but I’m still delighted to welcome the 69th Fall Television Programming Season to the airwaves. This is an extraordinarily busy week of premieres. Here are my favorites from the early part of the week.
Guilty pleasure “The Good Wife” returns strong with a season premiere that highlights one of the series’ best qualities. Things are always in motion on this show, most of the time in every unexpected ways. Everyone is still reeling from Carey’s (Matt Czuchry) indiscretions having come to light while he and Alicia (Julianna Margulies) are working out a defection plan with Diane (Christine Baranski). All of that gets thrown up in the air as Carey finds himself arrested and thrown in jail while Eli (Alan Cumming) attempts to manipulate events so that Alicia will run for State’s Attorney. The writing on this show is like a delicately performed ballet that is always a marvel to watch. Even going in to the sixth season that has not diminished.
Perennial favorite “The Big Bang Theory” returns for its eighth season with a double-header of awesome. We find out just how far Sheldon (Jim Parsons) got on his train excursion as well as seeing a new hairstyle and career for Penny (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting). Howard (Simon Halberg) tries to breakup Stewart (Kevin Sussman) and his new BFF, Howard’s Mom (voiced by Carol Ann Susi) while also taking a class from Sheldon. Speaking of BFFs, Amy (Mayim Bialik) tries to work a point of contention between Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) and Penny into higher self-esteem for herself. All of these hi-jinks are sprinkled liberally with the usual gleefully geeky references and science gags. I have really missed this show and am glad it is back.
Speaking of geeky references, newcomer “Gotham” is rife with those of the comic book variety. Focusing on the infamous city in the years before the Caped Crusader made his mark, this show follows the rise of rookie Detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) through the ranks of the corrupt Gotham City Police Department. Partnered with the morally questionable Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), Gordon begins his career by investigating the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne while consoling their son, Bruce (David Mazouz). There is a reference to the Batman comics about every three minutes in the pilot, most often in the guise of a familiar character. There are also some pacing problems and weak acting, but on the whole this is a decent start.
Another new show that holds promise is “Scorpion.” Eccentric genius Walter O’Brien (Elyes Gabel) has gathered a team of brilliant misfits with whom he has a failing consulting business. When the team, consisting of Toby Curtis (Eddie Kaye Thomas), an expert behaviorist, Happy Quinn (Jadyn Wong), a mechanical prodigy and Sylvester Dodd (Ari Stidhaim), a statistics guru, are co-opted by Homeland Security agent Cabe Gallo (Robert Patrick), they use their talents to try to avert an unsolvable catastrophe.
“Scorpion” is Executive Produced by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Justin Lin and is pretty much dialed up to 11 the entire time with brief moments of character development sprinkled throughout. There is some real potential here and a whole lot of heart so I’m interested to see where it goes.
This new TV season is just getting started, so be sure to check back Thursday for another round-up of old favorites and new surprise hits premiering this week.
Drank That Local Sh*t: Blind Bat Brewery ThaiPA
The first collaboration between Blind Bat and New York Cork Report
Published: Monday, September 22, 2014
Drank That Local Sh*t explores the nitty-gritty of Long Island-born beers consumed by Niko Krommydas—with assistance from their creators.
ThaiPA is the first collaboration between Blind Bat Brewery and Lenn Thompson, founder and editor of New York Cork Report. While a forthcoming series of beers was announced in 2012, born from a “mutual admiration for and dedication to local food, wine and beer,” explains Thompson, brewing for the project was delayed for two-plus years. This is partly due to an ongoing—and arduous—effort by Paul Dlugokencky, owner and brewmaster of Blind Bat, to relocate the brewery from his residence in Centerport to a commercial building.
ThaiPA is a pale ale brewed with four ingredients commonly used in Thai cuisine: Thai basil, lemon basil, lemongrass, and ginger. The basils were grown by Dlugokencky’s wife, Regina, at Seedsower Farm in Centerport (a trait of Blind Bat’s beerfolio, as Long Island Potato Stout, Hell Gate Golden Ale, and Honey & Basil Ale also feature Regina-planted schtuffs), and Mary Callanan, owner of Three Castles Garden in Westbury.
Blind Bat Brewery/ThaiPA
Format: Bottle (22oz)
Super Neat Descriptors: Spicey, Lemony, Herbal, Fruity
Paul Dlugokencky: Back in 2011, Lenn Thompson asked if I would be interested in brewing an IPA he had an idea for incorporating lemongrass and Thai basil called “ThaiPA.” Since Lenn had already had my Honey & Basil Ale, he knew I was comfortable brewing with basil. Crowded schedules—balancing the day job, brewing, and an ongoing hunt for a larger space for the brewery—as well as the search for the right hop delayed the inaugural brew for much longer than I should have allowed, but Lenn proved to be more than patient. Citra came to be the hop I was looking for, and a three-barrel batch was finally brewed in August.
The Citra hops, while contributing a calculated bitterness within the range of today’s IPAs, lend more of a tropical fruit character than the palate-punishing bitterness often sought for in contemporary IPAs. Local and organic Thai basil and lemon basil grown by my wife Regina at Seedsower Farm and her farmer friend, Mary Callanan, owner of Three Castles Garden, were added to the boil, along with lemongrass. Ginger was added post-primary fermentation. With the basils, lemongrass, and ginger, ThaiPA in my mind lands somewhere in a territory on its own, rather than as strictly either an IPA or an American pale ale. The offbeat spicing lends itself to pairing with a wide variety of foods, not just Thai cuisine. Regina especially enjoyed it with pizza.
Daily Vegetables: A Good Investment?
Eating more vegetables means spending no more than two dollars a day for a few extra servings. Per person this means about an extra $700 annually to drastically improve your diet. Is this worth it? Absolutely, times 700 and more! The health benefits of eating vegetables far outweigh the minor increase in your daily budget. Adults should have a minimum of 3-5 servings of vegetables a day and children should start at 3 servings a day, but there’s really no upper limit. The health benefits of vegetables are countless: they provide an infusion of vitamins and minerals, a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, high levels of fiber and antioxidants, and anti-carcinogenic properties. On top of that, they are delicious and simple to prepare.
