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New York Travel Festival
Bohemian National Hall, April 26-27, 2014
Published: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Unlike the other generic trade show-like travel conferences, the more intimate New York Travel Festival goes beyond brochures and vendor booths and brings you face-to-face with the industry’s movers and shakers. The NY “TravFest” hosts panels, interactive discussions, and hands-on workshops dealing with hot-button travel topics and trends that will inspire and enhance your travel planning. This show is about making direct access to travel industry experts easy.
Held in Manhattan’s charming Bohemian National Hall, the festival for tech-savvy, immersive travelers starts at 9am on Saturday, April 26. It continues on Sunday, April 27 at Hostelling International - New York.
Standard consumer tickets cost $45 in advance or $60 at the door. This ticket grants full-weekend (Saturday and Sunday) access to: * Talks and panels from top names in the travel industry, including presentations by writers, editors and photographers from AFAR, the Major Media Partner of NY TravFest 2014.
* Fantrotter.com founder Mike Coletta will be hosting Travel 2.0 @ #NYTF, a full-day session which will explore current travel innovation trends, and offer opportunities to discover new and up-and-coming tech travel companies.
* Festival-only discounts from select sponsors.
* In-venue giveaways, including gift certificates of up to $300 from ClothingArts.com, who make the awesome pickpocket-proof travel pants.
* Mezcal and food pairings at the Mexico bar.
Sunday, April 27 is designed around inspiration for people new to travel. Lee Abbamonte–the youngest American to visit every country in the world–is the Sunday afternoon keynote. Later, G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip is the headline speaker for the Matador Network Speaker Series in a session entitled Transformation in Travel. Poon Tip will discuss lessons from his experiences as an entrepreneur and sustainable-travel advocate, as well as his new book, Looptail.
Tickets for Sunday, April 27, are available for $12 in advance $15 at the door. All ticket holders receive discounts on NYC tours offered before, during and after the festival by a selection of New York City–based tour companies in partnership with the NY TravFest.
* More details on http://nytravfest.com.
*For NY TravFest tickets, visit http://bitly.com/NYTF2014.
* For a complete schedule, see http://nytravfest.com/2014-full-schedule/.
* For news and updates about the NY TravFest, go to http://nytravfest.com/2014.
or @NYtravfest (Twitter)
“Postcards from Cookie” by Caroline Clarke
Published: Monday, April 21, 2014
Among the usual fliers, bills, and donation requests in the mail last week, there was something you haven’t seen in ages: someone sent you a greeting card.
It wasn’t marking any special occasion. No, it was sent as a pick-me-up from a friend, a nice surprise at a time when mail usually has an “e” in front of it. But, as you’ll see in the new memoir “Postcards from Cookie” by Caroline Clarke, some snail mail can make your heart zoom.
She was only looking for medical records.
As an adoptee, Caroline Clarke knew she had the right to learn at least that about her birth mother, but health data was only part of the unhidden information in the sealed records. There were lots of clues in what Clarke was told on that chilly afternoon; enough to help her figure out who her biological mother might be. The shocker was that Clarke had known her birth mother’s family for years.
From the time she was almost 8-years-old and learned that she was adopted, Clarke told everyone that she wasn’t interested in finding her birth mother. Secretly, though, she dreamed of making the woman proud and fantasized about accidental, happily-ever-after meetings. She loved the parents who raised her – adored them, in fact – but “all adoptees are curious about their beginnings,” and Clarke was no exception.
Her Daddy was shaken by the news. Her Mommy said to contact the woman. Clarke’s husband was excited for her, but she sat on the information until she couldn’t stand it any longer.
So she mustered up the courage and called Carole “Cookie” Lane.
Cookie was the eldest (adopted) daughter of Nat “King” Cole and, while away at college, had become pregnant. It was 1964 and that sort of thing was scandalous – especially since the father was a white Jewish boy. Maria, Cookie’s adoptive mother, sent her away to a home for pregnant girls. Cookie was 20-years-old.
As Cookie and Clarke excitedly began to erase the years they’d missed, and as they shared “synchronicities” through phone calls and huge boxes of mail, they also got “on each other’s nerves.”
Clarke craved Cookie, but they obviously irritated one another – enough to make Clarke wonder whether their experience was “going to have that fairy-tale ending after all.”
Though adoption-reunion stories are becoming commonplace due to social media, author Caroline Clarke’s is unusual in that there were some amazing coincidences that led her to Cookie, before and after. Obviously, Clarke is awe-stricken about those and yes, I was pretty impressed, too.
And yet, “Postcards from Cookie” has a bit of a Peeping-Tom element: this is a very personal story of adoption and love. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable watching two vastly different personalities dance around one another, trying to get along.
So, ultimately, do they?
I’m not telling. You’re going to want to read this book. No, seriously - you’re going to want to read this book because “Postcards from Cookie” will send you away satisfied.
Stylish Sportster Delivers Fun, Functionality
2014 Lexus IS 350 2 door convertible
Published: Friday, April 18, 2014
It wasn’t so long ago that owning a convertible meant putting up with a variety of inconveniences including clumsy, complicated tops, the wind making a racket in the cockpit through gaps that developed in untight seals and having to take the vehicle off the road in winter lest the cloth roof warp and crack, which it usually did anyway.
Lexus helped bring a revolution with their SC 430 hard top convertible in 2002, enabling enthusiasts to drive all-year round, even in snow. Other manufacturers followed suit and now hardtops are here to stay. Their design has only improved through the years.
Though the IS 350 seems to have been named by “Seinfeld” star George Costanza, who famously suggested calling a baby “Seven,” this model is one of the most perfect specimens of sport convertibles on the market today, including Benz, Audi, Infiniti, and the rest in its class. There was no task asked of it that it didn’t perform, no tight corner where wheels didn’t firmly hold the road (thanks to a new multi-link design) its cockpit is tight and efficient and visibility with the top up was reasonable, unlike some convertibles.
It’s handsome as hell and my red tester got plenty of looks in town - not from just dentists and accountants, either, as the cliché about Lexus buyers goes. Its Mark Levinson premium audio system with 12 speakers is one of the richest I’ve ever heard, and it’s part of a $3,520 navigation package including backup camera, destination assist and more. Other options include headlamp washers ($100) and an F-Sport package for $2,550 providing an upgraded suspension, sport pedals, aluminum scuff plates, sharp-looking 18-inch F-Sport dark graphite alloy wheels, sport steering wheel and shift knob and more.
I was a little surprised to read that the IS 350 has 306 horses under the hood, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. That size engine in a small car usually produces slightly more angry bursts of speed with accompanying growl during startup and passing. Not that the car was sluggish – it just wasn’t the monster I was expecting. Also, keep a firm foot on the brake if you’re in stop-and-go traffic – more than twice, when I thought I had the car stopped, it was actually inching forward and required a heavy foot.
Small beefs aside, Lexus continues to do hard top convertibles right and the IS 350 is a hot car for spring and summer.
More Man Less Wolf – How to Battle Face & Body Fur
Published: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sometimes we men can feel more like a wolf and less like a human. If left unattended for even just a few days, facial and body hair can act as a flashback to visions of our caveman descendants when hair and loin cloths were the number one accessory. It can seem overwhelming because hair is everywhere – our face, back, limbs, chests and even our feet. Some men make the decision to groom and maintain while others let it grow wild. I personally think that there is no need to shave it all off and go bare, however I do think that a controlled, neat, and selective hair removal regimen will keep you looking fresh, masculine and attractive. Are you a man who knows nothing about this topic? No problem, leave it to the experts.
Brows – The Thread Method
According to Simran Katyal Skincare at Andrew Steven Salon in Lindenhurst NY, hair removal for men can be a bigger challenge in general because men’s skin is thicker and the hair follicles have deeper roots. For a gent looking to start slow and give hair removal a try, I recommend brow threading. Clean brows make for a better face for all. Here is some insight of what the experience will be like:
There is a slight discomfort, more during the first time, but results last longer than waxing so visits are less frequent and save you money.
A thread is used to remove one hair at a time for a clean and groomed shape.
It takes about five minutes.
A shape that is more linear with a slight peak and thicker works great so be sure to communicate your preference.
After threading, a true pro will break out a mini brush and scissors for a brow trim. This helps to tame the wizard brow hairs that grow like wild weeds - we’ve all had them.
Your skin will be a little red, but that will subside in about 30 minutes.
Brow threading can cost between $12 and $20.
Face – The Hot Shave
Getting a good shave should be like getting a good haircut, but on your face. I am well aware of concerns from men who are hesitant to get a shave because they fear being cut up and irritated - and that can happen. As someone who has had a full beard for over 13 years, I can attest to all rituals, products, and barber shop experiences. Just like a hair stylist, it takes time to find the right barber to give you that optimal shave and it also will take them a visit or two to learn your sensitivities and preferences. My barber Nick of Rubens Barber Shop in Lake Ronkonkoma NY, always has his work cut out when I walk through that door. After going to him for quite a while now, he knows exactly what to do to minimize sensitivity and my preferences when it comes to shape. Here is how you can have a successful shave.
Before choosing a barber shop, check out the reviews. If there are none, be wary.
It is very helpful when you know your skin and you know the look you like. For example, if you are prone to razor burn on the neck area and you know this from personal shaving experiences, the barber will adjust his technique to achieve a smooth and close finish.
Just because you are getting a hot shave doesn’t mean you are removing your beard. Shaping is popular and can be just as beneficial as getting the perfect haircut. It can remove bulkiness, create well-defined edge, and even style your beard to complement your facial features.
The best part is the hot towel treatment. Close your eyes and relax while they treat your skin to a manly session of skin treatment and steam.
After the shave, ask the barber to show you the products they live by and take some home to use for personal shaving.
It’s true that men prefer minimal maintenance and can be wary about vanity, but when it comes to grooming, you could be a changed man after you have had a favorable experience. Throughout our busy week I consider grooming as personal time to relax and look great without much effort. Give it a try and I am sure you will really like what you see.
21 Up, 21 Down for Carle Place Pitcher
Mike Delio got more press after one varsity pitching performance then just about any other pitcher in Long Island history, save for the likes of Billy Koch, Frank Viola and others who spent decades in the big leagues.
Delio threw a perfect game in his varsity debut for Carle Place High School and struck out all 21 batters he faced. Impressive is an understatement.
If you’re a sports fan you probably already heard about the story. Delio was featured in just about every publication, website, radio show and television program of significance the week of his feat, including Sports Center’s top 10 list.
For an encore, he threw a one-hitter during his second outing of the season. Delio is only a junior, so Carle Place has a gem on its hands for another two seasons.
“I’ve had dreams of throwing no-hitters and perfect games, but nothing like this,” Delio told Newsday. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Isles Alums Set to Star in Playoffs
The Islanders didn’t qualify for the NHL playoffs yet again this season. But that doesn’t mean you have to just root against the Rangers who did. There are a handful of former Islanders’ players who are key contributors on at least 13 of the 16 teams in the playoffs.
Only the Ducks, Rangers and Kings don’t have any former Isles on their respective rosters.
The players range from big names of the Isles’ past like Bruins captain Zdeno Chara and veteran Todd Bertuzzi, who has been with Detroit in recent years, to more recent stars like former team captain Mark Streit (Philly) and recent trades Thomas Vanek (Montreal), Matt Moulson (Minnesota), Andrew MacDonald (Philly) and Peter Regin (Chicago).
Former Islanders with other teams in the NHL Playoffs
Minnesota Wild: Matt Moulson and Nino Niederreiter
Colorado Avalanche: PA Parenteau
Chicago Blackhawks: Peter Regin
St. Louis Blues: Keith Aucoin
*Dallas Stars: Tim Thomas
San Jose Sharks: Raffi Torres
Detroit Redwings: Todd Bertuzzi
Boston Bruins: Zdeno Chara
Montreal Canadiens: Thomas Vanek
Tampa Bay Lightening: Eric Brewer
Columbus Blue Jackets: Black Comeau and James Wisniewski
Pittsburgh Penguins: Taylor Pyatt
Philadelphia Flyers: Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald
*Tim Thomas never actually played for the Islanders, but his rights were acquired last season in a trade with Boston.
“A Wanted Woman” by Eric Jerome Dickey
Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
If there’s one thing you’ve learned in life, it’s that the Boy Scouts were right: Always Be Prepared.
Look ahead and get ready for what’s next. Don’t leave your guard down. Cover all bases and expect the unexpected. Still, as you’ll see in the new novel “A Wanted Woman” by Eric Jerome Dickey, there are some things you simply can’t foresee.
She was known as MX-401.
It wasn’t always that way; when she was born, she was named Goldilocks to spite her father, who refused to think a Bajan man and a black woman could have a white child with yellow hair. And yet, it was he who laid claim to her when her mother died, and it was he who taught her to fight with hands, feet, and brain. It was he, known as Old Man Reaper, who reluctantly allowed her into The Barbarians, an organization feared around the world.
Few men had earned the M or the X before their agent numbers, but MX-401 had. She was a “woman with a thousand faces,” she was the best of her father but with her own style, much to the chagrin of her superiors. To them, she was a loose cannon but they sent her to Trinidad to do a job nonetheless.
It was supposed to be an easy kill. Intel placed the target – a high-ranking politician – at a party held by the Laventille Killers, a gang of ruthless drug lords who practically ran the island. MX-401 had her orders – to eliminate the target at all costs - but things went horribly awry.
The target wasn’t where he was supposed to be and she had to kill him in broad daylight, along with three others, including two LK guntas. She knew it wasn’t sanctioned. It wasn’t according to plan, which would anger her superiors, but she didn’t know just how angry they were until they hid her in Barbados - and left her there.
Barbados was purgatory. It was an island-prison, and the Barbarians refused to send help. What’s worse: Barbados was a short Jet-Ski ride from Trinidad, and the LK would never let things slide…
Whooo-eee. “A Wanted Woman” is one of those books that gets so under your skin that you’re compelled to turn to the last sentence early, just to reassure yourself that the main character lives. (And don’t bother. You can’t tell).
It’s Die-Hard-meets-Jackie-Brown-meets-Chuck-Palahniuk, but with rocket launchers. It’s fast-paced, gruesome, and violent with wry veins of surprising humor and one of the smartest secret agents you’ll ever meet. Author Eric Jerome Dickey excels at making his thriller heroines over-the-top resourceful and steel-tough, and MX-401 is no exception. This book had me at the introduction, and it’s a miracle that I didn’t rip its pages because I was turning them so fast.
You should’ve already figured out that this isn’t Beaver-Cleaver territory; “A Wanted Woman” is filled with bloodshed and profanity, but there’s nothing iller than a thriller like this. If an action-packed book is what you need, grab it – and be prepared.
The Return of Greenport Harbor’s Hopnami
I sampled countless cask-conditioned beers at Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival and, despite an incessant effort from Ale-Qaeda, I was not poisoned by poison.
During my samplage, I sampled several samples of Hopnami, an IPA from Greenport Harbor Brewing Company. This sunshine-colored ale was insanely aromatic and each fluffy, juicy, fruity swallow didn’t piledrive my palate with bitterness. It was actually my favorite cask at Blue Point. I have same-day evidence affirming my statement, too, for any nonbelievers:
Hopnami debuted in 2010. It was overwhelmingly successful for John Liegey and Rich Vandenburgh’s 15-barrel brewery, securing endorsements with Nike, Apple, and Caldor. The beer disappeared without explanation, however, in 2011.
According to brewmaster DJ Swanson, Hopnami secretly relocated to Japan to film Hopnami vs. Godzilla, a remake of the 1964 classic, Mothra vs. Godzilla. This iPhone 3G-recorded kaiju was critically skullbashed, though, and only received a direct-to-VHS release in Indonesia. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia, then instituted a countrywide ban of Hopnami vs. Godzilla in 2013, citing “incomprehensible suckiness.” Hopnami, dejected and deflated, returned to the tranquility of Greenport in March—shortly before Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival.
Hopnami vs. Godzilla!
Okay. The film isn’t real. Hopnami did disappear in 2011, but its hiatus was unintentional.
“We got caught up with Project Hoppiness and then Other Side IPA was really successful for us,” explains Swanson. “We discussed it a lot over the last few years, but it was finally the right time.”
The revival will occur at Hoptron Brewtique on April 17, as Hopnami pours alongside Black Duck Porter, Other Side, and Spring Turning Rye Saison. This isn’t Grandpa Grandmaster Flash’s version, though. Swanson has developed a new recipe with four different hop varieties: Amarillo, Citra, Cascade, and Experimental Hops #05256.
“The IPA world has changed over the last few years, and everyone seems to use the same mix of hop varieties in their beers,” says Swanson. “I wanted to differentiate this from everything else—especially from Other Side.”
While Swanson digs Other Side’s prominent maltiness, characteristic of his recipes, Hopnami now has “less malt flavor and a lot more hop aroma from whirlpool additions and dry-hopping.” The result is an IPA with “the danky style that’s really popular right now. It’s big with sweet fruit juice aromas—more tangerine, less mainstream grapefruit. But not overly bitter. Real easy to drink.”
Greenport Harbor Brewing Company relaunches Hopnami at Hoptron Brewtique on April 17.
Published: Friday, April 11, 2014
PRETZLE FUDGE….do I even need to go any further? Crunchy, sweet, salty and rich all one little bite. Now if you think that is the best party….try again. Only 3-ingredients…3-INGREDIENTS!! You heard right. (Read right) Kids love it, adults adore it & get ready for your new favorite NIBBLE!!!
3 cups milk chocolate chips
24 mini pretzels OR pretzel chips
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1.) Line an 8X8 baking pan with wax paper or parchment paper and spray. Fold an extra crease against one wall to provide easy gripping when you want to lift the fudge out of the pan.
2.) Crush 1/2 of the pretzels in a re-sealable bag
3.) Combine chocolate chips and condensed milk in a sauce pan or double boiler over low heat and stir until creamy, glossy & smooth.
4.) Spoon into bowl and mix in crushed the crushed pretzels only.
5.) Quickly spread into prepared pan before it hardens
6.) Place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Halfway place remaining pretzels in top and press down into fudge. Place in refrigerator until set.
“Vintage” by Susan Gloss
The sweater is like an old friend.
Once upon a time, it was your mother’s favorite garment. Back then, it was sophisticated and elegant, with beads and bangles that must’ve made her feel terribly chic.
Today, it’s a little beat-up. It’s missing beads, is worn on one elbow, and it’s as far from haute couture as you can get, but you really don’t care. Wearing it makes you feel warm, inside and out and, as you’ll see in “Vintage” by Susan Gloss, new friends can give you that same feeling.
Ever since Violet Turner got divorced, left her small Northern Wisconsin hometown, and moved to Madison, life was almost exactly what she’d envisioned.
Hourglass Vintage, the clothing boutique Violet owned, fulfilled her dream of a career in fashion, which was something she wanted practically her whole life. She loved her business and her customers - but as for the dream of raising a family, well, at thirty-eight and divorced, Violet figured that dream was dead.
April Morgan would never wear the 1950s-era wedding dress she got from Hourglass Vintage. For one thing, at five months’ pregnant, she’d never fit into it.
It wasn’t supposed to be that way. She and Charlie were in love, but his parents didn’t approve of an eighteen-year-old whose mother had been mentally ill. They wanted their only son to marry a society girl, and they’d withheld funds for Charlie’s medical school until he came to his senses. That kind of stress wasn’t good when you were just starting out, and an unplanned baby didn’t help. Charlie couldn’t take the pressure, and now April was alone.
Amithi Singh’s daughter didn’t want her mother’s colorful saris – Jayana didn’t want anything to do with tradition – so Amithi brought the clothes to Hourglass Vintage. She wasn’t sure why she’d kept the saris in the first place but it was time to get rid of them, just like she’d get rid of her cheating husband.
Forty years ago, when her arranged marriage was new, Amithi put aside her hopes and followed her husband to America. So much had happened since then. Could she again change her life as easily as she changed her wardrobe?
You know that “ahhhhhh” feeling you get when you come home and slip into your favorite around-the-house clothes? Yep, that’s the kind of comfort you get when you slip into “Vintage.”
Starting each chapter with a clothing description to set the tone, author Susan Gloss tells a story of friendship, dream-keeping, and great outfits. It’s a cute tale with likeable-enough characters and it’s light on the drama – but here’s where I think the appeal of this novel lies: it’s as familiar as an old sweater, in a good way. Reading it is like wrapping yourself in coziness – and isn’t that why you love novels like this?
I think if you’re tired of heavy drama, screaming plots, and unbelievable characters, this book is the perfect antidote. Grab your sweater, grab a chair and grab “Vintage.” You might find that it’s just your style.
Re-experience Rubberneck with The Toadies at Irving Plaza
Published: Monday, April 07, 2014
I love to see the sun
In spite of all it’s done
I pray for shade and rain
I pray to live again
I come from the water
The Toadies are back in the studio working on a retrospective of their material and some new songs set for release in the fall. In the meantime, you can celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rubberneck with the remastered edition out this month, featuring five previously unreleased tracks. The post-grunge rockers were an alt-rock radio staple in the 90’s with primal songs like “Possum Kingdom,” I Come From the Water,” and “Mister Love.” In addition to launching their own tasty beer, Rubberneck Red, and hosting their 7th annual Dia De Los Toadies music festival in their hometown of Fort Worth, TX in September, guitarist Clark Vogeler released the documentary, Dark Secrets: The Stories of Rubberneck, which answers a lot of questions about frontman Vaden Todd Lewis’ mysterious lyrics.
Fresh off the heels of SXSW, where The Toadies—including drummer Mark Reznicek and bassist Doni Blair—ended the festival with a bang, the band will be performing Rubberneck in its entirety on a nationwide tour with a stop at NYC’s Irving Plaza on Thursday, April 24th. Vaden Todd Lewis talks about Rubberneck’s five bonus tracks, new Toadies music and performing live.
Pulse: What made you want to re-release Rubberneck with 5 new tracks for its 20th anniversary?
Vaden Todd Lewis: People still love that record, so it seemed obvious to do a re-issue with a current mastering. One of the bonus tracks, “Stop It,” is a cover of a Pylon song. Three were recorded during the original session, but never saw the light of day for one reason or another. “Rockfish” was a working title and I never managed to fill in the blanks for lyrics. Later on, we cannibalized it for a song called “Waterfall.” The other two tracks are very early live recordings. We felt these extra songs gave a pretty good snapshot of that moment in time.
P: How did the crowd react to your SXSW show? What Rubberneck song did you most enjoy revisiting live?
VTL: It was a great reception at SXSW! Always love playing Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in Austin. I’d have to say “Mexican Hairless” is one of my current favorites to play from that record, mainly because it’s one that we rarely pulled out live over the years.
P: Are you working on new material? If so, will the sound of your next record be vintage Toadies or more modern?
VTL: We’re finalizing a session featuring material spanning our career, sort of a retrospective, where we disassemble and reinvent the songs using different instrumentation. Lots of acoustic guitar, Rhodes, mandolin… It’s a weird and cool record. I’m hoping to have one or two new songs to add to it before its release in September.
P: What do you like about playing in NYC?
VTL: Love the food and the atmosphere. I’m a big fan of the city, and always enjoy playing Irving Plaza.
P: Aside from all of Rubberneck, will you be playing any other tunes at Irving Plaza?
VTL: We’ve been running through Rubberneck in sequence, followed by a set of songs from our other releases. We may pull out “Stop It” and another cover if the mood strikes.
The 20th anniversary remastered edition of Rubberneck with 5 bonus tracks is available on disc and 180 gram vinyl.
See The Toadies perform the album in its entirety at Irving Plaza on 4/24 with Supersuckers and Battleme opening.
2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4x4
Base price: $43,000
I’m a tough customer when it comes to SUVs, and you should be, too. Practically every manufacturer and their brother boasts a big guy in their fleet, and all claim superiority.
Toyota’s 4Runner turned me into a pre-donut Homer Simpson on sight, though. Maybe it was the acres of black metal on my tester; I can’t remember the last time a manufacturer provided me with a black car, and I was totally down with the gangsta thing. Maybe it was because I had just returned from France, where things are small, and I was in the mood for a big experience, or because I’d been traveling for a total of 18 hours and I wanted to be in the driver’s seat for a change.
Whatever the reason, it was instant bromance between me and the 4Runner, cruising down an empty highway on a smooth-riding V6 with 270 horses, a full-time four-wheel drive system, a 5-speed automatic transmission with speed-sensing power steering, and 20-inch alloy wheels. The inside was equally impressive, with high-quality components, a solid-feeling steering wheel, and road responses that matched my acceleration, braking and turning desires with no questions asked. True, its V6 isn’t a monster, but that helps the vehicle achieve approximately 17 miles per gallon in city driving, 21 on the highway. That’s far from Prius territory, of course, but you’re not going to get third-row seating in a Prius, nor the 4Runner’s interior acreage. With seats folded down, you’ve got 90 cubic feet of cargo space.
The 4Runner shares its chassis with the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, meaning the ride wasn’t meant to be limo-smooth from the get-go. But Toyota’s made adjustments for this year and I had no problem with the ride even when smacking potholes. You’ve also got up-to-the-second computer technology inside as well as a reverse camera, though every vehicle in this segment has those accessories. Some sweet options include automatic running boards ($1500) and leather-trimmed 50/50 split fold-flat third row seating ($1365.)
The best SUVs walk a fine line between great looks while avoiding an overdose of McGaudy, and the 4Runner succeeds. For more information, click on Toyota4Runner.
Isles rank No. 2 on SI’s fan misery list
Published: Friday, April 04, 2014
It’s hard to believe the Islanders were in the playoffs and nearly knocked off the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs just a year ago. It’s like the 2012-2013 season was an anomaly.
The 2013-2014 season is more like it. Islanders’ fans are used to this. A majority of the fan base is too young to remember the glory years. The names and history of the team that won four straight Stanley Cups from 1979-1983 is pushed to some banners on the rafters at the ancient Nassau Coliseum.
Instead, most fans have bad memories; ones of poor trades, mismanagement, embarrassing owners and lots of losing.
For all its poor decisions and even worse performances, Sports Illustrated recently ranked the franchise as the second worst in hockey for fan misery. Only the Maple Leafs, who have as much history as any franchise in sports history, yet have not won a Stanley Cup since 1967, provides more misery for its fans, according to SI’s feature.
The Isles’ misery story read as you’d expect. They chalked up the franchise’s worst trades, news stories and failures to bad management. From conflicted owners to lackluster general managers, the Isles have had their share of weak and daunting tailspins.
The same week this story came out, happened to be when Charles Wang expressed interest again in selling the franchise. The future was already uncertain with the team headed to Brooklyn in 2015 and now there are even more questions.
Will the next owner actually spend money on talent and invest in the team? Will the next owner keep Garth Snow on as general manager? Is there a chance the team actually comes back to Nassau County for good?
Being anything more than miserable as an Islanders fan isn’t quite an option right now and probably not anytime soon in the near future. Such is life in Orange & Blue.
Lannan makes Mets debut on Opening Day
Once the Opening Day starter for the Washington Nationals, John Lannan now makes his living as the second lefty out of the bullpen for the New York Mets.
Lannan, who grew up in Long Beach, N.Y. and attended Chaminade High School, made his debut for the Mets on Monday against his former team.
After spending six seasons in Washington, Lannan spent last season in Philadelphia before signing with New York in the off-season. He’s made his way around the NL East.
On Monday, he let up a two-run homer, and one walk in less then one inning of work. It will take some time to adjust to his bullpen role.
“If there’s a need for a second lefty out the bullpen then you gotta check your ego at the door and just realize that’s what the team needs,” he told the The Star-Ledger last week.
Lannan hasn’t given up on the possibility of being a starter again one day. With the way the Mets bullpen performed in a loss on Monday, there should be ample opportunity to shine in different situations. Whether he starts in Flushing or not, he could be a big help to a weak point on the Mets roster.
“There’s a lot of relievers that were starters,” he said. “But time will tell. I really can’t think about that right now because you never know what’s going to happen.”
How One Guitar Will Save The World
An Interview with Luke Maguire Armstrong—The Nomad’s Nomad
Rarely does a written story make me laugh out loud, but “The Day I Did Not Meet Kenya’s Prime Minister” did just that. So, I emailed the author. A few months later, I met Luke Maguire Armstrong, a guy who, in the midst of hitchhiking from Chile to Alaska, got happily stuck in Guatemala for four years. Since then, we meet whenever he breezes through New York City.
I wrote about life on the road while traveling pretty much constantly for 20 years until mellowing into “home life,” which now means taking 10 disconnected trips a year—with each trip now having predetermined return dates. Those vagabond years defined me and make me a tough customer when it comes to enjoying a travel tale. I know a lot of travel writers, but only one who is truly, almost constantly still out there. As opposed to the long-weekend warriors attempting to take over travel writing via minute-by-minute blogging, Luke Maguire Armstrong lives on the road and patiently crafts tales that stand the test of time. The author of How We Are Human supports himself by writing, playing music, and spearheading ongoing humanitarian efforts in Guatemala, Uganda, Kenya, and New York. Recently, we sat down for a chat in Bushwick, Brooklyn, while he paused between a stint in Iceland, where he started the band “Loki and the Fashion Bandits” and a return to one of his first loves, Guatemala.
Q. At what point in your life did you know it was time to hit the road and not look back?
When it seemed my plan was falling apart. A year ago this month, I arrived from Nairobi to New York City after three months in Kenya covering the 2013 elections as a freelance journalist and working pro-bono to put two children orphaned by AIDs in school. I returned to NYC worse than broke. My trip to Kenya, that was supposed to earn me an income, left me $5,000 in credit card debt. I had fifty bucks cash in my pocket and a friend’s couch to sleep on for a week or so.
That marked my one-year anniversary of trying to make the mobile writer lifestyle work. I paced that small Brooklyn apartment and looked at my guitar. She looked back as if to say, “Don’t look at me, this is the life you made for yourself.” I swore silently and made a decision to cut off my lifeboats. I decided then that if I made $100 a month doing what I loved, then that was what I lived off. If I wanted to have a life more glamorous than a homeless person’s, I was going to have to work harder and smarter. I spent my last $50 on business cards, opened my laptop, started writing, and stopped looking back.
Q. Most people might have thrown the towel in well before that point, what caused you to stick it out so long?
I needed that gun to my head—that Yoda on my shoulder telling me, “Do or do not, there is no try.” When failure is not an option, your success is measured by degree. Also, “coming of age” in the expatriate scene of Antigua, Guatemala, made a nomadic life seem like a logical next step.
Q. What prior experiences led you to that small Brooklyn apartment?
While finishing my last semester of college as an exchange student in Chile in 2007, I read the book Into The Wild, took the wrong message from it, procured a $7,000 student loan, ditched my return ticket home, and started to hitchhike from Chile to Alaska. My family has a rich history making rash decisions abroad that affects the course of everyone’s lives—my parents met in the Marshal Islands as Peace Corps volunteers and decided to get married after a few weeks of dating. Near that time, my dad was thrown out of The Peace Corps for building a radio station instead of a tomato garden.
My plans on the road were to volunteer along the way and begin earning a living as a writer before my student loan ran out. I met an Irish travel writer at a campfire on a beach on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, and he told me, “Do what you want to do in life. There will be always someone who will pay you for it.” We’ve all heard some variation of this, but at the time I was 22 and it was my first time. It was an exciting notion. I listened to the lapping of waves and thought about my peers. It seemed like most of them put off doing what they really wanted to do to some future date. I never really bought into that model as viable for life and have always been happier for it.
Q. How did you end up making a four-year stopover in Guatemala?
Book-length story short, I thought my writing would support my humanitarian habit, but for four years my humanitarian work supported my writing habit.
Many thought taking out that $7,000 student loan to travel was a dumb plan, but in the end it led to a career that paid off that loan and most of my others. For four years, I worked in Antigua, Guatemala, as the program director for the charity Nuestros Ahijados. My 11th day volunteering at the project, the director quit and the executive director and founder somehow thought giving me, a 22-year-old, the position was a good idea. I administered 12 programs, fund-raised to meet the budgetary gaps that most NGOs suffered in 2008, and managed a staff of 50 employees and 500 annual volunteers. The project provided education and health resources for people to break out of poverty and had a program to rescue victims of human trafficking. It was a wonderful job where every day felt impactful, and I can’t imagine living life today without the many lessons I learned from that opportunity. In 2010, Christiane Amanpour came to Guatemala to interview me about a malnourished infant centered I had opened and ran for Nuestros Ahijados.
Q. Because you’ve worked with traveling women victimized by crimes in places like Central America, I imagine you would be the right guy explain the rules of the road to my daughter in a few years. What is your core advice to women traveling in distant lands?
