Dylan Penn and Ireland Baldwin No Longer a Secret

It's been two years since I predicted The Ascendancy of Dylan Penn and Ireland Baldwin, so it's time to take inventory. To date, the celebrity scorecard still has the Jenners and Kardashians leading the popularity contest, but the margin is dwindling. Last month, Dylan Penn and Ireland Baldwin crashed the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in New York with Ireland apparently leaving her lingerie behind in the dressing room. This spawn of Hollywood royalty is serious in its pursuit of modeling and acting and draws hordes of paparazzi by birthright. While the emergence of Ireland's cousin, Hailey Baldwin, and the increasing popularity of Gigi and Bella Hadid prove formidable, the glowing embers of  this dynamic duo are beginning to fan into flames and ascend the nation's tabloid rankings. Take a look:

Dylan Penn and Ireland Baldwin at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015.

Dylan Penn and Ireland Baldwin at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015.

Dylan Penn and Ireland Baldwin at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2015.

Too Much, Not Enough - Redux

The choices that confront us today are confounding: products, recipes, TV shows, cocktail parties, radio stations, sporting events and so on ... The weight of deciding is bone crushing, sending us to those safe harbors we construct such as snack cabinets and wine cellars. Too much of anything is dangerous and not enough of it is maddening.

In the past week, I raked the leaves on the yard, fixed the gaping hole in the side of the house, roasted a 22-pound turkey, replaced the hard drive on my computer and had a heartfelt debate about elementary education. If asked how I accomplished any of it, I would shrug my shoulders and say "YouTube,"

The inundation of how-to's and DIYs are possible now that we can download information quickly from the cloud and not worry about storing it past the point of immediate need. My brain can only handle so much: address, social security number, kids' names, outcome of the Florida State vs. Florida game (Noles won!) before the distraction of what's for lunch pushes it all aside.

The horrible events in our country and around the planet are brought to us immediately and replayed countless times by news organizations for shock value. Helpless, we look to politicians to correct these ails and protect us while they lobby for our trust. It's a game of Whack-A-Mole. Push one problem down, another immediately takes its place, it's too much.

As I write, the view from my window is lit with color and stillness. It's quiet and peaceful outside. just not enough.

The Words

It used to be the words dripped off my pen like honey,
now it seems they're only in it for the money,

They come and go as they please,
proving to be no more than a tease,

At times they'll disturb my sleep,
coming on in torrents that appear too deep,

Moved by the fear that I may drown,
I reach for a pen to write them down,

Then I get the feeling that they're only using me,
waking me from my sleep to set them free.

Other poems:

"Harlem"

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore -
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over -
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode? 

- Langston Hughes, 1951


Langston Hughes in Harlem, June, 1958.

Nobody Knows Anybody. Not That Well.

Hard to believe 25 years have passed since Miller's Crossing was released. While I often think of the film, there is one line in particular that rings true, "Nobody knows anybody. Not that well." It's a line from the gangster Tom Reagan who's played by Gabriel Byrne.

I once took the Amtrak from Penn Station, NY to Union Station, DC with Gabriel Byrne. We disembarked at the same time and I stood behind him in line for the taxi cabs across from our Nation's Capitol. I recall his silver metallic wheeled bag hit my foot while we were waiting and for reasons I can't fathom, I asked him if I could take his picture. He politely said no and I waited an eternity for the line to move and him to get in his cab.

That line, written by the Coen Brothers, echoed in my mind the rest of the evening. "Why the heck did I ask Gabriel Byrne for a picture? I know better. I'm a New Yorker."

Truth is, I don't why I did it. I don't think any of us know why we do what we do. It's all a crap shoot when we leave our homes each day. I never know what I'm going to have for lunch. How does anybody figure any of it out?

It's astonishing when people think they do know you. They say things they believe to be true and most of the time it flies way off the mark. We just ignore them, change the subject. How bout the weather? Maybe we can agree on that. 