Ferocious, But Competition Looms
All-new Lexus RC-F is fierce contender for sports car lovers
Published: Friday, September 19, 2014
2015 Lexus RC – F, Price: $70,000 loaded
There is much to say about Lexus’ all-new RC-F, and we’ll get to most of it. But what anyone wishes to know before anything else about a sports car is A) How fast and B) How much? The answers: 0-60 in four seconds and B) Around $70,000, depending on options. How does it look? Handsome, sleek and stylish, especially if you go for Orange, like the tester I beat up points north of White Plains and up to Bear Mountain recently while keeping an eyeball out for John Law. The car packs an anxious, angry 450 horses into a 3.5 litre V-8 engine, meaning it takes off like a shot, passes like an arrow and does what you ask if it without hesitation. The RC-F’s main competitors are BMW’s M4 and Audi’s RS-5, but it’s a matter of personal taste and brand loyalty as they are all fast, gorgeous vehicles. For the 70 or so thousand with options they’re asking for the RC-F, you get tons o’ fun and a king-size dose of style and swank.
2015 Lexus RC – F, Price: $70,000 loaded
Its gorgeous, aggressive body features 19-inch wheels, cooling ducts and aerodynamic cues from Lexus’ LFA supercar, two of which I’ve punished on tracks in recent years. A spoiler activates at 50 MPH, and it’s available – along with the roof panel – in lightweight carbon-fiber if you so choose. Inside, designers borrowed heavily from themselves, nodding and sometimes directly pinching from Lexus’ IS. Race-style seats lend you that track-rat feeling, but the small rectangular mouse pad controller in between seats is an over-sensitive, niggly-wiggly gadget I could have done without.
The rear-wheel-drive version features a torque-vectoring differential that can deliver power to either rear wheel during hard use, and three dynamic modes allow the driver to choose either highway comfort or missile-like settings. At about 18 miles per gallon, you’ll have to make that choice based on where the next station is or if you become quickly addicted to the speed and accuracy this car offers. Time will tell if the RC-F blasts off sales-wise, but upon introduction, it carves a unique, admirable place at the sports car table.
Fast Friday Tech Roundup – Friday Sept. 19
Each week we scour the digital world looking for the hottest gadgets, trending topics, new apps and more! We pass it on to you in easy to read bite-size morsels…after that you are on your own to surf at will!
Amazon’s Fire Sale!
No, Amazon warehouses have not burned down. It’s just that their new FirePhone, despite all the hype and cute television campaign, is not flying off the shelves as they had hoped. So, if you’re Jeff Bezos what do you do? You have a fire sale…Literally! Now, for just 99 cents you can have the new FirePhone, with the coveted Prime Membership as well as other bells and whistles Amazon will throw in. Get more details here.
Don’t travel without your Mate
If you travel a lot, or you are constantly on the road working and can’t live without your phone, laptop, or Wi-Fi…have we got a device for you! The TripMate Elite is more than a portable battery pack and battery level checker. It has 2 USB ports, Internet and LAN indicators, there’s an Ethernet port which also acts as a wireless router. The unit also acts as your own personal cloud device for transferring and sharing files between devices, with a built-in two-prong power adaptor for easy plug-ability. Now, if it could only make rental-car reservations…then you’d have something! Learn more here.
Send a Bud to your Bud
Your old college roommate moved to Chicago and today is his birthday! Now what? Why not head over to Facebook and buy him a drink!?! Budweiser is testing a clever idea, in Chicago and Denver, where Facebook users can send a birthday “gift code” to a friend that he or she can then redeem at their local watering hole for a free Bud or Bud Light. Fulfillment guru’s gratafy.com, have partnered with Budweiser to make this happen. No gift wrap required!
Since the release of the iPhone 6 and automatic addition of the new U2 record to our iPhones and iTunes libraries, customers have been flooding help desks trying to find a way to remove this blasted thing! Luckily we found the fix you’ve been looking for. Click here for step by step instructions.
OFF THE WALLS Block Party Saturday
Five hours of live music, dancing, food and art in Huntington Station
Published: Thursday, September 18, 2014
The Huntington Arts Council-affiliated SPARKBOOM initiative presents OFF THE WALLS II, a block party/street fair on Saturday from 1-6pm. After the success of last year’s event, SPARKBOOM has decided to rock the Huntington Station block again with free live performances from local bands like Nonstop to Cairo, Motion Ocean, Slang, KB Jones & The Kontraband and Jarred “AllStar.”
At 1520 New York Avenue (Mt. Calvary Holy Church of Huntington) you can also find Latin dancing presented by Sol y Sombra Spanish Dance Company: salsa, Argentine tangos and rumbas. There will also be a free BMX stunt show at the festival, and Mt. Calvary will be barbecuing food with proceeds going to the church.
But let’s not forget the art! ‘Off the Walls’ is named for street art and Lucienne Pereira will be painting an interactive mural at Huntington Deli. The 30 plus art vendors include handmade jewelry by Ali Herrmann, Deborah Porretto and Donna Saladino-Irvine, and photography by Kristen Vetter.
A Long Island native, Vetter has a BFA in Fine Arts, Psychology and Photography and her most recent work focuses on “the varied perceptions within an environment” based on her travels to Israel, Egypt and Jordan:
“My series of photographs, captured in an area synonymous with conflict, are full of contrasting elements: beauty, devastation, and the mundane,” said Vetter. “I document architecture and people within their environments. I then manipulate each image by hand with drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture to emphasize aspects of growth, change, and transition. The images that are created from this process emphasize empathy, and careful looking to offer clues to our common ancestry, common daily practices and struggles.”
Vetter will be selling some pieces like the enigmatic ‘Contemplation,’ a long exposure digitally taken “to emphasize the little nuances that we go through during bursts of emotion.”
‘Contemplation’ by Kristen Vetter
Digital photograph on Rives BFK and mono-print, 21’’ x 14’’ Digital photograph on Rives BFK, pastel, charcoal, matte varnish, 50’’ x 30’’
Suggested donation: $5 for the Block Party; For more info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1467771493474989/
Son Versus Son on ‘Extant’
The freshman series delivers an intense finale
The intro to each episode of “Extant” tells us that “this is a story about Earth, a story about family, a story about surviving” and that is never truer than it is in the final episode of the first season. In many ways this episode also loops around to the beginning of the show as Molly Woods (Halle Berry) returns from a solo mission to space not alone and her husband, John (Goran Visnjic) attempts to discover just how much humanity their android son, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) has obtained. The answer to the latter might just determine whether or not mankind becomes extinct.
The finale is focused squarely on the Woods family with the supporting characters pushed to the background or not appearing at all. This serves to make the proceedings more personal and intimate while at the same time tying off the larger story threads. This show has always been about Molly and John fighting to keep their family together and Ethan struggling to find out his role in that fight. It’s only fighting that all three play a key role in the ultimate resolution.
While Molly faces the threat head on in space aboard the Seraphim station, John shows Ethan what it really means to have faith, trust and love in another human being. Ethan become more human than human as, ultimately, it all comes down to son versus son with the android making the most human choice of all. The otherworldly son tries to sabotage everything on Earth while its spore-based brethren attempt to invade the Earth. The two wind up in a stand-off that is superbly written and acted and is perhaps the defining moment of the entire series.
Of course, there are a few unanswered questions, such as the fate of Yasumoto (Hiroyuki Sanada), although it can probably be assumed that his time finally ran out off-screen. Also uncertain is what is to become of Sparks (Michael O’Neill). Presumably he has a future of incarceration that will probably be longer than the rest of his life. Then there is the final hook at the end of the danger of the “Offspring” still being very clear and present on Earth.
“Extant” prevails as a wonderful drama, an emotional family tale and as the very best of science-fiction. At its core it explores the human condition in several ways. We get to see the desire to connect on an emotional level to other beings. We see the innate compulsion to do whatever it takes to survive even while staring mortality right in the face. And we explore what science-fiction has always explored, the question of what it means to be human. What a wonderful journey “Extant” has been in looking at ourselves.
CBS has yet to announce whether or not “Extant” will return for a second season. The ratings dropped significantly after the premiere, but levelled off by episode four and remained respectable for the remaining installments. It should be noted that the overall story reaches a very satisfactory end, so should there be more episodes there is still the feeling of a complete story having been told. I suspect it will all come down to money and any number of other unpredictable factors, but I, for one, hope we haven’t seen the last of the Woods family.
Book Review: ‘Cosby: His Life and Times’
Learn what that TV show almost was
Published: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
For many years, you spent every Thursday night in the living room of a friend - and you never left your easy chair.
Those Thursday nights were appointments you wouldn’t think of missing, and you always left with a smile. The Huxtable family was just like your family. And in the new book “Cosby: His Life and Times” by Mark Whitaker, you’ll learn what that TV show almost was, and more.
William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born into a storytelling family.
Though his father was mostly absent, young Cosby was heavily influenced by his paternal grandfather, a spiritual man who loved telling Bible stories. Cosby sometimes had a hard time understanding his grandfather’s Southern accent, but the elder man’s methods of holding an audience stuck with him forever.
c.2014, Simon & Schuster $29.99 / $35.95 Canada 544 pages
After dropping out of high school, and once home from a stint in the Navy (where he worked in the Hospital Corps and got his GED), Cosby left Philadelphia and headed to New York City.
There, he slept on the storeroom floor of a Greenwich Village club, and performed on a rickety stage beneath a leaky ceiling. Eventually, it paid off: word got around that he was a funny guy, one who didn’t rely on profanity or racial material to get laughs. Cosby soon had a manager, a wife, and a seat next to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show.
For Cosby, personally, it was a golden time: his comedy career was soaring, he was starring in a TV crime-drama, and he’d become a father. Offstage, however, the nation was working its way through the Civil Rights Movement and for Cosby, that created a stronger urge to help his “people.” As much as possible, he insisted on hiring more African Americans backstage, and assisted many in their show-business careers. He was also fierce about education (he had once wanted to be a teacher), and created children’s programming with that in mind.
In 1984, having heard that Bill Cosby was open to the possibility of a sitcom, Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner asked for a meeting. They had something in mind for a different kind of comedy.
Cosby had some ideas of his own…
Reading “Cosby: His Life and Times” is kind of like visiting your childhood on paper. Who among us hasn’t felt like we’ve always known Fat Albert and the Huxtable family? Who didn’t want to run away and live with Cliff and Claire?
Not many, I’d guess, and that’s why readers will be surprised at what author Mark Whitaker uncovered. Not only are we treated to the good in Cosby’s life, but Whitaker includes the warts, both onstage and off, as well as the what-ifs within Cosby’s career – and I just couldn’t get enough of it. What if, for instance, Cliff Huxtable had been a limo driver?
Are you shaking your head now? Me, too, as I devoured this comfort-food biography – and if that sounds tasty to you, then here’s your next book. Grab “Cosby: His Life and Times” and head for your easy chair.
“Unforgettable” Faces a “DOA”
Has Carrie Wells solved her final case?
Published: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
“Unforgettable” chose to up the stakes in its final hour of season by putting not only one of the team in jeopardy, but by making the potential victim the lead character by poisoning Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery). And while Al Burns (Dylan Walsh) raced to find the antidote and culprit in time, we were all left guessing the outcome almost to the end. However satisfying the resolution was the biggest of all still remains unanswered, namely whether or not the show will be returning for another season.
It’s hardly surprising that the episode and season didn’t end on a cliffhanger. This isn’t a show that requires a “previously on” montage at the beginning. Any sort of serialized storytelling was abandoned when “Unforgettable” got an unlikely reprieve after being cancelled following its freshman year. Becoming a standard case-of-the-week procedural actually played to the show’s strengths and gave it new life, literally. Thankfully, the producers honored that change and respected the fans by sticking to their guns and giving us a fine wrap up to the end of the season.
That’s not to say they don’t play with the premise of the series in a new and interesting way. Carrie is exposed to a deadly nerve toxin in the opening moments, but the possibility of imminent death is not the worse fate for our heroine. As she confides to those around her, including ME Joanne Webster (Jane Curtin), the thing that is killing her is also robbing her of the thing that has defined her whole life, her gift to remember everything that she experiences. That becomes even more frustrating as it prevents her from recalling vital clues that lead to her would-be killers.
Ultimately, the good guys prevail, just without the standard season finale/season premiere two-parter that this type of story usually entails. Obviously, no one is expected to believe that a series will kill off its lead character. Yes, there are extenuating circumstances, such as an actor leaving a show or the certainty of cancelation. In the case of “Unforgettable” the leads are almost certainly under a long-term contract and Montgomery seems to be very happy playing Carrie. That just leaves the ever-present cancellation question that every show faces.
Much like the closing moments of the season gave us an upbeat and hopeful moment with Carrie and Al, so, too, should be the future prospects of seeing what they get up to next. The finale was a dynamite end to a solid season with our lead actress in particular giving and exceptionally strong performance. It is rare to see Carrie unsure and losing control and Montgomery just really went for it and showed off her acting chops. Everyone else got to show a different side to their characters as they faced the most personally difficult of cases and “Unforgettable” was the better for it.
Looking at the ratings, the series performed slightly lower than last year. Taking into account that it is a summer show, it still performed well enough to expect it will get a fourth season nod. CBS seemed to think there was enough of an audience to reverse its initial cancellation decision and it seems more reasonable to keep with something that is a guaranteed audience draw than to try something brand new in the same slot. I wouldn’t be surprised that by the time you are reading this CBS has already given the thumbs up for season 4. Either way, “Unforgettable” ends the year on a high note and its head held high.
Join The Amigos Band for Dinner in NYC
Monthly residency begins Friday at Greenwich House Music School
Published: Monday, September 15, 2014
“The Amigos are brilliant improvisers and have so much collective positive energy that during the first 14-hour day I spent with them in the studio, I forgot that I would soon be 83. Their music… is for all ages from toddlers to my contemporaries, who will abandon the shuffleboard courts, come to hear them and go home feeling like a teenager again.”
—Beat Generation composer/musician David Amram
The Amigos Band with David Amram (l). Image: Richard Velasco
What could be better than (homemade) food, (free) wine and (good) music? Beginning Friday, The Amigos Band (think ensemble singing, dancing, folk, zydeco and bebop solos) will host a monthly themed music party, jam session and potluck dinner at Greenwich House Music School. The New York-based Americana band: Sam Reider (accordion, vocals), Justin Poindexter (guitar, vocals), Noah Garabedian (bass) and Will Clark (drums) is often joined by founding Amigos member saxophonist Eddie Barbash (now with Jon Batiste and Stay Human), Mr. Amram and other special guests from the NYC music community.
“Our goal with The Amigos Family Dinner is to build up a grassroots community of ‘Amigos’ in New York who are interested in exploring the intersections between American roots music styles and to engage with new fans through fun, educational and celebratory events,” said Reider. “We thought that paying tribute to the ‘hootenannies’ made famous by Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta and Leadbelly would be the perfect way to get this new Greenwich Village series started with a bang—and who better to help us invoke their spirit than our good friend, David Amram?”
In last October’s Pulse, The Amigos discussed their latest album, Diner in the Sky, which Amram co-produced. The record consists of originals that harken back to Amram’s Beat Generation, along with fresh arrangements of folk standards like “The Wayfaring Stranger,” “Hey Joe” and “The California Blues,” a Jimmie Rodgers classic once adapted by Woody Guthrie. Future themes in the monthly performance series at GHMS include: Horny Folk: Brass and Reeds in American Music, Drum Thunder, and a Folk Music Dance Party with an Appalachian folk dance lesson.
Who: The Amigos Band with special guest David Amram. and others tba
What: The Amigos Family Dinner party. Potluck dinner and all-you-can-drink wine, with a tribute to four pillars of folk music. There will be an Amigos-led jam session on songs of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Odetta and Leadbelly. Bring your instruments.
Where: Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow St., New York, NY
When: Friday, September 19th, from 7 to 9pm (all ages)
Cost: Recommended donation: $5, and a food item to share for dinner
The Healthy Truth About Organic Food
The term organic can be used to describe virtually any product these days, from vegetables to makeup and even footwear. Organic is usually used to describe food that has been grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical ripening agents, irradiation or genetic modification. Have studies shown that those who consume organic food have better health compared to those who consume regular food? No, the nutrient profiles of organic and non-organic foods don’t differ very much and no long-term studies have been able to show any long-term health benefits. On the other hand, it is true that organic food has lower pesticide levels than non-organic food does. Unfortunately, the scientific jury is still out on whether organic foods carry less of a long-term cancer risk because of this. The choice is up to you.
Start Sharing the News
Social media vs. traditional media…who wins?
Published: Friday, September 12, 2014
Call it what you like old media, broadcast outlets, the Beltway press, mainstream media, or my current favorite…corporate media.
Whatever ways you choose to get your news remember, some of your favorite social media platforms can often supply you with more in-depth news coverage than you ever thought possible!
This is Only a Test
Try this…next time news breaks, there’s a huge weather event, or a national story unfolds don’t reach for the TV remote…go to your PC or smartphone and open your favorite social media app. You’ll be surprised at the different reports, varied opinions and expanded coverage you’ll see.
Don’t settle for the same old boring news coverage and talking points that come from network television and cable news channels. Check out the conversations that are taking place online! Doing this will help you generate new opinions or conclusions about a particular story or event.
But remember, be a shrewd consumer of news and information. Search for your own answers, don’t just take what you see on-line and run with it—that’s how rumors get started.
Fill your News Feeds with Real News
Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your social media news gathering experience.
First, know this. Not all social media outlets are best for obtaining news and information. You wouldn’t want to (let’s say), go to Pinterest for breaking news. You may get more of what you’re searching for from Twitter or Google+.
Here’s a tip! An easy way to find things quickly is by using hashtags. Hashtags are an easy way to cull through the noise on Twitter, Google and Facebook. Here’s how to do it: locate the search bar at the top of the platform of your choice and type (for example; #iphone6, #joanrivers or #ukraine) and revel as your feed fills up with the latest up-to-the-minute information.
Here’s more! Locate the people and topics that interest you and “friend” or “follow” them so you can monitor their posts. For instance, why not follow your favorite member of congress or the police department in your area? Believe it or not, most politicians, local entities and organizations have a strong social media presence and they update their accounts on a regular basis.
Last tip…place these people you’ve just followed in “groups” or “lists” so you can quickly see their updates in one neat and cozy information stream.
Independent Media Rules
It is no secret that real reporting and investigative journalism at the mainstream level are almost extinct. Network news departments and entertainment divisions have seemed to merge—virtually overnight! Production budgets, that used to send reporters and news gathering crews to where news was happening, have all but dried up. These days, advertisers appear to have more influence over the content you see and hear than the actual station managers or news directors. Networks usually end up playing it safe and delivering watered down versions of the news.
New Media, No Rules, Fresh Faces
Believe it or not, some of your favorite TV personalities and broadcasters have made the switch to digital properties. Katie Couric has a show on Yahoo Screen and Larry King has reappeared on YouTube. There are literally dozens of news and opinion programs that can be found on the internet, many speak truth-to-power and are doing their best to inform and enlighten the public well beyond what corporate teleprompter jockeys can provide.
Remember the key is to learn more, share valuable content and most of all…have fun!
If you want more suggestions on people and programs to friend or follow, just leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you with our list of some of the best the internet has to offer.
Fusion’s Recent Redesign’s a Winner
Family car offers comfort, room, precision
2014 Ford Fusion SE
Base price: $23,935
The Fusion is a great Ford, but I’ve never driven a test model that produced an avalanche of public comment. It was a pleasant surprise, then, that the receptionist at the doctor’s office I visited instantly pegged my ride and offered compliments galore. With its three assertive hood trim lines, integrated spotter mirrors, chrome grille and more than a passing resemblance to Aston-Martin, the Fusion has flavor, style and, dare we say, a respectable helping of badass.
