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Showing posts with the label journalism

World Mourns Princess Diana 20 Years Later

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Twenty years ago today it was a Saturday night and I had just arrived at the 56 Fighter Group in East Farmingdale, NY and went to the bar to get a drink. I looked up at the TV and saw the headline that Princess Diana was in a fatal car crash. I sat in disbelief as if someone had told me I had lost a dear friend. 

Through her well publicized life I had witnessed Diana's wedding and the birth of her children and her enduring campaign to rid the world of explosive remnants of war strewn across fields where innocent children played unaware of the hidden dangers lurking below. I was crestfallen. As the events that led up to the car crash pointed toward a desperate escape from pursuing paparazzi, the royal tragedy unfolded: Princess Diana, 36 years of age, was taken abruptly from her two teenage sons.


Today, her boys are grown and the world goes on, but for a moment it stood still 20 years ago. I recall writing a eulogy soon thereafter and mailing it to the Long Island Voice, which publis…

Say Hello 2 Heaven Chris Cornell and Gregg Allman

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I hopped in the back of pick-up truck and sped toward Manhattan for the much anticipated Guns N' Roses concert. We had just finished our shifts at IHOP and two of the waitresses had changed out of their blue plaid frocks into fishnet tights and black leather jackets. Their lips were painted ruby red and their friends provided the transportation along with a case of beer. One of my fellow refugees was not going for Guns, he was going to see the opening band Soundgarden. He had on a Badmotorfinger t-shirt that was well worn.


That concert was my introduction to Soundgarden and the emerging Seattle music scene. I can still hear Chris Cornell shake the walls of Madison Square Garden as my neck snapped back and forth with each passing rocker chick who left nothing to my teenage imagination. I would hear that same booming voice again some years later when Audioslave played atop the marquee of The Late Show with David Letterman  and shook the neighboring building were I worked 32 stories …

Made in the USA

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Buying products that are made in the USA has long been a passion of mine. It can be a challenge sometimes as these products may not be easy to find or may not be made here anymore. In categories such as autos, shoes and clothes, there are many wonderful American manufacturers to choose from. While price can sometimes be more than foreign counterparts, I find the quality of American products is worth it with the added benefit of supporting jobs here. 

From the coffee I drink, to the car I drive, there are numerous opportunities to buy well-made products that are manufactured in the USA. Here are a few examples in men's wardrobe:


Shinola Men's Watches

Randolph Engineering Sunglasses

Hickey Freeman Suit

American Trench Socks

Rancourt & Co. Shoes 

Try any one of these products when it comes time for your next purchase, not only will you feel good about it, you'll look sharp.

Running of the Bulls in Jamaica, Queens

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A bull escaped from a slaughterhouse on Tuesday running through the streets of Jamaica, Queens with reckless abandon, terrorizing pedestrians in its path. The NYPD was in hot pursuit as the bull paraded down city sidewalks and hopped fences looking for its way out of the urban maze. The beast was struck with tranquilized darts resembling carefully placed swords from Spanish matadors while crowds gathered to watch the event. Its captors from the nearby Aziz Slaughter House chased the bull until it turned its horns toward them and charged. They escaped being gored without the customary cheer of Olé!

The bull traveled two miles and was seemingly cornered before escaping to run a half mile more. It finally sat down in a yard on 158th Street and 116th Avenue and was captured and transported to a nearby animal shelter where it was later pronounced dead from the corrida. The gallant run by the beast to escape the butcher's knife prompted a candlelight vigil in its honor outside the slaugh…

The Enduring Beauty of Liz Cho

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Have you ever stared at a portrait of a lady for an eternity? What if eternity was measured in 10 minutes or 10 hours or 10 days? What if you saw the same picture each day for 10 years? Would it feel like eternity? Could any portrait hold you captive for that long? Perhaps if it changed ever so slightly each day, a new hairstyle, a different dress, a dash of pepper here, a pinch of salt there, would it continue to entice the palette? Imagine if the lady could speak and you could watch her expression change from mock disbelief to spontaneous laughter in an instant? Would eternity be long enough?


I first wrote about Liz Cho in December of 2006 when she was the co-anchor of Eyewitness News at 11pm. Her bright portrait illuminated my tranquil living room each night. Those times when she was absent, there was a noticeable void like a blank space on a museum wall. I took note of one such absence in 2007 when she was on maternity leave and triumphantly announced her return a few months later.…

Billy Joel Plays 33rd Show at Madison Square Garden

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You can tell Billy Joel enjoys what he does for a living. From the moment he walks on stage, the room shrinks and the audience feels like they're sitting in his living room. These days, that living room happens to be Madison Square Garden.

He called his 33rd show at MSG, the "Halloween" show, and peppered his fans with the themes from Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Addams Family and Jaws along with a raucous snippet of "The Monster Mash" amidst "The River of Dreams."

While "You May Be Right" on any "Long Night" with the "Piano Man," I was thrilled when "The Downeaster Alexa" won the "toss up" over "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." Ya-ya-ya-oh! Strong Island in the house!

I brought my "Uptown Girl" to the show for our ninth wedding anniversary as she's wanted to see Billy Joel for "The Longest Time" and, well, "She's Always a Woman" to me.

We embraced our "…

Matt Harvey: The Dark Knight of Gotham Will Rise

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People of Gotham, have you lost your Vulcan minds? Mets fans, have you been infiltrated by front-runners who switch their allegiance as casually as they transfer from the 4-train to the 7-train? Have we collectively sunk into deep despair as we watch the villains pillage our city in the absence of its protector?

Indeed, we have.

We've seen the movie before. It was released in 2012, the very same year Matt Harvey first took the mound in Gotham Citi Field and gave the few who still believed, hope. He put the franchise on his shoulders and was invincible. He wrestled headlines and models away from the Yankees Captain and brought back a swagger reminiscent of his Hall of Fame predecessors Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza. He walked the tightrope and he did backflips on it with the snap of his cape before disappearing into the shadows to await the next arrival of would-be assassins from DC, Philly and The Bronx. If he let up just one run, the fat lady would sing in her operatic voice.

How m…

Who Is the Girl in the El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels by Karisma TV Ad?

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Often times a long journey can lead you back to the beginning. Such was the case in my quest to uncover the model featured in the El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels by Karisma TV ad.
You know the one, she's wearing a white string bikini, leaning against a four-poster bed on a sandy beach, watching a man in blue boardshorts approach. It's a stunning ad, produced by Dorn Martell from Tinsley Advertising with original music by John Jay Martyn and Jimi Ruccolo on guitar. I uncovered all of these contributors, including the voice-over-artist, Jodi Krangle, in my search for the woman in the white bikini.


What prompted me to set sail on this odyssey? While the sensuous ad targeting the luxury traveler was the vehicle, the catalyst was as ancient as Helen of Troy, desire.

"I wish that was my butt," said my wife. 
"Me, too," I said. But whose butt is it?
A Google search led to countless other searches, taking apart the ad over and over again on YouTube, going throug…

Twitter Should Listen to Calvin Harris

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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.

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…

Twitter's Periscope Is the Next Big Thing

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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.

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 f…

Liz Cho and Josh Elliott Are Engaged

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Liz Cho and Josh Elliott are engaged according to Page Six and People. I guess some guys do in fact have all the luck. Weird Long Beard Press wishes them the best!


World Cup: A Fan's Note

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I admit it, I only watch soccer every four years during the FIFA World Cup. While I do appreciate the sport, I don't have the bandwidth to keep up with it, but every four years, it's no trouble at all.

I have stood six deep at a bar near Plaza Meyor to watch Real Madrid play Barça and I've taken a long lunch to watch the Rangers play the Celtics in a dark hall where the comedian Billy Connolly was in attendance. It's hard not to get swept up in the atmosphere of these rivalries.

Now that the USA has emerged as a global contender, it is wonderful to see this country get on board with the rest of the world, which is to say that everything stops when the game is on. For example, I was in a crowded restaurant near Bryant Park this past week when a voice nearby said, "shouldn't you be in Connecticut?" I turned to see a friend I haven't seen in quite some time due to our busy work schedules.

I do understand the complaints of loyal soccer fans who feel encum…

I'm Out Like the Fat Kid in Dodgeball

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People of Earth:

That was how Conan O'Brien began his statement to alert the world that he was leaving The Tonight Show, a statement he ran on PR Newswire, the company that has graciously employed me for the past 15 years. Today, April 30, 2014, concludes that run.

As I gave thought to how my statement should read, I reflected on all of the exit emails sent from colleagues through the years and there was one line that resonated: I'm out like the fat kid in dodgeball. I believe it was written in the summer of 2001 by a woman, Jen L., who was a natural born comedian. She could make us laugh in those stressful earnings periods, often at her own expense.

I spent the bulk of my time with PR Newswire at 810 Seventh Ave in Manhattan, located next door to the Ed Sullivan Theater, home of the Late Show With David Letterman. As Mr. Letterman has recently announced plans for his own retirement, I thought it would be appropriate to create a Top Ten List.

As I think back through the years,…

Time

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I often think of time, moving from one place to another, remembering my meals and appointments, cognizant of schedules and every now and then I pause to consider it. Today, I was in church and a couple renewed their vows in celebration of their golden wedding anniversary of 50 years. Tomorrow, I will meet with the legendary Harold Burson to discuss the year 1954 when PR Newswire was founded. Remarkably, he was one of its first customers. Through the years, I've come across many wonderful descriptions of time, here are three that stand out: 
From The Tudors: Death of a Monarchy (Season 4; Episode 10) (2010):
King Henry VIII: [Opening lines] In these last days I've been thinking a great deal about loss. What loss, your grace, is to man most irrecoverable? 
Charles Brandon: His virtue. 
King Henry VIII: No, for by his actions, he may redeem his virtue. 
Charles Brandon: Then, his honor. 
King Henry VIII: No, for again he may find the means to recover it, even as a man recovers some for…

Twitter's IPO Conjures Shining City on the Hill

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This morning's initial public offering of Twitter's common stock was brilliant in that it allowed a level of transparency that was sorely missed when Facebook debuted in May 2012. CNBC reporter Bob Pisani (@BobPisani) was at the post alongside the New York Stock Exchange's Scott Cutler (@CutlerScott) to allow a level of public access to an event that has long been shrouded in mystery. "Ten million at 35," barked the designated market maker from the pit through every TV tuned in to this historic event as NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer stood nearby Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (@dickc) so that the public was being informed alongside the investment community at the same time, which to me exemplifies what Twitter's all about.

I recall when events unfolded in Tahrir Square and later in Damascus as news organizations and citizens from around the world learned first-hand from eyewitness accounts via Twitter that this social media application had become a legitimate source …

Liz Cho and FDNY Calendar Model Mr. April

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For those of you who have seen the movie Tombstone, you may remember the scene where Wyatt Earp, cornered and outnumbered, charges across the river and guns down his nemesis Curly Bill. After the gunfight, Doc Holiday is sitting by a tree when he's asked what he's doing out in the middle of nowhere when clearly he's not well, to which he replies, "Wyatt Earp's my friend."

When I think of friendship, one of the ingredients I've come to know is a lack of jealousy at your friend's success, in fact, you're happy when they succeed. In some cases, you're even proud of them. These things have held true with regards to my friend Ralph, that is until the day he met Liz Cho. 
Through hard work and sacrifice, FF Ralph Ciccarelli made the coveted FDNY Calendar that benefits the FDNY Foundation and can be purchased here. The firefighters themselves end up devoting even more of their time to help raise awareness for the foundation through a well-executed pu…

Mexican Mayor Maria Santos Gorrostieta Murdered

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Across the border of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,a woman who personified these beliefs was savagely beaten and murdered. Although her death made headlines around the world, the barbarous animals responsible for this crime will likely go unpunished.
Maria Santos Gorrostieta was a mother and wife who survived previous assassination attempts, one that took her first husband, before being abducted in daylight while dropping her daughter off at school. As mayor of the small town of Tiquicheo, Mexico she stood against the illegal drug trade and poverty that ravaged her people on behalf of the "men who break their souls everyday without rest to find a piece of bread for their children." Thirty years after Nancy Reagan pleaded with Americans to "Just Say No," the many broken souls who find solace in artificial paradises will turn a blind eye to this slaughter as if it were part of the food trade, unavoidable, and the profiteers will get back to the busine…

Liz Cho Dating Josh Elliott

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Liz Cho seems hellbent on turning the part-time, hyper-local gossipy-gops like Weird Long Beard (WLB) into full-time hackitty-hack snoops. 
Back in June, WLB reported that Liz Cho and her husband Evan Gottlieb were still married only to be scooped three months later by Page Six with this bombshell: "Anchor Liz Cho & hubby split: dating Josh Elliott?"
Curiously, the timing of her separation seems to coincide with her new hair-do, which I for one do not like. The bone-straight approach is not nearly as luxurious as the full-body quiff she used to don and seems to lose its fizzle in the evening broadcasts.
Unfortunately, if these rumors of Liz Cho and Josh Elliott do not fizzle, it proves that she is human and at 41 years-old not immune to the mid-life crisis we ordinary folks hold so dear ... but why Josh Elliott? 

I did catch Josh Elliott over the summer on Good Afternoon America, but mainly due to his co-host and WLB fav, Lara Spencer. While I conce…

Breaking Bad in Happy Valley

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The much lauded AMC series Breaking Bad is mesmerising in its expert, intricately woven story directed beautifully through the finest detail. It's precise like a thematic chemical reaction that loans an air of authenticity rarely found on TV.
Among the myriad of human entanglements portrayed in Breaking Bad is the notion that someone wicked and evil can appear right before your nose without presenting a single clue. In this its final season, there is a scene where DEA agents Hank and his partner Steven are sharing a drink with their retiring boss, George Merkert, in his office when it becomes evident that George can't forgive himself for not recognizing who the druglord Gus Fring really was. He laments having invited him into his home and among his family when the camera deftly stops on Hank's face alluding to his brother-in-law Walt, who has been perpetrating the meth explosion Hank seems powerless to stop, chasing a mythical figure named Heisenberg.
The truth is sometim…

It Appears Liz Cho Is Still Married

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Looking at the recent queries that lead to this blog, there is still a great deal of wonder about the marital status of WABC-TV Channel 7 Eyewitness News' anchor Liz Cho. Admittedly, I have fanned the flames with a gonzo-style report that she may be in love with her co-anchor Bill Ritter, but people, that was four years ago!

Of course I still watch Liz Cho and like the rest of you I am still intrigued by this notion that she does not wear her wedding band or engagement ring on her left ring finger during the broadcast. I seem to recall her flashing a rather ornate diamond once upon a time. Maybe there is a trade secret as to why news anchors don't wear their rings, but her colleague Lee Goldberg always seems to wear his.
Intrepid blogger that I am, I took to search and found a recent article in the New York Post that not only reports that Liz Cho is still married to Evan Gottlieb, but that the two are involved in a "nasty legal battle" over renovations they had done…