"Nobody knows anybody. Not that well." For some strange reason we think we do know people, just not what we ourselves are going to wear tomorrow.   

Gabriel Byrne in Miller's Crossing

Top Five Famous People From Greenwich, CT

Number 5 - Kelly Rohrbach - Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2015 Rookie of the Year, dating Leonardo DiCaprio.

Kelly Rohrbach

Number 4 - Dorothy Hamill - Olympic Gold Medal in 1976, popular haircut before Jennifer Aniston.

Dorothy Hamill

Number 3 - Glenn Close - Golden Globe and Emmy award winning actress, often mentioned in the same breath as Meryl Streep.

Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (1987).
Number 2 - Steve Young - Hall of Fame Quarterback, Super Bowl XXIX and NFL MVP, ESPN analyst.
Steve Young

 Number 1 - George H. W. Bush - The 41st President of the United States of America (1989 - 1993).

George H. W. Bush




Snap, Crackle, Pop! Cereal Reminds Marketers to Think Outside the Box

You finish ironing your wrinkle-free shirt and head downstairs to the breakfast nook where sunlight filters in through the window and out to the doo-wop of blue jays and the hustle and bustle of busy squirrels. The day has begun, but your body still clings to its late-night torpor. Coffee percolates its pleasant aroma and you reach in the cupboard for a box brought to you by General Mills, Kellogg's, Post or Quaker Oats. You pour the contents into a familiar bowl, add milk and Snap, Crackle, Pop! They're Gr-r-reat and Magically Delicious!
Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker.
The box sits opposite you with a friendly gaze of Dig'em, Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger or "Cap'n Crunch-a-tize me" with their gentle nudge to go get 'em. The snappin', cracklin', poppin' whole grain oats or rice or corn join the chorus as they're waking up, too. The sunlight in the room is golden like Honey Smacks, Combs, Cheerios and Bunches of Oats and you reach for your phone to check your texts, emails, Instagrams, local news, scores and what other people are tweeting about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, Scandal or The Bachelorette. You finish your cereal, put the spoon and the bowl in the sink and the box back in the cupboard. You no longer see the squirrels or hear the birds. You are programmed to begin your day.
Later that week, you find yourself standing in the cereal aisle and you notice the abundance of yellow and orange colors shining down on you and think for a split second: Did I remember to put my bowl in the sink this morning?
Marketers know the genesis of all of these ideas and the deliberate decisions that culminate in those magical moments leading up to conversion. The cereal aisle reminds us with its bright colors and cartoon characters and punchy tags to go beyond the box to stir that feeling ... you know, the one you had this morning when you were listening to the blue jays and your world awaken. 

Dave Letterman's Impact on a Homesick New Yorker

In one week dis May, we said goodbye to Don Draper, B.B. King and Dave Letterman. While I'll miss all three, Letterman's void is the widest and the deepest as I've watched him for most of my life and most of his late night career.

Dave Letterman on NBC.
When it was Late Night with The World's Most Dangerous Band led by the incomparable Paul Schaffer, Letterman's antics were unpredictable, unusual and darn funny. I can recall being sick one summer and it seemed the only relief was Letterman and his "crash cam," a camera mounted on a skateboard that would crash into bottles and other visually impressive obstacles that would shatter and splash. Back then it seemed like Johnny Carson was Dave's opening act.

When I was at SUNY Buffalo, my roommates and I could barely afford rent much less cable or a decent TV. We'd have to shift the furniture around the living room to get reception and somehow, The Late Show always came through clearly. We'd gather like clockwork and no matter how broke we were, someone would scrape together a joint and we'd be glued to the set, critiquing his monologue, wondering whether or not his guests were really upset or if they enjoyed sparring with him. Who can forget Madonna's "nice rug" and his immediate retort "nice swim cap?" When I got back to NYC, I was determined to see him live and fill up on pizza and bagels.