Aside from warning them to stay away from my friend Andres, I would say women travelers by the unique nature of the dangers they face are far ballsier than their male counterparts traveling the same road. Be smart ladies, and trust your instincts. No, be smarter than smart. Be a femme fatale traveling Jedi warrior woman who is always one step ahead of anyone that would harm you. You don’t need to actively distrust strangers—most people are good. But never trust anyone you’ve just met 100-percent. People who want to hurt you or take things from you use your trust as their camouflage.
Do your research. What does the guidebook say about safety? What do expats know? What do other travelers say? What do the locals know? What does your embassy say? All of these sources should be looked into, because each provides an important piece to the puzzle of how safe a place is and what you should do to avoid the dangers. If the streets aren’t safe at night, get yourself a reliable cabby who doesn’t drink on the job. If that doesn’t fit into your budget, give your pops Bruce a pouty face and remind him how much he loves you, and I bet he’ll grab your taxi bill. He would have just spent it on beer anyway. Speaking of beer, don’t leave your drink unattended, and don’t accept a drink that you did not watch the bartender make.
Mother and calf in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve.
Q. I would imagine that playing music live puts you on a fast track into cool, wild, or bizarre situations. Does it?
I’m not sure if it’s my guitar or the crazy person playing it (see Luke perform here), but the short answer is yes. Playing the guitar is a great way to meet people and gain access to places. Most of the stories stemming from this fact are long. One short story that comes to mind is when my guitar led me to an underground gambling ring of chicken bus drivers in the lakeside village of San Pedro, Guatemala. My guitar and I were both drunk. The rest of my friends had gone to bed at a reasonable time. My late-night guitar playing by the lake led to a man named Juan approaching me and inviting me to this underground gambling ring he knew of on the outskirts of town.
It looked like a tough crowd and a rough game. I made a point of losing $20 to keep them from pulling out the guns I could see bulging from their belts and just taking what they wanted. It could have gone even more loco, because one of them asked me if I would be his “frog”—the guy on the bus that collects the money and shouts out the destinations. He was drunk and about to drive to Xela, Guatemala. It was 5am. He said he could get me back by noon. This was a very tempting offer. I did not have a phone with me to inform my friends at the hotel why I would have failed to materialize in the morning, so I declined. I took a few more shots of the fire water the bus driver insisted I try and called it a night just as the dawn ticked up on the horizon.
Q. What’s next for you? You say you’re committed to the path you’re on now, but what specifically is that path?
It’s a winding one, and there are always surprises on it. I plan to continue to write and continually take that craft to a new level. I am finishing a non-fiction book about my four years living in Guatemala and courting various publishers for my completed novel How One Guitar Will Save The World.
Humanitarian-wise, I am going to continue to fundraise and deploy that capital with charities that I have vetted as being sustainable and making tangible differences. My music has recently taken on a life of its own, and I have an LP coming out soon called “Luke Maguire Armstrong: Eaten By a Horse.” Oh, and we can’t forget women. I hope to run into some of them. Specifically, I hope to meet one as crazy as I am, who will let me buy a puppy to “nip at our heels.”
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Luke Maguire Armstrong is a frequent contributor to Perceptive Travel, an award-winning site with the best travel stories from wandering book authors. His current project, Travel Bloggers Without Borders, is an effort to raise $10,000 to take 55 children off the streets in Guatemala and place them in school.
Inside Ale-Qaeda: Trying to Drink Long Island’s Deadliest Terror-Brewing Organization
Published: Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I love cask-conditioned beer, which is unfiltered and naturally conditioned, or matured, in a cask. This process, an alternative to filtering and kegging following the primary stage of fermentation, prolongs the life of yeast and, subsequently, enables beer to develop uninhibited without the suppression of brewers, parents, or Putins. It creates full-fledged versions of self.
When I consume a cask-conditioned beer, each swallow is a flavorful burst of individuality. It’s a burst of America, Super Neaters!
Wait. I shall explain.
A cask-conditioned beer is created naturally, and natural is freedom. This freedom embodies the spirit of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the perseverance of General Motors, and the something of Something Else! Since cask-conditioned beer is natural, Super Neaters, cask-conditioned beer is undeniably American—as American as American Pie 2, the cure for polio, and unicorns!
Frank Filacchione and Mike Napolitano, however, hate cask-conditioned beer and, thus, hate America. They enjoy murdering any mythical creatures sprouting skull-spiraled horns, and advocate for the revival of polio.
Filacchione and Napolitano are caskorists in Ale-Qaeda, the largest terror-brewing organization on Long Island. Ale-Qaeda poisons cask-conditioned beers with poison, seeking to destroy palates and, ultimately, America.
Ale-Qaeda, from Patchoguestan, is a deadly organization poisoning cask-conditioned beers with poison.
Kidding! Filacchione and Napolitano are swell dudes and unaffiliated with any Qaedas. Both are actually members of Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME), a nonviolent organization for homebrewing. It was established in 2007.
LIBME has “more than 700 members and of those, around 100 are considered charter members,” says president Todd Long. “They consistently attend our monthly meetings and support the club at all the events and activities, including classes, tastings, and festivals.”
Filacchione and Napolitano, who combine for 26 years of homebrewing, are both charters. They are “the lead men in setting up and breaking down at events where we share our beers with people,” says Filacchione.
This “share our beers with people” is a constant showcase of LIBME’s originality, especially from Filacchione and Napolitano. They created Reaper Madness, a bourbon barrel-aged stout infused with Carolina Reaper peppers, for example, for the Long Island Nano Cask Ale Festival in January. It was balls-awesome. Their latest collaboration, Bacon Maple Praline Porter, is for Blue Point Brewing Company’s Cask Ales Festival on April 05.
After brewing a porter, which “tasted nice and chocolatey,” says Filacchione, the base was transferred into a cask, then primed with Mama’s Choice Maple Praline Flavored Syrup and Cascade Beer Candi Company Maple and Smoked Bacon Syrup. These syrups, which contain sugar, will continue fermentation in the cask.
“We’re expecting the beer to taste syrupy, like French Toast,” says Napolitano. “Like breakfast, basically.”
Blue Point’s Cask Ales Festival will feature cask-conditioned beers from 30+ breweries. LIBME is not a brewery, but will also pour cask-conditioned beers, including Filacchione and Napolitano’s Bacon Maple Praline Porter.
‘Cuz This Is America, Super Neaters.
Send Lawyers, Guns and Especially Money: the Snow and Ice Have Hit the Tower
To commemorate the music of Warren Zevon and to raise much needed funds for WUSB (90.1 FM) radio in Stony Brook, Paradiddle Records and The Sunday Street Acoustic Series are staging a benefit concert on April 5th, 2014, at the University Café on the Stony Brook campus. The show will be hosted by Charlie Backfish, who can be heard every Sunday morning from 9 AM until 11:30 AM on WUSB’s Sunday Street. The house band for the evening includes guitarist and fiddle player Russ Seeger of The Last Hombres, bass player Dave March (of Miles To Dayton), drummer Bill Herman, Bob “Hootch” Paolucci on harmonica, and a special guest keyboard player. Guest artists who will share their interpretations of Zevon’s songs include Kerry Kearney, Mick Hargreaves, Cindy Lopez, Claudia Jacobs, and Pete Mancini (of Butchers Blind). Paradiddle Records will be recording the evening for a subsequent release. Proceeds from the show will benefit WUSB-FM to help defray costs associated with the recent repair of its broadcast tower, which was severely damaged during the recent winter storms. Tickets are $15 in advance online and $20 at the door. Further Information is available at http://www.universitycafe.org.
“Scared Stiff: Everything You Need to Know about 50 Famous Phobias” by Sara Latta
You are one incredibly brave person.
Fearless, actually: that’s you. You take risks, climb high, jump far, and you laugh at safety equipment. You ain’t afraid of anything.
Except, well, that one little thing that makes you scream, causes your hands to sweat, gives you nightmares, makes you almost faint. Yeah, except that – and if you read “Scared Stiff” by Sara Latta, you might find a name for it.
So you freak when you speak in public. The thought of a snake makes you quake. It’s the rare person who’s not frightened by something because fear is “an important survival mechanism” that actually comes from your brain.
Most people can handle or hide phobias quite well, while others are debilitated by their fears. A fear isn’t a phobia, by the way, until it “interferes with your ability to function…”
Let’s say you’re afraid of heights, which is a common phobia. You can’t go past the first floor of a building without feeling shaky and you can’t bear to look out of high-rise windows. That’s acrophobia, and it’s an ancient fear that even babies suffer from. Scientists think it has to do with balance and sight.
Or let’s say you can’t bear to be in a room with a spider. Again, researchers believe it’s an evolutionary fear. They say that spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them - but who wants to test that theory? Not J.K. Rowling, Justin Timberlake, Johnny Depp… or me!
If you’re a nomophobic, you’re afraid of being out without your cell phone. Your mother might be happy if you had ataxophobia (the fear of messes) or mysophobia (the fear of germs). And if you have dentophobia, you join “up to 80 percent of adults in the United States” in your fear of dentists.
Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck are both afraid of flying. Christina Ricci says she’s afraid of houseplants. Johnny Depp is afraid of clowns and Kristen Wiig fears blood. Boxer Sonny Liston would rather fight than face a needle. Matt Damon is terribly afraid of snakes. And believe it or not, Barbra Streisand and Carly Simon have both suffered from fear of performing!
Huh. There’s nothing in this book about bibliophobia, or the fear of books. That’s just as well, though, because “Scared Stiff” will still leave you plenty to worry about.
Indeed, author Sara Latta includes in her book phobias that you’ve probably never heard of, and she’ll make you glad you don’t have them. Here, you get an overview of fifty phobias, a bit of info on how each might bloom, and gossip on famous folks who fear. And if that’s not enough, Latta gives you an in-depth section on what you can do to conquer the phobias that plague you.
This book is respectful and serious but lighthearted, too, and includes trivia, sidebars, and plenty of resources. It’s great for the curious and the terrified alike, but beware: give “Scared Stiff” to your 12-to-17-year-olds, and I’m afraid reading is all they’ll want to do.
The Last Hombres Ride Again
Published: Monday, March 24, 2014
The Last Hombres return to the concert stage on March 29th at the Boulton Center in Bay Shore. Their first album in more than ten years, Odd Fellows Rest, will be released in the coming months. The group features core members Michael Meehan, Russ Seeger and Paul Schmitz. Tom Ryan has replaced the late Levon Helm on drums and Chris James of the Hideaways plays keyboards. Their new album was recorded at One East Recording in Manhattan, with additional recording at Piety Studios in New Orleans. It was produced by Yohei Goto and mastered by the legendary Scott Hull at Masterdisk. The show is already sold out, but the group will be playing more shows in the coming months in the New York area. Butchers Blind will open. The group’s most recent album is Destination Blues and it was released on Paradiddle Records. Butchers Blind is comprised of Pete Mancini, Paul Cianciaruso, Brian Reilly and Christopher Smith.
“Heimlich’s Maneuvers” by Henry J. Heimlich, MD
Good job. You’ve done well for yourself. You deserve the Gold Star, a standing ovation. There’s a raise in your future, a bonus for work done right. You deserve a pat on the back – except if you’re choking. And in the new book “Heimlich’s Maneuvers” by Henry J. Heimlich, MD, you’ll find out why, from the man who invented the lifesaving measure.
From the time he was a small boy growing up in New York, Henry Heimlich wanted to be a doctor. His parents were role models: he watched them help others, and he noticed that they never turned anyone away. He wanted to be like them – and he started down that path at age 21, when he assisted the victim of a train wreck until rescuers arrived. That was the first of “hundreds of thousands” of lives Heimlich would save.
While in college, Heimlich led the ROTC band then, as required, enlisted in the military.
After graduation, he was called for duty and served in the Navy on a special mission to China during World War II. There, he taught Chinese soldiers first-aid basics and, because anti-Semitism was rampant in America, he taught fellow soldiers that the myths they believed about Jews were largely wrong.
That bias against Jews almost cost the doctor his career: Heimlich had a hard time finding a residency position after the war ended, but he knew he was in a good spot when he landed at Bellevue in New York. He had his sights set on becoming a thoracic surgeon specializing in the esophagus and, ever the tinkerer, Heimlich began looking for ways to improve old methods of treatment.
Back in China, he’d developed an easier way to treat trachoma and save the eyesight of sufferers. In the 1950s, he developed the reversed gastric tube operation (though he later learned that he wasn’t the first to use it). During the Vietnam War, he developed a way to drain post-surgery chest wounds.
And in 1972, he gave the world a life-saving hug…
There’s so much delight in “Heimlich’s Maneuvers” and so many surprises to uncover while reading this book. Too bad there’s one big thumbs-down.
First: I was overwhelmingly charmed by author Henry J. Heimlich’s story, and by the jaunty way he tells his tales. Heimlich writes with an obvious sparkle in his eye and it’s a worthwhile trip we take with him, back to his childhood, his young marriage, his early career, his keen eye for invention, and his battle with the Red Cross. Even his World War II tales held excitement.
Unfortunately, it seemed to me that this book sometimes descends into infomercial territory, in which Heimlich uses his memoir to promote his inventions. I thought that marred the feel of this book – not enough to make me want to quit reading, but enough to make me notice.
I think that if you ignore the commercials, you’ll like what you ultimately find here. If it’s a good memoir you want, “Heimlich’s Maneuvers” has that down pat.
MisterWives Bring Reflections and Chills to the Bowery Ballroom
Published: Friday, March 21, 2014
Vagabond is you, ran the mile no shoes
If the sun goes down too soon
Embrace the starry eyed moon
Vagabond is you, swam the sea at the darkest blue
You made it, made it through
From “Vagabond” by MisterWives
Queens native Mandy Lee studied songwriting and opera at LaGuardia High School before becoming the frontwoman for the Bronx-based band MisterWives. A gender reversal on the Mormon term “sister wife,” the band’s name upset a few Mormons at their shows, but the upbeat Lee isn’t too worried about it. “I married all the lads and they became my lovers,” she jokes. The lads are drummer Etienne Bowler, bassist Will Hehir, guitarist Marc Campbell and Jesse Blum on keys/trumpet/accordion. The group played its first show in February 2013 and was signed to Photo Finish Records (a subsidiary of Island Def Jam) shortly thereafter.
Lee’s quirky, soulful voice (with hints of Bjork) perfectly accompanies the dance-folk-rock tunes on MisterWives’ 6-song EP, Reflections, which was released in January. The group is now working on their debut full-length set for release in the fall. You can check out their high-energy show at the Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, April 16th. Fresh off the heels of playing SXSW for the first time, the 21-year-old Lee dishes about the experience.
Pulse: Who are your biggest influences and how do you describe your band’s sound?
Mandy Lee: Collectively as a band, we’re influenced by groups like No Doubt, The Police, and Fleetwood Mac. I’m inspired by anyone with some serious spunk and soul like Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, and Kate Bush…love me the ladies! Other than pop rock, I think our music falls under the umbrella of soul/folk/dance with hints of reggae and funk from time to time.
P: Do you write the lyrics and the music?
ML: I do write the skeletons of all the songs—lyrics, melody, and structure on the keys. Depending on the weather, we’ll either jam on it until it’s a full sounding song or Et and I will demo it out in our homemade studio and bring it to the rest of the gang once there’s a fully fleshed out idea.
P: What’s your favorite song to sing live?
ML: It’s a close tie between “Imagination Infatuation” and “Vagabond.” There’s a dueling horn solo during “Imagination” that gets everybody dancing on their feet and howling like wolves… And during “Vagabond” we get the crowd to participate in a woah-ing chant that forever gives me chills.
P: How was the SXSW festival and who would you most like to tour with?
ML: SXSW was a dream! A crazy, sunny, sleepless, wild dream. It was our first time being there and we played a handful of shows that blew our minds. It was pretty cool closing the week with Perez Hilton’s show playing alongside artists like Blondie and Ingrid Michaelson. We’re currently on tour with The Mowgli’s and they are setting the bar real high with what it’s like to open for incredibly fun, loving, talented people. If No Doubt decides to make another comeback, that would be ideal since they put on one of the funnest live shows I ever did see. If no reunion happens, then hitting the road with Foster the People or Walk the Moon, would be a non-stop sweat fest!
For more info: http://www.misterwives.com and www.facebook.com/MisterWives
Patchogue Folk Festival
Ladies of Folk
Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The 5th annual Patchogue Folk Festival will feature Suzanne Vega, Amy Helm and Caroline Doctorow on Saturday, March 22 at 8:00 PM at the Patchogue Theatre of the Performing Arts in a folk/singer-songwriter/roots fan’s dream triple bill. Vega recently released her first album of all new material in seven years Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles. Amy Helm is one of the guiding forces behind Ollabelle and also leads the band Amy Helm & The Handsome Strangers. She is the daughter of the late drummer of The Band Levon Helm and singer Libby Titus. Caroline Doctorow is a singer/songwriter based in Bridgehampton. She has released recordings on her own Narrow Lane Records and her latest release is I Carry All I Own from 2012. Her father is renowned author E.L. Doctorow.
Ranking the worst Islanders trades of all-time
Published: Tuesday, March 18, 2014
The website NHLTradeTracker.com is wonderful for so many reasons. Just when you wanted a list of every trade in NHL history, the wonderful folks at that URL come through in the clutch.
I’ll cut to the chase and keep this more about the bullet points you’re about to read and less about a longwinded analytical breakdown of why the Islanders have failed on so many trades over the years. It seems like more than the average team, but in reality most teams in all sports make goofball decisions. That’s why general managers don’t last too from team to team.
Putting contracts, walk years, and trade deadline thinking aside, just eyeballing these trades based on star power and how some of these names developed will tell you enough about a handful of the mistakes made by the Isles front office.
Here it goes (key player lost is in bold):
*2013-2014: Thomas Vanek acquired from Buffalo for Matt Moulson, 2014 1st Round Pick and 2015 2nd Round Pick. Then Vanek was traded to Montreal at the deadline for Sebastian Collberg and a 2014 conditional 2nd Round Pick.
*2000: Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen traded to Florida for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish.
*2001: Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt and 2001 1st Round Pick (Jason Spezza) to Ottawa for Alexei Yashin.
*1999: Ziggy Palffy, Bryan Smolinski, Marcel Cousineau and a 4th Round Pick in 1999 to the Kings for Mathieu Biron, Josh Green, Olli Jokinen and a 1st Round Pick in 1999 (Taylor Pyatt).
*1999: Robert Reichel, 1999 3rd Round Pick and 1999 4th Round Pick to Phoenix for Brad Isbister and a 1999 3rd Round Pick.
*1998: Todd Bertuzzi, Bryan McCabe and a 1998 3rd Round Pick to Vancouver for Trevor Linden.
*1996: Darius Kasparaitis, Andreas Johansson to Pittsburgh for Bryan Smolinski.
*1996: Wade Redden and Damian Rhodes to Ottawa for Don Beaupre, Bryan Berard and Martin Straka.
There are certainly more, but giving away players like Bertuzzi, Luongo, Chara or Redden way before their primes, or fan favorites like Palffy or Kasparaitis, for little in return tends to sting.
Why Reichel, you ask? He’s the one example of a veteran player who still have some solid years left in the league, but was dealt for little in return. There are dozens of others who fit that bill as well.
Be mindful that other trades may not have happened either without certain pieces being in place over time. Pat LaFontaine was traded to Buffalo for Pierre Turgeon (and other players). Later, Turgeon was traded to Montreal for Mathieu Snider (and other players). Then Snider was traded to Toronto along with Wendel Clark in the deal that brought a first round pick (eventually Luongo) and Kenny Jonsson, a future Islanders Hall of Famer.
Two morals of this story: NHLTradeTacker.com is an awesome and easy to use platform with more info then you’ll ever need and front offices make a ton of decisions that are fun to look back on decades later.
Downey on College Football HOF ballot
Deer Park High and Stony Brook product Chuck Downey was recently named to the 2014 College Football Hall of Fame ballot by the National Football Foundation.
Downey is listed under the Division III nominees from his days at Stony Brook, which formerly competed in Division III before it’s quick rise to the NCAA Subdivision level in recent years.
Downey, a safety in college, was a First Team All-America selection in 1987. At the time, he was the first player in Division III history to reach the 1,000-yard mark on punt and kickoff returns in a career.
He recorded 239 tackles, 13 interceptions and currently holds 12 NCAA Division III records and 23 school records, according to the National Football Foundation’s write up on all Hall of Fame nominees.
After his senior year in which he was named ECAC Division III Player of the Year, he signed a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He followed in the family business and is a Battalion Chief with the FDNY. His father Ray, also an FDNY Battalion Chief, died heroically in the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s an enormous honor to just be on the ballot when you think that more than 4.99 million people have played college football,” said NFF President & CEO Steven J. Hatchell, in a statement “The Hall’s requirement of being a First-Team All-American creates a much smaller pool of only 1,500 individuals who are even eligible to be on the ballot, so being in today’s elite group means an individual is truly among the greatest to ever have played the game, and we are proud to announce their names.”
The 2014 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be announced in May from Irving, Texas, and they will be inducted at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 9, 2014 at the landmark Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City, according to a release.
LIU Post adds wrestling to sports arsenal
To the thrill of many local wrestlers, LIU Post will be bringing back its wrestling program, according to Bryan Collins, the school’s Director of Athletics.
The program will be back in time for the 2014-15 academic year and will be led by Long Island coaching icon Joe Patrovich, a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.
Wrestling is just part of the plan for Post. Collins also announced the addition of six other Division II teams, including women’s golf, women’s fencing, and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field.
“We are thrilled to bring back two programs (track and field and wrestling) that have a great history in the growth of the LIU Post Department of Athletics,” said Collins. “These two programs achieved tremendous recognition and successes not solely on the regional level, but nationally as well.”
Patrovich has been the longtime wrestling coach at Islip High School, as well as a successful football coach at a number of high schools on Long Island. On the mat, he’s coached 21 county champions, 13 state finalists, 10 All-Americans and eight state champs.
“It’s just great for Long Island,” said Patrovich in a Q&A on the Pioneers’ athletic website. “There are so many kids who leave the Island now who might not want to leave. It’s another avenue to pick up 25-30 kids who want to continue their wrestling careers. It gives them another choice.”
“The addition of these programs will energize our relationship with Long Island and the Metropolitan area, as well as nationally,” Collins added. “It will offer high school student-athletes the opportunity to attend a vibrant and exceptional university, and to compete at the highest level of NCAA Division II competition with national championship goals.”
“Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America” by Kevin Cook
You always hold doors open.
That’s because your mama taught you to help others: you hold doors for stragglers, lend your ear, dispense advice, volunteer, donate, and keep an eye on your neighbor’s house. Really, it’s no big deal.
You’re a good helper, but how involved do you get in other people’s matters? Read “Kitty Genovese” by Kevin Cook, for example, and ask yourself what you’d do if you heard a murder.
By all accounts, Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was a nice girl with a great smile and a generous spirit. As the manager of a local bar near her Queens, New York neighborhood, Kitty was trustworthy, good with customers, and was known to loan money to regulars in need. She made friends easily and was an “adventurous, troubled but optimistic, hard-working, fast-driving, living, breathing person…”
Until the morning of March 13, 1964.
It was just after 3am that morning and Kitty was on her way home to the apartment she shared with her girlfriend, Mary Ann Zielonko. Most people thought they were just roommates and, though it wasn’t quite the truth, the women let others believe it because it was safer. In 1964, homosexuality was still illegal.
She was in her beloved red Fiat and was driving fast, as she usually did. Perhaps because of the hour, Kitty didn’t notice that she was being followed.
Quiet, soft-spoken Winston Moseley had done something noteworthy for a Negro man in 1964: he’d purchased a house in an up-and-coming, mostly white neighborhood where he and his wife, Betty, were raising their boys. Between his good job and Betty’s salary, they were relatively well-off but Betty sometimes worried about Winston. He was an insomniac and liked “just thinking.” What she didn’t know was that he was “thinking” about killing.
In early March 1964, Moseley committed the “particularly gruesome” murder of a black woman, then calmly went to work. He wondered if killing a white woman would be any different. Two weeks later, while driving around, looking for a victim, he spotted a little red Fiat and had a “compulsion” to find out…
You might be asking yourself what’s so unusual about a fifty-year-old crime. Author Kevin Cook will tell you as he takes you on a journey through the early 1960s and a death that literally impacts everyone in North America today.
But that’s not all you’ll read in “Kitty Genovese.”
Cook reminds us in many ways that Genovese was more than just a victim, that she was a real person who loved life. On the flipside, we meet the neighbors who supposedly ignored her cries and we’re shown the slow making of a “monster” who seems chillingly without conscience. Cook uses these parallel stories to illustrate what happened as he busts myths that still linger to this day.
There are outrageous surprises in this book, some heartbreak, and passages that are grisly enough to make anyone squirm. But if you’re a true-crime fan or you love good storytelling, “Kitty Genovese” is a book you can’t help but devour.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC
Base price: $49,192
Sticking a 4-cylinder engine into a Mercedes-Benz seems akin to putting only 66 keys on a Steinway. Without the cojones of at least a 6-cylinder, isn’t the point missed?
Not at all. Everything else about the E250, including its butter-smooth diesel engine, its plush seats, its sensuous steering wheel and smooth ride is so pleasurable that you (almost) get used to the car saying, “Excuse me, what did you want?” when you smash the accelerator. Benzes that aren’t AMGs also are typically numb accelerator-wise anyway, so the E-250’s sluggish get-up-and-go via a 195-horsepower engine isn’t a deal breaker. Some other reviewers have griped about its base price of $49,192, but the E250 is a unique and signature ride and we’re talking a few thousand dollars in either direction for other cars in its class, not tens of thousands. It’s great-looking, it’s classy and it’s a pleasure to ride in and drive and look at.
There are two versions with two front-wheel drive engines. The Sport version’s badge is merged into the grille ala some of Benz’s performance cars, and the Luxury version has a star-shaped hood ornament. The car’s new stem to stern, with bumpers, hood, front fenders and rear doors redesigned, so you’re getting a truly fresh vehicle rather than a redesign. Its stop-at-idle engine feature is a bit overeager, quitting and restarting more times than was necessary in slow traffic, but one of its more unique special features includes the ability to open the trunk by waving a foot below the rear bumper. The car’s rear-wheel drive, making snow a challenge, but a 4MATIC all-wheel-drive job is on the calendar.
The E-250’s final icing is its mileage, about 38 on the highway, 24 city, making it environmentally correct and economical to drive. It’s not a screamer, it’s not as flashy as other Benzes costing a little more, but the E-250 is a pleasing, handsome machine and it’s worth what they’re asking.
For more information, click here.
Drank That Local Sh*t: Great South Bay Brewery Lethal Cupcake
Published: Friday, March 14, 2014
Drank That Local Sh*t explores the nitty-gritty of Long Island-born beers, with assistance from their creators.
Great South Bay Brewery//Lethal Cupcake
Style: Imperial Chocolate Porter
Date of Birth: 03/16/14
Availability: Draft, Bottle (22 oz)
Super Neat Find the Beer Description in the Bold Story Time!
Narrator: A covey of cupcakes penetrate Niko Krommydas’ mouthhole, secreting chocolate-heavy globules into the skin-encased recesses of his Esophagus…
“Lethal Cupcake is semi-sweet and chocolatey with, perhaps, accompaniments of cola and black licorice,” I say, reciting with the thespianic proficiency of Samuel “Screech” Powers. The script is crayon-scribbled on a napkin from Sizzler.
“Your bicep seems flaccid,” says The Director. “Your character must secrete machismo from every orifice. He is the personification of α. If, for example, we are threatened with an attack from Lisa Kudrowne Warfare, your character is our only… [inaudible] I don’t know which bicep, but I need more bicep.”
...somewhere/anywhere/everywhere, a text reads: “I’m here.”
Final Scene: Niko Krommydas, now The Director, films a covey of cupcakes performing various calisthenics, at submaximal intensity, for several hours—maybe months. This eventually fades into an ink-black screen, cuing Lisa Kudrow’s subpar remake of Phoebe Buffay’s “Smelly Cat.” Credits.
Narrator: The reader of Niko Krommydas’ blog, Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!, will now rise to piss and, upon his/her return, opt to select Open New Tab…
[New Tab: Mother Asks Child To Do Homework, You Won’t Believe The 136 Epic Responses From Child!]
Bonus DVD Commentary: “I exist between the interzones of bloggery and unbloggery,” I say, “where the roastiness lingers beneath a sepulcher of pulsating dustfarts.”
Real Story From Creator of Beer Story Time!
“Lethal Cupcake is the nickname of a special someone in my life who is both warm and fuzzy, yet packs a walloping punch: my 10-year-old daughter, Marris. It was just her birthday last week, so I consider this beer to be a special gift to her. Marris is now a blue belt in Japanese karate at Heijoshin Dojo in Bay Shore, and as angelic and delicate as she might appear, she’s a fierce competitor who finishes her opponents off with ease—all while smiling with a gleam in her eye, of course.
Yes, she’s a lethal cupcake.
For fun, we decided to create a science fiction-inspired story on the side of the 22-ounce bottles about mutant, man-eating cupcakes. I’ll save the rest of the story for when you get your bottle.
As for the beer, a blend of chocolate and English dark crystal malts give this brew its chocolate cupcake characteristics: a deep brown color, and aromas and flavors of toasty, rich cocoa and malty caramel. As an homage to our forefathers, we also threw in some brown malt, a variety now nearly extinct yet obligatory in classic porters of the early 20th century. While the brown malt lends another unique roasty taste and complexity to this beer, chocolate is the main flavor here—a clean and rich chocolate, which is balanced and bittered by East Kent Golding and Bravo hops.” [Rick Sobotka, owner and brewmaster of Great South Bay Brewery]
After the Disco with Broken Bells
Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Tell me about the years
And let me buy an hour
Maybe help me to understand
From “Holding On for Life” by Broken Bells
Broken Bells consists of The Shins vocalist/guitarist James Mercer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse. If you saw the band perform on The Tonight Show Friday night, you might have expected Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon to come out and join them for an SNL Bee Gees skit. That’s because, vocally, the single “Holding On for Life” sounds very Bee-Gees-esque. But the general sound on Broken Bell’s sophomore album, After the Disco, is not related to its namesake. As Burton told Stereogum:
“We just thought After The Disco was a cool sounding thing. Kind of: ‘After the party is over with, there’s the rest of your life.’ It was simple enough to us, and we never thought anyone would ever think our music was disco because if you listen to it, it’s just not. But, of course, our first single sounds a little like the Bee Gees, so we kind of screwed ourselves into having to talk about that… it adds up to something to think about.”
The album, recorded with the 17-piece Angel City String Orchestra and a four-piece choir, has elements of indie, soul and space rock. And songs like the title track and “Holding On for Life” have an old-school psychedelic 70s feel. Even the series of short films starring Kate Mara that predated the album’s release have a retro-futurist vibe. So if you’re in the mood for an ambient, space-age disco experience give it a listen.
Somehow in between Shins records and the production of Black Keys and U2 projects, the duo has found time to go on the road. They’ll be returning to NY in June for the Governors Ball Music Festival on June 6, 7, and 8.
For more info: http://www.brokenbells.com
“The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning” by Julene Bair
Tap, tap, tap.
That’s all you’re thinking when you’re thirsty. A chilly glass, sparkly ice, and a fresh tap that requires little more than a turn for relief. It’s a simple thing, really, but imagine how much your great-grandma would’ve appreciated it.
Now imagine what your own great-grandkids might do without readily available water. And then read “The Ogallala Road” by Julene Bair.
Four thousand feet above sea level, the High Plains in western Kansas sometimes feel as though they touch the sun. That’s the area where Julene Bair’s family had farmed for a century – and before them, it’s where the Cheyenne traveled the Ladder of Rivers, and fought for the land. It’s where the Ogallala Aquifer has nurtured the Earth for thousands of years.
As the only girl in the family, Bair was discouraged to work on the farm, but she knew its contours, its springs, sands, and the taste of water from a well. As a child, she was also distantly aware that the aquifer wouldn’t last forever. Her father knew it too, but figuring that the government was keeping watch, he tapped it to irrigate his corn crops.
Time passed and, like many farm kids, Bair left the farm but returned often. Between visits, she had several relationships and a son before returning to try farming again in earnest, but she wasn’t happy. She moved to Iowa, then Wyoming but the land tugged at her soul – as did a man she’d met, who lived closer to Kansas than to Laramie, and with whom she was deeply in love.
But romance, like water, evaporates and life changes. Bair’s brother, who’d been running the farm since their father’s death, wanted out. Bair’s mother was willing to relinquish her family’s lands, and government officials released a claim that the farm’s wells were depleting at a faster-than-expected rate.
With her father’s demand (“Hang on to your land!”) running through her head, Bair became somewhat of an activist. Was it possible to farm prairie without chemicals, irrigation, or interference? Moreover, would her family be the last to use water from an aquifer about to run dry?
Though it can seem a little confusing at times, “The Ogallala Road” is surely one of the most beautiful books you may ever read.
Author Julene Bair writes so evocatively of the land she loves that you can almost feel the wheat stubble under your feet and dust on your face. Her descriptions, in fact, make you want to drop everything you’re doing and go lie in the grass to savor the serene feeling she lends her readers.
But then we read about the depletion of the Ogallala and zing! there goes the Zen. Bair is saddened and outraged, and her subtle call to action could get readers fired up. Add in a makes-you-smile romance and, well, how can you resist?
For conservationists, romantics, or anyone who wants a soul-soothing read, I don’t think you can afford to pass this memoir up. For you, “The Ogallala Road” is a book to tap into.
“Pee-Shy: A Memoir” by Frank Spinelli
Published: Thursday, March 06, 2014
Sometimes, you wish you had a better memory.
You would never, for instance, forget appointments. You could tell better jokes, win more arguments, save more money. You’d remember faces of the people you met and events that happened when you were too small for it to matter.
Then again, as you’ll see in the new book “Pee-Shy: A Memoir” by Frank Spinelli, some things you’ll wish you could forget.
When he just an eight-year-old, Frank Spinelli received a toy medical kit as a gift, and decided on the spot that he wanted to be a doctor someday. It was a surprise, therefore, years later, when he flunked out of college, his scholarship gone with his dreams.
Taking the advice of a friend, Spinelli began therapy to explore the reasons for his dark life and med-school failure. The answer, as it turned out, was easy…
It started when Spinelli was just eleven years old, overweight, bullied, sports-hating, and a frustration to his Italian parents, who pushed their son into Scouting.
Spinelli hated Scouting, but he admired the area’s Scoutmaster. He liked Bill, and he knew that Bill liked him. Bill took Spinelli out for ice cream, and to do errands. He invited Spinelli over to his house for what Bill called “boy bonding.” When Spinelli eventually told his parents about this molestation, very little was done and even less was said.
Fast forward: back on track, Spinelli achieved his dream of becoming a doctor. He opened his own practice in New York and grew his clientele. He seemed like a successful, happy gay man, but old issues still plagued him: sometimes, he couldn’t empty his bladder. Configurations of bathrooms mattered. Other occupants mattered. Urinals were mostly off-limits. It was a remnant of his abuse, and he’d learned to deal with it.
And then, old memories began to float forward. Small reminders nagged at Spinelli. He found a book written about Bill, and learned that Bill had adopted a son. That opened a floodgate of images and questions.
So Spinnelli picked up the phone and called the man…
Is your jaw on the floor yet? I know mine was as I followed author Frank Spinelli on his incredible journey in “Pee-Shy.”
With steady strength and a rare kind of candor, Spinelli writes of a childhood filled with bullying, embarrassment, and curiosity for forbidden (girl’s) things. It’s almost a relief as this formerly-outcast kid lets us see him become a successful adult – and yet, it’s a mixed bag, since we’re then privy to his falling apart, his self-doubts, and frustrations that his body reacts as it does, now that it’s safe. None of this is easy to read – it’s a squirmy book, for sure - but what makes it worthwhile is the sense of courage and closure that the ending allows.
Be aware that there are some explicit bits to this book, but it’s appropriate and not gratuitous. If you can handle that, though, then “Pee-Shy: A Memoir” is a book that’ll surely stick in your memory.
This is the fourth and final installment of our celebration of the Beatles' 50th anniversary invasion of America.
Beatles at the Beeb
Kevin Howlett is one of the foremost Beatles experts in the world. He wrote the liner notes and is one of the executive producers of the latest double-CD sets Beatles Live at the BBC and compiled and edited Let It Be Naked, which came out in 2003. The first official Live at the BBC reissue was released in 1994 (and just reissued using new sound sources for some tracks) and the newest On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 came out at the end of 2013. Howlett is the author of the recent book The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 (Harper Design) which looks at the group’s appearances on the BBC and its entire history. The beautiful coffee-table book is housed in a 12-inch, replica tape box and also includes memorabilia connected to the group’s appearances. Unlike the BBC CDs, which primarily cover the group’s earlier period, Howlett’s book covers the group’s entire history. Howlett spoke about his long tenure as the primary curator of the Beatles’ BBC recordings, which dates back to his legendary production of the “The Beeb’s Lost Beatles Tapes,” broadcast in 1988.
SM: Your book covers the entire history of the Beatles BBC radio and television broadcasts, yet the two BBC sets thus far released by Apple only cover up to 1966. Will Apple continue to release more BBC discs without waiting so long and will Apple eventually release all of the appropriately significant performances of good enough recording quality?
KH: I have not heard of any plans to release more discs of BBC material.
SM: The availability of pristine vinyl transcriptions would seem to be one of the best sources for these kinds of projects. Have all of the BBC broadcasts that were pressed on vinyl been uncovered and used as much as possible on the two projects?
KH: All of the songs on the BBC Transcription vinyl discs have been included on the two volumes of Live At The BBC.
SM: The Beatles first U.S. television exposure was on the Jack Paar NBC Tonight Show in January of 1964 of a clip of “She Loves You” from the BBC “Mersey Sound” program. Was there any other Beatles U.S. television exposure of a full performance clip prior to their appearance on Ed Sullivan in February?
KH: I have seen no information that indicates a full performance by The Beatles was shown on U.S. TV prior to the group’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
SM: Were there any BBC broadcasts in particular that were not included on the first two sets because a good enough sound source has not yet been discovered that you’re still hoping to find and conversely what is your own favorite broadcast performance thus far included?
KH: With the release of the second volume, it is now possible to own 81 of the 88 songs recorded by The Beatles for BBC radio. The missing songs are: “Besame Mucho,” “Dream Baby,” “I Call Your Name,” “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “The Night Before” and “A Picture Of You.” Some of the 88 songs were performed many times, but each of the missing seven was only performed once at the BBC. I have heard recordings made from radio broadcasts of all of them, but my co-executive producer Mike Heatley and I agreed that they fell below the audio quality threshold we had set for On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2. We would be thrilled to discover good sound quality versions of those seven songs. Interestingly, three were recorded in 1964 and “The Night Before” is from their last ever music session for the BBC broadcast in June 1965. I find it astonishing that even by mid-1964 and 1965 no one at the BBC thought it worthwhile preserving these recordings.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite broadcast performance from the two albums - there are so many gems. However, hearing “Soldier Of Love” for the first time when I began researching this material for the 1982 radio special “The Beatles At The Beeb” was enormously exciting. That Beatles cover version of Arthur Alexander’s record could have graced any of the early U.K.-released Beatles LPs like With The Beatles or Beatles For Sale. It is a great example of the group finding a song that was so obscure in the U.K. and brilliantly re-arranging it for their beat group line-up. John’s vocal is wonderful - passionate yet tender, really soulful. From On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2, I love the energy and spirit you hear in “Lucille,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Anna” and “Money.” Hearing “I’ll Get You” without the harmonica parts that are on the record is also great. The BBC albums prove that the Beatles were so proficient, dynamic and exciting as a live group.
SM: A new reissue of the first BBC set has been released with some of the tracks taken from better sound sources. What tracks were significantly upgraded?
KH: “Things We Said Today” on the original 1994 release of Live At The BBC was taken from the BBC Transcription radio show Top Of The Pops and has Brian Matthew talking over the introduction. The re-mastered album uses a tape of the song broadcast on the BBC Light Programme show Top Gear. This does not have Brian talking over the introduction, but is the same musical performance recorded on July 14th, 1964. You’ll notice a great improvement in the sound quality of “I Forgot To Remember To Forget.” Two additional speech tracks have been added to the Live At The BBC set. Placed before “Soldier Of Love,” “What Is It, George?” is the original broadcast introduction of George Harrison reading a listener’s request during Pop Go The Beatles. “Ringo? Yep!” restores the original introduction to “I Wanna Be Your Man” heard in the 1964 radio show From Us To You.
SM: There are a great deal of early rock ‘n’ roll and R&B covered through the years, as well as a healthy amount of Buddy Holly and some girl group music. There was only a cover of one Spector-related song. Was the heavy production of Spector productions the reason the group did not cover more of his works?
KH: There is no doubt that they adored records by girl-groups such as The Shirelles, The Marvelettes, The Donays and The Cookies and the way they covered them had a big influence on the formation of The Beatles’ sound. They loved recreating the harmonies on Spector’s song “To Know Him Is To Love Him.” Never underestimate The Beatles’ love of harmony vocals and their great ability when singing harmony themselves.
SM: There are interview discs mentioned in your bibliography. Are they all still available and are they legitimate releases and if so, why weren’t they issued by Apple?
KH: The two Audio Go releases - Paul McCartney - In His Own Words and John Lennon - In His Own Words - are legitimate releases with all the material officially licensed. I am not sure if The Beatles Tapes is still available, but it was released by a major record company - Polydor - on LP in 1976 and on CD in the 1990s.
SM: Were there any BBC broadcasts that included Stu Sutcliffe?
SM: There are a number of Beatles releases that are still not available such as Let It Be, The Beatles at Shea Stadium, The Beatles Story, The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl and even the Christmas messages. Are there any plans to reissue any of these projects and if so are you involved and/or have any particular insights or rough release dates that you could discuss?
KH: I have not heard of any current plans to release them.
SM: There have been BBC broadcasts from other groups from many musical eras released commercially in the past several years. Do you anticipate any releases from other British Invasion or Mersey-beat artists released or a compilation of the best-of these recordings ever released?
KH: The material is really good so I hope such recordings might be released in the future, but I am not aware of any scheduled releases.
SM: Are there any plans to issue a full performance or compilation project of television broadcast performances?
SM: Of all the venues/studios the BBC recordings are taken from, other than Broadcasting House, what venues/studios are still around and feature live concerts or host recording sessions?
KH: The only BBC London radio studio used by The Beatles that is still used to record music is BBC Maida Vale. In fact, Paul McCartney and his band performed there for BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music on October 16th, 2013.
Beatles for Sale
With February of 2014 being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and their first U.S. concerts and visit, a myriad of recent CDs, Blu-ray’s, DVDs and books, on the group have been published. Not all the projects deal directly with the 50th anniversary.
As we discussed above in detail, another double-CD Beatles BBC project has been released, entitled On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Apple). The original 1994 Live at the BBC has also been reissued with new packaging and in some cases tracks with better sound sources used. This new set is wonderful and picks up where the previous release left off in terms of delivering exciting and in many cases rare recordings of the Beatles performing their own early compositions and a myriad of cover versions. All the tracks were originally broadcast by the BBC and were taken from various sound sources, as the BBC wiped most, if not all of the Beatles appearances from this period, which runs roughly from their earliest days with Ringo Starr as their drummer, through 1966.
The other big Beatles reissue project from Apple is the release of the group’s albums as they appeared on Capitol Records in the United States. The project is available as a box set, or as separate albums. The series contains 13 albums in the box and 12 can be purchased as separate discs. This upgrade is a vast improvement over the original two box set reissues, with the superb individual disc packaging. The fact that the original double album, interview recording The Beatles Story is not available apart from the box is a challenge for budget-conscious collectors. Also, the entire controversy over the way the Capitol discs were edited, packaged, remixed and presented both originally and when they were first reissued remain entangled in debate. The debate pits the purists, who prefer the original British releases against those who first remember hearing the Beatles in America in the way they are presented on these discs and the original albums. Nonetheless, since the discs are presented in stereo and mono and boast excellent packaging, hardcore Beatle collectors will want to own some or all of these reissues.
The Beatles: Six Days That Changed The World (Rizzoli) featuring the photography of Bill Eppridge focuses solely on the Beatles initial weeks of their first U.S. visit. This beautiful coffee-table book captures the exuberance, frenzy, joy and madcap spirit of the Beatles, their fans and much more and is one of the best new books out on the 50th anniversary of their initial stateside invasion.
The Beatles Solo (Race Point Press) by Mat Snow is a beautiful gift-book package that will delight fans of the group’s solo period. The coffee-table gift set consists of four individual hardcover books housed in a slip-case. The books give a brief survey of each member’s life and career and boast an array of photos.
Three recent books look almost exclusively on the group’s early days. Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1 (Crown/Archetype), by Mark Lewisohn, is the kick-off of Lewisohn’s definitive trilogy of the group. Comprising more than 900 pages, the book covers the history of the group up until 1962. Lewisohn, who is perhaps the most respected Beatles expert in the world and the author of the indispensable The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, also published a longer version of the book in the U.K. that has surprisingly sold out several editions. When They Were Boys (Running Press), by Larry Kane, looks at the meteoric rise of the group in a condensed and breezy style. Kane is a Philadelphia-based broadcaster and journalist who spent a considerable amount of time interviewing the group early on, which he chronicled in his book Ticket To Ride. Changin’ Times: 101 Days That Shaped A Generation (Parading Press), by Al Sussman, looks at the period from the day John Kennedy was assassinated (November 22, 1963) through just after the group departed from their first U.S visit (March 1, 1964). Sussman gives a sense of America at the time, politically, historically, socially and culturally. It might have been interesting if Sussman had given a day-by-day account of the JFK assassination and its aftermath parallel with the Beatles history of those few months.
Books looking at other aspects of the group’s history have also been released. Beatles vs. Stones (Simon & Schuster), by John McMillian, looks at the two groups’ competitive, yet always very close friendship, as a metaphor for the culture of the 1960s. The Beatles At Shea Stadium (North Shore Publishing) by Dave Schwensen chronicles the group’s first historic Queens, New York concert in August of 1965, with rare photos and ephemera and places the concert in its rightful place as a key moment in Beatles history. Finally, Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘N’ Roll (Backbeat Books), by Robert Rodriquez, painstakingly assesses the significance of Revolver in the group’s evolution and makes the solid case that the 1966 album in retrospect is more important, better and musically revolutionary than Sgt. Pepper.
Here, There and Everywhere
Some recent Blu-rays reflect various aspects of Beatles history.
Help! (Apple), the group’s second full-length feature film, has been reissued on Blu-ray. While not as lauded as the group’s film debut A Hard Day’s Night, the color film is a cheeky romp that’s part A Hard Day’s Night and part Austin Powers. The music is terrific and this reissue features a myriad of excellent bonus features including a 30-minute documentary.
Good Ol’ Freda (Magnolia) has been a phenomenon on the documentary film circuit. This charming story of the group’s fan-club secretary and secretary for Brian Epstein will appeal to both hardcore Beatle fans and anyone who loves a story about a life well lived.
Fans of Paul McCartney will delight in the concert film Rockshow (Eagle Vision), now available on Blu-ray, which captures McCartney’s first big tour with Wings in 1976. This was perhaps McCartney’s first peak as a solo artist and features the first live Wings lineup with his wife Linda, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch and Joe English. Wings over America (Concord) is a reissue of the original three-album set that chronicled the 1976 tour. This new three-disc reissue includes the three albums on two CDs and the bonus film Wings over the World as well as the bonus Photographer’s Pass on DVD. This is another excellent reissue from the Paul McCartney Archive Collection.
Four new releases will be of interest to Beatles fans. Paul McCartney’s New (Concord) is his first solo album of all new material in six years and it’s easily one of his best solo albums in years. McCartney enlisted a slew of producers, including Giles Martin, son of George Martin; Paul Epworth, who works with Adele; as well as Mark Ronson and Ethan Johns, and recorded at various locations to come up with an album that sounds contemporary but retains Macca’s trademark gifts. Yoko Ono released the Plastic Ono Band album Take Me To The Land of Hell (Chimera), her first solo album in four years. At the age of 81 she continues to defy her critics, gain new listeners and appeal to young, hip music fans. Ono’s electronic revolution music is at times jarring and dissonant, but it is also free, joyous and very danceable. Beatles Reimagined (Community Music) is another project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first U.S. visit. It features mostly young, up and coming artists covering early Beatles music from the 1963-1964 period. This project is evidence that new audiences will likely continue to discover the group’s music well into the future. Billy J. Kramer, one of the original British Invasion artists, recorded Beatle songs Lennon and McCartney gave to him, recorded at Abbey Road, was produced by George Martin and was managed by Brian Epstein. Kramer’s new album, I Won The Fight, his first in decades, boasts a whole new approach and sound. Kramer is now writing his own songs and his voice had a tough, firey, r&b feel. The song “To Liverpool With Love” was a catalyst in getting Brian Epstein finally elected to the Rock “n” Roll Hall of Fame.
Skillet Panko Crusted Salmon
I am certainly not one for tattling, but if cooking salmon ever gives you a hard time, you must let me know. With such innately robust flavors, there is usually very little that needs to be done to it. Lately, I have been on a huge salmon kick, often preparing it for lunch, dinner & even breakfast at times (smoked of course). Sometimes, the sushi lover that I am will even sneak a piece off and go sashmi style before popping it into the pan. Now here we have a recipe that I am completely confident that you are really going to enjoy. This dish is made with whole wheat panko, a touch of S & P and the secret ingredient…..shhhhh…...aioli. It’s simple, savory and has a delicious crunch that you are just going to fall in love with!
1/4 cup whole Wheat panko Crumbs
1 red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons your favorite aioli spread
3 pieces center-cut good salmon pieces (about 1 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.) Season fish with salt and pepper.
3.) Heat a large cast iron pan or oven-safe skillet with (1) oil until sizzling.
4.) While the pan is heating up, using a pastry brush the top of each fish with 1 tablespoon aioli spread.
5.) Lie fish out on a plate and sprinkle on panko crumbs. Press down so they stick like glue.
6.) Using tongs gently place fish in pan skin side down with peppers and cook till skin starts to crisp up and peppers are tender (Oil may splatter so be mindful)
7.) Transfer just fish to the oven and bake for another 7-8 minutes until fish is opaque in the center.
8.) Remove from oven and plate fish with peppers.
The Modest Side of Plastic Surgery
A surgeon’s mission to reconstruct happiness.
Published: Wednesday, March 05, 2014
The topic of plastic surgery is a great way to get a person’s opinion even if you don’t ask for it. What you normally hear is it’s extreme, superficial and only something attainable if you have money to burn. On the flip side, people who have had procedures done will attest it was the best thing they have ever done for themselves and it made them happy. We typically like to focus more on the negative because it’s more interesting and controversial. Who does not love a good debate? For those who don’t know much about the individuals who perform these procedures, I encourage you to read on because on the contrary, beauty is not skin deep.
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with plastic surgeon Dr. Pamela Gallagher along with her warm and welcoming staff of professionals. As a beauty industry expert, I think it’s absolutely necessary to be on top of what’s new out there not just in cosmetics and skincare, but also non-surgical procedures that keep us looking fresh and youthful.
My evening began at Dr. Gallagher’s practice in Mineola with her skilled aesthetician Jennifer Hines demonstrating a procedure called Ultherapy. It employs ultrasound and heat spots to build collagen back, which is the foundation for your skin and pivotal for firm and youthful looking skin. I am self admittedly a baby when it comes to pain, and typically non-surgical procedures use methods that can feel hot or cold upon contact with the skin. The sensations can cause discomfort however; this isn’t my first ride at the rodeo of “beauty is pain”. When Jennifer began the procedure, I was pleasantly surprised because it was more of a tingling sensation rather than a burning feeling. I wasn’t lucky enough to get a full procedure, but it normally takes an hour and will give a demonstrable lift to any part on the face, not that I need it-not yet, anyway!
After my time with Jennifer and getting up to speed with all the new procedures available, we were finally blessed with Dr. Pam’s presence; who was running late. Usually when you’re late there is a reason - traffic, procrastination, alarm clock didn’t work - but in Dr. Pam’s case, she didn’t require one because she was busy changing a child’s life forever, for the good. Not only is Dr. Gallagher a leading surgeon in the region with surgical expertise and experience that is immeasurable, but she is also a person who uses her talents to give back to children around the world who are born with facial and cranial deformities. She currently serves as the Medical Director of the Hagedorn Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Center at North Shore University Hospital at Manhasset and as a founding member of the Board of Directors for the New York State Federation of Craniofacial and Cleft Palate Centers. Prior to arriving, she had been notified that a baby had been born with an unexpected cleft palate which is unusual according to Dr. Gallagher because normally it can be identified within eighteen to twenty weeks of pregnancy and that’s when the planning for the operation usually begins. So with this case, it was special and she responded immediately to visit the parents to buffer the shock of the surprise.
Dr. Gallagher’s passion for surgery and compassion for others began as a child when she encountered a man who was inflicted with a facial deformity that rendered his life unhappy and lonely. Her experience with this one man created a drive in her to help others. Always knowing she wanted to be a doctor, it is no surprise she went straight into medical school upon completion of high school. It was during a surgical observation when she saw blood and thought it was such a beautiful color that she decided to be a surgeon. Who better to operate on you then a person who is not only undeterred by the sight of blood but who is inspired by it?
For over 35 years Dr. Gallagher has operated on thousands of patients inflicted with cleft palates from around the world. Through the center, and with the help of international charities, patients are flown in from areas like Asia and India to have the corrective surgeries performed. Dr. Gallagher is not the only member of the team - specialists in dentistry, oral surgery, audiology, speech therapy and social work also join the effort to make not only the child’s but the family’s life a better one.
Dr. Gallagher mentioned some interesting facts about her time in college in Chicago and even high school. In the early sixties, she was confronted with the idea that girls shouldn’t be studying science. That didn’t stop her from pursuing an education to become a medical doctor. In her college class things didn’t change much for her as she was one of only 10 women out of 100 students. Furthermore, Ivy League schools didn’t allow women in their medical programs at all. I found it disturbing that women such as Dr. Gallagher were almost repressed from following their passions. Can you imagine how many lives would not have been changed for the better if she stayed submissive to the status quo?
It is an inspiration to know that humanitarians like Dr. Pamela Gallagher exist and use their gifts to help make children scorned with a life altering deformity live quality and content lives.
Keep It Sweet
Published: Friday, February 28, 2014
Bermuda is a quintessentially British island of palms. It was there in 1999 that an eccentric self-styled Bermudian traffic supervisor taught me something about crafting a singular life mission.
Located far enough off the coast of North Carolina to forego NASCAR fanaticism but close enough to New York to attract weekend warriors, the breezy 21-mile fishhook island showcases pink sand beaches separated by limestone cliff-rimmed coves—and wealth. Churches and colorful stone and cedar architecture distinguish the rolling landscape, while convoys of white-collar tourist duos live out biker-couple fantasies, on mopeds.
Bermuda is more than a refined, secure haven for wealthy folks hiding money from governments and living off the interest. When I visited, local celebs included a Guinness Book of World Records kite flyer, Ms. Universe 1976, and Johnny Barnes—a then 70ish, retired school bus driver who dedicated his life to transferring smiles to everyone transiting around the island’s busiest traffic roundabout. Every day from 5:00 to 10:00 a.m. Barnes performed by waving, smiling, gesturing, and preaching love to all passersby. The island dedicated a life-sized bronze statue in his honor just down the road from his roundabout. So, soon after passing the real Johnny Barnes you encounter the iron version: Johnny frozen in his traffic-greeting glory, bestowing an evangelical salute, smiling, with arms extended above his head. He apparently loves everything and doesn’t keep it a secret.
When I asked him how to stay married forever, he replied with a grin of sin, “Keep puttin’ honey on it, to keep it sweet, or you’ll be in trouble.” Barnes has been blissfully married since 1951.
Here, in the midst of semi-tropical nowhere, an island never visited by war or fast-food franchises, the oldest British colony remains a fresh-air paradise for visitors, insurance corporations, undeclared riches, heroic moped pilots in training, and one chipper, immortalized bus driver.
(Ps, Johnny is now 90—and still waving happiness to the world.)
When the ego speaks, the truth winks—and then ducks for cover.
2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Executive
Base price: $60,860/As tested: $61,770
Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Nobody thought the Touareg would last beyond the first couple of years upon its introduction in 2002, except perhaps for the executives at VW. The Touareg was too similar to other SUVS, the market was glutted at the time, and the ride didn’t seem to be groundbreaking enough to make the splash any new vehicle needs to make if it’s going to survive. But survive the Touareg did, and after its 2007 makeover and assorted tweaks since then, it’s one of the most stylish luxury crossovers in its class, inside and out, and a worthy competitor to its rivals.
It’s super smooth and quiet, thanks in part to its clean-burning diesel engine, but it also comes in assorted gas-powered trims called “Sport,” “Luxe,” “R-Line,” “Executive,” all with assorted charms, options and pricing, and a hybrid is available as well. I didn’t know my test model was diesel until I looked up its specs, which is a testament to how far we’ve come (actually, “they’ve,” not “we’ve) in eliminating the stinky diesels of yore. It also means the engine takes a wee few seconds to ignite when you push the center console-mounted button to start the vehicle. You’re powered by a 3.0 litre, 240 horsepower, 406 ft-lb-torque engine with 4 MOTION all-wheel drive, meaning that during our recent oh-no-not-again snowfall of this year, the Touareg simply busted through the heaps of white stuff surrounding it on the street after the snowplows had done their duty. You won’t be tempted to coax any kind of lightning speed out of the ride, but it gets a healthy 23 MPG in stop-and –go traffic and about 29 on the highway. Braking is fairly soft, ditto handling, making the Touareg a much less aggressive car than some of its competitors, especially the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5, but that may be partly due, again, to the diesel. Test-drive a gas-powered Touareg and compare. The inside is suitably plush and upscale, but my front grille cracked when a guy parked in front of me tapped my front end. Plastic, you know.
Visibility when driving is excellent all around, and the panoramic roof is a great touch, allowing riders to bask in open air in good weather. The car’s Dynaudio premium Sound system is deep and rich and satisfyingly bass-y, although getting your chosen song up on iPhone or iPod requires a long scroll-fest. The nav and climate control are top.
VW owners tend to be a fiercely loyal bunch, and there are lots of similarly priced options in this class for including the abovementioned premium models Porsche and BMW. But if you’re a nutty-crunchy bus or beetle enthusiast and want to move up while staying loyal to the brand, this is your chariot.
For more information/pricing, click here.
Eternal Summers Bring the Drop Beneath to Baby’s All Right
Hold in every whisper
Only I can know
Don’t be my dismisser
Lonely the days do grow
From “Never Enough” by Eternal Summers
Imagine you’re in warmer climes with the glistening dream pop of Eternal Summers. The Virgina-based duo turned trio—singer/guitarist Nicole Yun, drummer Daniel Cundiff and bassist Jonathan Woods—recorded their latest full-length The Drop Beneath at Resonate Studios in Austin, TX. Songs like “Gouge” and “Deep End” are reminiscent of The Cure, and others recall the ethereal sounds of Blonde Redhead. Produced and engineered by members of Guided by Voices and Nada Surf, The Drop Beneath is set for release on Tuesday, March 4th, when Eternal Summers has its record release party at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. The indie band also plays the SXSW Festival later in the month.
Pulse: How do you describe the sound on your latest LP, The Drop Beneath? How has it evolved from your last two recordings?
Daniel Cundiff: I would describe the sound on the new album as being more realized. We’re always about moving forward in our playing and our song writing. We want to surprise people not repeat ourselves… As we have changed and evolved as people, so have the sounds we create. It’s the first time we worked with a producer, Doug Gillard, and the first time we left our hometown to record. By that process we were able to focus more and fine tune the songs. We wanted to expand on what we had done on prior recordings and to create interesting, pretty, heavy, sonic songs. We also wanted to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and see what that process would yield. It yielded more diverse songs and arrangements than what we had done in the past. The Drop Beneath is a journey in the form of an album in the classic sense.
P: What can we expect to hear at your cd release party at Baby’s All Right? Mostly songs from The Drop Beneath?
DC: Yeah, we’ll be playing lots from our newest release and a few old ‘hits’. We may even play a few brand new jammers. A few guests may appear on stage as well but I can’t comment on that officially as of now. You can expect us to rock out!
P: Do you play any covers live? If so, which ones?
DC: We have covered Guided By Voices, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, The Beatles, Big Star, Galaxie 500, The Lemonheads and David Bowie. We haven’t done many covers recently, though. We need to get on that. I like a good cover.
P: Have you played on Long Island before? What do you like about playing in NYC?
DC: Yeah, we played in Montauk at the Surf Lodge. It was a weird and fun time. We played a super long set… We like to play NYC because it’s always different. The crowds are good. Sorry, I’m getting kicked out of this coffee house so I have to go. Cheers! See you at Baby’s!!!
“The Orphan Choir” by Sophie Hannah
Your neighbor loves heavy rock & roll.
He has all the CDs of all the major metal bands. It’s impressive, really, the determination he used to find them, starting with the earliest and the heaviest. He listens to them every weekend. Over and over, loudly.
Which would be nice, except you hate heavy metal.
So, aside from buying a boxful of earplugs, what can you do about a noisy neighbor? You could move, of course, but as you’ll see in “The Orphan Choir” by Sophie Hannah, sometimes that doesn’t even help…
It didn’t happen every night—or every weekend, for that matter. But it happened often enough for Louise Beeston to become a bit unhinged over the loud music that her neighbor, Justin Clay, spewed from his stereo.
In the several times that Louise had complained, Clay was polite, but she could see that he was as annoyed at her as she was at him. Stuart, Louise’s husband, didn’t seem to be bothered by the din, so he was no help at all. And though it pained Louise that he was gone, she considered it a minor blessing that her seven-year-old son Joseph was away at Saviour College on choir scholarship. He’d never have to endure the noise.
No, the cacophony irritated Louise the most and it only got worse. Not only did Clay start blasting music more frequently, but he upped the battle by playing choir music: The kind that Joseph sang at Saviour College! Clay must’ve known how Louise was suffering over Joseph’s absence. It was surely some sort of torture.
To escape this awful neighbor, Louise convinced Stuart that they needed a second home in an exclusive enclave where privacy, neatness, and silence were valued above all. It would be a lovely weekend retreat for their family, a perfect spot to bring Joseph when he was on holiday. It would be quiet.
But then, Louise started hearing the choir again. She began to think that maybe the singing was all in her head. It got louder when she thought about Joseph’s choir director, whom she hated.
It started following her when she was outside, in the nearby forest.
It got terrifying when she began to see faces…
Every now and then, having a little scare is good but you don’t want it to keep you up all night. That’s when you want “The Orphan Choir” at your bedside.
Is Louise insane? That’s what author Sophie Hannah spurs her readers to ask, and it’s a valid question. Through pages and pages of fussiness, we’re shown that Louise is fretful and difficult, prone to excitability and bordering on hysterical (in a bad way). She’s not someone you’d want to know; in fact, eventually, you’ll want to roll your eyes at cranky Louise—which is about when Hannah cranks up the suspense.
Though I thought this book was overly-wordy at times, its gentle shivers make it worth a peek if you want something Scary Lite. Read “The Orphan Train,” and the only sound you’ll hear is “Eeeeeeeeek.”
Gianni Paci to preview music from upcoming release at Piano’s
Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Born and bred in Oyster Bay, Gianni Paci grew up listening to Green Day and Gorillaz, but it was The Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, who most influenced his sense of melody. The twenty-one-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist just graduated from NYU with a BA in Musicology and has already shared the stage with the likes of Mike Starr (Alice in Chains), Ace Frehley (KISS) and Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses). He’s also opened for Owl City and Long Island’s own Richie Cannata.
Paci released Something My Heart Understands with his retro-rock collective, The Pine Hollows, in 2013 before deciding to go solo.
He is now at work on his solo debut with producer Eren Cannata at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove. And on February 1st, Paci released the single “Goodbye” off the album set for release next year: giannipaci.bandcamp.com Keep an eye out for the video at giannipaci.com
You can see Gianni live at a free show at Piano’s in NYC on Tuesday, March 4th at 7pm, and he will also be performing a free all ages show at Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington on Friday, March 21st at 7pm. As Paci says, “Bring the family!”
Pulse: How do you describe the sound of your single, “Goodbye?”
GP: “Goodbye” is really a culmination of all the things I had been itching to do with my old band, The Pine Hollows, but could not. It’s very danceable in a contemporary radio sort of way, but at the same time, very quirky and representative of my roots as a songwriter. It was not an easy process in that we spent more time on “Goodbye” at the studio than on any of the other nine songs on this record, but I am very happy with the result. It’s definitely different from anything else I’ve done before. And the palette with which we worked is very new to me, being that I come from an old-school, rock-and-roll mindset. Straying from my traditional guitar-bass-drum-keyboard setup and diving into something more electronic and of-the-moment was very fun and exciting.
P: How has your sound evolved from The Pine Hollows?
GP: The Pine Hollows, in a sense, was my reaction to hearing The Beatles for the first time. As strange as it sounds, I had not heard a complete Beatles album until about three years ago, right before I started college. I listened to Abbey Road and it blew my mind. I had been writing songs for a little while before that, but it was their discography that really inspired me to hone my craft. In a way, that was my college education… We had to play at least some of The Pine Hollow’s songs live, so I would have to write for what we were capable of recreating at any of the dingiest bars in Manhattan. Going solo has allowed me to move beyond those limitations and to let my imagination run wild.
P: What’s it like recording at Cove City Sound Studios owned by Richie Cannata?
GP: Recording at Cove City was really a dream come true. I have never felt so at home in a studio. I called Richie on a whim one day last year after hearing about the studio from a friend and I felt like we hit it off right away. It’s not so easy to find someone who speaks the same language as you, but Richie really knows what he’s doing and obviously has the experience to back it up. Eren Cannata is an amazing producer. He brings such energy and enthusiasm into the studio, I don’t know what I would’ve done without him. My songs tend to come from a very personal place and sometimes performing them brings up those old, heavy emotions. Being in a studio can feel like swimming in a fish bowl at times, but he helped to make it a really fun process. Steve Wall is such a good engineer that I was able to just focus on the music. He got really amazing sounds, along with James Meslin, who did some engineering as well. John Arbuckle and Zachary Rippy were a great help in the studio. The rhythm section was fantastic, of course: Neville L’Greene on bass and Kevin Bregande on drums were unbelievably tight and creative. We’ve completed a full-length album as a team and I am really looking forward to sharing it.
P: Who are your biggest musical influences aside from The Beatles?
GP: The Rolling Stones were a big influence on my guitar playing—with all of those open-tunings Keith Richards would employ as a less-is-more approach. But I have to say, most of the stuff I have been listening to lately is either really old to me or relatively new: bands like Green Day and Gorillaz were some of the first cds I bought when I was ten or eleven years old, inspiring me to pick up a guitar in the first place. Then there’s artists like Katy Perry, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus who I have been listening to quite often these days. Some of my friends don’t understand the mixture, but I just love the production and the songs on those albums like I love King Crimson, Nirvana, Bob Marley and Joni Mitchell. It’s a bit of here, there and everywhere. But I don’t see any problem with bridging the new with the old. A good song is a good song.
Asian Cole Slaw
It’s funny, but other than some nice greens with a tangy ginger dressing, I don’t typically do too many salads when it comes to my Asian food. I’m not quite sure why that is, however as a lover of crunchy shredded fresh veggies this, dish a super duper tasty. The depth of flavors complement pretty much any fish, chicken or beef entrée. As a matter of fact there are times I even do it solo for lunch when time is a factor. Simple & satisfying!
• 1 bag of Asian slaw mix
• 1 quarter white onion
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
• 1/4 cup smooth reduced-fat peanut butter
• 2 tablespoon honey
• 2 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce (more to taste if you desire)
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil
• 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
• crushed roasted peanuts for garnish
1.) Grate onion into cabbage.
2.) Chop garlic into very small pieces.
3.) In a small bowl whisk together sugar, garlic, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.
4.) Toss together cabbage with dressing.
5.) Garnish with peanuts and remaining green onion. ENJOY
Nic’s Tips: I like to use kitchen scissors to chop the chives. It is easier and you get a nice angular cut.
Interview with Bill Harry
Published: Tuesday, February 18, 2014
In our continuing February celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Ed Sullivan appearance, here is an interview with the founder of Mersey Beat magazine, Bill Harry. Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe. Harry was responsible for introducing Lennon and Sutcliffe and visited such Liverpool hangouts as the Ye Cracke and the Jacaranda Club. It was at Harry’s urging that Brian Epstein went to see the Beatles perform a lunchtime set at the Cavern Club in Liverpool that contributed to Epstein’s managing the Beatles. Harry published Mersey Beat for years and has brought the chronicle of the Liverpool music scene back from extinction several times. Along with publishing his many books on the Beatles and the Liverpool music scene, Harry worked as a journalist and as a publicist for such artists as Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Procol Harum, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and the Beach Boys. There are few figures from the early history of the Beatles who had such a close personal relationship with the group and the Mersey-beat scene as Harry, who also chronicled the scene as it happened and who have written so extensively about it through the years.
Do you remember introducing Stuart Sutcliffe to John Lennon and why did you introduce them to each other?
At the college I heard word of a very talented student, Stuart Sutcliffe. I looked at one of his paintings and decided I wanted to get to know him. I always seemed to be attracted to talented people. I first noticed John in the art college canteen. He was too unusual to miss, with most of the students dressed the same, in duffle coats and turtle neck sweaters–and he dressed like a teddy boy. They were the conventional ones, he was the rebel. I immediately knew I had to befriend him. When I took John to Ye Cracke, the art college watering hole, I saw Stuart with his best friend Rod Murray and introduced John to them. The four of us used to get together all the time in flats, at pubs, at parties–and we called ourselves the Dissenters.
When you were at Liverpool Art College, you spent time hanging out John and Stu at the Ye Cracke pub and the Jacaranda. What most stands out from that time?
What stands out is the night we decided that we should make Liverpool famous–John with his music, Stuart and Rod with their paintings and me with my writing. That was the aim of the Dissenters. We’d been to see beat poet Royston Ellis at Liverpool University and over our pints, felt that he owed a lot to the American Beat poets. We felt that Liverpool was full of creative people–artists, sculptors, poets, writers, musicians and felt we should strive to make the city famous with our own efforts. John was to achieve this in an incredible way, I coined the phrase Mersey Beat and published a newspaper to report on the Beatles and the other bands and Stuart would have become an internationally famous painter in his own right if he had lived. Rod went on to become a master at Britain’s leading art college–he got snipped to be a Beatle by Stuart. John asked both Rod and Stuart to become their bass guitarist. They didn’t have enough money to buy an instrument, but Rod began to make one himself (he still has it). He was nipped to the post by Stuart who sold a painting at John Moore’s Exhibition.
How long did Mersey Beat publish every two weeks? What happened next?
It was an evolution. There was only me and my girlfriend Virginia publishing a newspaper which had to be written, events had to be reported on, distribution had to be arranged, as well as advertising, plus checking the newspaper at the printers. Then we evolved from a six pager almost immediately and after that we later became a weekly after our circulation grew throughout the country.
Did Cilla Black write for Mersey Beat before she became a singer?
Cilla only wrote a small fashion column in issue No.2. She had already been singing with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes and the Big Three. At least I gave her a showbiz name by mistakenly calling her Cilla Black in an article I wrote about her in Issue No. 1. Her name was actually Cilla White
What was your first impressions of seeing the Beatles at the Jacaranda club?
I had been booking them for our art colleges dances before their Jacaranda gigs, so I was already a fervent fan. The first time Stu played with them he showed me his new bass guitar in the room behind the canteen stage. I began plucking it until I noticed blood dripping on it, I’d been plucking the strings so hard it took the skin off my fingers! So I was always present when they played in the coal hole of the coffee bar. Cynthia and Dot Rhone were sitting on chairs directly in front of them holding broom handles to which the mics were attached. The Jacaranda is where I met my lifelong partner Virginia, who started Mersey Beat with me. We used to leave the Jacaranda to go to Streates to listen to the Liverpool poets–and regularly saw Paul and Dot and John and Cynthia necking in the doorways!
Do you remember The Beatles performing “The One After 909” in their early days? If so, how did it differ from the version that ended up on Let It Be and Let It Be Naked?
I heard so many of their performances, but can’t remember the difference.
Did you travel with The Beatles to the U.S.A. for their first visit? If so describe what it was like, just before, during, and after?
No. I was too busy producing Mersey Beat. If I’d gone to America it would have ceased publication. Besides, I could never afford it, not like publications such as Liverpool Echo, which sent their reporter George Harrison on the trip.
If you didn’t go, describe what was happening in Liverpool, just before, during, and after?
We had been experiencing every step of the Beatles evolution, but in those days when they were out of the country, we only received second-hand information. There was no system of TV contact between the USA and the UK because the system hadn’t been developed to link us across the Atlantic. The entire city of Liverpool was excited, but those young fans who had always supported them at all the Liverpool venues were saddened, because they knew they’d never really be able to see them again and listen to the music they used to play in local clubs. When they did their concert tours they played a standard 20 minute set with screaming fans blotting out the music, not like their hour long gigs around the ’Pool, chatting to the fans, taking their requests and producing a powerhouse sound that made the hair stand out on your neck. As John said, their best music was performing in Liverpool and Hamburg.
Do you have any particular stories about your time as press agent for the likes of The Kinks, The Hollies and Pink Floyd?
Far too many memories of all those bands I represented over an 18 year period. I loved all the artists I was press agent for and there were so many stories. I took Pink Floyd to the Radiophonics workshop in Maida Vale. This was part of the BBC and where the sounds for programs like “Dr. Who” were created. I knew the lads were interested in unique sounds, so I suggested they come along. They were fascinated as the radiophonics people were showing them interesting sound creations, such as what could be done amplifying a dripping tap.
Can you talk about Tracks and Idols magazine?
I’d begun to tire of being a press agent and the last artist I represented was Kim Wilde. I was approached by someone who wanted to produce a pop newspaper distributed throughout the Boots chain. I said that wouldn’t work, but a glossy colour magazine would–and we were able to ship out 450,000 a month. I also said a standard pop magazine wouldn’t work. I wanted it to be focused on albums, not singles. I also felt that the music scene was changing and there would be more interest in albums, particularly since the advent of the CD. It was the first magazine in Britain to focus on albums and I interviewed so many artists discussing their latest releases–Tina Turner, Barry Manilow, Meatloaf and dozens of others. The publishing group IPC got their hands on our demographical research and came out with Q. Then the people funding the paper didn’t give me the percentage promised, so I left to launch IDOLS: 20th Century Legends, a full color monthly on great legends from the Beatles and Elvis to James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. Virginia and I had the same problems we had with Mersey Beat–finance. However, one of the major newspaper groups in Britain agreed to work with me. I would produce the magazine each month and they would handle all advertising and distribution–the week before we were to come up with the first dummy image of a new style IDOLS, the owner of the newspaper group died in mysterious circumstances. As I’d ceased publishing while the negotiations took months to complete, I couldn’t bother re-starting it and spent the next decade writing features which were syndicated to 50 countries around the world.
Is Mersey Beat, the album you did for Parlophone still in print?
No. It was only released on vinyl and cassette. It was the only compilation at the time which contained Beatles tracks. It was a double album which I regard as the best collection of Mersey records so far released.
Are you in touch with Paul or Ringo?
No. I used to be in touch regularly when we were all in London, meeting them at the Speakeasy, Scotch of St James, the Revolution, with John giving me and Virginia lifts between clubs and my regular visits to Apple in Savile Row when I used to take members of the Beach Boys and spend time in Derek Taylor’s office listening to previews of their forthcoming releases. Last time I saw John was at the Speakeasy, same with George, last time I saw Ringo was at Tramp. Paul invited me to a couple of his Buddy Holly lunches, but I lost touch as I haven’t met up with many of the former groups I represented for decades. The only one I keep in touch with is Suzi Quatro.
Who are you still in touch with from The Beatles world?
I have always been in touch by e-mail and phone with numerous people from the Beatle world. I no longer kept in touch with Apple after Neil and Derek passed away and men in suits then took over.
Mersey Beat started publishing again in 2009. Prior to that, when was the last issue?
The original series ended in 1965. Brian Epstein wanted me to produce a national music magazine for him and I created Music Echo, but he interfered so much that I knew it could never succeed, so I left for Manchester and became manager of the Four Pennies.
Does Mersey Beat still publish?
Occasionally I’ll produce an issue with a particular theme. I did a couple of issues in association with the Liverpool Echo. I’m now working on a Mersey Beat magazine, basically ‘Mersey Beat Files’ with the history of the entire Mersey scene. I have also created a website
Can people buy any of the original editions of Mersey Beat from the 60s?
I am negotiating with a merchandising company to produce replica issues.
Do you have any books coming out in the United States?
The publishing industry has changed. Despite having had 25 books published without an agent, most major publishers will only deal with agents. I have five Beatles books covering angles not explored before. However, I have to find a publisher.
Any other projects?
Finding a company to license Mersey Beat merchandise, completing books, having a magazine Bill Harry’s Mersey Beatle to go online and working on several new projects.
Pele to Get Honorary Degree from Hofstra
Soccer icon Pele will receive an honorary degree from Hofstra University in April, according to a release from the school and the New York Cosmos, who play their games on campus at Shuart Stadium.
Pele is being recognized for his humanitarian work and contributions to the sport he dubbed as “the beautiful game.”
He starred on the Cosmos during the club’s heyday 40 years ago and is the club’s honorary president today.
His recognition will coincide with a conference being held at Hofstra called “Soccer as the Beautiful Game: Football’s Artistry, Identity & Politics.” Hundreds of journalists, scholars and soccer folk from around the world will be in Hempstead, N.Y. from April 10-13 to celebrate the game and Pele.
According to a release, the conference is being presented in collaboration with more than a dozen academic and sports institutions, including the Cosmos, the Consulates General of South Africa and Brazil in New York and the United States Soccer Federation, which last year celebrated its 100th anniversary.
“Pelé transformed and transcended the game of soccer,” said Hofstra President Student Rabinowitz, in a statement “While the world first came to know him for extraordinary athletic feats, his soccer career was, in many respects, simply a prelude to an extraordinary life of service as a philanthropist and advocate. He understands the power and responsibility his soccer legacy carries, and has used it to improve the lives of others.”
“A Big Fat Crisis” by Deborah A. Cohen, MD
You feel as though you might have to quit your job.
Yeah, you’re that desperate to get away from the treats that somebody’s been leaving in the break room. Nice gesture, but you’re totally incapable of resisting them and each bite ruins your diet.
It’s a point of shame that you have no willpower, but there may be more to your weight problem than lack of the word “no.” Find out by reading the new book “A Big Fat Crisis” by Deborah A. Cohen, MD, and cut yourself some slack.
It seems as though you can’t escape it: everywhere you look, you’re reminded to eat healthier, get active, and lose weight. But you also can’t escape the things that taste good but are bad for you, and sticking to Dietary Guidelines “is neither easy nor fun.” In fact, most of us don’t eat right and just five percent of us get the recommended amount of exercise.
But to say that we’re weak-willed is misleading, says Cohen. Most overweight people “appear to have plenty of self-control in most other areas of their lives.” They get to work on time, volunteer, pay bills, drive safely, and raise families. So why can’t they control what they eat?
The reason, Cohen says, is twofold: we’re hard-wired to eat, and we’re exploited by our “food environment.” The good news is that the latter – “point of purchase and point of consumption” - are changeable. First, though, we must understand “that an individual’s ability to resist overeating is limited when excess food is constantly available.” In other words, for myriad reasons, the more we try to control our appetites, the less we can avoid that extra donut or large O-rings.
The fixes are many: pay attention to what you eat; just seven extra calories a day will result in surprisingly big weight gain. Familiarize yourself with caloric content. Become aware of how marketing promotes overeating. And support government regulations on grocery stores and restaurants; after all, laws keep us safe from cholera and typhoid. They should be able to keep us safe from obesity, too.
So you say you need to lose ten pounds – but they’re kicking your (well-padded) butt? It might not be your fault, and “A Big Fat Crisis” tells you why but not without an extra helping of controversy.
On one side of the table, this book should be a big comfort to anyone who’s shamed by weight and temptation. Author Deborah A. Cohen, MD takes the onus off dieters by explaining that it may be genuinely true that they can’t help themselves. Cohen doesn’t let them totally off the hook, though; she still scolds, but not terribly harshly.
The controversy, however, lies in Cohen’s strongly-opinionated solutions. Specifically, restaurant owners, grocers, vendors, and retailers won’t like ‘em. Not one crumb.
Obviously, this isn’t your usual diet-and-exercise book. There are conversation-starters on every page here, and lots to think about. But if you’re concerned about obesity, eating right, and your family’s weight, “A Big Fat Crisis” might give you the skinny.
Islanders Bobblehead Wish List
It’s known around these parts that my bobblehead collection is a growing thing of beauty. It’s in the 200-plus range. When I travel, I purchase bobbleheads. When I go to games, I purchase tickets to bobblehead giveaway days. Recently I started writing to professional sports team marketing and business executives to pick their brains and consult on bobblehead giveaway ideas.
Many teams, especially in Major League Baseball, understand that a good bobblehead giveaway provides historical context, tells a story and sometimes is good enough to make news. The Dodgers, for example, gave away a Rick Monday American Flag Cubs bobblehead last year when Chicago came to town to honor their former player who happened to make history at Dodger Stadium while playing for the Cubs decades ago. He also played for the Dodgers, so there was a dual connection. This year the Twins are giving away a Lou Gehrig bobblehead on Fourth of July. Why? Because it’s the 75th Anniversary of Gehrig’s famous speech, which happened when the Yankees played the Washington Senators, who eventually became the Twins. It makes sense. It always does.
In the early 2000s, the New York Islanders were very progressive with bobblehead giveaways. They gave out dozens, from legends like Mike Bossy and Bobby Nystrom, to stars of the time like Kenny Jonsson and Alexei Yashin.
Unfortunately, the designs were very basic compared to the stadium giveaways of today. They’re all stubby and round, whereas today’s have actual individualized detail that will catch your eye and force you to appreciate it’s artistic value. I just picked up a Peter Laviolette bobble on eBay for $3.99 and it got me thinking. If the Islanders started giving away bobbleheads again, which five should they do immediately?
1. Bobby Nystrom game winning goal: May 24, 1980. 7:11 of overtime. You know all about it. Now let’s get a bobblehead where Nystrom either has his hands raised in celebration, or is fully jumping with his legs in the air as you see in many historic photographs of the moment.
2. Legends set: The Dodgers have been doing this a lot and it works. Put multiple players on one platform. For the Islanders, you’d expect a legendary lineup of Bossy, Nystrom, Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier.
3. Denis Potvin Stanley Cup: You could do any number of Islanders hoisting the Stanley Cup and the organization should consider it, but if you had to choose one player to hold Lord Stanley it hast to be Potvin. His legacy will forever shine bright as one of only a handful of players in NHL history to captain four straight Stanley Cup winners.
4. Ken Morrow 1980 dual bobble: I’d suggest releasing a bobblehead with Morrow wearing his 1980 Olympic Gold Medal and uniform on one side and him hoisting the Stanley Cup on the other.
5. Tavares Team Canada: I’ll give you one modern idea to chew on. This is very doable and you may even see this one day. A John Tavares bobblehead in Team Canada garb would be a hot item with international appeal.
2014 Mini Cooper
Starting price: $19,950
Published: Friday, February 14, 2014
Combining off-the-charts cuteness with a practically unrivaled ability to shoehorn itself into the meagerest of parking spaces, every new Mini Cooper I’ve driven in the last 10 years has been an official Great City Car. Each new model has proven itself a 4-wheeled bobber and weaver that looks swank, gets respect and maneuvers like a quick, giant metal mouse.
This test, however, took me to the shores of Puerto Rico, where I dumped my gear at The Ritz-Carlton at Dorado Beach and spent a day blasting through winding mountain roads like a kid driving a go-kart, stopping only for some coconut milk bought from a machete-wielding roadstand guy who sliced through a husk like so much jello. It was an exhilarating, fun day behind the wheel and the 2014 Mini carries forward the previous models’ place at the top of the premium small car segment.
You climb in, start off and you immediately get that feeling of a well-tailored suit—everything just fits, from seat to feel of the wheel to shifting and seeing behind you. The only gripe I have is the fairly long distance between pressing the accelerator and seeing any resulting action, with the result that I stalled frequently for the first 2 hours.
Things weren’t helped by the quiet of the engine, something some carlovers like but which I don’t as I like to hear as well as feel my engine. You can get around the accelerator numbness by giving it plenty of gas at each startup.
Two newly developed power units featuring MINI “TwinPower” Turbo Technology are available to choose from. The Mini Cooper has a 3-cylinder engine with a peak output of 134 horsepower. The 4-cylinder engine of the MINI Cooper S packs 189 hp. Another new feature is a standard 6-speed manual transmission, along with a 6-speed automatic transmission that is optionally available for all engines. Increased engine efficiency, extensive “minimalism” technology, optimized weight and enhanced aerodynamic properties go together to produce a reduction in fuel consumption. Seriously, you’ll get something like 30 MPG combined if you take it easy on the accelerator.
The Mini’s a retro winner with four tires placed squarely in today, and should be on your short list of great cars for beginning drivers, those of smaller stature or those who just love well-made machines.
For more information, visit the Mini website.
Like Father, (Not) Like Son: A Peek Inside The First Beers of Barrage Brewing Company
Adam Pominski hates beer. He’s consumed “exactly seven, and every single one tastes the same.”
Steve Pominski, his father, is owner and brewmaster of Farmingdale’s Barrage Brewing Company, the newest brewery on Long Island.
Steve likes beer. A lot.
After several roadblocks, which were eventually smackdowned by a $18,800-raised Kickstarter in 2013, Barrage Brewing opened on January 26. Adam has never swallowed a driblet of liquid from his father’s one-barrel brewery, but “helps a lot with the brewing, and also does all the logos and design work,” says Steve. “I couldn’t do this alone.”
Adam downplays his role at Barrage Brewing, however: “I’m a glorified janitor. I really just help out my dad with what he needs.”
Adam and Steve are both descendants of King Pominskian III, Duke of Barley, the first member of the Parliamentary House of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons of Hops.
King Pominskian, who created the House of Commons of Hops in 1743, was a gifted-ass brewer, and wanted an aristocratic platform to showcase his aptitude. He was eventually banished from Lord-dom in 1757, however, and executed in Wortsville Square.
He was allergic to beer.
Despite their differences on imbibery, Adam and Steve share the blood of King Pominskian and, thus, will always pulsate with the memory of his wrongful persecution.
They have vowed to honor him with Barrage Brewing. They will never forget.
To display their solidarity, Adam and Steve agreed to discuss Barrage Brewing’s first five beers for Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!
Fairytale Red Ale//5.6% ABV
Steve Pominski: “If anything, I would consider this our flagship. This is basically a traditional Irish red ale, but we made it a little hoppier. Traditionally an Irish red is usually very malty, and even has a little sourness to it from the grains being used. We decided to add some complexity with Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. It adds some floral notes to the beer, but it’s not a hop-bomb, or overly bitter.”
Adam Pominski: “Candy, or something light and sweet. I don’t know. The name doesn’t really evoke a strong taste, or anything manly. But from what I heard, it’s a very hoppy red ale.”
McLaughlin’s Folly//5.7% ABV
SP: “A buddy of mine, Scott McLaughlin, loves oatmeal raisin vanilla cookies. He also loves stouts, and asked me in 2011 if I could brew something that combined both. This is it. People can’t quite put their finger on the end flavor to it. They think it’s vanilla, but it’s actually the raisins. The raisins are pretty prominent. They have this odd flavor in beer, especially when they’re boiled in the wort. This was the first stout recipe we brewed for Barrage. I’d consider it a stout with light chocolate notes. The raisins and vanilla are the main flavors.”
AP: “It’s named for one of my dad’s friends. He’s a big and scary dude, so I would think this has to be really strong—like 190% ABV. But the irony is, a lot of people say it tastes like an oatmeal vanilla raisin cookie.”
SP: “I wanted to do a beer with only one hop variety, but I didn’t want this to be an IPA. This is basically a light-bodied American pale ale that’s easy to drink, in the vein of [Three Floyds Brewing Company] Gumbballhead and Zombie Dust. We didn’t use any hops in the boil, so it’s not overly bitter. It’s all in the aroma. It’s more of a grapefruit note than, say, lemon. Citra doesn’t automatically mean citrus.”
AP: “I’m guessing oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, or anything full of citrus. That’s somewhat wrong, apparently. Citra hops don’t necessarily impart citrusy notes. Didn’t know that.”
Famous Last Words//11.0% ABV
SP: “This is our Russian imperial stout, which was originally named Alexander’s Prohibition Stout for my grandfather, who used to brew beer in his bathtub during Prohibition. He lived in the Greenpoint area of Brooklyn. It’s a huge beer, meaning thick and chocolatey, with a lot of coffee flavor. We actually use a small amount of coffee in the boil. The grain bill for this beer is tremendous—probably 130 pounds per barrel. We’re right at the top of the mash tun. We also age this beer with oak staves. I feel like the bourbon barrels were getting too gimmicky. I guess because it’s so thick and chocolatey, you don’t get any hint of alcohol to it. There isn’t any burn. It costs a ton to brew, but it came out just the way I was hoping. It’s perfect.”
AP: “I only know what my dad told me about him: He used to cook up beer or moonshine in the bathtub. This is a Russian imperial stout, so I assume its just very strong chocolate milk. Almost as if Johnny Walker, Yoo-Hoo, and Nyquil had a threesome. That’ll knock your ass out.”
Necromancer Double IPA//7.0% ABV
SP: “A necromancer controls lost souls, so I wanted the name to represent how we’re controlling the hop souls in this beer. It’s our only double IPA, but it’s hoppiness is mild—only a light hop aroma. It’s brewed with honey, too, which cuts through the bitterness. This is our newest beer to come out. It just debuted [on February 09].”
AP: “I just imagine that when you drink it, you need to be sitting in a chalk-drawn ritual circle, reading from some book of the dead. Other then that, I assume it tastes like bones and dirt, with a touch of honey.”
Long Island’s own in Sochi
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014
There are 25 Olympians with ties to New York competing in Sochi this year and four are from Long Island.
Smithtown’s John Daly, 28, is the veteran of the group, competing in his second Olympic games after finishing 17th in the 2010 Vancouver Games as a skeleton racer.
Matt Mortensen, 28, of Huntington Station will compete in the luge for the first time, along with fellow Long Island native Aidan Kelly, 19, from West Islip.
Devin Logan, 20, who was born in Oceanside but grew up in Vermont, is a skier who will compete in the new slopestyle event.
Mortensen tweeted a photo last week with Daly and Kelly that made its way around social media circles.
“New York has a long and proud tradition of being home to Winter Olympians, and this year is no exception,” said Gov. Cuomo said in a release last week. “These 25 elite competitors will be representing both the state and the nation in the most prestigious sporting event in the world, and we are honored to call them New Yorkers. I wish all the athletes the best of luck and look forward to watching their incredible feats in the coming weeks.”
Four Isles flex Olympic muscles
As the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi you’ll have to wait a few days until hockey begins. This year Islanders fans can root for a number of countries besides their beloved Team USA.
The farther Canada and Austria go, the longer you’ll have a chance to watch John Tavares (Canada), Thomas Vanek (Austria) and Michael Grabner (Austria).
“It’s a huge honor and was a goal and dream of mine as a kid,” said Tavares in a story in this month’s Islanders game day program. “Watching four years ago I wanted to give myself the opportunity to play for my country and win a gold medal. There are a lot of emotions and to receive the call is pretty special. It’s so much all at once, you just try to grasp it all.”
The Islanders video and public address staff paid tribute to the team’s Olympians as well as the Olympians competing on the Colorado Avalanche during the team’s final home game before the Olympic break on Saturday.
“It’s an honor to play for your country, especially on a stage like this,” said Vanek. “For us, it’s fun to be there. We have a tough task ahead of us. It comes down to goaltending and we’ll have to play smart, but we have some guys in the lineup that can make plays. Are we going to be huge underdogs?
We will be, but we have to play smart.”
Lubomir Vishnovsky was selected to his fifth Olympic games for Team Slovakia, but was not cleared to participate after Islanders doctors evaluated him following the Islanders’ final game before the Olympic break Saturday against Colorado, according to a release from the team. He missed 45 of 60 regular season games so far this season due to a concussion.
“I’m honored to have been selected to represent Slovakia at the Sochi Games,” Visnovsky said in a release. “I’m disappointed that I will not have this opportunity to compete for my country, but respect the decision the Islanders have made. I’m excited to watch Team Slovakia compete throughout the next two weeks and wish them all the best.”
The men’s Olympic hockey schedule kicks off Wednesday in Sochi. Canada opens up against Norway on Thursday, while Austria plays Finland the same day.
“The Longest Date: Life as a Wife” by Cindy Chupack
Image courtesy of Viking
Your calendar looks like Swiss cheese.
Every week, nearly every entry, there are holes where there should be events. Blanks where fun should be penned in. Emptiness where there should be excitement.
Your six-year-old neighbor has a better social life than yours: she has play dates all the time. You haven’t dated in eons. But read “The Longest Date” by Cindy Chupack, and you’ll see that these things just take time.
Ever the romantic, Cindy Chupack says that, while single, she “slept only with men I believed I could marry.” She won’t – can’t - say how many men that was, but “[a]lcohol was often involved.”
Oh, sure, she’d been married before but it didn’t work out – mostly because, two years postnuptial, her then-husband realized “he might be gay.” Chupack was nonetheless hopeful for Happily Someday After, which is why it was nice to meet Ian.
Ian was cute and impulsive in a fun way; the kind of guy who stayed in touch with old girlfriends and was “definitely more of a bad boy than I had ever dated.” Chupack told herself not to fall for him. She knew his type. Ian wasn’t “that guy.”
But he was, and she made room for him in her “Fabulous Beach House,” though it irked her that Ian “would come with things” for which she also needed to make room. He came with far-fetched dreams, outrageous holiday rituals, and friends she’d have to spend time with, too.
Still, she married him… and came home from the honeymoon, pregnant.
Realizing that she wanted children badly, Chupack was happy - until she miscarried her honeymoon baby, and then she lost another. Fearing that she was “too old” to get pregnant again, she and Ian tried nearly everything modern medicine had to offer (and some things it didn’t). They also fought, made up, got a dog, renewed their vows annually, and learned to be marriage partners long before they’d ever need to learn to be parents.
“Maybe fictional characters live happily ever after,” says Chupack, “but for the nonfictional rest of us, the story continues with a lot more complexity…”
What’s it like to be a wife?
Author Cindy Chupack says in her introduction that she “wanted to tell the honest, horrible, hysterical truth about the early years of marriage.”
But I think “The Longest Date” missed the mark.
Now, I have to admit that there are a few chuckles here and there in this book. Not belly-laugh stuff but yeah, it’s comedic. What I saw more of, however, was an abundance of heels-dug-in fussing and angst-y, cynical wisecracks. That can be amusing but it can also be annoying, and the latter is what won this race in my eyes.
The reason to read this book lies in the parts not intended for humor. That’s where Chupack does absolute magic in her story – but is it enough? That would depend on what you want in a book: some readers might find “The Longest Date” to be perfect, while others might think it too cheesy.
Valentine Banana-Chip Pancake
Published: Friday, February 07, 2014
What better way to show your family some LOVE than with a healthy & sweet Valentine’s breakfast? Since I am one to never opt out the flavor, upon my daughter’s request, we mashed up some bananas on their last legs and added some chocolate chip. (It is Valentine’s Day after all) We finished it up with some fiber-rich ingredients and a drizzle of warm maple syrup.
• 2 cup white whole wheat flour (my new obsession; lighter tasting than pure whole wheat, with the same nutritional benefits)
• 2 ripe bananas
• ¼ cup chocolate chips
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup low-milk + more if needed
• 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
• 2 large eggs beaten
• warm maple syrup for topping
• vegetable or canola oil for pan
1.) Using a potato masher, mash bananas in a small bowl.
2.) Add eggs, milk, apple sauce & vanilla to the bowl and whisk.
3.) In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and chocolate chips.
4.) Add to dry mixture and stir until it turns into a batter. (Add more water or milk in necessary)
5.) Heat and brush canola oil onto a griddle pan.
6.) Gently pour the pancake batter onto the pan into circles. Wait for each to bubble and flip.
7.) Drizzle with warm syrup and garnish with extra banana slice and couple chocolate chips.
2014 Dodge ProMaster
Base price: $28,630
Normally, vans wouldn’t have a place in an Auto Gigolo Pulse column, what with their association with 70s hedonists, stinky musicians and hitchhikers who won’t accept a ride in one. But when a ride rocks, it rocks and we’re gonna tell you all about it.
Forget the fetid, rattling, box-like love machines of yore. The ProMaster is both swank and swift. Others have poked fun at its Kermit-like positioning of headlights above the bumper, lending it the appearance of being permanently shocked, but many found its face endearing, and its carved, masculine yards of metal stem to stern make it a singular looker. And is there anything, in our packed-to-the-gills world of houses, garages, closets and cars, more pleasing to see than a completely empty anything? Open the rear or side doors of the ProMaster and its an artist’s canvas.
Plant rows of seats back there and cart a mob off to a rock concert, picnic, rave or what-have-you. Install plush leather seats, a high-end sound system and a fridge and you’ve got a higher-end partymobile than anyone driving a VW minibus could ever dream of.
It’s also front-wheel-drive job snowpuncher available in no less than 14 trims ranging from the 1500, 2500 and 3500. With a maximum payload of 5145 pounds, you can haul a blue whale calf in the interior if need be, too.
To cement the charms of the ProMaster in your mind, its only competitor is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which has gone unchallenged since its introduction in 2001. Nissan’s NV-series comes close, but it’s just not in the same league.
For more information, trims, options and pricing, go to the Ram website.
The Beatles Invade America
Interview with Jeremy Clyde of Chad & Jeremy/Fest for Beatlefans Preview/LI Events
Published: Thursday, February 06, 2014
© Apple Corps Ltd.
As a supplement to our Beatles Ed Sullivan 50th anniversary article in the February issue, this is the first in a series of articles that will appear throughout the month of February to continue our Beatles anniversary coverage.
The Fest for Beatles Fans celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The East Coast Fest usually happens in the spring in New Jersey, but this year it will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Manhattan on February 7-9, to coincide with the Sullivan anniversary. Each year, the Fest features musical guests, a dance party, special exhibitions, interviews and much more. This year, along with such authors as Mark Lewisohn and Bruce Spizer and former Beatles secretary Freda Kelly (the subject of a new film), there will be many musical guests. Musical guests already booked are Donovan, Peter Asher, the Smithereens, Mark Hudson and Mark Rivera. Also of special musical interest is Billy J. Kramer, who lives part of the year on Long Island and who will be debuting material from his upcoming album I Won The Fight, his first album in 30 years. New York’s own Bambi Kino will also be playing at the Fest’s special “Cavern Club”. In addition, there will be a tribute to the late Sid Bernstein, also from New York; a photo exhibit featuring Bob Gruen, another New Yorker who figures prominently in Beatles history; and an appearance by the beloved New York radio legend Cousin Brucie.
One of the other musical headliners is the group Chad & Jeremy. The 60s British duo scored seven top-40 hits, including their biggest hit “A Summer Song”. Like Peter & Gordon, the group’s Everly Brothers-inspired harmonies and lush British pop production made them favorites at home and in America. The group’s unmistakable sound remains eerily the same. Jeremy Clyde, one half of the group, spoke to Pulse about the enduring influence of the Beatles, the British Invasion sound and much more.
LIP: Are you surprised that there is still so much interest in the music of the Beatles?
JC: I’m not at all surprised that the music of the Beatles has lasted. In fact I can remember that we all thought so at the time. There was that astonishing moment when you rushed home with their newest album and then played it again & again, hearing more amazing things each time.
LIP: How much of a direct influence were the Beatles on Chad & Jeremy?
JC: We were all in awe of their abilities. Perhaps C&J were less influenced than some others, coming from a folk[ish] background. That said, I wrote a couple of songs in the mid-sixties that have a definite Beatley feel. For those that are interested, check out “What Do You Want With Me.”
LIP: It would seem that along with the Motown sound, the British Invasion sound is the most loved genre of popular music since the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Are you surprised at the resurgent interest of the British Invasion sound?
JC: I’m not quite certain what a British Invasion Sound is exactly. And I think that a younger generation hears old stuff without the cultural baggage that I associate with records of a certain era. For example, what is now termed Lounge Music I hear as over arranged and sugary, but is now viewed as the height of sophistication by the younger crowd. That said, the two guitars bass and drums band will always be with us. And that is pure 60s.
LIP: Chad & Jeremy were not from Liverpool, but was there any kinship felt with the Liverpool groups?
JC: Musicians are musicians wherever they come from. I can remember hanging with the Hollies, from Manchester I think, also in the north of England. But Liverpool has its own sense of self, its own “Scouser” sense of identity that is denied the rest of us. I have friends from there and it never leaves them.
LIP: What were Chad & Jeremy’s first experiences meeting the Beatles?
JC: I first met Paul through my pal Peter Asher. We used to hang out in the attic room of their tall house in, I think, Wimpole Street when Paul was with Jane [Asher]. Later, Chad met John a couple of times in LA. But I’ll let him tell the story when we do the show.
LIP: Did the Beatles ever offer Chad & Jeremy any particular songs?
JC: No. Instead, a certain Peter Asher got in there, just because he had a cute sister. Much grinding of teeth.
LIP: Obviously Chad & Jeremy were very influenced by the Everly Brothers. Was there ever any talk with the Beatles about the influence the Everly Brothers also had on their careers?
JC: I don’t remember any particular conversations. They were just there…giants, like Buddy Holly, like Elvis. And they all lived in this wonderful land of plenty called America, somewhere we’d never get to. Funny how it worked out.
LIP: Given that Peter & Gordon were also obviously influenced by the Everly Brothers and Peter Asher became a record producer, was there ever any talk of him producing Chad & Jeremy?
JC: It never came up, possibly because Chad and I were breaking up at the time Peter was getting into producing. I used to drop into Apple to see what he was up to. But I was doing a play in London’s West End at the time. Later, I went over to Peter’s place to hear a new discovery of his, one James Taylor. An evening to remember.
LIP: I saw the show Chad & Jeremy did with Peter & Gordon in New York some years back and the four of you came out and performed together. Did the four of you ever do that in the 1960s?
JC: No, we never actually performed together, which is strange, looking back. I used to hang out at the Pickwick Club where they performed and I remember listening to them rehearsing. When we were signed by John Barry we left our regular gig at Tina’s Bar and they wanted a replacement. And of course we suggested Peter & Gordon. We never thought that within a year we would both be in the charts. And being confused with one another, for that matter.
LIP: With the new Chad & Jeremy recordings from the past few years it would seem like a complete re-birth. What are your future plans?
JC: Amazingly, we’re doing three tours this year, so that doesn’t look like retirement. And we can still handle the high notes. So keep on keeping on, I guess. As long as people still want to hear us. Fifty years, eh? Surely some mistake…..
Here are some other upcoming Beatles 50th anniversary events:
On February 8, 2014, Long Island Beatles tribute band Mostly Moptop will present The Fab ’64 Show, at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center at Five Towns College. The concert will feature music from Meet The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night and Beatles for Sale. 7:30pm. Tickets are $35, $30 and $25.
It Was 50 Years Ago Today at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Ed Sullivan appearance on February 7-9. On February 7th at 8pm will be Legends: The Beatles with archivist and filmmaker Joe Lauro, presenting an evening of the group on film. Tickets are $15 for general seating. On Saturday, February 8th at 8pm check out Celebrating the Beatles with Inda Eaton, Gene Casey, Corky Laing, Mama Lee & Rose, Joe Delia, Dawnette Darden, Joe Lauro, Caroline Doctorow, Jim Turner, and Jewlee. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the show. Both are general seating and include a glass of house wine for adults. The evening is hosted by Cynthia Daniels (host of Monk Music Radio). On Sunday, February 9th at 7pm will be The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, featuring the complete February 9th broadcast and rare film of The Beatles’ first visit. Tickets are $5 for general seating. For all three nights, Bay Street is offering a Fab 4 Fan Pass for $40.
Other Long island-based Beatles events include the Beatles tribute band the Fab Four at the Paramount in Huntington on February 8th. At the NYCB Theater in Westbury on February 8th and 9th will be All You Need Is Love: A Beatles Tribute Concert. On February 23rd, the multi-media tribute show Rain will be at the Tilles Center in Brookville.
The Dissection of Anheuser-Busch InBev & Blue Point Brewing Company: Part I
I witnessed a slew of sludge-filled hateballs catapulted toward Patchogue, following the announcement of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s acquisition of Blue Point Brewing Company.
SPLAT. KERPLUNCHT. SPLAT.
I wanted to wait until additional details unfolded, initially, but the buildup of sludge—particularly on Facebook—was grotesque, and too stenchy to ignore. It smelled terrible.
I’ll provide some examples:
“This is awful news.”
“One of my favorite beer companies sold out to the big man.”
“I suspect they’ll close the Patchogue location and consolidate.”
“Toasted Lager Lite?”
“Ready for cheap concentrated blueberry juice added to a cheap lager to replace the blueberry ale?”
The sludgery continued…
“i’m never supporting them again.”
“Time to buy BP brews while the recipe is still unadulterated. Best wishes.”
“Blue Point…say it ain’t so…”
Seriously? You’re selling glassware?
Everyone. Please. Stop.
The New York Times wrote “Terms of the deal between Blue Point and the United States arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev were not disclosed,” so presently, we can only speculate.
MUST WE ALSO SPECU-HATE, THOUGH?
We could explore a probably-similar transaction, such as Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Goose Island Beer Company in 2011, or Duvel Moortgat’s gimme-takey of Boulevard Brewing Company in 2013. We could also criticize Blue Point’s now-ironic prank on April’s Fool Day in 2011—a jab at Anheuser-Busch and Goose Island—announcing its alliance with MillerCoors, another conglomo-brewery.
...or we could just Wait N’ Stop Da Hate.
Blue Point, which opened in 1998, is an iconic institution on Long Island. This is undeniable. And I expected post-announcement disappointment from Long Islanders, because on Long Island, Blue Point is not a brewery, but a deity—a holy and cherished emblem of local.
Anheuser-Busch, conversely, is not an emblem of local. It is faceless, and the producer of Budweiser, once an enemy of Blue Point’s flagship, Toasted Lager.
...but now the enemies are allies.
Long Island feels betrayed. Confused. Abandoned. It’s unfair to assume the death of Blue Point, however, or expect the creation of Toasted Lager Lite. A commercial with Mark Burford and Pete Cotter, riding a pair of Versace-hoofed Budweiser Clydesdales?
The initial opinions—no, judgments—were harsh and premature. As I witnessed a slew of sludge-filled hateballs catapulted toward Patchogue, I wanted to disintegrate-by-deathray them, because Blue Point deserves better. After 16 years of brewing on Long lsland, which will continue under the ownership of Anheuser-Busch, Blue Point deserves our support. They’ve earned it.
I’ll depart with a quote from Jim Richards, brewer at Blue Point, via Facebook:
“Ok so everyone has seen the news Bp has been bought. I am very sad to see such venom and hate being thrown around. Mark and Pete built Bp from nothing and has earned everything they have gotten. This is only going to make us stronger. It will still be Armchair, Eric and me rocking out the brewhouse. We just now have more support and resources at our disposal. This will allow us to do more for our patrons…I will have the ability to make more high quality beer and have some amazing people teaching me more and helping me and the rest our staff evolve into better brewers. It has always been about the beer and always will be. As I said I am just kind of hurt by all negative response. I truly love Blue Point and love the beers we make and all the people I have met by having the honor of brewing our beer.”
STAY TUNED FOR PART II
Industrial Strength Vanity
Published: Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Is this not one of the most trying winters as far back as many of us can remember? What is Mother Nature’s problem? My loyalty as a Long Islander is being tested; I am ready to permanently relocate to a tropical destination. However, until that occurs, we have to battle it out. Our moods, physical condition and appearance can all take a hit from the gloomy side of winter. Specifically, our skin takes quite a bit of it and there are ways we can enforce our skin’s ability to be more resilient. I am not talking expensive French serums in pipettes, I am referring to the more modest products with squeeze tube delivery systems and glass jars.
Aquaphor & Cracked Lips
I do not think it would have been possible to keep my lips kissable without this magic salve. Aquaphor is typically used as a healing ointment and protective barrier for wounds, but I have another great use for it. Who here wakes up in the morning and smiles immediately because you are cheerful and genuinely a happy person? I smile as I materialize these words because I am one of them and this leads me to my point. Often in the winter our lips dry out over night and painfully crack and split in the morning. To avoid this very uncomfortable scenario, before bed, take enough of the ointment so that it coats your lips, smear it in until it is mostly absorbed, and the rest will absorb on its own overnight. The next morning feel free to be all teeth because there will be no stinging torment. Some of you may already do this and it is nothing new. Aquaphor does make a lip ointment, but I prefer the classic formula because it comes in a much larger supply and I think it is thicker in texture which is better to create a protective barrier.
Virgin Coconut Oil & Dry Skin
Open your kitchen cabinets and take out this super food. Thanks to a friend who is big on clean eating, I found this powerful remedy. Virgin coconut oil has been creating a huge buzz in the food industry based on its limitless nutrition benefits, but it is not just for cooking. Throughout this season I have been approached by numerous women about their dry skin. I have been told that their makeup is good for about two hours, they have all the best products and nothing is working and even more concerning is that their skin is so dry it’s painful. It is no surprise to hear this being that humidity level is on par with the temperature - sub zero. Replenishing the moisture in our skin, especially during the winter months is vital, and I urge you to give this a try. Coconut oil has a historically long standing reputation for healing major skin concerns such as eczema and rosacea, even before all the research. According to studies, the saturated fat and nutrients in the oil are excellent for intense nourishment and quickly repairing dry damaged skin. You can find virgin coconut oil at health foods stores and nutrition shops. Take a dime sized amount and gently massage into your face or anywhere on the body, it will melt with your body heat.
Even though the above products are great for the most sensitive of skin types and can be applied directly on wounds, always check the ingredients and make sure there are no allergies. Very often we overlook certain items because we are simply not educated on the entire scope of benefits, or it is not advertised for certain uses. If dry lips and skin are a concern for you, then give these a try. I am sure you will be impressed and satisfied with the results.
Isles iced in Stadium Series
Published: Monday, February 03, 2014
Put aside the weather, because it was cold. Forget the horrendous performance by CeeLo Green, because it was bad. And Islanders fan, for a second, don’t worry about the outcome and 2-1 loss to your rival Rangers.
Playing a hockey game at Yankee Stadium sounds great. It’s a fun idea that most, if not all, fans embraced. Rightfully so.
Watching the other Stadium Series game at Dodgers Stadium between Los Angeles and Anaheim on television was remarkable. The Blackhawks game at Soldier Field should be equally as exciting.
Even with the success of the Winter Classic and the Heritage Classic, there still seems to be room for more novelty by way of outdoor contests. The possibilities are endless; games at Busch Stadium, at Target Field in Minnesota, maybe even in Miami one day if the NHL wants to get real wild. It works.
They’re making money and fans leave happy.
Yankee Stadium isn’t known to be cavernous, but when your focal point is an ice rink, which is smaller then a baseball field, there are some viewing pleasures that are lost in translation.
Seats behind home plate that would normally cost thousands, were probably the worst in the house to watch the Isles and Rangers square off. It was a role reversal, where the best seats were, in fact, up top.
The sound quality for fan chants was weak also. Islanders’ fans are used to their cheers bouncing off the old walls of the Nassau Coliseum. Even when there is low attendance at a game that the Islanders are losing, the applause and cheers following a goal are seemingly loud. That wasn’t the case at the Stadium Series game.
Aside from Brock Nelson’s goal, you couldn’t hear a loud ovation. It was rare to hear a full “Let’s Go Islanders” chant, or even “Let’s Go Rangers” for that matter.
Also forget hearing the puck and sticks hitting the ice and boards. That sound was lost and drained out long before it reached the stands.
Two games in one week at Yankee Stadium seemed excessive. There’s another beautiful ballpark in the next borrow and Citi Field is craving a hockey game at this point. There was some mild news about Citi Field officials hoping to secure an NHL game in the future following the contest.
I’ll see your Citi Field game – because seriously it would be wonderful and make total sense – and raise you a Stadium Series or Winter Classic at MetLife Stadium also.
Biggio gets inducted to Ted Williams Hall of Fame
It’s not Cooperstown, but it’s still an honor. Long Island native Craig Biggio, who fell two votes shy of induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame earlier last month, was inducted to the Ted Williams Hitters Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. last weekend.
Biggio, who grew up in and played baseball at Kings Park, played 20 big league seasons with the Houston Astros. He has 3,060 career hits and was a lifetime .281 hitter with 668 doubles, 291 home runs, 1,175 RBI and 1,161 walks.
Biggio received 74.8 percent of the necessary 75 percent of voters for induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
More notes on Biggio (from Astros.com)
-His 668 doubles are the most in Major League history by a right-handed hitter and rank fifth all-time among all hitters.
-Biggio also holds the NL record for career leadoff home runs with 53 and the modern Major League record for being hit by a pitch with 285.
-He is also one of just 14 players in ML history to reach both 3,000 hits and 1,000 extra-base hits, and is the only player in MLB history to reach all four of the following milestones: 600 doubles, 250 homers, 3,000 hits and 400 stolen bases.
-Biggio was a seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, and is the only player in MLB history to be named an All-Star at both catcher and second base.
About the Ted Williams Hall of Fame (from the hall’s website)
Fans can view an array of different artifacts and pictures of the “Greatest hitter that ever lived.” These memorable displays range from Ted Williams’ days in the military through his professional playing career. This museum is dedicated to some of the greatest players to ever “lace ‘em up,” including Willie Mays, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Sadaharu Oh.
“Confessions of a Wild Child” by Jackie Collins
Oh, the things you got away with when you were a teen!
Cutting classes and hanging out in the school parking lot. Sneaking out of the house when your parents thought you were asleep, parties when they weren’t home, “borrowing” their car, busting curfew, stupid stuff you hope your kids never do.
You got away with a lot. It’s a good thing your mother never knew.
Then again, as you’ll see in “Confessions of a Wild Child” by Jackie Collins, she probably did the same things when she was a kid.
Almost-fifteen-year-old Lucky Santangelo was tired of being in prison.
Ever since her mother was murdered ten years prior, Lucky’s father, Gino, kept Lucky and her brother, Dario, locked in their posh Bel Air mansion. They weren’t allowed to go anywhere unchaperoned, though Lucky was good at sneaking out. Outwitting Gino was fun - until the day he informed her that she was being shipped to a “very expensive” boarding school in Switzerland.
As it turned out, it wasn’t the worst thing that ever happened. Eager to find out about boys and sex, Lucky and her boarding school roommate escaped every night, biked into town, drank, and played a game Lucky called “Almost.” It was a fun, empowering game in which she “almost” lost her virginity to several local boys.
Kicked out of the Swiss school for “Almost,” Lucky was sent to a different school in Connecticut but she didn’t stay long: her former roomie, a Greek heiress named Olivia, invited Lucky to the south of France . It was easy to get there. It was even easier to forget to tell Gino where she was.
Caught once again, Lucky was dragged to Las Vegas , where Gino told her that he’d figured out how to tame her. As much as she wanted to walk in her father’s footsteps and go into business, Lucky wasn’t destined to run the Santangelo Empire. No, that would be Dario’s future. For Lucky, marriage and babies were inevitable.
And Gino Santangelo believed that was that.
But if he thought he had a wild child before, he hadn’t seen anything yet…
Every once in awhile, I get in the mood for a good trashy novel and, really, you can’t beat a book by author Jackie Collins. You can’t. Still, there are bumps and bruises inside “Confessions of a Wild Child.”
It’s often hard, first of all, for an adult to write in the voice of a young teenager, and the first few pages of this book reflect it: Lucky sounds like a middle-aged woman. That bump passes quickly, but occasionally returns; there are also light continuity errors in here, and some preening repetition. Turn up the heat, though, and you’ve got a story that has its flaws but is, overall, a delightfully guilty pleasure.
Though Lucky is a teenager in this book, this is an escapist-novel for adults. If you’re looking, in fact, for something to take on that mid-winter vacation, “Confessions of a Wild Child” is a great book to get away with.
2014 Jeep Cherokee
Base price: $29,495/As tested: $36,120
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Some complain the newly redesigned Cherokee is as much of a “Jeep” as “Psycho” character Norman Bates was a “woman.” They’re right on both counts. The Cherokee sure as hell isn’t my Dad’s 1960 Willys, capable of towing a blue whale out of the ocean if you winched it up, but it’s hard not to love a machine that disregards snow the way a cat disregards a hundred dollar bill if you put it down next to an open can of tuna. Long Island was, in both December and January, pulverized by monstrous snowstorms that dumped, depending on where you were, 9 or so inches of white stuff onto the ground, followed by a vicious chill , but my Cherokee simply drove over the drifts or punched through them like so much jello. It also, unlike the Willys, doesn’t make much noise, its heater works and it gets a decent 20 or so miles to the gallon, making it a win-win test.
The inside is plush, and the vehicle’s got a little, not a lot of power. There’s a slight hesitation in the controls, especially during acceleration and when rapidly shifting forward-reverse-forward-reverse when parking. My test model was the tricked-out, top-of-the-line Trailhawk, but you can opt for lesser trims with 4 cylinders and still get by, as well as spending less money. The base 4-wheel drive system, called Active Drive 1, will get you out of drifts and through the mud. Active Drive II gives you low-range gears, enabling you to ford streams and tackle off-road terrain.
In case you don’t know what you’re doing when going off road, which includes most or all of us, Jeep provides with its 4WD Cherokees a system called a Selec-Terrain, giving you the choice of “Auto,” “Sport,” “Snow,” “Mud/Ruts” and “Rocks.” (“Rocks” is available on Trailhawks only.) A nine-speed transmission is seamless, and you feel suitably safe when sharing the road with bigger galoots whizzing by you.
Lookswise, the Cherokee has a forward-looking, predatory front giving the appearance of motion even when parked. That’s where most of the purist complaints occur, but the update didn’t bother me, and it wouldn’t bother you either if you were trying to find your way home like Nanook of the North and you had this ride. If you want a rugged chariot that can go anywhere and do anything but isn’t as big as a house, this is it.
For more information/specs/trims, visit Jeep.com’s Cherokee page.
LI native Tice back on NFL sideline
Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014
It wouldn’t be a normal NFL season without Mike Tice coaching in the league. He’s back on the sideline after a year of dormancy and he’ll be the new offensive line coach for the Atlanta Falcons.
A Central Islip High alum, Tice has coached for 17 years in the NFL and was last with the Chicago Bears in 2011 and 2012.
He was an associate head coach with the Jaguars (2006-2009) and was a player and coach with the Vikings for the 14 seasons prior, eventually working his way up to head coach of the organization.
Tice has been assessing NFL prospects for the upcoming draft and studying his current roster.
“I think we have to learn how to finish better,” Tice said in an interview with ESPN.com. “I think we have to have our young guys take a big step and improve, and they will. And really, I just want to make sure that they’re playing the game with bad intentions. Nastiness is created by work habits. And work habits create that great finish. And that great finish creates people saying, ‘Gosh, they’re tough.’ They’re only talking about their finish when they say they’re tough.”
“The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian” by Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RD
That sound you heard a few minutes ago? That’s your stomach, rumbling.
Yep, you’re hungry. Ready for chow. Wanting something salty, sweet, crunchy (sound good?) smooth, chewy, tasty. For sure, you know what you don’t want—but you’re not sure if your parents will play along. So read “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian” by Rachel Meltzer Warren, MS, RD, and find out how you can fill your plate with nutrition that fills you up.
Okay. You’ve decided that you don’t want to eat meat anymore. You’ve undoubtedly got your reasons; for Warren, it was because she couldn’t stop thinking about where meat comes from.
Whatever your convictions for going vegetarian, you want to know how to do it right but giving up meat doesn’t mean, um, going cold turkey. You can be “veg-curious,” just dipping your toe into the lifestyle. You can be a “Red Head” who wants to start eating more veggies and less meat; a “Pescetarian” who eats fish, a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian who eats dairy and eggs, or a vegan who avoids all animal products. You could also be an “ethical carnivore.” The thing to remember is that you’re allowed to change your mind. Daily, if you want.
You’ve probably already figured out that your new mealtime habits will be questioned. Your parents might worry about how you’ll get proper nutrition, vitamins, and minerals. Your friends might think it’s weird. You’ll have to explain to your grandma a hundred times why you can’t eat her famous chili again.
But that’s where this book helps: protein (probably the number-one topic of concern), minerals, and vitamins are already in vegetables; you just have to know the right combinations. You’ll also need to know how to read nutrition labels, because meat products often sneak into other foods. And to prove that vegetarianism isn’t weird or to show that yummy chili doesn’t require meat, why not try some mouth-watering, crowd-pleasing vegetarian recipes? Some of them are found at the end of this book.
Above all, Warren says, stick with your ideals but “be polite.” Know what you’re eating, know where it comes from, and do your research. And be proud of what you’re doing. It’s good for the environment—and good for you!
Looking for a basic intro to eliminating meat from your diet? You’ll find it in “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian,” but there’s a lot of repetition to slog through to get it.
That’s not to say that I didn’t like this book—because I did. It’s got humor, nutritional information, tips, and encouragement inside it, as well as argument-busters and a good section on eating disorders. It’s also got a huge section of recipes but the nitty-gritty of this book, the solid info, is too brief— especially when you consider the reiteration.
Still, if it’s basic you want, basic is what your 11-to-16-year-old reader will get here. If she wants to make a change, “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian” is a book she might be hungry for.
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Grapefruit, Fennel & Kale
Published: Monday, January 27, 2014
If there is such a thing as “too healthy” this dish may just be it! Heart healthy salmon, fiber-enriched kale, vitamin C filled grapefruit and a garnish of avocado (which I’ve been told is one of the only foods that humans can sustain on solely for the rest of their lives). However, the best part of this well-rounded meal is the flavor combination. The savory veggies with the tangy fruit and hearty salmon are literally like a dream come true. Try it and see what I mean! Please!
3 pieces center-cut fresh salmon pieces (about 1 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic or one large clove minced
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of one half grapefruit + sections to garnish
1 fennel bulb sliced thinly
1 shallot sliced thinly
1 bunch kale cleaned, torn and stems removed
Sliced avocado to garnish
1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.) In a small bowl mix together garlic, mustard, honey, grapefruit juice and champagne vinegar.
3.) Lightly spray a small foiled lined baking sheet.
4.) Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon salt and ground pepper.
5.) Toss shallot & fennel with the vinaigrette mixture.
6.) Lay salmon on pan and toss the shallot and fennel in between.
7.) Bake for 10-12 minutes until fish is opaque in the center.
8.) During the last few minutes of the salmon cooking time toss the kale with remaining salt, pepper and olive oil and layer on top of the salmon. It should just crisp up.
9.) Serve with sliced avocado and grape fruit sections.
Bronze Radio Return bring Up, On & Over to The Bowery Ballroom
Published: Friday, January 24, 2014
Smoke in the sky and fire in the air
Desire burns between them
One big push is gonna get you there
It takes a stronger eye to see them…
Lead your way, keep on strong
Moving everyday, going further on
From “Further On” by Bronze Radio Return
You may have heard the music of Bronze Radio Return on American Idol, 90210, a PGA Tour commercial or an MSNBC promo. That’s because the Connecticut-based sextet’s songs can be heard in over 50 commercial and TV spots. Their song “Shake, Shake, Shake” even went global in an international Nissan Leaf campaign.
Named after an old radio owned by the frontman’s father, Bronze Radio Return—vocalist/guitarist Chris Henderson, guitarist Patrick Fetkowitz, keyboardist Matt Warner, drummer Rob Griffith, bassist Bob Tanen and multi-instrumentalist Craig Struble—met at The Hartt School of Music in Hartford and solidified their lineup in 2008. The indie folk rockers realized they all grew up listening to roots music and their latest full-length, Up, On & Over, was recorded on a farm in Virginia in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
“I think there are strands of Americana in what we do,” says Henderson. “I hear a lot of elements of folk music in our songs. It’s always hard to point at one genre because we like to infuse a lot of different genres into what we do. The trick is to be able to have a collection of diverse songs, textures and messages and still have a cohesive sound that defines the band. That is something we work towards and will continue to evolve as we go on.”
The band’s upbeat music and foot-stomping, hand-clapping performances have been compared to that of The Lumineers, and Bronze Radio Return has opened for acts like Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Buddy Guy and John Mayer. They even had the pleasure of playing at a 2010 rally for President Obama emceed by Russell Simmons in Bridgeport, CT.
“We have a wide range of musical influences ranging from John Coltrane and Ryan Adams to David Byrne and Ben Harper,” notes Henderson. “I think it would be fun to tour with a really high energy band that brought out loud, fun and rowdy crowds. The Avett Brothers and The Black Keys come to mind. I would also love to tour with someone through Europe because that’s a place I’ve always wanted to explore.”
Until then, BRR will continue touring venues across the US, including festivals like SXSW. No strangers to Long Island, the band’s first show ever was in Amityville (Fetkowitz is a LI native ) but the group will return to NYC on Wednesday, January 29th to play the Bowery Ballroom.
“We’re excited to play the Bowery,” says Henderson. “New York is one of our favorite cities to play and we are fortunate to have a growing number of people that support us there. They also have the best street meat in all of the country.”
For more info: bronzeradioreturn.com
“The Baby Boom” by P.J. O’Rourke
Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Whenever you get together with old friends – no matter what the reason – it always ends up with “Remember When…?”
Remember piling in the station wagon, scrambling for a good seat in the back? And when your sister chased that bully away? He was bigger than she, but twice as scared. And remember cruising down Washington Avenue in a convertible, top-down?
Ahh, those were the days: fun then, fun to recall now. And when you read “The Baby Boom” by P.J. O’Rourke, you’ll remember even more of them.
To write about the Baby Boom is to tackle a big project: There are more than 75 million of us, born over the course of nearly twenty years. There are times, in fact, when “the oldest Baby Boomers are sometimes the parents—usually via an oopsie—of the youngest Baby Boomers.”
Basically, though, Baby Boomers can be sorted, much like high school, into seniors (at the beginning of the Boom); juniors (born in the early 50s); sophomores (late 50s); and freshmen (born at Boom’s end). This book, written by a “senior,” nonetheless holds memories for all Boomers…
Memories like getting a new TV, though the people on television were generally members of the “Silent Generation,” born between our parents and us. Later, they’d be the “anyone over 30” we weren’t supposed to trust.
When we went anywhere in our parents’ big-finned cars, we rode in the front seat, often standing up. Houses had one phone, connected to the wall, but we rarely used it because yelling across several yards was the preferred neighborhood method of communication. People wrote letters, too, or they just “dropped over,” no appointment necessary.
Kids played outside a lot then, and parents liked it that way. Games were fair, it didn’t matter who won, and “we ran wild—in a rather tame manner.” We learned the Facts of Life (and didn’t want to believe it), we spied on one another, blew things up, had crushes, were embarrassed by our parents, and were told that we could “be or do anything.”
It was, says O’Rourke, a “good and happy place” to grow up.
Though it does sometimes descend into curmudgeon territory and can seem somewhat growly, “The Baby Boom” really is quite a pleasure.
Despite that author P.J. O’Rourke was an early Boomer (a “senior”), there’s plenty of Universal Boomer Truths here, and lots of nostalgia for anyone born between 1946 and 1964. O’Rourke (largely) ignores his usual topics in this book, instead bringing back the kinds of memories that occur when family and friends gather—though politics peek into the latter half of the book, and sarcastically profane humor isn’t missing, either. Overall, that will appeal to hip first-time readers without disappointing long-time fans.
Better than an Ed Sullivan marathon; more enjoyable than Beach Boys Radio Weekend; more fun than cleaning out your parents’ attic, this book is a Boomer’s delight. If your bags are packed for a trip down Memory Lane, “The Baby Boom” is a book you’ll want to remember to take with you.
Drank That Local Sh*t: Barrier Brewing Company Tenderfoot
Published: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Drank That Local Sh*t explores the nitty-gritty of Long Island-born beers, with assistance from their creators.
Barrier Brewing Company//Tenderfoot
Date of Birth: 12/31/13
Super Neat Beer Descriptors: Tropical, Juice, Plant-Viney, Not-That-Bitter
“This is a historic beer for us, and for me, personally. This was one of the first homebrewed beers I brought to Shane [C. Welch] when I worked at Sixpoint [Craft Ales], because I felt like I nailed it. And he agreed. It felt great.
Tenderfoot harkens back to the traditional IPA, but not traditional in a balanced sense. It’s traditional as in more of a classic flavor profile sense. It features Cascade, Centennial, and Columbus hops because those were the popular IPA hops at the time—before the Citras and Simcoes became popular—and therefore contribute a more classic 90’s era flavor profile. It was a time when a balance of hop and malt flavors was also preferred over the over-the-top hop bombs that are so commonplace today. That’s why we jokingly call it a ‘historical’ IPA, too. It’s amazing how much the IPA palette has shifted in such a short amount of time. It’s nice to drink a beer from a somewhat bygone era.
Tenderfoot is a well-brewed beer that’s just easy to drink. It’s hoppy, but not too hoppy. Since it was one of my earlier homebrews, I named it after the first rank in the Boy Scouts [of America]. It’s where everyone get started on their path to Eagle Scout, but few make it all the way. I’m actually an Eagle Scout, so being able to brew this early homebrew recipe now in my own brewery feels like a similar accomplishment of making it all the way through the brewing ranks.” [Craig Frymark, co-owner of Barrier Brewing Company]
The Cameron Diaz Method
Published: Friday, January 17, 2014
This week Gold Coast Style caught up with Cameron Diaz at a recent book signing to promote her latest book at the Book Revue in Huntington, New York. This top rated independent bookstore served as the perfect backdrop, to welcome a bubbly author and eager readers, waiting to be inspired on their personal journey to enhanced wellness.
Recognized for her athleticism and positive body image, triumphing under the harsh lenses of media scrutiny, actress Cameron Diaz shares her holistic approach for achieving a healthier physique in her new book entitled The Body Book. Co-written with Sandra Bark, the informative pages help to bring awareness towards the relationship we have with our anatomy, nutrition, personal strength and activity.
After undergoing an extensive and rigorous training process in preparation for a former Charlie’s Angels film, the actress witnessed first hand her own personal health transformation, discovering what her body was capable of with the proper nutrition and care. Diaz spoke candidly as she shared personal experiences and encountered struggles on her journey towards achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Her process towards becoming the best version of herself on her road to self-discovery serves as but an example, one in which all women can take from on their own journey to self-acceptance. Supported by science, the goals are relatable and obtainable with benefiting results for longevity. Her words echo a positive process that can truly inspire women of all ages.
Unlike past celebrity-inked work, The Body Book is filled with more facts than celebrity fanfare. Its content is separated into three comprehensive categories of nutrition, fitness, and personal growth with each subject supported by leading research of industry experts. Diving into the science of nutrition, Diaz states “The food we consume over the course of a day creates the experiences we have in that day because what we eat carries the stuff of our life - our lives.” The words are approachable with each sentence echoing the actress’s famous candor and beloved humor. The information is straight forward and can be easily applied and integrated into the everyday lifestyles of its readers. Its material resonates with health conscious readers looking to maintain healthier goals in an effort achieve personal long-term solutions.
Despite the contents hard-hitting facts, the book is far more substantial than the run of the mill “Diet Book”. Diet implies the derivation of oneself. The Body Book is an inclusive wellness guide for the gals, providing the tools towards developing a deeper understanding of the body and the relationship in which we have with it. Readers will have the ability to develop a better relationship with their personal anatomy while having ample knowledge, towards making more informed and healthier decisions to suit their lifestyle. As Cameron Diaz concluded “Life is long if you are lucky.”, Every woman should have the knowledge and opportunity to reach their personal best.
313 New York Ave
Huntington, NY 11743
2014 Kia Soul Wagon
Base price: $14,700/Loaded: $26,195
Published: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Honda’s giant-kitty-carrier Element was a big success upon launch in 2003, followed by the horizontal-refrigerator Scion xB in 2004 and Nissan’s hip-to-be-square Cube not long after. The Kia Soul, another breadbox-ish car, came late to the party, launching in 2010, but it’s already outlived the Element, which ceased production in 2011, and it’s outselling the Scion xB. Clearly, the fun, runty Soul, with its putt-putt 4 cylinder engine, tiny dimensions and handy interior compartments galore, is doing something right. It’s also Kia’s best-selling model in the U.S.A.
As a get-around car, one you might gift to a newly-licensed son or daughter who isn’t going anywhere near your Benz until they can prove they’re not going to drive it into a fence, the Soul excels. It offers all the amenities and extras found in rides costing far more, such as heated and cooled leather seats, a panoramic glass roof, an iPad-style user interface, a 350-watt Infinity sound system and more. Sure, it takes potholes on the jaw, and its reactions are slightly numb. Where it rocks, though, is in its unique looks – I found my mustard-colored test model within seconds even in vast parking lots—and its ability to hold much gear, whether a set of drums, a load of wood or other transportable goods. The trunk isn’t gargantuan, but fold the seats down, get creative with packing and you’ll do fine.
The Soul’s also got a sense of humor in its optional door-mounted speakers, blinking red to whatever music you choose on the fully-equipped sound system. The speakers, like your Uncle Phil at Cousin Louise’s wedding, don’t move in any particular rhythm, though you may be fooled when you first watch them while listening to music. Rest assured, however, the speakers don’t have a speck of a clue as to beat. To top off the fun factor, Kia calls its optional package the Whole Shebang, probably to distract us from the fact that the package brings the sticker up to $26,195.
For more information/trim/options/pricing, click here.
Southeast Asian Countries Collectively Cultivate United Tourism Model
Annual travel industry trade show—in Malaysia for 2014—unifies Southeast Asian tourism.
Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts is not lost on Southeast Asia. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) resonates the European Union’s regional solidarity for reciprocal benefits. Held in member nation Malaysia, the 33rd annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) will take place January 16-23. In developmental terms, Southeast Asia’s 10-country amalgam of incredibly diverse cultures poses several challenges, one of which is its diversity. ASEAN member states range from wealthy Singapore and Brunei to agrarian Laos and Cambodia. Politically, members include the democratic Philippines (largely Christian), Indonesia (world’s largest Muslim population), and, until recently, military-ruled Myanmar. Host country Malaysia has long understood the value of tourism.
This year’s conference in Kuching (Borneo) is themed, Advancing Tourism Together. Multi-ethnic and multicultural Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries on earth that harbor the majority of the Earth’s species, including 250 endemic reptiles.
ATF 2014 will stand on the shoulders of ATF 2013, which was hosted in Vientiane, Laos, and brought together 1,580 delegates, including 10 Tourism Ministers, travel industry buyers (470 from 60 countries), nearly 1,000 sellers (500 exhibition booths from 360 companies and properties), and media (145 from 35 countries) to focus on the significant developments and aspirations of this booming region. A mine for business and leisure traveler news and forecasts, speakers ranged from tourism experts to winners of the Green Recognition Awards, a supporter of rainforest tree-replanting programs.
ASEAN Tourism Forum news…
BRUNEI, the last Malay Kingdom, celebrates options to golf, play polo, dive, or kick back in a plush resort. This tiny country is a gateway to remarkable Borneo.
CAMBODIA’s symbolic Kingdom of Wonder campaign remains an enduring symbol of Southeast Asia’s incredible history. Here, white gold equals rice while green gold equals tourism. It now partners with Thailand for a single visa option.
INDONESIA’s claim that it offers the ultimate in diversity remains legitimate. Despite a few setbacks, tourism numbers continue growing. Wonderful Indonesia is succeeding at selling its brand beyond Bali.
Simply beautiful LAOS continues promoting itself as the jewel of the Mekong with a sustained effort to support soft tourism and local immersion. Major infrastructure development will soon change the face of this hospitable country. tourismlaos.org.
MALAYSIA welcomed 23 million visitors in 2009, a one million increase from 2008. That growth model continues to accelerate. The Malaysia Truly Asia campaign showcases the best of its mixed Malay, Chinese, and Indian heritage.
MYANMAR, closed tight for decades, now has visa on arrival and is accepting foreign investment. Suddenly, every aspect of tourism is evolving, and it can be difficult to secure accommodations.
Many of The PHILIPPINES’ 7,017 islands share some form of American-influenced musical, religious, and Hollywood traditions, hence its new tourism slogan: It’s More Fun in The Philippines. In 2013, the U.S. followed South Korea as its strongest arrivals market.
SINGAPORE’S Formula One Racing Week, once featuring ZZ Top, will continue to headline international music acts. Hosting this race has been extended until 2017. The Your Singapore brand drives an efficient tourism machine.
THAILAND is considering waiving its tourist visa fees, but not its exotic culture of service. The Amazing Thailand brand continues setting the example for tourism in Southeast Asia with growing golf and health/wellness sectors.
VIETNAM’s French Imperial twist continues fanning its hidden charms. It continues trying to simplify its visa policy, which recently doubled in price. Russia is its fastest growing market.
Peter Semone, chief technical adviser for the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (lanith.com), said, “The grouping of destinations under the ASEAN flag is a highly effective way of bringing together Southeast Asia’s unique tourism options. In the realm of human capacity development, ASEAN plays an important role in identifying common standards for education and training. Not only does this enable smaller countries such as Laos to benefit from its more developed neighbors, but it also affords greater workforce mobility, which in the coming years will be a challenge as markets become more integrated and liberalized through the ASEAN Economic Community.”
Bernie Rosenbloom, a Southeast Asia tourism and hospitality communications consultant, was pleased that “Laos finally silenced critics who did not believe the country could successfully host an event of this size. It also served as a showcase for Vientiane’s fast-growing infrastructure, including more upscale accommodations, a new convention center, a rejuvenated tourist area, better roads, and expanding air links—all of which brighten the city’s light on the Asia Pacific’s MICE radar screen.”
Exemplifying that spirit, ASEAN Ministers of Tourism continue developing a mutual recognition agreement aimed to improve the quality of human resources and giving workers in the tourism sectors of member countries a chance to work in different locations in the region. “This forum is always an ideal venue for tourism managers and policy makers to exchange issues of common interest,” explained Brad Olsen, a California-based author and travel expert. “ATF is more than just another trade show, because it goes to great lengths to infuse culture—including music, dancing, and fashion shows—into the daily events.” Conference delegates were also entertained each night by an array of cultural song and dance performances.
ATF’s “Hand In Hand, Conquering Our Future” campaign also created a united tourism image. ASEAN’s concern for the environment continues to uplift its hotel industry standard in the form of the ASEAN Green Hotel Recognition Awards presented to ASEAN properties with outstanding efforts in environmental conservation. Criteria for these hotels includes environmental-friendliness and energy conservation measures based on 11 major criteria, including environmental policy and actions for hotel operations, solid waste management, energy efficiency, water efficiency, and air quality management.
ASEAN cohesion emphasizes partnerships rather than competition. A single market free-trade agreement is another goal of the organization, which has existed for more than 40 years. But until December 2008, it had no written constitution. The new charter set a 2015 goal for establishing economic integration via a 10-country free-trade zone and established commitments respecting human rights, democratic principles, and keeping the region free of nuclear weapons. Binding the 10 members to an enhanced legal framework, the regional charter sets out their shared aims and methods of working together.
Professor Bosengkham Vongdara, the Lao Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, said, “This was an exciting time for the Laotian tourism industry, and we were honored to host ATF 2013. Since we last hosted ATF nine years ago, Laos has grown in infrastructure and facilities. Through ATF, we did our best to contribute to strengthen and build an ASEAN community by 2015.” Press conferences led by tourism ministers from member countries created buzz about plans for a single or no-visa policy for the entire region, as this visa-free tourism strategy will create an ideal single destination.
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The annual ATF rotates alphabetically through its 10 member-countries with a total of 570 million people—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“The Death Class: A True Story About Life” by Erika Hayasaki
Last year, you went to too many funerals.
There were too many days taken off work to attend wakes. Too much sitting Shiva, too many casseroles eaten in church basements, too much grief and too many friends lost. Even if it only happened once, it was too much.
Tragedies always make you think about your own mortality. Someday, yes, you’re going to die. But as you’ll see in “The Death Class: A True Story About Life” by Erika Hayasaki, you need to learn to live first.
As a journalist for several larger newspapers, Erika Hayasaki had seen plenty of death. She was at Virginia Tech after the shootings, had been on New York City ’s streets, had seen corpses, interviewed survivors; she’d even been close friends with a victim of domestic violence. And it began to bother her—a lot.
“I had become a journalist to try to explain… the world and its stories,” she says. “But death’s mercilessness and meaning, I could not figure out…” So when she heard about a college course taught by a popular, much-loved teacher in New Jersey, Hayasaki begged to be allowed to sit in on the class.
Dr. Norma Bowe agreed—but Hayasaki couldn’t be just a journalist in the back row. She had to participate.
So Hayasaki spent a semester following The Death Class to morgues, autopsies, and a funeral home where the “sacred” happened. She took “field trips” to prisons, visited hospices, examined her own mortality and, as the one-semester project turned into a several-years-long friendship, Hayasaki got to know Bowe and her students.
She learned that Bowe, who is a consummate caregiver, wasn’t just a teacher. Formerly a nurse, she was a mentor, advice-dispenser, calm presence, and advocate, seemingly always on the lookout for opportunities to make a difference. Bowe taught in prisons, redecorated hospices, supported a homeless girls’ shelter, and helped found an organization that fosters change. She taught that life is good, especially if you can make it better for someone else.
Above all, she encouraged her students (old and new) to call her anytime, and she came flying when they needed her. She was there for them—and vice versa, when tragedy struck too close to home.
Though it has a title that might make you think it would be dark, depressing, or even a little bit maudlin, “The Death Class” is really anything but.
That journalism background is apparent in author Erika Hayasaki’s writing, which is excellent: Hayasaki has a reporter’s way of winnowing out the facts, the interesting stuff, small details, and tiny secrets that make us want to know more. She immerses us so well into the story of the class, students, and the professor that it’s almost easy to forget we’re reading. We become part of what’s happening, complete with triumphs, gasps, and life-affirming inspiration.
This book is fascinating, a true pleasure to read, and I think that if you want something that puts life’s purpose into perspective, this is it. For you, “The Death Class” is too good to miss.
These People bring Aqua Sounds to Revolution Bar & Music Hall
Published: Monday, January 13, 2014
Wantagh’s own jungle-infused psychedelic alt-rockers These People play Revolution in Amityville on Wednesday, January 15th. Lead singer/guitarist TJ Penzone originally intended to have a revolving lineup of band members, hence the name These People, but he ended up connecting with everyone and the band includes drummer Mike Shoureas, bassist/fx Mark Thomas, guitarist Steve Connolly and percussionist/fx Ryan Griffin.
Penzone recently opened a recording studio/production company with Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw fame and These People are recording a new record tentatively titled Aqua Sounds set for release in May. Look out for a new single and video along with some tour dates.
Pulse: Who writes the lyrics and the music?
TJ Penzone: I do. But I co-write a song or two musically with my brother, Rick [also in Color Film, a new shoegaze project with Palumbo]. My drummer, Mike, contributes creative rhythms and the other guys in the band also add to the recordings with back up vocals and sound effects.
P: How do you describe your sound?
TJ: It’s always been pretty primal sounding. The first record had a bit of a jungle, off-center folk and, at times, noisy sound to it. The next record’s drum beats and bass were all pretty circular, droning guitars and it either got very soft or very loud. The newest record I would say is a pretty healthy mix of the first two records but absolutely goes to another place. I do tend to add landscape sound fx to most of my songs but sometimes that’s more of a fun, subtle thing for headphones.
P: Where would someone find your music in a record store?
TJ: I find it too hard for me to put it into a specific genre because of all the different influences. But if I was forced to classify it I guess it could be considered psychedelic alternative. [70s stylings are apparent throughout his discography]
P: Who are your biggest musical influences—past and present?
TJ: When I was a kid I connected very heavily to Syd Barrett, which influenced me when I started These People. Also Hendrix, John Lennon, Blur, The Zombies, The Talking Heads, Curtis Mayfield, The Kinks, Jesus Lizard, Frank Zappa, Sonic Youth, Roky Erickson, Wire and Gang of Four. And German bands like Can and Neu! really influence me a lot, especially with the rhythm sections.
P: Who would you most like to tour with?
TJ: Robyn Hitchcock. At 60 years old, he still puts out great, original music and he seems like he’d be fun to hang out with.
P: What’s your favorite venue to play on Long Island?
TJ: I don’t have a specific one but if I have to, I’ll make it a tie between the Paramount in Huntington and The Amityville Music Hall. Although they are drastically different, they both have great sound on stage and cool lights. And Revolution, of course.
P: Do you play any covers live?
TJ: It’s not something I usually enjoy doing with a full band because I always find them to be sacred and could never play them better than the original. But, weirdly enough, I will be performing “Pigs on the Wing 1” and “Dogs” from Pink Floyd’s Animals at our show Wednesday at Revolution. That was a childhood goal for me, something I never thought I’d be able to do. The only other songs I’ve ever covered with this band were “You’re Gonna Miss Me” from The 13th Floor Elevators and “Children of the Revolution” by T-Rex.
P: What’s your favorite song to play live?
TJ: Hard to say because we always find ways to change stuff up and bring new life to older tunes but I’d say a song from our last record IN called “It Could Work”—mostly because it’s usually last and we always change the middle section on the spot. It’s fun.
P: Happy Body Slow Brain, Heavy Duty Super Ego and Jason Briggs are opening for you on Wednesday night, with a special DJ set by Daryl Palumbo. Do you know these musicians?
TJ: I know Jason Briggs well, and Daryl is a close friend. I didn’t know the other two bands before we put this show together but they all seem like awesome people, so I’m really looking forward to this.
For more info: thesepeople.org and facebook.com/thesepeopleband
*** And don’t miss a benefit for 31-year-old RN and Long Island native Ursala Altomare on Friday, January 17th at 7pm at Brickhouse Brewery & Restaurant in Patchogue. She is battling leukemia holistically.
The Brickhouse Brewery fundraiser will feature local bands like Heavy Duty Super Ego, a 70’s folk rock band made up of former members of Edison Glass. Also slated to perform are: Pauline Salotti & Friends, I AM TIM, Jellyband, Soundswell and Noah’s Arc. The fundraiser will overtake both floors of the venue, with a Chinese auction, face painting, and live drawing. The $10 cover proceeds will be donated to Ursala’s efforts to heal naturally.
2014 Porsche Boxster
Base price: $51,350
Published: Friday, January 10, 2014
The Boxster used to be my least preferred Porsche for no other reason that it lacked the cruel velocity of its more expensive brethren. But the 2014 model is, for me, the most perfect version of the ride for many reasons, the biggest one being that I’m in it rather than, say, at the office.
It’s got a buttery, guttural purr, and there isn’t a keener Porsche thrill than pinning an eagle eye on your front left fender as you carve out a hairpin turn with a surgeon’s precision, downshifting out of it and continuing your flight on the straightaway. Like the obsessive-compulsive I am, I kept demanding my car repeat that trick over and over again.
The new Boxster rides on a longer wheelbase and a wider track than previous models, and the new dimensions are coupled with larger wheels and a new electromechanical power steering system to enhance the mid-engine sports car’s driving dynamics. It’s also up to 15 percent more fuel-efficient, so your jackrabbit starts cost you (a little) less. Road handling and looks are enhanced not only from an increased wheelbase but also shorter overhangs. The windshield’s been shifted forward, too, lending the Boxster that delicious speeding-while-standing-still look. You’re powered by a flat-six engine with direct fuel injection, the efficiency of which is further enhanced by electrical system recuperation, thermal management and start/stop function.
The base model’s new power unit delivers 265 horsepower from a 2.7 liter displacement – ten horses more than its larger displacement predecessor. It features a manual six-speed gearbox as standard with the seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) available as an option. It sprints from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, with the more powerful Boxster S ($60,900) achieving that speed in 4.7 seconds.
Ok, tech lesson over. Now for the candy. Blood-red leather lights up your interior, and the top raises and lowers in mere seconds. It also operates while you are driving at speeds up to 30 mph, meaning you don’t have to pull over and stop during sudden cloudbursts. The exhaust snort is bullish when starting or downshifting and the car creates murmurs of approval wherever you go. No one calls out, “Nice car, but the GT-2’s way faster!”
The sound system, as usual, is as lame as the car is outstanding. Best to install your own, or listen to the exhaust, tires and road noise.
In a Porsche, that’s sweet music.
The Best Place to Heal in the World?
Published: Thursday, January 09, 2014
Baltimore is a legendary brick empire that redefines urban renewal. After sliding from a manufacturing stronghold into a depression of near irrelevance, the port cities’ grand factory landscape has been reinvented into an industrial-chic hotspot. Being from this storied metropolis means being somehow connected to the water—whether it be intrepid boating, prying open seafood, or wearing nautical-inspired clothing even in winter. Locals also don’t pronounce the ‘t’ in Baltimore. A relaxed gap between north and south, the hometown of Frank Zappa and John Waters has a history as remarkable as Boston’s, and a future that won’t quit.
Downtown Baltimore’s U-shape frames a harbor that’s a showcase for colonial and modern architecture, likeable tourist attractions, including one of the most beloved aquariums in the world, and classic people watching. Water taxis ply these waters, quickly delivering passengers to various neighborhoods, all with their own trademark charm. Baltimore’s resurgence from a once grim industrial city into trendy factory ritziness reminds me of the similarly amazing metropolitan turnaround achieved in Manchester, England.
Baltimore has also always been a great place to heal. Johns Hopkins is rated as one of the best hospitals in the world, and the University of Maryland’s Trauma Center isn’t far behind. Because of these cutting-edge institutions, a significant number of international patients, and their families, visit here long term and dig in for a cure. But illness is certainly not the only reason to schedule a visit. A few suggestions…
*Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum is the official national museum for self-taught, intuitive artistry. Three renovated buildings that are themselves works of art showcase masterpieces created by artists—ranging from the homeless to neurosurgeons—who were never taught not what to do in the making of their art. Many spent decades of intense devotion to create just one work they saw as a fulfillment of a spiritual mission or personal devotion. If you crave a bit of the untamed and wild, visit avam.org.
*Wit & Wisdom, a harbor-side ultra-modern American tavern on the ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel, has an open-air wood-fired kitchen and a hand-pulley operated grill designed by Thomas Jefferson. Its specialty is comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist. The upscale, roomy space—no two diners will ever bang elbows—has high ceilings and flawless service. The staff, including your waiter, gets a ‘cheat’ for each customer sharing their profile, preferences, and tendencies revealed during earlier visits. Even without a cheat-sheet, you won’t have to beg for refills of any of their hand-crafted cocktails. witandwisdombaltimore.com
*Another impressively spacious dining spot is Pazo (Galician for ‘grand house’) in Harbor East. This renovated 19th-century iron-works factory has a 65-foot ceiling, its original hulking-wood crossbeams, and huge booths that resemble two posh high-back couches facing each other. This liberating environment—rustic but plush—was once open at one end to accept backed-in freight trains that hauled out bullets and other munitions. The candlelit-style wrought-iron chandeliers and wraparound balcony adds to the wide-open but warm atmosphere. And, oh yeah, prepare for the most indulgent Euro-Mediterranean food and wine in town. pazorestaurant.com
*Aldo’s in Little Italy is fine dining without the pomp or attitude. Calm, professional servers ply an old-school parlor setting. Chef Aldo Vitale, originally a cabinet maker, spun his handiness into building the lavishly appointed dining rooms—and crafts classic southern Italian dishes. This sets the bar for Maryland’s Italian cuisine. aldositaly.com
*Baltimore’s Four Season Hotel’s (fourseasons.com/Baltimore) international ambiance is partially kindled by relatives of patients being treated at Johns Hopkins; seems Arab royalty puts this hospital high on its list. There are also guests from every corner of the world mixing with rooted East Coasters. The swankest digs in town, every detail—from the harbor view from your bed to a beguiling staff-to-guest ratio—make luxury seem natural. The hotel also has an incredible spa, whose world-class masseuses leave you wet-noodle limp. The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore houses the largest hotel art collection in the city. Check it out here here
*Baltimore Soundstage (baltimoresoundstage.com) is a classic mid-sized downtown music venue attracting nationally touring acts; another example of a defunct factory that now rocks, literally. Right next door, PowerPlant Live! also rocks live entertainment at five bars, Rams Head Live!, and a summertime outdoor concert series.
*I usually avoid what can be deemed as tourist traps, but was presently surprised at Baltimore’s harbor-side Ripley’s Believe It or Not! I now appreciate founder Robert Ripley (1890-1949) as a world-traveling pioneer (201 countries) and ‘amateur’ anthropologist. A groundbreaking travel writer on a par with Mark Twain, his museums celebrate (way) out of the ordinary oddities, trivia, unsung heroes, and touchable interactive displays—a tribute to his dedication to collecting mind-bending news and show-and-tells from every edge of the globe. ripleys.com/baltimore
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*For more information, visit baltimore.org.
*Amtrak lands near the heart of downtown Baltimore, which is easily accessible along the northeast corridor. Once there, your feet, or inexpensive ferries (or the free Charm City Circulator) can take you pretty much everywhere. Take advantage of a special 30-percent off companion fare discount from Amtrak to save on traveling here. baltimore.org/amtrak
Ps, National Bohemian Beer, colloquially “Natty Boh,” was first brewed in Baltimore in 1885. This Bohemian-style beer’s slogan has long been “From the Land of Pleasant Living,” a tribute to the Chesapeake Bay. Ninety percent of National Bohemian sales are still in Baltimore, where it’s not uncommon to find cans served in many bars for $2. National’s president once also owned the Baltimore Orioles, making Natty Boh the “official” brew served at the ballpark in the 1960s—similar to Schaefer Beer proudly sponsoring the New York Mets in the 1970s.
A Luxurious Encounter with a Local Perfumer
You do not have to go very far to find something extraordinary. Talent and creativity are not a limited resource in our neck of the woods, and I am one of those individuals who feels it very necessary to brag and showcase about it. Especially when the story is full of muses that includes self discovery, emotions and romance, because these are the true elements for any artist to create. It a pleasure to bring you one such artist who uses three very special fragrances to invoke desired sensual experiences for women, Victoria Collette.
MA: Victoria, during our interview you mentioned how important past experiences are in a person’s journey of self discovery. What are some past experiences that remain with you today and inspire you?
VC: My earliest experiences and best memories are as a child growing up seaside in Wantagh, New York. Living so close to Jones Beach and growing up on the water truly gave me an appreciation for living in the moment and capturing that feeling to remember forever. As a child, I also had my first experience with fragrance. At the age of eight, I was going to my first wedding and I was incredibly excited. To make it even more memorable, and I still have the bottle to this day, my mother gave me my very first perfume, and when I wore it, a feeling came over me and I felt like a princess. The name of the perfume was Little Dream Girl, by Avon.
MA: I know from previous conversation that we share a similar story in regards to our former professional careers in the financial world; we both desired a channel to be more individually creative. Tell me a bit about your professional history because it is inspiring how you went from banking to entrepreneur.
VC: After graduating with a degree in business from Alfred University, I obtained a job straight out of college working for a hedge fund in Manhattan and I remained with the organization for five years. Throughout that time, I frequently found myself thinking of ways to make my job more colorful and dynamic. However, in banking, that was not always easy. It was a great job and it afforded me a great life living in NYC, but I felt as if I was missing something. After leaving banking, I entered into a new career direction which allowed me to be more interactive and diverse in my role. Human resources, however, still did not seem to be my fit. After four years in HR, I decided to start over and take some time to truly discover what it was that I wanted.
MA: After nine years and a successful career, that was a bold and risky choice. What sort of things did you do to determine what your passion was?
VC: I spent a lot of time in the self help section of Barnes & Noble looking for books that would guide me. That is when I had my second experience with fragrance. As I was shopping for more self help publications, I ran into a woman who was wearing a perfume that smelled so beautiful I cannot even describe it. I was almost under a spell from its scent and I couldn’t stop staring at this woman next to me. She turned to me and handed me a book and said, “Read this.” I do not remember the name of the book but I do remember that scent and how it made me feel - ethereal. Shortly after handing me the book she departed and I tried to find her however she was nowhere in the store.
MA: At this point Victoria, you have had no experience or ideas circulating in your mind about creating a fragrance line? I think of this as divine intervention from the universe because what you have created is absolutely heavenly.
VC: Thank you! A few years later, a friend told me it was a sign of the future and things to come. I wondered who this woman was and I was intrigued by it. There really was no definitive moment I decided to create a perfume line, but what I did know was that I wanted to help women discover their inner essence. One evening I had an epiphany - create a fragrance that would help women invoke their inner beauty.
MA: How long did it take you to develop and materialize your vision?
VC: There was no absolute moment, and I did not want to create a fragrance centered on specific notes and just put it into a bottle. I wanted to create a fragrance experience to match a woman’s feelings and emotions and enhance them. I look at it this way - I did not choose perfume, it chose me!
MA: Your journey sounds like a dream to me and is very romantic in nature as well. What are your plans for the future? Do you plan on expanding the fragrance line and also diversifying your products?
VC: Yes, I absolutely plan to expand on the fragrance line and also have visions of jewelry and fashion attire in the future; all will be centered on creating that feeling or experience to invoke confidence, vitality, beauty, and sensuality.
Victoria Collette’s fragrance line can be experienced at www.victoriacollette.com in three very special fragrances titled Beauty, Innocence, and Seductress. Each one is meant to give you a special feeling and unlock your inner essence.
As a beauty expert and someone who is very familiar with fragrances, I will say I am very impressed and have been enlightened beyond my current experiences. During this interview, Victoria led me through one of her signature perfume experiences using the essences that are the base for her line. I truly felt a certain emotion or was reminded of a specific memory that made me feel great. My favorite scent is Seductress, because its sweet and spicy scent took me back to my trip to Paris and it reminded me of the hotel lobby where I stayed - the historic Plaza Athenee, steps from the Eiffel Tower. If heaven had a smell this was it and it has stuck with me till this day several years later, and to be reminded of that was absolute bliss because it was the most memorable trip of my life. I was incredibly impressed by Victoria’s one on one demonstration of the power and ability of scents and her personal knowledge; she is truly an expert and artisan of the olfactory system.
Green Pepper & Mushroom Mostly Egg White Scramble
Published: Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Happy 2014 EVERYONE! What’s your resolution? Any chance it is food related? Whether it is or isn’t this particular breakfast dish I am sharing with you won’t break the caloric bank anyway. It’s a protein-packed recipe filled with tons of veggies and just a sprinkle of cheese to give it some tangy kick. Who’s in?
• 3 egg whites + 1 yolk
• 1 tablespoon butter (oil is fine as well; I like butter for scrambling eggs and since we are mainly using egg whites I’m ok with it.)
• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• 1 green pepper seeded chopped
• 1/2 yellow onion chopped
• 10 small portabella mushrooms cleaned and quartered
• Pinch of salt and ground pepper
1.) In a small bowl whisk together eggs and ¼ cup cheese. (Do not over-mix or the protein compounds will break apart.)
2.) Melt butter in a small non-stick skillet over a medium heat.
3.) Add in onions and cook until just translucent. Now add in peppers and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
4.) Pour the egg mixture into the pan and let it set for a few seconds and then stir carefully with the veggies until there is no liquid left (a spatula works best).
5.) Push eggs to the center of the pan and remove when they are cooked to your liking.
6.) Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly on top as soon as the eggs leave the pan. (I like to add the cheese last as well to get a big flavor punch.)
7.) Season with additional salt and pepper. ENJOY!
Nic’s tips: As with most my recipes, feel free to sub in another cheese or add some fresh herbs.
“The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd
Published: Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Your best friend has been all a-flutter about something lately.
You haven’t seen much of her, in fact. She’s been sticking close to her nest but that’s okay. Next time you get together, it’ll be just like you were never apart.
That’s the way a long-time friendship is: no matter how much you don’t see one another, you know your friend is somewhere and, as in the new novel “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd, she’ll come flying when you need her.
Eleven-year-old Sarah Grimké did not want to own a human.
Already at that age, she understood that it was wrong to have slaves but Mother insisted. The Grimkés were one of Charleston ’s finest families. It would be unseemly for a proper young lady to be without her own handmaid. So for Sarah’s birthday, Mother gave her Hetty, also known as Handful.
For most of her nine years, Handful figured she’d be a seamstress like her mauma, but it wasn’t to be. After she was given to Miss Sarah, she was told that she was to sleep outside Miss Sarah’s bedroom, like a personal servant would do. But most nights, Handful crept away to Mauma, where she listened to stories of her granny-mauma, and laid beneath quilts that gave her dreams of flight.
Though Sarah tried to give Handful her freedom, it wasn’t allowed by law so she did the next best thing: she taught Handful to read, which was also illegal. They would both be punished for it: Handful, by lash and Sarah, by banishment from her father’s library. It was the final straw for Sarah, who suddenly understood that she would never become a lawyer like her brothers.
No, society was where Sarah belonged, though she thought it dreadful. Once she entered a world of dances and parties, she rarely saw Handful. Sarah didn’t need a handmaid any more and Mother was happy to have Handful back. Handful had become quite the seamstress.
But Handful had also found life outside the homestead walls, sneaking out as much as she could - though if caught, punishment would be swift and harsh but she wasn’t afraid. They could own her body. They would never own her mind.
Sweeping, reaching, and maybe just a tad too long, “The Invention of Wings” is one of those books that pulls you into another world and makes you believe.