The Fusion got a complete redesign last year, including a more efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with EcoBoost making 181 horsepower and 185 lb.-ft. of torque, a slight increase from the previous model’s 177 hp. and 184 lb.-ft. The new engine’s more powerful but it also peaks at a higher rpm. From a dead stop, this equals feeble acceleration, but once you get rolling you can squeeze a respectable amount of power out of it. The standard shift has been done away with, as in many modern cars, simply because fewer and fewer people say they want them.
The Fusion’s also got stop-start technology, surprising for a car in this price range. Mileage is approximately 23.5 miles per gallon. It’s available in three trim levels: the S, SE, and Titanium. Three different engines are available as well as front-wheel or all-wheel drive..
Inside, there is plenty of headroom, and a longer wheelbase means more footroom as well. Quality of materials – cloth, knobs, controls and such - is above average for this price, and the cabin’s pleasingly quiet. The trunk is spacious at 16 cubic feet and there are nooks and crannies galore in the cockpit including a stow space under the center stack, bottle holders in the doors and a generous glove box. Finally, the Fusion has one of the best safety assessments in any sedan, with 5-star ratings from IIHS in crash tests. You won’t crash, though – the Fusion’s got a well-tuned steering system that handled everything I threw at it – cornering, sharp K-turns and brief but intense abuse.
You’re either a Ford person or you’re not, but the 2014 makes a convincing case to cheat on your Civic or Corolla. We won’t tell.
Fast Friday Tech Roundup – Friday Sept. 12
Each week we scour the digital world looking for the hottest gadgets, trending topics, new apps and more! We pass it on to you in easy to read bite-size morsels…after that you are on your own to surf at will!
IKEA goes High Tech
The folks at IKEA have managed to take their now famous paper catalogue, adored by millions of customers worldwide, to the next level. Well, sort of. Satisfying the digital community is hard but IKEA has found a way to appeal to even their harshest critics. Behold…the release of IKEA’s new BookBook.
Pay Per View?
Verizon has plans to release an Internet only TV service where customers pay only for the Channels they want to watch. No more shelling out your hard earned cash for hundreds of stations you’ll never see when “Pay-Per-Channel” is on the menu! The details are still being fleshed-out as Verizon waits to see what other service providers are going to do, but their soft launch is scheduled for mid 2015. I’ve got my credit card ready!
Internet Slowdown Day
We’ve all heard the term Net Neutrality but how many readers actually know what’s at stake? Well, hanging in the balance is your ability to watch an HD video on YouTube, or a feature film on Netflix without interruption or extra charges and fees! If the FCC gets its way, you won’t be able to load a photo rich site quickly, apply for a job, or shop at a small retailer online because some of these sites will be relegated to the slow lane. Don’t look now, it’s been happening already…learn more here.
It’s a Beautiful Day
No Tech Round Up would be complete without talking about the release of the new iPhone6, iPhone6 Plus, the Apple Watch and the new ApplePay system all unleashed on the same day. Of course, there are pros and cons that can be found with the new products. So, to keep folks happy while they work out the kinks, every Apple subscriber gets the new U2 record for free! Apple’s new slogan? If you don’t like our phone, keep the CD as our gift to you.
Book Review: ‘Five Days Left’
Mara Nichols has five days to wrap up her life
Published: Thursday, September 11, 2014
Grandma was right. Darn it.
Every year, when November rolled around and you longed for the holidays, she told you not to wish your life away. Time moved fast enough, she said, and it went faster the older you get.
Back then, a week lasted forever; today, you blink and where did it go? And in the new novel “Five Days Left” by Julie Lawson Timmer, even that’s not enough time.
Texas lawyer Mara Nichols always did her research.
It was something she prided herself on – until Huntington’s Disease robbed her of her moods, memory, and then her job. What horrified her more than this loss of identity, though, was that, if her disease progressed as she understood it, she would lose control of her body more and more, little by little, until there was no Mara left. She’d be a burden to her husband, Tom, and an embarrassment for their daughter, Lakshmi – and that, to Mara, was unacceptable.
Four years prior, when she received her diagnosis and knew what was to come, she made a decision: if symptoms progressed beyond a certain point, she would take her own life. That was best – a gift, really – for her parents, and for Tom and Laks.
She could never tell them this, but they’d understand later.
She now had five days to wrap up her life.
Laurie Coffman always wanted a family but fostering a grade-school child from inner-city Detroit wasn’t what she had in mind – particularly since she was pregnant with her first baby. For her husband, Scott, though, having Curtis for a year was so incredibly rewarding.
It had been a challenge, for sure; Scott was happy to get advice from friends on an online forum, and it really helped him and Laurie to raise Little Man. Scott fell hard for Curtis in the past, fleeting year, but he never forgot one thing.
Curtis wasn’t his son. And in five days, the boy would return to his mother…
Here’s one thing you might as well warm up to: you will cry when you read “Five Days Left.” You. Will. Cry.
First-time author Julie Lawson Timmer hasn’t merely just penned a good novel; she leaps out of the chute here with this keeps-you-guessing story of two people who have a finite time – real or imagined - to spend with those they love. It’s that guessing part, the will-she-won’t-she on Mara’s behalf, and the frustration from Scott that kept me turning pages well into the night. I also found myself wondering what I’d do if I was in their shoes, which led me to ignore my clock as I got wrapped up in their lives and this story – and if that’s not the mark of an exceptional novel, well, then I don’t know what is.
This is one of those winners that’ll be passed from reader to fan to book group and beyond. It’s a novel that people will buzz about awhile. Start it, and I think you’ll agree that “Five Days Left” is a right fine read.
Long Island + Sixpoint = Furever
Two Long Island collaborations at Sixpoint's Beer for Beasts on Saturday
I already purchased my ticket to Beer for Beasts on Saturday, but I must reiterate: I can’t attend the annual two-session event organized by Sixpoint and Beer Advocate, which has awesomely raised nearly $100,000 for the Humane Society of New York since 2011. Though I proudly paid to donate to the not-for-profit veterinary hospital and no-kill shelter, an iCloud of sorrow continues to linger over my brainspace, as I will regrettably miss 35 exclusive and peculiar beers from Sixpoint—including two with a connection to Long Island. I conveyed this quandary to my cat, Miles Davis, who, following a three-hour meditative loaf, recommended a potential remedy: revisit the source of bummedness with positivity.
I agreed to attempt his treatment, so I will shift focus to discuss the aforementioned pair.
The first is Boo’s Brew, a collaboration with the area’s chapter of Girls’ Pint Out, self-described as a “national craft beer organization for women.” There are 60 members in Long Island’s, founded by Lauri Spitz in 2011, including Julie Henken and Melissa Meier. Spitz, now co-owner of Moustache Brewing Company in Riverhead, relinquished her presidency to the duo to focus on the two-barrel brewery in March.
“We were brainstorming awesome things to do to promote the group and I remembered that Lauri and Matt [Spitz] brewed with Sixpoint for last year’s event,” says Meier, referring to I Can Haz Orange Chocolate Milk Stout?. “I emailed Heather [Reynolds, brewer at Sixpoint] to start the process. She immediately signed on.”
Boo’s Brew isn’t the first collaboration involving Girls’ Pint Out on Long Island: HiHo Belgian Pale was made with BrickHouse Brewery & Restaurant in April. The chapter desired “something feminine and related to kitties” for Beer for Beasts, says Meier, opting for a wheat beer with blueberries and lavender (the latter was sourced from Lavender by the Bay in East Marion). It’s named for Meier’s cat, Boo.
“We wanted a basic wheat base so the lavender and blueberry could shine and take center stage,” Henkin says. “We steeped the lavender after boiling, while blueberries were added during secondary fermentation. It should have some nice floral notes up front with some tartness to follow.”
(L-R) Adam Zuniga, brewer at Sixpoint, and Sean Redmond, brewer at Barrier Brewing Company. Image: Sean Redmond
While Boo’s Brew was hatched from furballs and cuteness, the event’s other Long Island-connected beer, Raining Beets, was inspired by a thrashy and tenebrous source: Slayer. A riff on the seminal metal band’s 1986 album, Reign in Blood, Raining Beets is a beet-infused collaboration between Sixpoint and Oceanside’s Barrier Brewing Company, owned by Evan Klein and Craig Frymark. Both started their beer careers at the Brooklyn-based brewery before re-teaming at their 30-barreler, opened by Klein in 2009. It was Sean Redmond, a brewer at Barrier, however, who visited their former home in Red Hook to make the blood-colored beer with Sixpoint’s Adam Zuniga. They’re homeboys.
“It’s a mix between a big blonde ale and a pale ale to let the beets shine both in flavor and color,” says Redmond. “We used beet juice in the whirlpool. It’s a good fermentable sugar probably with a sweet taste. Slayer was playing during the entire brewday. We’re both huge fans. It was a lotta fun.”
Boo’s Brew and Raining Beets will both pour at Beer for Beasts to benefit the Humane Society of New York. Tickets are available now.
Téa Leoni Takes Office This Fall
“Madam Secretary” brings familiar faces back to TV
Téa Leoni returns to a regular television role for the first time in more than 15 years in the highly anticipated “Madam Secretary,” CBS’s new political drama. Leoni is not the only veteran actor returning as Tim Daly, Željko Ivanek and Bebe Neuwirth also star while Keith Carradine will be around on a recurring basis and William Sadler makes a guest appearance. Additionally, “Joan of Arcadia” and “Homeland” co-executive producer Barbara Hall created the series and serves in an executive producer role along with Morgan Freeman. Yes, that Morgan Freeman.
“Madam Secretary” features Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, a former CIA analyst who is asked by the President (Carradine) to be Secretary of State following the death of her predecessor. Her team includes Chief of Staff Nadine Tolliver (Neuwirth), Matt Mahoney (Geoffrey Arend), Daisy Grant (Patina Miller) and assistant Blake Moran (Erich Bergen). She frequently does battle with the President’s Chief of Staff Russell Jackson (Ivanek) and finds solace in the company of supportive husband, Henry (Daly), and their two children, Alison (Katherine Herzer) and Jason (Evan Roe). Sadler plays McCord’s former CIA colleague, George, who provides a little bit of intrigue along the way.
Of course, what you all are wondering is if the show is any good. The pilot, while sometimes a little uneven in pacing, is highly enjoyable and an excellent start. We get some great introductions to McCord and her family with emphasis on their family dynamic. The other main characters get to show what they are made of, too, as the episode unfolds. Carradine’s President of the United States is perhaps a little flat and one dimensional, but this show isn’t about him, so that is forgivable. The shining stars here are Leoni and Ivanek who have a chemistry that threatens to overshadow the one between Leoni and her on-screen husband.
The story is pretty much by the numbers even if the performances will make you not care. McCord is entering the world of good ol’ boy politics where she is coached to basically keep her mouth shut. She is an unwelcome guest in a job suddenly vacated by a well-liked Secretary and most consider her a temporary lame-duck office holder, even some of her own staff. She, of course, is presented with opportunities to show her stuff and prove herself capable and even winning the, sometimes, grudging respect of those around her. There is even suspicions raised about the death of the previous Secretary which gives us an ongoing menacing mystery.
However, it is all wrapped up in a neat little package that can’t helped but be liked. Everyone is at the top of their game. All of the actors give us real and convincing performances. Hall’s writing, even if slightly pedestrian, gets the job done better than most pilots and at least left me interested in coming back for more episodes. The director, David Semel, helps to sell the whole thing as he expertly handles the actors and gives us some wonderful shots. Semel won an Emmy for his work on the pilot to “Heroes” a few years back so he’s proven he knows how to kick things off.
CBS has wisely slotted this new series in between “60 Minutes” and “The Good Wife” on Sundays. This is a huge sign of good faith and a shrewd move as audiences now have a reason to just leave their TVs locked in to CBS for all of Sunday night. All three series return on September 21 starting at 7:00 PM. Make your plans now to be home and tuned in.
Summer Finales to Fall Premieres
British Invasion on the Island
Gerry Marsden on the enduring appeal of his music
Published: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
On Sunday, Sept., 14 at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury at 8pm, the British Invasion Tour 2014 will feature Gerry & the Pacemakers, Chad & Jeremy, Billy J. Kramer, Mike Pender’s Searchers and Denny Laine. Gerry & the Pacemakers, who scored three number one singles during the British Invasion and like the Beatles were managed by Brian Epstein and produced by George Martin was the first band to follow in the Beatles’ footsteps in conquering America and then the world in the mid 60s. The groups scored three other hits that reached the Top 10, including “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying” and the iconic “Ferry Cross the Mersey,” which became emblematic of the allure and romance of the birth-place of The Beatles and the Liverpool music scene.
Gerry Marsden remains the youthful face and voice of the group. He turns 72 this month and from his home in England discussed the enduring appeal of his music and his fellow Liverpudlians
Long Island Pulse: Gerry & the Pacemakers came up almost at the exact time as the Beatles.
What was your earliest memory of any of the Beatles? Did you know them around Liverpool as school-age children?
Gerry Marsden: I first met the Beatles when we were teenagers with our skiffle groups, We played a lot of the same shows and John (Lennon) went on to be one of my closest friends, even though on stage We were great rivals.
LIP: Did any of the members of the group ever play with the Beatles?
GM: We were on the same bill one night at one of the shows so just for a laugh we all played on stage together and we called ourselves “The Beatmakers,” which is obviously a mix of both groups names.
LIP: Your group had many parallels to the Beatles. Could you give some insights into your experiences in these areas and how they were the same or different than the Beatles?
GM: We both played at the Cavern Club but in the lunchtime session at the Cavern was originally a Jazz club. Paul McCartney and I went down to the Cavern to see if we could play there. Once the owner realized how busy it was at lunchtimes with people queuing down the road to get in, then he decided to forget about the Jazz and we then got to play in the evenings. Also, we took turns most of the time playing Hamburg at two different clubs and the Cavern. But quite a few times we would both be in Hamburg at the same time. That’s when John and I would hang around together. We were also signed and managed by Brian Epstein. Brian came down to the Cavern to see what the Beatles and the Pacemakers were about. Paul and I used to go to get Rock ‘n’ Roll records from America from Brian’s shop. He asked us why we wanted them and we told him we played in groups at the Cavern. He came to the Cavern and saw how the audience were reacting and asked the Beatles if he could manage them. He then approached me saying he could get the Beatles work and a recording contract so could he manage us too. Of course I said yes. We were also produced by George Martin and recorded at Abbey Road (then EMI studios). George was a talented man but he had mainly worked with orchestras. That was great in the long term though because of his use of stings on our recordings. He made sure he got the best out of both groups no matter how long it took.
LIP: What was happening in Liverpool when the Beatles finally broke in America?
How did Liverpool musical artists and fans feel about the Beatles breaking through?
GM: Of course everyone was excited and happy for them, because it gave hope to all the other bands working around Liverpool. Up to 500 bands were in Liverpool at the time both known but a lot more unknown hoping for their big break.
LIP: Talk about your early hits, starting with “How Do You Do It,” which the
Beatles turned down.
GM: “How Do You Do It” was the first of my three consecutive number One hits, It was written by Mitch Murray but it was offered to another singer called Adam Faith before being offered to the Beatles. John turned it down saying they wanted to sing their own songs. He said to Brian and George Martin “Give it to Gerry he’ll do it.” The rest was history as they say.
LIP: Your group turned down recording “Hello Little Girl,” which was written by the Beatles. Why did you turn it down and what did you think of the Fourmost version?
GM: I turned down “Hello Little Girl” which John wrote because I wanted to do more of a ballad type song. I wasn’t sure if that would have been the right song for us, but it gave the Fourmost a chance so good came out of it.
LIP: How did the group come to record “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and what was the recording process like?
GM: “Ferry Cross the Mersey” came about because it was the title track of the film we made. I wrote all the songs for the film but the title song was the hardest one to come up with because it had to be Ferry “Cross” and not Ferry “Across,” which would have been easier to write. It took me months to come up with it but when I did I wrote it in about 15minutes and when I went down to record it in the studio I did it in one take.
LIP: Talk about the writing and recording of “Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying.”
GM: I wrote the song while I was in Germany. I’d split up with my girlfriend Pauline (who is now my wife) so I wondered how I could get her back, so I wrote the song and sent it to her on a tape. She listened to it and of course wanted me back (laughs).
Kiss Naked or Decked Out
Published: Tuesday, September 09, 2014
The lips take center stage this season, and color choices are not so personal. Everyone is going with the same two tones; nude and crimson. You have only one thing to consider – blend in with a nude, or feature the lips in all their puckering glory.
So what comes first - the fashion or the beauty? The answer is fashion, of course. Usually makeup and hair trends generate when designers request certain looks from makeup stylists to complement the collections. If you had a moment to take in this season’s style lineup for your favorite designer you may know the focus is structure and flair in any choice of fashion fabric. Ruffles, vinyl, busy geometric prints, and radiant materials are the makeup no matter if it’s black and white or floral prints. Yes, you will see floral this season with a more seasonal color palette. With that in mind, the designers request and approve face charts that will truly highlight their work.
Designs are chic, so a more sophisticated look works. Think images of beauties with clean faces, the classic movie star adorning the perfectly lined naked or scarlet lip. Two glamour girls who come to mind are Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansen. Everyone can wear three lip shades no matter the skin tone, and those are red, nude, and a violet. Believe it or not, the most adaptable and non-discriminatory color is the lighter shade of purple. Still, I do not see women running to buy this shade. I understand it is a blind leap for many, but one I highly recommend. If you feel this look is for you follow some tips and tricks.
How to pull off the beauty trends for fall:
• No Fuss Eyes: Keep it natural with light and neutral shades. Get the definition from the mascara and liner.
• Gentle Cheeks: Forego the blush, and bronze up the cheeks for a contoured yet still soft skin-like look.
• Lips: Choose a nude that mimics barely there or the opposite; a color that creates a high contrast to your own skin tone. Red and red-browns work best. Purples will look great but requires attitude so they are not for everyone.
• Slick Hair: High pony tails, tight braids, and parts are hot. Again, a clean but sexy look works best when the outfit grabs all the attention, think the complete opposite of pageant or prom hair.
• Who: This look works best on women who look 40 or under. I say look younger because no one looks their true age anymore, 10 to 20 years younger. Someone please share with me this hidden location of this fountain of youth and beauty.
I consulted hair stylist Thomas Murray of Borte Salon in East Northport on how to achieve hair trends that involve pulled back tight pony tails and braids to go with the makeup style.
“For a high pony tail, follow cheekbones up to the crown and secure. It’s that simple. The sock bun is another great style to wear this season. Think Robert Palmer and his music video,“Addicted to Love.”
Hot this season:
$32, NARS Audacious Lipstick Collection is here! Thirty new creamy matte full cover shades that last and feel great. Check them out at www.narscosmetics.com
Makeup lines have not held back this season, and in my opinion, given us some of their best products. Finding the right colors for you will not be a challenge. Have fun with these looks, and try them on for size always keeping in mind your own comfort levels.
Recipe: Glazed OREO Bars
Simple, delicious and with just few ingredients
I was contemplating posting something healthy to kick off the school year, but just had to share this one with you first! (We have the whole school year to go that way!) These bars are by far (am I rhyming) one of my favorite treats ever. Why? Because they are simple, delicious and with just few ingredients. Plus they are always…and I mean ALWAYS a hit! Let me know what ya think
22 Oreo Cookies crumbled
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
half stick of butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon milk (more if needed)
dash of vanilla
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) Melt butter in a baking pan and toss oreo crumbs to coat with the butter. (This will be your crust)
3.) Toss on both cups of chips and spread around. Drizzle on sweetened condensed milk all over the top of the chips.