I took my mom to my first show. I recall Nathan Lane was a guest and he killed it. I also recall getting a coffee from Hello Deli for the first time. The next show I had tickets to was on St. Patrick's Day in March of 1998 with Van Morrison and The Chieftans as the musical guest. The show was overbooked and I was turned away; however, the staff said I could come back to any other show as long as I let them know a day in advance. I picked his May 1, 1998 show, which was his 1,000th. Salma Hayek was supposed to be the first guest, but she cancelled at the last minute, leaving Norm MacDonald to cover two segments before Pearl Jam played Wishlist. I took my best friend to that one. We were seated in the balcony and while they discourage you from getting up, we both had to use the bathroom due to an aggressive happy hour beforehand. I remember running through the Ed Sullivan Theater and back to my seat just in time to see Pearl Jam take the stage.


In the year 2000, I worked across the street from Dave Letterman and would see Paul Schaffer on the street and Biff Henderson on his smoke break often. From high above, we could see where the guests arrived on 53rd street. I remember watching The Edge unload his guitar from a black SUV on October 29, 2001. Later, I would catch that performance on my rabbit-eared TV. For those who did not have cable then, CBS was the only channel you could get after September 11 as its antenna was on the Empire State Building.


Pumpkins blowing up on 53rd Street, Audioslave playing atop the marquee and the infamous Hello Deli Saga are memories I owe to Dave Letterman. Like a sailor out at sea, the iconic intro "From New York ..." was a beacon on the horizon welcoming you home, the image of the Tribeca Bridge, a bridge you once shoveled snow from despite its being covered, as familiar as the street you grew up on and Dave Letterman standing in the doorway, centerstage, smiling that smile, happy to see you ... and you, happy to see him each night.

Thanks for the memories, Dave!


Twitter Should Listen to Calvin Harris

Twitter's first quarter earnings report was a debacle. It was leaked early and the miss on expectations launched a fire sale similar to a Christmas tree lot on December 26. CEO Dick Costolo dove back under his desk, hiding from the angry mobs calling for his resignation.

From Silicon Valley to Wall Street to garages and basements around the world, it seems everyone is offering advice on what Twitter should do to regain its mojo, so I'll toss my marshmallow stick on the bonfire, too: Twitter should take a page from Calvin Harris.
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris

In full-disclosure, I had no idea who Calvin Harris was until a colleague of mine returned from Las Vegas this week with photos and wild accusations that this DJ makes "$100 million" a year for pushing buttons! I was incredulous, but a quick search on Google turned up an article from Forbes that confirms Calvin Harris' earnings were $66 million last year ... for pushing buttons!

Turns out this DJ knows all the right buttons to push and my radio dial has found his music many times without my knowing it. Calvin Harris is able to manipulate emotions through his medium of electronic dance music much the way Walter-White-type chemists have done with MDMA. He certainly has his magical fingers in many honey pots and has recently been seen with Taylor Swift leaving fans of both musicians salivating in anticipation of their break-up song while fearful of an ill-advised collaboration similar to John Mayer and Katy Perry's Who You Love.

Dick Costolo, Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Biz Stone of Twitter
So what can Twitter learn from Calvin Harris? 

It needs to reconnect on an emotional level with its users. The Twitter experience has yet to evolve to capture a sense of intimacy now that the party has grown in number, leaving its members wandering about with their hands by their sides. Calvin Harris knows what buttons to push to get those hands in the air. He adds new wrinkles and chronically innovates to build on what's familiar to his audience to lead them back to those heightened, intimate experiences that drew them in in the first place ... I feel so close to you right now, it's a force field / I wear my heart upon my sleeve like a big deal ... Twitter should listen to him.
  

Twitter's Periscope Is the Next Big Thing

This morning, I met a lovely couple in Dubai, played with a bunch of dogs in a park in Oregon and strolled through the gardens of Amsterdam all in the time it took to put on my slippers.

Periscope from Twitter
Earlier this week, I read the buzz on Twitter about its launch of  Periscope, so when I saw it in the App Store as an editor's pick, I grabbed it.