That’s because, as you’ll learn by reading the author’s notes, Sue Monk Kidd based a lot of this novel on reality. Yes, there really was a Sarah Grimke, about whom Kidd says she wanted to write a “thickly imagined story….” She succeeds at that endeavor by adding Handful and her mauma. The anger that bubbles just beneath these two characters’ lives, the hopes they harbor and the plotting they do makes this book what it is.
And what it is, is near-perfect. For book clubs and Saturday afternoons, bedtime and lunchtime, if you’re looking for the years’ first great novel, here you go. “The Invention of Wings” absolutely soars.
Published: Monday, December 30, 2013
This Mixed Media online blog is a companion to the December/January print Playlist and features CD reissues, DVDs, Blu-rays and books from and/or about U.K. artists.
Moondance—Van Morrison (Warner Bros.)
There are few albums that rival Van Morrison’s Moondance for defining the music of the 70s. Warner Brothers has recently reissued the album in various configurations. The two-disc set features the original album with a complete second disc of all previously unissued alternate and outtake versions from the historic sessions.
Rarities—Rod Stewart (Mercury)
Here is the Rod Stewart that was once considered one of the greatest singers in rock. Covering roughly 1969 through 1974 on the Mercury label, these two CDs of rarities showcase what a great song interpreter Stewart could be. It’s remarkable that he recorded much of the music here while simultaneously fronting The Faces. The live BBC material is of particular note, as are most of these early, mostly acoustic, alternate versions of some of his best-loved songs and covers.
The Third Eye Centre—Belle and Sebastian (Matador)
In the period between Brit Pop’s final fizzle in America and the latest British Invasion of the past ten years, Belle & Sebastian was the only bright spot on the U.K. scene. Their twee songs and knowing 60s sensibility made for a delicious pop confection. Although they never even sniffed at any commercial success in America and have since shed many members and many of the elements that made them so special, it’s nice to have this 19-song collection of rarities of mostly rare imported B-sides. The earliest incarnation of this Scottish band boasts an impressive array of talent that merged to create an unforgettable sound that is sadly missed.
I Robot—The Alan Parsons Project (Arista/Legacy)
This is an album that is a favorite of Dr. Evil and is now issued as a Legacy Edition 35th anniversary edition on two CDs. The set contains the original album on disc one and 14 bonus tracks on disc two, including nine previously unreleased tracks. The album is also another example of what a key member the late Eric Woolfson was in the creation of the group’s sound. Although they at times veered toward an almost Spinal Tap-like progressive mode, there’s no denying the sonic brilliance of these recordings and how much of a studio wizard Parsons is in the recording world.
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll
Fans of the Rolling Stones have their pick of several reissues of some of the group’s classic London year’s recordings from ABKCO. In 2009 a box set of audio and video discs of the group’s live Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out album was released. It is now out-of-print, but the same material is available again. Drawn from the original album of the group’s performances at Madison Square Garden, the music here represents the best available live Stones recording period. This 3-CD/1 DVD set includes the original album, one disc of five bonus performances, one disc of opening acts Ike & Tina Turner and B.B. King and a DVD of the Stones performance, along with backstage and additional bonus footage. Three Stones albums have also been reissued on vinyl. Hot Rocks is a double-album that neatly chronicles the best of the group’s London Brian Jones years and the first stirrings of the new Mick Taylor lineup. The real vinyl gems, though, are Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. The Beggars Banquet reissue features the original, infamous bathroom wall-themed album cover and Let It Bleed is arguably the group’s best album from the 60s. Sweet Summer Sun: Hyde Park Live—The Rolling Stones (Eagle). Say what you will about the Rolling Stones, but given the excellence of this live concert from London’s Hyde Park from last summer, the Stones can still rock you. This release features a virtual greatest hits of the group’s mid-60s to mid-70s output, and attests to the fact that there are few groups who boast as impressive a song catalog and ability to still deliver the goods live. It’s wonderful to see Mick Taylor back in the fold, if only briefly. This concert, like any Rolling Stones show, conveys such a sense of occasion that makes it more than a mere rock concert. It’s only rock ‘n’ roll indeed. Also look for A Prince Among Stones (Bloomsbury) from Prince Rupert Lowenstein. Lowenstein was the de-facto business manager and accountant for the Rolling Stones for 37 years, guiding them through their rebellious 60s apex to their place as rock band as corporate enterprise behemoth. This erudite and surprisingly even-handed account of the Stones navigates through the world of rock, finance and high society with insight and aplomb.
Guitar, Spirit and Switzerland
Invitation to Illumination Live at Montreux 2011—Santana & McLaughlin (Eagle)
There are probably no two guitarists who bring so much spirit and spirituality to playing the electric guitar than John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana. While many electric rock guitarists bring so much macho male attitude to their playing, these two veteran masters are more about the notes they don’t play than the ones they do play. They have reunited after not having played together in decades and remind us all what an extraordinary collaboration their 1973 Love Devotion and Surrender album was and how far ahead of its time the album remains. There are songs from that release as well as extraordinary covers of everyone from John Coltrane to Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. It’s a shame these two guitar giants couldn’t take this extraordinary show out on a full-scale tour.
Eric Clapton released a new studio album Old Sock earlier this year, but a number of other Clapton recordings have been released. Crossroads: Eric Clapton Guitar Festival (Rhino/Reprise) is available as double, Blu-ray, DVD and CD packages. The fourth festival is as stunning in its line-up and collaborations as previous festivals. The fact that this show was filmed and recorded at the more intimate and acoustically forgiving Madison Square Garden makes for even more of a guitar extravaganza. There are many great performances, but the highlight is Clapton performing “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” with the Allman Brothers Band. The premier Eric Clapton reissue project for this year is the release of Give Me Strength: The ‘74/’75 Recordings (Universal) from Eric Clapton. The 5-CD/1-DVD set includes the original 461 Ocean Boulevard album with additional session outtakes on disc one. Disc two features the album There’s One In Every Crowd with session outtakes and non-album single releases. Disc three and four include the live double-album E.C. Was Here with additional performances, with some of these performances from Clapton’s 1975 Nassau Coliseum performance. Disc four includes tracks from the Freddie King Criteria Studios sessions and features two previously unreleased recordings. Disc five is a Blu-ray that includes a 5.1 surround sound mix of the 461 Ocean Boulevard album, the original Quadrophonic mix and a Quadrophonic mix of There’s One In Every Crowd. The music here represents Clapton’s 70s comeback from his self-imposed drug exile. There is also a 60-page hardcover book. Clapton’s Grammy-winning MTV Unplugged (Reprise/MTV) receives the deluxe treatment. This three-disc set includes the original album and DVD along with an audio disk of six rehearsal performances, with two songs that were not included in the MTV airing, album or telecast.
Hal Leonard publishes many of the best books on popular music. There have been a slew of recent titles, but three are definitive texts on Eric Clapton. Marc Roberty is the acknowledged Boswell of Eric Clapton scholarship who has published many books on Slowhand through the years. His two newest books, from the Day-By-Day Series, The Early Years 1963-1982 and The Later Years 1983-2013, offer a detailed diary of Clapton’s music career that will form the backbone of all future research into Clapton’s still evolving career. The beautiful hardcover books are also filled with illustrations and color photography. Also from Hal Leonard is Eric Clapton FAQ: All That’s Left To Know About Slowhand from David Bowling. This compendium of facts, figures, dates and names is the ultimate Clapton dictionary and is a nice companion to the two Roberty books.
Who is Pink?
From the Who comes perhaps the best-ever reissue of the group’s music. Tommy (Universal) includes four discs, a hardback book and a poster. Disc one includes the original double album on CD in HD. Disc two includes 25 bonus recordings, 20 of which are, never-before-released tracks, and 23 of which are cuts of Pete Townshend’s original demos. There are also two Who demo/outtakes. Disc three includes a Hi-Fidelity Pure-Audio Blu-ray of the original album in 5.1. The fourth disc includes 21 previously unreleased live performances from 1969. It’s inconceivable that a more valued reissue of the music of the Who could ever be released. The perfect gift book from Hal Leonard is Treasures of The Who from Chris Welch. This hardcover book, housed in a beautiful case, is a dizzying illustrated history of the band filled with concert tickets, posters and ephemera to make any Mod or Who fan be swept up in a frenzy of ecstasy. Another fine Hal Leonard book is Roger Waters The Man Behind The Wall from Dave Thompson. This is surprisingly the first full-length biography of Waters. British ex-pat Thompson brings his considerable experience and musical knowledge to unmasking the former Pink Floyd bassist and principal songwriter.
Celebrate the Seasons of Your Day by Mazzy Star
I took that train into the city
You know the one that goes under the bridge
I thought I was listening to a band play the song that changed me
Walked up the stairs, the sunlight hit my face
See all the people just standing around
If all is right in the kingdom tonight
You know we’ll play songs in this town
From “In the Kingdom” by Mazzy Star
There’s no better music to set the atmosphere for post-holiday relaxation than the languorous folk-psychedelia of Mazzy Star. Fans of the band were ecstatic to hear they were releasing another record after 17 years. And their fourth full-length, Seasons of Your Day, picks up where 1996’s Among My Swan left off. In fact, Hope Sandoval and David Roback said they never did stop writing and recording music. They just didn’t release anything new until the two-sided single “Common Burn” and “Lay Myself Down” appeared on their own record label, Rhymes of an Hour Records, in late 2011 (both songs are also on Seasons of Your Day).
Lead-off track, “In the Kingdom,” is vintage Mazzy with Roback’s signature bluesy guitar sound and Sandoval’s dreamy, feline vocals intact. “California,” a psychedelic ode to their home state, recalls Zeppelin’s “Going to California” and the guitar-driven “Spoon” features a guitar duet with the late folk-blues legend Bert Jansch (who is Neil Young’s favorite acoustic guitarist). As always, the songs reveal more upon each listen.
Recorded in California, London and Norway (Roback’s new home), Seasons of Your Day was co-written and produced by Sandoval and Roback and features original members like drummer Keith Mitchell and keyboardists Suki Ewers and Paul Mitchell. Sandoval’s Warm Inventions partner/My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm O’Ciosoig is also credited as a multi-instrumentalist on the album. In addition to the digital and disc formats, Seasons is available on vinyl as a 180 gram double LP.
It’s easy to see why current bands like Beach House and Widowspeak were influenced by Mazzy Star. And now they have more to draw from. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another 17 years for the dream pop darlings’ next record.
For more info: hopesandoval.com
“Crazy about Basketball!” by Loris Lesynski, illustrated by Gerry Rasmussen
It’s after school, and Mom’s looking for you.
She probably knows where to find you, though, because wherever there’s a pick-up game, that’s where you are. Your whole family knows that you live for swishing, shooting, dribbling and dunking. They know you’ll jump through hoops to play hoops, which is why you’ll love “Crazy about Basketball!” by Loris Lesynski, illustrated by Gerry Rasmussen.
From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, you’re just a bunch of body parts that don’t even seem to work together very well sometimes. But when they do, you become something awesome: you’re a “basketball machine!”
There’s so much excitement during a basketball game, and so much going on. No matter where you are, inside or outside, it seems like the best kind of chaos. There’s cheering and noise, a thunka-thunk of dribbling, shoes squeaking, and a basketball moving from hand to hand and up in the air. Who won? Either way, “the thrill’s immense!”
But basketball hasn’t always been the game you know and love.
Ancient Aztec ball players couldn’t dribble because their basketballs were solid, heavy, and had no bounce. The playing area of “olden days” was made of cobbly stones or plain dirt, neither of which made a game easy. Early, primitive basketballs were made of pig bladders or not-quite-round soccer balls with thick laces.
Then, in the winter of 1891, Canadian “professor-coach,” Dr. James Naismith devised a way for his students to get some indoor exercise. He took some old fruit baskets, hung them “ten feet high” and started to play. The problem was that if a basket was made, someone had to climb up to get the ball. It took fifteen years for someone to realize that nets would work better, and that the game would be more fun if there were holes in the bottom of them.
You know how exciting it is to watch a game, and how thrilling it is to be cheering with a crowd. You also know what it takes to play: practice and training for body, hands, and mind because, as a future pro, you know that it’s not all about the shoes…
I have to admit, “Crazy about Basketball!” took me a little aback.
I was expecting a fun, fans-and-players-based kid’s book on the game of basketball. I wasn’t expecting it to be written almost totally in rhyme. What’s most surprising, though, is that it works.
Using verse to speak to young athletes, author Loris Lesynski highlights the excitement of the game and all its facets to kids for can’t get enough hoops. I liked the way Lesynski moves between spectator and player POVs here (for kids who are one or the other), and the action-packed cartoon drawings by Gerry Rasmussen just add to the enjoyment.
Though this isn’t a stats-and-fact-filled book of seriousness, I think kids who love the game will want this light-hearted book on their shelves nonetheless. Young B-Ballers ages 8 to 13 will find “Crazy about Basketball!” to be a slam-dunk.
“’You Can Tell Just By Looking’ And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People”
Published: Thursday, December 26, 2013
You’ve been hearing rumors. You don’t know what to believe.
Your favorite club is closing, it’s got new owners, it’s being remodeled, none of the above. You can get married anytime, the law is being repealed, it’s being approved. You’re being downsized, you’re getting a raise.
Sometimes, you don’t know what to think. Other times, you think you know but you’re wrong. In the new book “’You Can Tell Just By Looking’ And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People” by Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini, and Michael Amico, you’ll see where truth and misconception cross paths.
For most of your life, you’ve probably heard how no one person is better than anybody else. We’re all created equal… or are we?
Thinking, for instance, that LGBT people are “the same as” straight people “obscures the fact that specific everyday realities and social structures have shaped the lives of LGBT people very differently…” say the authors. Even the term “LGBT” ignores that L, G, B, and T are “all distinct experiences.”
The myths continue:
Take, for instance, the notion that “gaydar” is more than just intuition, “a skill that everybody… has.” While research shows that lesbians and gay men can identify other lesbians and gay men better than can straight people, it may only be a matter of desire or empathy.
Or consider the myth that homophobia masks a straight person’s true desire. That belief came from something published more than fifty years ago; the author took the thought in a different direction, but “it became the main idea people took away from the book.”
Same-sex marriage does not “harm” marriage as a whole; in fact, it may “make for happier heterosexual couples.” Not all religions “condemn” homosexuality; no one race is particularly biased against it; parenting has nothing to do with the sexuality of the mothers or fathers (“good parenting… is not a biological given”); bodies and sexuality are “complicated;” and it’s not necessarily easier coming out today than it was a half-century ago.
Though your Mama warned against such things, based on the cover, you might think that this is a fun kind of book. And you’d be disappointed.
No, “’You Can Tell Just by Looking’” is filled with deep-thinking research-based information and no-nonsense answers to “myths” that may or may not be widely-rumored. It’s wordy to the extreme, and – though authors Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini, and Michael Amico claim that LBGT readers believe myths about themselves—I often wondered if this book was preaching to the choir. There’s a whole lotta overgeneralization goin’ on here, too.
Still, the authors don’t shy away from controversy; they tackle some tough (and food-for-thought) ideas with thoughtful inspection. I appreciated that lack of fear and the willingness they had to confront ill-conceived credos.
Overall, I think that if you’re searching for retorts to blanket-statements about LGBT people, this book may give you what you need. It won’t be the most fun thing you’ve ever read, but “’You Can Tell Just by Looking’” is one I believe may help.
Lizards pick up first female in MLL
The Long Island Lizards made big news in December when it picked up female goalie Devon Wills in the league’s Supplemental Draft, according to a team release.
“I think it’s a huge honor and I am super grateful for the opportunity that Coach Spallina is giving me by picking me up” said Wills in a statement. “This is a huge opportunity to challenge myself.
This is sports and I’m really excited to see if I’m good enough to play at this level. If I’m good enough, that’s great, but if not, I’m still really grateful for the opportunity.”
Willis is a women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Southern California and had a fantastic career at Dartmouth and for Team USA as a netminder.
She ranks second all-time in saves at Dartmouth and was a three-time First Team All-Ivy selection and three-time All-American.
Wills also won two goal medals in 2009 and 2013 and was a named to the FIL World Cup All-World Team in 2013 and Player of the Match for the championship game in 2009.
Blind Bat Brewery…and his (Village) People
This is a line from Paul Dlugokencky’s new song, “In the Recipe”:
I want you,
I want you,
I want you for a recipe review.
Dlugokencky, who released “In the Recipe” on April 09, is owner and brewmaster of Blind Bat Brewery, the first recipient of Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!‘s Most Loyal To Local Award!
Congratulations, Blind Bat!
Blind Bat operates from Dlugokencky’s residence—his shed, specifically—in Centerport, creating unconventional beers with seasonal, Long Island-sourced ingredients. Sweet Potato Saison, for example, is brewed with sweet potatoes from Riverhead’s Ty Llwyd Farm or Peconic’s Sang Lee Farms, depending on availability, while Brown Joe, a coffee-infused brown ale, is a collaboration with Gentle Brew Coffee Roasters in Long Beach. Dlugokencky also sources ingredients from his wife, Regina, who soil-creates basil for Honey & Basil Ale and coriander for Hell Gate Golde—
BUT DID YOU KNOW BEFORE BREWMASTERING, DLUGOKENCKY WAS KNOWN AS DISCO DLUGOKENCKY, THE YOUNGEST MEMBER OF THE VILLAGE PEOPLE? YES HE WAS THE GROUP’S BREAKDANCER AT ONLY SIX YEARS OLD. THIS JUST BLOWED YOUR MIND LIKE ALL THE LINKS PEOPLE POST ON FACEBOOK ABOUT 47 EPIC FACTS ABOUT THINGS THAT WILL COMPLETELY ALTER YOUR VIEW OF THE WORLD AND KANYE WEST.
Okay. Dlugokencky was never a member of the Village People, but the influence is obvious. His aforementioned song, “In the Recipe,” was actually inspired by the Village People’s “In the Navy.”
In the Recipe,
You can tell me what you liked,
In the Recipe,
I hope you think I brewed this right.
Okay. The connection between Dlugokencky and the Village People is actually nonexistent, and “In the Recipe” is not a real song. A connection does exist, however, between Dlugokencky and HIS Village People, or customers. This is evidenced by a section on Blind Bat’s website, Judge, which enables drinkers to give direct-to-Dlugokencky feedback on his beers.
“Feedback can be helpful, and also helps me to learn if what I was aiming for is what folks are getting,” said Dlugokencky. “Tweaks may or may not be made based on feedback, but it is a bit of audience participation.”
This “audience participation” actually inspired Dlugokencky’s newest-newest song, “Macho Fan.” It was released…now.
Macho, Macho Fan,
When they review my beer,
They are a Macho Fan.
Okay. “Macho Fan” is bogus. Redo!
Dlugokencky’s latest request for “audience participation” accompanied the debut of Blind Bat’s Long Island Oyster Stout, brewed with oysters from Northport Fish & Lobster Co. (their befriendment started at Northport Farmers’ Market, where both are vendors). The 10-gallon batch was divided into two versions, and Dlugokencky pumped one with Sorachi Ace hops.
“I haven’t heard of any stout dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace, be it Oyster or otherwise,” said Dlugokencky. “Sorachi Ace can lend a lemony, citrusy quality, so the idea here was inspired by the practice by some people squeezing lemon on their oysters.”
After releasing both versions of Long Island Oyster Stout at Babylon Village Farmers Market on November 23, Dlugokencky asked purchasers for their opinions on Facebook, Twitter, and Untappd.
“I likes both, but prefer the non-dry hopped one,” said Keith Palazzolo.
“Young man, there’s no need to feel down,” said Victor Willis.
Dlugokencky will use the feedback, “which was about split on the responses,” to brew the next batch of Long Island Oyster Stout in “either late December or sometime in January.” The batch will, again, be divided and Sorachi-Aced.
More Blog, Please
Dlugokencky also requested “audience participation” in March, with the launch of The Blind Bat Brewery Club.
Pineapple Skirt Steak Roll-Ups
Published: Thursday, December 19, 2013
With Christmas and New Year’s just around the corner it’s all about appetizers and fun food starring in the party! I love when my guests have an array of munchies just waiting for them when they walk right in my door. Here we have my “Pineapple Skirt Steak Roll-Ups.” While they fit perfectly into this seasonal of year they also bring a tropical ray of sunshine with the bright yellow colors peeking through. Sweet and savory…simply superb!
1 6 oz can pineapple juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
10 fresh pineapple chunks
1 pound thinly sliced skirt steak
2 tablespoons sesame oil or canola oil
1.) Whisk first 5 ingredients together in a large glass bowl and combine thoroughly until smooth. (Reserve about 1/4 of the sauce to use to baste while you cook.)
2.) Add meat to the marinade and using clean hands massage the mixture throughout. (If you can, soak overnight as this will maximize the flavor and tenderize the meat.)
3.) In a large nonstick skillet or grill pan heat canola oil.
4.) Once sizzling hot, using tongs add steak and pineapple chunks to pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just starting to char.
5.) Brush with remaining marinade and flip. Cook other side until done.
6.) Place steaks on a clean flat surface and lay flat with a grilled pineapple chunk on top.
7.) Taking your pineapple chunk roll the steak around it securing with a tooth pick. Pinch it tightly to close.
Nic’s Tips: Feel free to toss any other veggie you like on the pan. I did red bell peppers slices this time around.
Sounds of the Season
Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
While 2013 has not been one of the best years for Christmas music, there have been some very worthwhile releases. At the head of the class are reissues from Real Gone Music. Six releases of vintage music from a variety of styles and labels make for great yuletide listening. For easy listening fans, two double-CDs are real standouts. The Complete Music of Christmas from Percy Faith includes the albums The Music of Christmas and Hallelujah! It also contains three bonus Columbia singles including the 78 rpm version of “Sleigh Ride.” From the king of Christmas crooners Andy Williams comes The Complete Christmas Recordings. The two-CD set includes three complete classic Williams holiday releases: Christmas Album from 1963, Merry Christmas from 1965 and Christmas Present from 1974. It also features three singles and two unreleased versions of “White Christmas.” There are also four single disc releases. Funky Christmas, featuring various artists including Lou Donaldson, is a jazzy and soulful take on holiday music. Merry Christmas! The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings 1963-1966, from The New Christy Minstrels, includes the albums Merry Christmas! and Christmas with the Christies!, spotlighting the group during its choral folk heyday. Christmas with Patti Page features her 1955 holiday album and six bonus tracks, including three rare performances from her 1950s show and a radio commercial. Finally, there is The 25th Day Of December With Bobby Darin from 1960 which features one bonus track. Two of the best Christmas albums ever released have recently been reissued from Concord on the Fantasy imprint. A Charlie Brown Christmas from the Vince Guaraldi Trio, features three bonus tracks and packaging that replicates Snoopy’s doghouse and four Peanuts characters. Christmas Soli from John Fahey is a compilation that draws from four defining releases that were the seminal recordings of acoustic holiday music.
Two holiday compilation CDs released this year worth searching out are Now Christmas (Universal) and Motown Christmas (Motown). The Now two-disc set includes one disc of mostly post-war, standards, big band, orchestral and instrumental chestnuts and disc two features primarily rock and pop contemporary holiday classics. The Motown disc collects holiday music, primarily from the 1960s superstars of Motown.
New This Season
Three new holiday releases cover a variety of styles. The best new holiday release this year is Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection For All The Family, from Nick Lowe on yepRoc. Lowe croons his way through eight yuletide chestnuts and has written four new songs in his unmistakable pure pop style. On the heels of its Piano Guys 2 release comes A Family Christmas on Portrait. The deluxe edition features the group’s trademark pop classical instrumental take on traditional Christmas songs and a bonus DVD of selections from the audio disc and the group’s take on “Rudolph” and “A Family Christmas Yule Log Edition.” From Erasure comes Snow Globe on Mute. The synth-pop duo has stripped its sound down for the most part and has come up with a sparse sound for this superb holiday package.
Isles, Tavares to get some TV love
Things aren’t going to look any better for the Islanders coming January or February, but hey, they’ll be featured on the new all-access television series “NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other.”
The series will go in-depth on the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series games, as well as the NHL Heritage Classic in Vancouver and the Olympics in Russia.
Bristow Global Media, Inc., led by Julie Bristow, who oversaw production of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, is producing it. Ross Greenburg, the former head of HBO Sports, will serve as executive producer.
The series will debut Jan. 22 on NBCSN and also air Feb. 5, Feb. 27 (two-part), March 5 and March 12.
Along with players like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Henrik Lundqvist, Islanders captain John Tavares will get consider airtime both at the Stadium Series and the Olympics.
“What’s most important is we want to give that feeling to the viewer that they’re inside, that they’ll be in training rooms, meeting rooms and locker rooms, they’ll be hearing from coaches, players will be miked on the ice, cameras will be low on the ice in arenas,” Greenburg told NHL.com. “We also want to bring to life these Stadium games and, obviously, Sochi because those are the big events.”
Hofstra to host NCAA Wrestling Championships
Last week the NCAA announced that Hofstra will be the host school of the 2016 NCAA Division I wrestling championships at Madison Square Garden.
“Coming to New York City and competing for national championships in The Garden will afford these student-athletes with life-long memories,” said Hofstra Director of Athletics, Jeff Hathaway. “At the same time wrestling fans from across the country will have the opportunity to experience all the sights and sounds of The Big Apple while watching the best of intercollegiate wrestling.”
This will mark the fourth time the NCAA wrestling championships will be held in New York following 1955 and 1964 at Cornell and 2002 at Albany.
Hofstra has had a strong wrestling history over the past 65-plus years. The Pride has sent 192 student-athletes to 48 NCAA Championships tournaments with 29 earning All-America honors. In 1976 Nick Gallo became Hofstra’s first and only NCAA champion at 126 pounds.
“Mud Season” by Ellen Stimson
Sometimes, you just need a change.
Life becomes same-old, same-old and that’s boring. You need to shake things up. Get out of your rut. Do something different.
Sometimes you need to surprise yourself or, as author Ellen Stimson says in her new book “Mud Season,” you need to go shopping at the “Life Store.” Just beware of what’s in your cart.
Back when Ellen Stimson’s family was young, Stimson and her husband got a rare chance at a real vacation, so they flew from their St. Louis home to Vermont. She’d always dreamed of seeing the famed New England fall and when she did, she was absolutely in love with it.
She never forgot the beauty of Vermont so, when her children were older and wondering if they could really live anywhere they wanted, being a Vermonter suddenly wasn’t just a pipe-dream. It could be reality—so they moved to Dorset.
But life in small-town New England wasn’t as idyllic as Stimson had envisioned. Her first mistake was to import “foreigners” (a work crew from St. Louis) to remodel the Victorian home she and her husband bought. That didn’t endear them to the locals, nor did their decision to home-school their youngest son. Their fussy-yuppie chicken coop was cause for gossip. When the family bought the local Country Store and (gasp!) moved the bread, it seemed to be the final straw.
But though the locals appeared to be tight-knit and reticent, there were pockets of kindness that Stimson saw: a church minister with a sense of humor visited the family often. A local constable was compassionate during a silly, embarrassing moment. The family got a lamb and lessons in shepherding from a farmer-friend.
Even their banker was kind, but the fact was that buying the Country Store had been a bad decision and, as the family’s finances began to wane, it was obvious that this part of the New England dream wasn’t working. Stimson found comfort in the gorgeous scenery that surrounded her, but mountains and waterfalls couldn’t erase debts. The family began to look for a way out. Could they find it in time to save themselves?
“Mud Season” is a little rough around the edges, but it’s got its goodness.
Without a doubt, firstly, the state of Vermont would be well-advised to adopt parts of author Ellen Stimson’s book for their brochures. Stimson writes lyrically of the incredible beauty of the state’s countryside, which made me want to see it, too.
As for her adopted town’s residents, though, I thought there was a little too much fun-poking. That made me wince sometimes, as did a lengthy litany of disasters with barely a breath. Add overabundant footnotes… and… too much… of this… kind of thing… and, well, it’s rough.
But don’t forget, I said there was goodness—which is in the form of a humorously self-depreciating story filled with grace and gratitude. For that, I think this book is worth a peek. For that, “Mud Season” is a book to put in your cart.
Beauty Circa 1930
Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
As a makeup artist with an inherently classic signature, I greatly enjoy the opportunity to resurrect vintage beauty. Recently I was commissioned to work on a photo shoot at the newly restored Suffolk Theater in Riverhead New York, to bring the owner’s dream and vision of a perfectly glamorous and Art Deco nuptial experience to Long Island’s bridal audience. Along with being the makeup artist, I also had the role of creating the looks, dress selection, and accessories. I worked with resident photographer Diane Tucci to get the desired look throughout the shoot.
The day started promptly at noon with my colleague; master hair stylist Giovanna Abbate, as we began our professional set ups before our model arrived. Being prepared and organized is the key to a smooth operation, and the overall production went off without a flaw. The makeup, hair styling, fashion styling photography, and support team were in complete sync-it was one of the smoothest productions I’ve ever worked. As for the vision and direction itself, the theme was centered around the decades of the 1930’s and 1940’s. As a fan of old Hollywood glam beauties, this was right up my alley because my work is classic in nature, which means I use minimal color and more of a play with light and dark to create a clean and natural, yet flawless face.
If you wish to recreate a timeless look such as the one seen here, follow my simple guidelines.
The focal point and centerpiece for a timeless façade are the lips. This is where you apply the color; usually in the form of a red in any tone, either warm or cool depending on your skin tone. If you are warmer, then go for a blue red, if you are cooler in skin tone, a fiery red will do.
Eyes should be enhanced using nudes and browns in matte and radiant textures- leave the color out. No blues, greens, purples or any color on the eyes. The eyes appear more delicate, not over lined and not heavy. Be sure to highlight the brow bone with a matte nude tone to accentuate the arch in the brow, giving you a perfectly shaped and clean brow line.
If you refer to an earlier blog of mine titled “Eye Shadow Aplique” dated March 26th 2013, I created a similar look on a model, and it will guide you in regards to applying the colors on your eyes.
My experience was nothing short of incredible, and working in a historic theater setting was ethereal. Upon completion of my work that day, I felt it hard to detach and leave, as always, because I am passionate about my work. I think of each face as a beautiful painting. Each one is different and each one is new, and I find it hard to not stare. I look forward to my next masterpiece.
Model: Dana Lauren
Photographer: Dianne Tucci
Have a Merry Tuba Christmas and Singalong at the Rink at Rockefeller Center
Published: Friday, December 13, 2013
“We’ve got to replace these angels playing trumpets—with tubas.”
—Tuba virtuoso/Tuba Christmas originator Harvey Phillips commenting on the displays on the Rockefeller Center Promenade
Head to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center on Sunday at 3:30pm for the annual Tuba Christmas concert featuring hundreds of tuba players lined up—with their sousaphones, baritones and euphoniums—to play Christmas carols beneath the golden statue of Prometheus and the glorious Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Players come from all over the East Coast for this unique event which began at the rink in 1974 and has become a ritual in over 200 cities around the world. Tuba Christmas originator Harvey Phillips was paying tribute to his teacher/mentor William J. Bell, who was born on Christmas day in 1902 and played in the New York Philharmonic and the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini. Forty years later, Tuba Christmas is a holiday tradition celebrating those who teach, play and compose music for instruments in the tuba family around the world.
Tubists of all ages are asked to wear bright colors and register at 11:30am in order to rehearse the carols arranged for the first Tuba Christmas by American composer Alec Wilder (who ironically died on Christmas eve in 1980).
Spectators are encouraged to sing along to the Christmas carols and holiday classics conducted by Chris Wilhjelm (of the Goldman band). The plaza fills up fast so get thee to 49th and 50th Streets btw 5th and 6th Avenues well before the 3:30pm start time on Sunday, December 15th.
Laviolette name circling around Long Island
Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Something has to give. The Islanders have lost nine in a row and 14 of their last 16 games as of Monday afternoon. After last season’s sudden and exhilarating charge to the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Islanders looked like they were headed in the right direction.
John Tavares was a Hart Trophy finalist. They nearly knocked off the mighty Penguins in the first round. Fans had lit a fuse in the Coliseum and all seemed well again for a change in Uniondale.
That all seems so long ago now and it was only a few months back. It’s dark and abysmal this season around Orange & Blue country. It all happened so fast. A season that began with much promise, that seemed even more promising when the Islanders acquired Thomas Vanek from Buffalo, has all but finished itself before the midway mark. It would take a herculean effort to get back from this.
Jack Capuano earned a ton of respect after how he guided the team last year. He carried himself with poise and confidence. He slowly crept up the all-time rankings and sits second all-time in franchise history for victories behind Al Arbour; albeit way behind the legend, but still.
Now though, something has to change. You can’t change the roster too much. You may be able to trade for a goalie, or bring in a defenseman, but at what cost? Is it worth trading strong prospects, or a possible high-end draft pick if they keep up this pace? Probably not.
The rumor of former Isles coach Peter Laviolette coming back into the Islanders mix has been widely reported and most agree that he’ll infuse life into this lifeless group. One scribe from Yahoo nailed it, saying that Capuano is the coach that gets a team to a certain place, and Laviolette is capable of bringing them to an even higher level.
And other NHL officials know this too, so you can be certain he’s high on a bunch of next hire lists. Laviolette has a Stanley Cup ring and he’s a proven winner now. It took getting fired by Mike Milbury, leaving the confines of Nassau County and landing in Carolina to win big, but he has the respect and ear of other teams. Forget his stint in Philly. He wasn’t a good fit there. He knows the Island, he knows the franchise and the fan base and he’s hungry. If you’re going to make a move, make it now.
Hofstra hoops court to be redesigned
In one of the more progressive cultural moves from an area college, Hofstra University recently held a contest to have its basketball court redesigned.
Led by the university’s Office of Athletic Communications, the contest ran through Monday, December 2 and will conclude with finalists being selected by administrators and fans voting on the winning design.
The winning design will be the design used on the court at the Mack Sports Complex starting with the 2014-2015 Hofstra men and women’s basketball seasons.
Hofstra will unveil the finalists on GoHofstra.com and social media outlets for the Hofstra community to see. Finalists will be contacted to complete additional forms before their designs are displayed for voting.
The image above is one of the designs submitted and it’s both eye-catching and classy.
“Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade” by Adam Minter
This will probably be the last year for your old Christmas lights.
You’ve noticed that the bulbs are half burned-out and replacements are hard to find these days. Besides, you’d really rather have those newfangled lights anyhow; they’re energy efficient and they look nicer.
You’re going to recycle those old twinklers because it’s the right thing to do. But where do they go after you’ve put them in the bin? Read “Junkyard Planet” by Adam Minter, and you might be surprised to find out.
For most of his life, Adam Minter has been intrigued by junk. You could almost say it’s genetic—his father and grandmother owned a Minneapolis junkyard—and since he’s already a journalist working in China, trash is relatively easy to investigate.
China , you see, is where a lot of America ’s scrap—cell phones, electric motors, plastic, construction debris, Christmas lights—ends up. Says Minter, it’s “the most logical (and greenest) endpoint…”
When you put something in the recycling bin, you’re really, in some respects, throwing away money. Yesterday’s newspaper, an empty detergent bottle, your old computer, that junker in your garage will eventually all be bought, sold, and either picked apart here in America or shipped overseas to be processed and metals reclaimed.
“… the richer you are, and the more educated you are,” says Minter, “the more stuff you will throw away.”
And throw away we do: Minter says that, in 2012, U.S. scrap workers “were responsible for transforming 135 million metric tons of recyclable waste into raw materials that could be made into new stuff.” Exporting other trash for processing saves low-grade scrap from being dumped in a landfill. Together, that lessens environmental costs.
As for financial costs, Minter says it’s often cheaper for U.S. scrappers to send materials overseas than across the country. Despite that safety is often iffy there, overseas facilities offer employees better-than-farming wages and opportunities for family businesses. And besides, “the developing world can usually find a use for what Americans can’t recycle profitably,” sometimes returning to us a re-recycled item, ready to use again.
Says Minter, “Round and round it goes.”
“Junkyard Planet is a good book—and it’s not.
Because it takes a lively look at the symbiosis between American and Chinese trash trade, there’s a lot of back-and-forth-across-the-ocean here, resulting in what feels like a good amount of repetition. The facts that are highlighted in this book are quite shocking, but author Adam Minter throws them around like confetti on New Year’s Eve. After awhile, it’s hard to be impressed by them anymore.
And yet—there’s something to be said about a book that offers solid, deep scrutiny of a “hidden,” big-bucks industry that makes something good from an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality.
Overall, though it takes time to absorb, I think that if you’ve ever thrown something away and figured it would magically disappear forever, this book will disabuse you of that notion. For you, or anyone who wants to know where America’s recyclables go, “Junkyard Planet” will show you the light.
2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Turbo
Base price: $31,195 As tested: $31,990
Published: Friday, December 06, 2013
Most people have a soft spot in their heart for the Bug because it was popular in the 60s, man.
My sentimental feelings for the peanut-sized Beetle, though, are because it was the first-ever car I reviewed back in 2000, when “the net” was still something you threw over a crazy person. Since then, I haven’t exactly been infested with test Beetles, but I have had four for a week each.
You want to know how rockin’ the 2014 Beetle is? I had given back a Rolls-Royce Ghost in exchange for the Beetle, and I didn’t mind at all. Why would you mind a pint-sized powerhouse with a quick-dropping roof, a rich sound system, plenty of room for your crizzap, and being able to park it in a postage-stamp sized space in midtown Manhattan for no money? No need for a “my other car is a Rolls” sticker.
My first Bug of the two—the Turbo—shares suspension, a 6-speed manual transmission and a 200 horsepower 2.0 litre engine with Volkswagen’s GTI hatchback. It won “best engine,” but the ice-cream white exterior reminded me of a refrigerator. The second Beetle was red—much better color—but its Diesel engine was a total lug, with no fun in the acceleration and a supposed driving expert—me—still stalling out 5 days after I had the car. Note to self: Give it a LOT of gas before letting go of the clutch. Couple of ladies in a parking lot snickered at me one time when I stalled, too.
I leaned on the Turbo for the entire test, wanting to see how much it could take and how it responded to a heavy-handed, heavy-footed driver, and I was pleased it returned each serve with a strong response of its own. Curves were hugged at high speeds, brakes were smashed and the car instantly halted, and available freeway slots were reached quickly when I stepped on it.
It’s got a 2.0 litre turbocharged 200 horsepower engine, a welcome stability control system, ABS brakes, independent front and rear suspension, a tire pressure monitoring system, and all the latest safety features. In fact, if I was going to hit something and had a choice of small cars to do it in, I’d pick this thick-walled, sturdy peanut.
The small-convertible market is busy these days, but the Bug squashes all competitors.
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Brewers Discussing Beer: The Ups and Downs of Contract Brewing by Rick Sobotka (Great South Bay Brew
“It’s a controversial topic, capable of eliciting confusion, discomfort, and, during one unfortunate encounter in Bay Shore, murder. CONTRACT KILLING? NO. CONTRACT BREWING…ON THE NEXT MAURY.”
[:: Changes Channel ::]
“CONTRACT BREWING! It’s controversial, but so hot right now. CONTRACT BREWING.”
[:: Changes Channel ::]
“It’s a controversial topic, capable of instantaneously injecting discomfort into a conversation among, or regarding, brewers.”
(DUN DUN DUN)
“Yes. We are referring to contract brewing…”
The Brewers Association defines a contract brewing company as a “business that hires another brewery to produce its beer. It can also be a brewery that hires another brewery to produce additional beer.” This process, in either scenario, is essentially outsourcing, openly practiced in an industry erected by handcrafted.
Should outsourcing, or contract brewing, be allowed?
Greg Doroski, brewer at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, e-penned a controversial op-ed on contract brewing for New York Cork Report in 2012, stating “there are far too many ‘breweries’ that brew little, if any, of their own beer,” and “hiring other breweries to produce some or all of their beer is particularly troubling.” Though contract-brewed beer only accounted for 1.7% of sales in 2012, the process is definitely employed—even on Long Island, home of Greenport Harbor. Fire Island Beer Company currently contracts with Two Roads Brewing Company, for example, while Spider Bite Beer Company and Montauk Brewing Company are produced at Cooperstown Brewing Company. Blue Point Brewing Company, the unofficial spokesbrewery for Long Island, even outsources cans and 12-ounce bottles to Genesee Brewing Company.
Rick Sobotka, owner and brewmaster of Great South Bay Brewery, is also connected to contract brewing.
Before opening a 30-barrel brewery in Bay Shore in May, Great South Bay Brewery contracted with Greenpoint Beer Works for nearly three years. Sobotka, a homebrewer for 22 years, never aspired to contract, but—
WAIT LET’S ASK SOBOTKA…BUT NOW, NOT ON THE NEXT MAURY.
Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!! asked Sobotka to discuss his experience with, and opinion of, contract brewing.
This is our second Brewers Discussing Beer. Enjoy.
Rick Sobotka, owner and brewmaster of Great South Bay Brewery (Credit: Matt Furman)
The Ups and Downs of Contract Brewing
Great South Bay Brewery took its first steps in 2009, when I decided to rent a small industrial building at 2309 Union Avenue in Bay Shore. While building this one-barrel brewhouse, I was already in the purchasing stages of a 30-barrel brewhouse and began negotiations to occupy a 4,000-square-foot building on an adjacent piece of property.
What seemed like a straightforward deal turned into a complex mess, and a tiresome losing battle. There were county requirements, which presented hard financial strain to expand the brewery to this property, and it just didn’t pan out. Although the one-barrel brewhouse would eventually produce some of our beer, the economics of this small-volume setup did not work out for our company to make a profit. As our licenses and permits were approved, it appeared obvious that my dream of opening Great South Bay Brewery as, well, a brewery, would be delayed. But I had already employed two full-time people—Greg Maisch, as my head brewer, and Phil Ebel, as my salesman. I was left with a difficult decision to make: either delay the opening, or try something else…
Sixpoint Craft Ales had just ended its contract with Greenpoint Beer Works in Brooklyn, New York, and the space was available. In all my 22 years of homebrewing, I had never desired to have anyone else brew my beer. I basically equated contract brewing with store-bought cookies: good, but not nearly the same as homemade. But as a novice in the industry, I was left with no choice. We decided to sign and the first batch of our beer was produced in October 2010. My goal was to contract brew for three months and within that time, our own 30-barrel brewery would be built. We’d use this just to get off our feet…
Greenpoint makes great beer. There is no doubt about it. Having brewed for over 20 different companies, its track record for helping fellow brewers get on the right path was quite admirable. The first discussion between our companies was to choose the styles of beer that it would brew for us, and I decided on two of my favorites as a homebrewer: Blonde Ambition Ale and Massive IPA. The ingredients and brewing notes were given to Greenpoint, and the pricing negotiation ensued. What I didn’t take into account was that Greenpoint brewed on a 30-barrel brewhouse. The math that I had done for our own setup showed a modest but sizable profit for its size, but now, that same profit had to be split between two companies. I was given a fair price for contracting, but it left us with virtually no profit from the reselling of our beer to our distributor. I had not intended to personally profit from brewing at this time, but the sales from contract brewing left us with a big loss for the first two years. Although we appeared successful to our customers and the general public, we actually struggled to make ends meet.
We began our first few months with Greenpoint very hands-on, instructing its team how to brew our beer, and the result was really good. Blonde Ambition Ale was very similar to its original taste and took off as the big seller. Massive IPA had to change, however, from when it won a bronze medal at Tap New York in 2010. It was much more expensive to brew now, and to give it a reasonable market price, I had to cut down on the amounts and varieties of hops used to brew it—thus the change in taste. I was initially disappointed but I knew that this version was temporary, so I continued to focus on the future of brewing the original on our smaller brewhouse. But what was supposed to be three months of contract brewing turned into almost an almost three-year relationship. There is a long drawn story behind this delay, but I’ll stick to the topic…
My team grew from three employees to five by 2011, and we worked endlessly to build our brand. Every couple of months, we invested in purchasing new kegs to meet our new demand. Unfortunately, because we had no experience to measure against, we never anticipated our next crisis.
In the summer of 2011, Blonde Ambition Ale sold at an amazingly aggressive pace. We had already doubled our production of this beer, but we couldn’t keep up. A contract brewer basically produces beer with a long term, well-orchestrated production schedule, and to change this schedule is very difficult. It’s difficult because, by brewing more of my beer, the contract brewer faces a few dilemmas, like sacrificing another company’s planned batch, or possibly needing to hire new employees or purchase more equipment. Although we analyzed the brewing schedule with Greenpoint, we couldn’t get supplied with enough Blonde Ambition Ale. What may seem like a good problem to have still haunts me to this very day. By having a limited supply of beer, it wears on the trust of our loyal customers and our distributor, who we promised both there would be more. I figured this was merely a growing pain and within a few months, we would remedy the supply issue, or our new brewery would be built and we would leave contract brewing. Well, to forecast the future a little bit, the problem grew even worse in the summer of 2012, and then spiraled out of control in 2013…
In the summer of 2012 we introduced a new beer: Blood Orange Pale Ale. This had been brewed on our own one-barrel brewhouse, and we experimented with it for quite some time. That’s what we used the smaller brewhouse for, basically. Anyway, our final product is what I believe to be one of the most dynamic beers on the market today, appealing to all types of drinkers. Its fruitiness appeals to novice and fruit-loving palates, while the smooth balance of bitterness greatly satisfies the aficionado. With a beer that had plenty of potential, we were curious to see how it would stack up against Blonde Ambition Ale. The result? Blood Orange Pale Ale outsold it, creating yet another shortage. This was a crisis. Because of it, we lost several customers who, to this day, will not buy our beer. It may seem trivial, but I fully understand the problems the shortage created and it is very difficult to place any blame on my lost customers.
Anyway, we got through that summer and pressed on, introducing many more styles, including Snaggletooth Stout, Kismet Saison, and Splashing Pumpkin Ale. Greenpoint was now producing approximately quadruple the amount of beer it had originally planned for us, but as a result, the relationship grew a bit strained. The plan was always to produce beer on our own, and in the beginning of 2013, we were well underway with the construction of our new 30-barrel brewhouse at 25 Drexel Drive in Bay Shore. But the completion date, which was targeted as January 15, got delayed until March, and Greenpoint again struggled with meeting the change. At the end of March, we were cranking out so much beer that something had to give. Kelly Taylor, co-owner of Greenpoint, gave us one more month. At the end of that month, though, I begged him to brew me one more batch of Blood Orange Pale Ale. It was the longest and most silent conversation he and I had ever had. At the end of it, he agreed to bump another beer and help. He’s really a stand-up guy.
Although we had no beer to sell from May 11-May 21, our brewery was finally ready. We lead a customer-focused campaign to reassure them that we were coming back soon in bigger forces than before—and I feel like we did. We’ve brewed and packaged every single drop of beer since May, and the new brewery has been one of the happiest and greatest successes of my life.
But we’re still proud of our history.
I truly believe Greenpoint did all they could for us. Out of all the batches it brewed for us, only a few were quite different from what we expected. A new brewer there had accidently emptied a stout into our batch of Kismet Saison, for example. Thankfully we were not held responsible to purchase it. Our Blood Orange also had some growing pains. At times it was too orangey, then not so orangey, but ultimately it was remedied.
There are many issues you have to accept when contract brewing, but its a risk I needed and wanted to take. These challenges enabled my company, and myself, to grow, and now, my future looks bright…and beery. —Rick Sobotka
Crispy Apple & Zucchini Latkes
Published: Thursday, December 05, 2013
Yes, I know Hanukah just ended, but I simply couldn’t resist sharing one of new favorite “Latke Recipes” that is so yummy and delicious, that you can really make it any time you please! Not one to use white potatoes too often in my recipes, I chose to do a Zucchini Latke this time. However, since the veggie on its own can be a little bland (sorry) I added some wholesome sweet apple, which paired with the onion makes quite the combo! I am a fan of pairing the latkes with some tart Greek yogurt and chunky applesauce. A true hit amongst my family…even the picky ones. ☺
2 medium green zucchini grated
1 small onion grated (I like to grate it right into the batter to get the onion “juice flavor”)
½ apple peeled and grated (red & crisp is a good choice)
2 tablespoons seasoned matzo meal or bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying (the higher smoke point oils are the best for this recipe)
½ cup Greek yogurt and ½ cup applesauce for dipping
1.) Immediately after grating zucchini, sprinkle with kosher salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Wrap in a clean dishtowel or layer of paper towels and wring out all existing moisture. The dryer the zucchini the better. (Skipping the salt, continue to do the same with the onion & apple removing as much liquid as possible)
2.) Combine zucchini, onion, apple, matzo meal, egg, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
3.) Heat a large frying pan with about ¼ inch of vegetable oil. The oil should be sizzling, but not smoking.
4.) Using an ice cream scooper, scoop out spoonfuls of the batter and gently drops it into the hot oil. Flatten a bit using a spatula into a thick pancake formation. (Do not flatten too much or the latke will be denser than you wish.)
5.) Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes until golden brown and the edges are crisped.
6.) Remove and let them drain on a bed of paper towels on the counter. Serve immediately while hot with yogurt and applesauce on the side.
Nic’s Tips: If you have to make them in advance re-heat the latkes in the oven until crispy.
The World’s Most Determined Vigilante
An Interview with Robert Young Pelton
Published: Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Robert Young Pelton is the kind of guy you want around when the sh*t hits the fan—wherever that may be. I first met him when we served as contributors to the adventure travel magazine Blue, which launched in 1997. I’ve built a career as a storyteller but gladly zip it when a master like Pelton lets it rip. The feathers in his cap include finding “American Taliban” member John Walker Lindh in Afghanistan in November 2001, and his continuously updated bestselling book The World’s Most Dangerous Places. However, they only hint at this unflappable Canadian-born Californian’s lifelong mission to report about, stare down and battle the world’s evil…on the ground and face to face.
An author of seven books, as well as an extreme journalist, documentary filmmaker, show host, and raconteur, Pelton focuses on reporting conflict and interviewing military, insurgent, and political figures in war zones. His career and reputation are built on a history of entering forbidden, deadly, and otherwise no-go environments—and stirring the pot. There is no denying that Pelton is also one of the ballsiest of travel writers, sharing practical and survival information for people who work and travel in high-risk zones. He’s no stranger to humor, either.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Q. What do hot places, while figuratively on fire, like Afghanistan, Chechnya, Liberia, Mogadishu, Iraq, and Uganda (where Pelton survived an assassination attempt) have in common?
A. They are usually unrecovered from a previous political cataclysm that might have occurred a decade or more earlier. Many of these places are so fragile that less than a dozen armed men can plunge the region into chaos.
Q. What five things should any traveler never forget to pack?
A. A passport, money, comfortable pants, Mr DP stickers and hot sauce—makes lousy food palatable, even the worst refugee camp food and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat).
Q. What made you want to track down African fugitive Joseph Kony, and what do you think your chances are of finding him?
A. I have spent twenty years tracking down rebel leaders, wanted men, Jihadis and other people who didn’t want to be found. My chances are good simply because my singular goal is to locate Kony. Many of the other large programs have tangential goals and limited resources.
Q. Where is the most beautiful war or conflict zone you’ve visited?
A. Bougainville. A small island north of the Solomons where there is a smoking volcano, white beaches and beautiful people. I remember sitting on the top of the mountain, helping the late rebel leader Francis Ona try to write the national anthem. It was hard to find anything that rhymed with “Mekamui” or the holy land as they called their island. Bougainville is now open for tourists, by the way.
Q. In the heavens and hells on our globe, is there a human trait that remains constant?
A. People are curious. Ultimately they want affirmation. And they have held their fire when they see a 6’ 4” white man bound across their front lines.
Q. Can you recommend three destinations—once no-go zones—to visit that are now safe for ordinary travelers?
A. The country of Georgia has the creative and architectural aura of 1920s Paris with spectacular mountains and international intrigue thrown in. Sierra Leone in West Africa has amazing jungles in the north…and even Somaliland. Afghanistan (Bamiyan Valley) and Iraq (Kurdistan) have beautiful and safe places to explore.
Q. In order to gain access, you’ve spent an unusual amount of time living with, traveling with and documenting some of the world’s best known rebel, Jihadi, and insurgent groups in dozens of countries. From a traveling perspective, which group was the most and least entertaining?
A. The most interesting were the Chechen rebels during the 1999 war. Mostly for their bravery and unusual fighting tactics. My least favorite were the FARC rebels in Colombia who seemed to view Marxism as a way to get rich—and have sexy female bodyguards.
Q. When you were kidnapped in Colombia’s Darien Gap by AUC death squads, was your first thought: Fight, flight, or, my daughters are going to kill me?
A. My first thought was to ensure the safety of the two people who were with me. The second was that my wife is going to be pissed.
Q. I enjoyed your Men’s Journal article, “How to Stage a Coup”: You’ve met, interviewed, fought or worked with many intriguing and polarizing world figures, such as Steve Jobs, pirates, mercenaries, prisoners and high-profile killers and fugitives. What makes famous and infamous people tick?
A. Famous people are driven by a need to prove something. It’s probably something buried in their youth. Steve Jobs was an adopted kid who had to prove authority figures wrong. A very angry, unhappy man until he realized that he was one of those authority figures. Rebels are very similar on the intellectual level. I can’t tell you how many tedious, pretentious conversations I have had about revolution, Jihad, and Marxism in jungles with the overeducated and angry sons of affluent people. Whether it’s John Walker Lindh or Erik Prince, they view themselves as being above the rules of survival. It’s the same narcissist profile that the CIA and al Qaeda seeks out.
Q. What is DPx Gear?
A. I have had many people ask why I don’t make “survival gear,” so finally in 2008, I designed a survival knife called the “Hostile Environment Survival Tool” and we have never looked back. I used to be a product designer and marketing specialist, so I suppose it was inevitable. The key is: I develop our products in combat zones and design for a very narrow group of special operations, expedition, and hard use professionals.
Q. What’s next, and why?
A. Well, finding Kony is going to suck up some of my time, including a book and a film on the project. General Dostum has asked for help in getting elected in Afghanistan, and I have a new graphic novel out called Roll Hard about a month I spent in Iraq with an ill-fated Blackwater crew. I just launched a new knife design called the DPx HEAT, and I have my first fictional book called Raven (about a boy who gets lost in the Pacific Northwest and learns to survive). …And, I’m rewriting The World’s Most Dangerous Places. So, never a dull moment.
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
*Pelton’s comment on the title of this story: I don’t know that I am a vigilante since I am working within legal framework on the hunt for Kony.
My Love Affair with a Brand, One of Many: Lorac
Published: Tuesday, December 03, 2013
There are some retail cosmetic lines that continuously impress me, while there are others who continuously do nothing for me. Now it is important to remember we are talking about makeup here, not politics-it’s supposed to be fun and I prefer to keep it real. As a makeup artist, I passionately and obsessively maintain one great cohesive quality makeup collection, along with some secret weapons, to do my work. The items you will find in my kit are ever changing and range from mass market brands such as E.L.F to luxury lines like Eve Pearl. It gives me great pleasure when I find something I love so much that I want to share it with you.
So what am I going to go on and on about? It is by the brand Lorac and it is a 16 color eye shadow palette that is the answer to many of my product junkie prayers. The obsession with this palette exists for many reasons.
First and foremost, the colors are earthy and have a wide range from nude to light bronze to deep purple, and apply full color with one swipe wet or dry. The deeper shades work great to transform your day look into night and also define the eye line.
Secondly, every color you need, whether a lighter look or all the way to the popular black smoky drama, it’s in there.
In addition, the texture of every color is velvety and super soft, almost like a creamy powder which allows for minimal fall out and a flattering dewy finish that makes your eyes dance.
Last but not least, the “hero” attribute for this palette is the mix of matte texture and radiant finishes. It makes for a perfect mix to contour and highlight and turn up the volume. All the colors and textures blend beautifully together.
What I wish would change…
I need a matte vanilla or cream colored shade in there, and I would love it to be double the size as the other ones, make refills, or singles in pots. I have found that I have to buy new palettes for one or two colors when I have barely touched the surface on the deeper shades. I personally think the nude matte shade used on the brow is the most important step for a perfect eye look, hence why I go through it so quickly as a makeup artist.
Where do you get it?
I think every woman who wears makeup, should give this palette a go. It is well priced at $42 and it is available at beauty retailer ULTA, and online at www.loraccosmetics.com.
Take my advice on this, I promise I will not steer you wrong. The key to cosmetics that make me happy are the combination of high quality products, pricing, and color range. This is a top pick for me and always will be as long as it holds its integrity. So many lines have sold out for a profit margin and reduced their integrity, but Lorac continues to maintain its cosmetic soul and it shows in the products.
A special thank you to my colleague and friend Dean Fournier, National Artist/Media Spokesperson for Lorac Cosmetics, for introducing me to the line back in my retail/brand executive days. You can see him on TV as he represents and demonstrates the Lorac brand on the shopping networks.
Miss Tess & The Talkbacks bring old-school vibe to Joe’s Pub for record release
I can’t believe
And I don’t know why
I can’t believe
I let the time pass by…
I’ve tried so hard
But what can I do
When I can’t believe
In the love I have for you
From “The Love I Have for You” by Miss Tess & The Talkbacks
WHO: Miss Tess & the Talkbacks, formerly Miss Tess & the Bon Ton Parade, play a rare mix of jazz-infused old-time country, swing and rockabilly. Influenced by Ella Fitzgerald and the stylistic range of artists like Bonnie Raitt and Tom Waits, Miss Tess writes Americana originals and makes fresh arrangements of some older tunes.
The band’s latest EP, The Love I Have for You, includes one original and six covers saluting some of Tess’s favorite songwriters: Ted Hawkins (“Sorry You’re Sick”), Randy Newman (“Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad”), Hank Williams (“The Alabama Waltz”), Neil Young (“Hold Back the Tears”), Bonnie Raitt (“Give It Up or Let Me Go”) and Willie Nelson on the lovely “Night Life,” on which Miss Tess conjures Patsy Cline.
“Each artist we covered has held a special place in the history of our lives as well as in the history of American music,” said Miss Tess. “These folks are all musical giants who dedicated their lives to music and, for that, I hold them in the highest esteem.”
The title track to the group’s second release on rootsy label Signature Sounds is an original with a 1950’s R&B sound further proving the band’s versatility. And the fitting cover art depicts a vintage carrying case for 45 rpm records.
WHAT: The Brooklyn-based chanteuse with the powerful voice will be celebrating the release of The Love I Have for You when she performs with her Talkbacks at Joe’s Pub with special guests Michaela Anne and Kristin Andreasson.
WHERE: Joe’s Pub on 425 Lafayette Street in NYC.
WHEN: Wednesday, December 11th. Show starts at 7 pm.
2014 Lincoln MKZ
Base price: $36,190
Published: Monday, December 02, 2013
If gas was still .53 cents a gallon like it was in 1975, maybe Lincolns would look like they did then, meaning gunboats with engine compartments large enough for the owner to fiddle in and enough room in the back seat for five guys to pack in and groove to Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
But it’s not, they don’t, and there isn’t. Open the hood of any modern sedan including the MKZ and you’ll find you can’t jam so much as a toothpick in between components, and your king-sized Uncle Frank can fit in the back seat with room for a banana next to him, maybe. If you want interior space, buy a truck, man.
What the MKZ brings us for 2014 is a slim, trim luxury ride competing with German, Japanese, Korean and other makers of sedans nobody was too worried about in the mid-70s.
The MKZ is a handsome gent, with an aggressive, unmistakably American snout and a roofline merging smoothly with a tight, efficient rear. Speaking of the rear, the trunk is gargantuan, with 15.4 cubic feet available to store equipment, mega-groceries, golf clubs or what-have-you. Inside, it’s suitably luxe, though I never did get used to that airplane hangar-looking center console, and it’s not always easy to tell if the touch-sensitive controls are on or off, never mind finding them without taking your eyes off the road. Once you master the controls, they all work well, and the sound system in particular is crispy, bass-y and satisfying.
There is plenty of power via either a front-wheel or all-wheel drive system, and you have your choice of a turbocharged, 240-hp four-cylinder, or a 300 horsepower 3.7 liter V-6. Either engine comes with a six-speed transmission with dashboard-mounted (feh) SelectShift and paddle shifters you most likely will never touch, though it’s nice to know they’re there. Options include a retractable panoramic roof, an above-par-sounding THX II audio system, a “lane keeping” system and first-in-class inflatable outboard rear seatbelts.
I tested both the hybrid model and the gas-powered MKZs, and I preferred the hybrid not just because of the better gas mileage in the hybrid but because I found the hybrid a bit less abrupt. Both succeed, however.
You won’t mistake the MKZ for the love machines of yore, but it’s a suitably powerful, smooth-riding car worthy of the Lincoln badge.
For more information, click
“The Dogs of Christmas” by W. Bruce Cameron
This Christmas, you’re giving up a lot.
You’re giving up a corner of your home for a Christmas tree. You’re giving up money to make sure the best gifts are beneath that tree on Christmas morning. You’re giving up time to bake, decorate, send cards, maybe even volunteer.
You’re giving up a lot this Christmas, whether you realize it or not. But, as in the new book, “The Dogs of Christmas” by W. Bruce Cameron, you’re getting so much more in return.
Josh Michaels didn’t want to answer the phone.
After Amanda left him for another man, there was barely any reason to even have a phone but he picked the receiver up anyhow, hoping it was her. When he found out who was on the line, he was immediately sorry he did.
It was his scruffy neighbor, Ryan, who told Josh a hurried, convoluted story about France and his ex-girlfriend’s dog, Loose. Blah-blah-blah, and before Josh could protest, Ryan left the dog on Josh’s porch and, tires spinning, was gone.
Loose. As in Lucy.
As in, a female dog. A pregnant female dog.
Josh had never had a dog, didn’t know the first thing about caring for one, and didn’t want this tail-thumping German-Shepherd-something. He didn’t want puppies, either, but he felt bad when Lucy’s puppies died. Was it fate that somebody abandoned five tiny pups in his truck while he was at the vet’s?
Maybe, and it was a miracle that Lucy adopted them. Dogs were pretty awesome.
Still, Josh had lots of questions, so he called the local animal shelter and spoke with a girl named Kerri, who offered to come to his house. He wasn’t expecting her to be so pretty or funny. Josh could imagine himself asking her out—and when he finally did, he decided he liked her. Kerri could almost make him forget about Amanda.
But what he couldn’t forget was that Lucy was somebody else’s dog. Kerri wouldn’t let him forget, either, that keeping six dogs was illegal and that he’d promised to adopt the puppies out—which was something Josh couldn’t bear.
He’d had enough loss in his life. Could he lose his little dog family, too?
It’s a good thing you weren’t sitting next to me while I was reading “The Dogs of Christmas.” I never cry at novels, but I cried at this one… though it’s really not a sad story.
Yes, this book has sad elements in it (ones that dog lovers will completely understand), but it also oozes with humor and charm. Author W. Bruce Cameron introduces us to a wonderfully geeky main character, a sweet-but-socially-inept man to whom bad things perpetually happen. That makes for a delightful story, a perfect plot, and a book that’s hard not to love.
If you must have a holiday tale to put you in the Christmas mood, this is the one you must have. For whatever little free time you’ve got left this season, “The Dogs of Christmas” is worth giving it up for.
Isles logo with minimalist inspiration
In my quest to find interesting and unique mentions of the New York Islanders in American sporting culture, I was pleasantly struck by artist S. Preston’s minimalist designs that brilliantly captured the franchise.
On this website, Preston says his art is meant, “to grab the essence of identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. Minimalism is any design or style wherein the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect.”
He created a spread of NHL logos that has since been featured in Sports Illustrated and on Deadspin.com.
For the Islanders he simply focused on the silhouette of Long Island and the puck that sits below the island in the actual team logo. The identity is the island, the homeland, the mother ship of the franchise and the puck is a small and simple element that brings in the spatial recognition of hockey.
Some logos are better then others, of course, and are all available for download as background screens for iPhone 4 or 5 devices.
Biggio back on HOF ballot
For the second straight year Long Island native Craig Biggio hopes he’ll get the necessary amount of votes to secure induction to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Biggio, a Kings Park alum, would be the second island native next to Carl Yastrzemski to gain induction to the exclusive club.
His career was a rarity in that he spent all 20 seasons with the Houston Astros.
“It would mean everything, not for myself, but for the organization, the fans and for my family,” Biggio said in an interview with the HoustonAstros.com. “That’s really the way that I looked at it. It would be an exciting thing if in early January we receive a good phone call. We’ll see what happens. You cross your fingers and hope for the best.”
Last year Biggio was 39 shy of the 427 votes needed for induction. A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The Craig Biggio File
*All-Star catcher and second baseman
*Ranks 21st all-time in hits (3,060)
*More doubles (668) than any right-handed hitter in Major League history
*Ranks 15th all-time in runs scored (1,844)
*Ranks 10th in plate appearances (12,504)
*Ranks first in hit by pitch (285) in the modern era
*Hit 291 home runs, had 1,175 RBIs, .281 career average in 2,850 games played
*No. 7 retired by Astros in 2008
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