4.) Bake for about 30 minutes or until the middle is set.
5.) In a small mixing bowl combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over bars and serve.
Nic’s Tip - I like to place the entire pan in the refridgerator for about an hour before serving and then cut into squares before serving. The bars are more held together.
Summer Finales to Fall Premieres
There can be more than one who lives “Forever”
Over the next couple of weeks there will be some summer series finales to lead us straight into the fall premieres. While I will definitely be noting my favorite finales as well as those shows’ potential returns, it’s time to start looking forward. There will be a plethora of brand new shows vying for our attention and screen time, all hoping to garner enough of an audience to make it until the end of the season and beyond. Networks have long known that word-of-mouth can make or break a show before it even premieres and the importance of the Internet in that process has become more recognized.
A popular trend right now is debut a pilot online before the air date to get early attention.
ABC is banking a lot on its new crime drama “Forever.” Recently, the alphabet network put the full first episode online for streaming and on Video On Demand. The series stars Ioan Gruffudd as Doctor Henry Morgan, New York City’s star medical examiner who has a secret. Henry doesn’t just study the dead to solve criminal cases, he does it to solve the mystery that has eluded him for 200 years—the answer to his own inexplicable immortality. Henry’s best friend, Abe (Judd Hirsch) is the only person who knows his secret, a secret he must keep hidden from his new partner, Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza).
“Forever” is created by Matthew Miller, one-time Executive Producer of both “Chuck” and “Human Target” so it comes with a solid pedigree. More than that, it is a very well-done pilot. The story is tightly written with just the right amount of wit and drama with all the information we need to know packed into a superbly acted first episode. We get flashback highlights of Henry’s past wherein we see when he learned he was immortal as well as a glimpse at the love of his life from several decades past, Abigail (Mackenzie Mauzy). Jo has also lost someone, her husband, though far more recently. Thankfully, the professional team-up of Henry and Jo seems to be remaining friends-only and not forced into a romantic one, at least so far.
Gruffudd and Garza are just plain terrific as the stars of the show and carry their characters with a natural believability. There will be an obvious comparison to the main couple on “Castle,” but it remains to be seen how far the “Forever” writers take us down that road. The icing on the cake, of course, is the ever-amazing Judd Hirsch as Abe. Hirsch is such a huge talent who has recently been bouncing around from one guest star role to another for the past few years, so it is wonderful to see him in a regular role. There is a neat little revelation about his character in the closing minutes that will give you goosebumps. Check out the pilot online right away and then prepare to tune in Tuesdays at 10:00 PM to ABC starting September 22nd.
Taking a quick look at fashion, Laura Vandervoort was recently caught out in Los Angeles wearing some high-end bling. The “Bitten” star wore Melissa Lovy jewelry on the red carpet at a toast to the 2014 Film Slate hosted by Entertainment One (eOne) during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Vandervoort accessorized with Melissa Lovy’s Grace Bracelet in Gold, which features a front open bar cuff with pave stone details and can be worn alone or stacked for an ultra-glam appearance. The look is subtle, but glamorous.
'Wake up every morning and look forward to going to work'
Published: Monday, September 08, 2014
Name: Katherine Heaviside
Company Name: Epoch 5 Public Relations & Marketing
Long Island Pulse: What was the key step that really got your career underway? Was there a watershed moment that you remember as being particularly important to starting your career?
Katherine Heaviside: When I discovered that there was a job that actually paid me to write and learn new things every day, that was the moment I fell in love with public relations.
Long Island Pulse: What do you credit as the secret to your success?
Katherine Heaviside: Working with people who are better than I am in particular areas and letting them shine.
Long Island Pulse: How do you define success?
Katherine Heaviside: Success is waking up every morning and looking forward to going to work. It is never about money – it is always about enjoying what I do every day.
Long Island Pulse: Was there a particular moment in which you realized that you are exactly where you ought to be professionally or doing exactly what you were meant to do?
Katherine Heaviside: There is always the next hill to climb, so I never feel that I’m exactly where I should be.
Long Island Pulse: How do you attract and keep good employees?
Katherine Heaviside: Respect what they know and what they do. The most valuable people are those who are better than me in some area and are unafraid to criticize me when they feel I am wrong.
Long Island Pulse: What is the best way to get new business?
Katherine Heaviside: The best way to get new business is to do great work on your current business and new business will come through the door. Of course, we aggressively use public relations to tell the world of our successes and that brings in new business.
Long Island Pulse: What is the most important thing you do or tactic you use in making a sale?
Katherine Heaviside: Listen. Listen. Listen. There is nothing more effective than proposing a strategy to a client that answers their needs. The only way you can do that is by listening very carefully to what they are saying and not saying.
Long Island Pulse: How do you respond to adversity?
Katherine Heaviside: It isn’t always easy, but I try to take the attitude that adversity is a learning experience. It’s important to carefully analyze what went wrong, my role in the issue and how I could change how I handle a similar problem in the future. It’s very important to face things directly.
Long Island Pulse: How do you make yourself stand out?
Katherine Heaviside: My clients are the ones who we try to make “stand out.” When they are successful, I am successful. That said, it’s been pointed out to me that I usually wear red in large gatherings.
Long Island Pulse: What makes you different from your peers?
Katherine Heaviside: That’s hard to say. Looking at my peers I’m extremely proud of the level of talent found on Long Island. We’ve each helped raise the bar for professionalism in public relations.
Long Island Pulse: What was the most important thing you learned from other bosses you’ve had?
Katherine Heaviside: Treat the people you work with as you would like to be treated. My first boss in PR didn’t and I vowed to never be like him.
Long Island Pulse: What attracts you to the people you include in your social circle?
Katherine Heaviside: Intelligence, sense of humor, empathy and kindness.
Long Island Pulse: What qualities do you most respond to in others?
Katherine Heaviside: Passionate interests, energy, intelligence
Long Island Pulse: What qualities do you most negatively respond to in other people?
Katherine Heaviside: Arrogance, lack of a moral compass, laziness
Long Island Pulse: What makes you want to count someone as a close associate or a trusted ally?
Katherine Heaviside: I need to know that they share my appreciation for talent, results and professionalism.
Long Island Pulse: What is the moment when you knew that you made it?
Katherine Heaviside: Has anyone “made it?” Isn’t there always something exciting and new to pursue or achieve?
Long Island Pulse: What is something you do not do enough of?
Katherine Heaviside: Likely, it is just doing nothing. New information and technology is coming at us at warp speed. It’s all exciting and I want to learn as much as possible.
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