Within a minute, I was off and running. The features are intuitive and easy, the quality is terrific, so I decided to broadcast the lively debate my children were having over what to eat for breakfast. Within seconds, 21 people joined the debate from around the world and I took a cue from one of them to ask my kids if they wanted bacon and a near riot of enthusiasm broke out.

A few days ago, a building exploded in downtown Manhattan due to a gas leak. Passersby caught a video of it that was later disseminated via the traditional news outlets. I think Periscope will bring about a paradigm shift in breaking news as eyewitnesses will now broadcast events from the palm of their hand. The ability to interact with these broadcasts will move people from the sidelines to the stage to see impromptu performances, interfere with an injustices or simply grab an item from a nearby yard sale they otherwise would not have attended.

Periscope will allow us to become our own newsroom producer, calling up screens that capture our attention. Traditional journalists will warn that anything can happen in a live broadcast and we're no stranger to the vulgar comments people post in social, but these realities won't detract the masses from Periscope's utility.

I suspect politicians and advertisers will show up on the platform soon, so I invite you to download Periscope now and see for yourself whether or not it's the next big thing.

Top Five Femme Fatales Named Kate

Number 5 - Kate Moss - Her attitude.

Kate Upton

Number 4 - Kate Mara - Her eyes.

Kate Mara

Number 3 - Kate Upton - Her ... well, you know.

Kate Upton

Number 2 - Kate Beckinsale - Her smile.

Kate Beckinsale

Number 1 - Kate Hudson - Her laugh.

Kate Hudson

Top Five Famous People From South Huntington, N.Y.

Number 5 - Darren Goldstein - Oscar, the guy you love to hate in The Affair.

Darren Goldstein

 Number 4 - Tom Gugliotta - Michael Jordan once said Googs reminded him of a young Larry Bird.

Tom Gugliotta, Phoenix Suns

Number 3 - LP - Bad-ass rock-n-rolla.

LP

Number 2 - Gerry Cooney - "The Great White Hope" fought for the Heavyweight Championship of the World in 1982.

Gerry Cooney vs. Larry Holmes, Las Vegas,1982

Number 1 - Walt Whitman - Everything in town is named after The Good Gray Poet, including this blog.

Walt Whitman


Top Five Hollywood Bombshells Named Olivia

Number 5 - Olivia d'Abo - Also known as Karen Arnold in The Wonder Years.


Olivia d'Abo
Number 4 - Olivia de Havilland - Also known as Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind.

Olivia de Havilland
 Number 3 - Olivia Newton-John - Also known as Sandy in Grease.

Olivia Newton-John

Number 2 - Olivia Munn - Also know as Sloane Sabbith in The Newsroom.

Olivia Munn

Number 1 - Olivia Wilde - Also known as Suzy Miller in Rush.

Olivia Wilde

Worry

I'm worried this won't come out right.
I worry that I eat too much and drink too much.
I worry that I'm not getting my money's worth.
I lie awake at night worrying about not getting enough sleep.
I worry that I'll say the wrong things or that I won't say anything at all.
I'm worried that people will see the real me and not like him.
I'm worried that I'm not as good as I think I am.
I'm worried about not enough time and not enough money.
I worry that I've made the wrong decision every time I get dressed.
I worry that my sons are going to turn out like me.
I worry that they will learn as I did, the hard way.
I worry that I haven't learned enough.
I worry about who may read this and who may not.
I worry that the joke is on me.
I worry about the outcome of football games even when I don't bet.
I worry that I've made the wrong decision at the checkout line.
I worry about home invasion and infestation.
I worry that I may lose control.
I worry that I that I was never in control.
I worry that I'm not as sophisticated as I need to be.
I'm worried that I'm not rugged enough.
I worry about getting old.
I worry about saying goodbye and saying hello.
I worry that people I know won't remember.
I worry that I won't remember.
I worry about paying the hard price for telling the truth.
I worry about being eaten by sharks.
I worry that I worry too much.
I worry that if I ran out of worry, I'd really be worried.



Other poems: