Saturday, July 30, 2016

MIND GAMES OF AN IRONMAN


From the 4:30 a.m. wake-call through the finish line more than half-a-day later,
there are many things that go through an athlete's mind during a grueling 140.6 mile
race. This event requires a swim of 2.4 miles, a 112-mile bike, and a marathon run
to top it off. I completed this type of race for the third straight year on July 24 and,
yes, a million different things circulated  my cranium in the 13 hours it took me to
finish this endurance race in Lake Placid.

Here are a few of them:

"Wait a minute, I paid $725 to punish myself for more than 12 hours and 140.6 miles
on  a hot day in the Adirondack mountains?! They should re-name this event, Stupidman,
rather than the Ironman."

"Um, maybe, I should've done more bricks."

"I wonder what kind of food they are going to have at the post-race spread."

"This lake is a half-a-mile wide! Why the hell does every swimmer act like they
have to swim through a door that's three feet wide and 2.4 miles long?"


"Why am I doing this race again?"

"You mean I have to run 600 yards from the end of the swim to the bike transition
half-naked with hundreds of people within arms length of me?! Good, grief."

"Why the hell do I want to try to endure so much pain?"

"Dude, you paid $1,000 for that aerodynamic helmet that's going to knock
two minutes off your time? What a great deal!"


"Please, God. Let me get through the race without popping a tire."

"What's more painful to all these people. Trying to finish this race or being
off their cell phones for more than 12 hours?

Oh, sh&t! Did I park my car in a tow-zone?!


"PR? Seriously, does it really matter? You could tell your family, co-workers,
and fellow church-goers you took 23 hours to complete the course and they'd still
say, "Wow, that's amazing!"

"Don't they have anything other than gels, goos, Cliff Bars, and two-inch cuts of
 bananas that have been sitting in a cardboard box for five hours? I want a steak.
Is that too much to ask for? I want a big fat steak and I'd like it medium rare."


"I'm 52-years-old and have already completed this twice already. This makes no
sense."

"Why didn't I just enter a Wednesday night bowling league? Now, that's what you call
fun. And it's far less expensive and painful.

"My ass is going to hate me after this ride."


"Who invented this damn race anyway?"

"That kid who just risked his life crossing the street in front a pack of riders must
have been playing Pokémon Go. I don't get it. Idiot."

"I've been on this bike for six hours, had 47 Gatorades, 25 gels, and energy shots
and still can't take a pee. What's up with that?

"Please don't pop a tire. Please don't pop a tire. Anything but a flat tire."

"I wonder what normal-thinking people are doing right about now."


"I'm NEVER doing this race again!"

"That's right junior. I'm 30 years older than you. Don't let me beat you now."

"Damn. That lady is 20 years older than me and she's kickin' my ass."

"Whew. That was awesome. I think I'll do it again next year."










Wednesday, July 20, 2016

TAPPEN ZEE BRIDGE DRIVE-BY





Over the last year and a half, I have been in one of the 130,000 vehicles that cross the
Tappen Zee Bridge in New York nearly every day. I was familiar with the bridge having
grown up in Rye, which is about 12 miles away. It became a small part of my life
recently as I used it to get to work in Rockland County.

But there's not just one Tappen Zee Bridge anymore. There is almost two. State officials
made the decision in 2010 to build a new one after studies showed the original one had
enough wear and tear that might lead to a major catastrophe.


Watching the construction process over the last 16 months has been a jaw-dropping
experience. Seriously, how many times in our lifetime do we get to see a major bridge
rise up right before our very eyes.

I have been so fascinated by the process, I've documented the process nearly every time
I pass over the bridge. Yeah, I know. Taking out the cell phone on a scary ass ride over
a bridge and attempting to take pictures is pretty downright stupid, but the building of a
bridge this size is an engineering marvel that has gripped me.


To see the size of the cranes, cement structures, and metal for the spans that will be
used is absolutely incredibly. I drive on the bridge and look at these workers
high in the sky and they appear to be as tiny as mosquitoes, seemingly tip-toeing
up and down stairs to get to their next project.

The project is both spectacular and as we found out on Tuesday, downright precarious.
A crane toppled down on the bridge, coming apart like a leggo set smashing the ground.
Amazingly, only three motorists were injured and none of the injuries were considered
life-threatening.

As with any project this mammoth, there are consequences. There is collateral damage.
In May, a tug boat rammed into a pillar of the bridge just before sunrise, leaving three
crewmen dead. Today, it was the crane accident. Completion of the $6 billion project
is expected to be finished sometime in 2017, but in New York, nothing is ever completed
on time.

Rest assured, there will be a few more mishaps. I know it sounds morbid, negative, and
dark, but when a three-mile bridge is being built with tons of concrete and steel. Bad
things sometime happen. They just do.

Every time I cross the old bridge which opened in 1955 and was designed to last only
50 years, I am astounded by the engineering that goes into the construction of a new one.
I am amazed at just how precise engineers have to be in planting and stabilizing structures
deep into the Hudson River.  There are no do-overs, mulligans, or room for any type
of error. The slightest misstep or miscalculation results in a near-catastrophe like Tuesday's
crane collapse.

I marvel at the exact science of a project like this. Every bolt, every piece of steel, metal,
and aluminum have to be perfectly placed the first time. The precision that goes into
making eight-lanes over a three-mile span is just mind-boggling to me.

Like most everything else we do on a daily basis, most of us take going over a bridge
for granted. I'll never take going over a bridge for granted, that's for sure. In 1983, I
was over in Taiwan and heard on the news that a section of the Mianus Bridge in
Greenwich, CT. fell into the water. I was shocked more than half-a-world away.

When I saw the crane go down on the Tappen Zee Bridge Tuesday afternoon. I was
stunned. Timing is everything in life. I'm just thankful I wasn't on that bridge during
that time of day.

Bridges are amazing. The construction of them are truly an engineering marvel.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

RNC AND ITS 3-RING CIRCUS



Day 1 of the RNC was really just a microcosm of what are society has become:
one big, sad, pathetic circus. About the only thing missing from Tuesday night's
show was Lamar Odom and  the Kardashians. I mean, this is supposed to be a
"historic" convention and Scott Baio was on stage giving a speech? Scott Baio?
Really? Was Fonzie not available? Potsie would've killed it!


And how bout this for journalism and a hard-hitting question. Some CNN reporter
asked Baio if "Joanie would still love Chachie". I half-expected to see the late Leslie
Nielsen pop out from behind the blue curtain and say to the reporter, "Shirley, you
can't be serious."


What a question! It was almost as good as the one Bash thrust upon Baio about calling
Hillary a vulgar word in a tweet.

How bout the great speech by Mrs. Trump, though? It was almost as incredible as the
stunning dress she wore. I thought the Queer Eye of the Straight Guy was going to run
on stage and ask,  "who are you wearing?" Whatever Mrs Trump was wearing looked
a lot better than the egg on her face after it was discovered her beautiful words were
remarkably similar to those of a speech writer who was probably employed some eight
years ago by Michelle Obama.


The pundits and the rest of the nation screamed, "Plagiarism!" They took less time to
tag Mrs. Trump  a fraud as they did in figuring out how to spell the word correctly.

Plagiarism in this country? Noooooooo way! That never happens. Especially amongst
politicians. Laugh out laugh. Taking somebody else's words and thoughts and using
them as your own? Never happens. Never. Stone Mrs. Trump now. And really, is anybody
going to remember what Mrs. Trump said in the next three minutes anyway? Are those
words going to matter when the next terrorist attack occurs?


Don't you love how everybody's speech was critiqued by all the networks before the
guest even left the stage? It was almost like Howie, Jimmy, and Michael and the rest
of the Fox crew breaking down a Patriots-Broncos game at halftime. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Wondering what they thought of the words of the bearded wonder from "Duck Dynasty".
Yeah, really, Willie Robertson, spoke about the great Donald Trump. Ya just can't make
this stuff up!

I was waiting for Erin Andrews to throw it to Len, Bruno, and Kari Ann Inaba for
scores and commentary.


Len? "I give it a 10!"

Bruno? "It was just fabuuuuuuu! It get's a 10 from me!"

Kari Ann?  "10!"

What a circus!

The circus continued when cameras caught legendary football coach Lou Holtz carrying
a bag with Crown Royal stitched on it. Did the bag contain a bottle of alcohol? After seeing
what he saw last night, would anybody really be surprised or even blame Little Lou for
using a little something, something to soothe his pain?


Donald Trump gives his speech tonight. I wonder if Kanye West, Beyoncé, and
Taylor Swift will make an appearance as well.

Monday, July 18, 2016

DANI MATHERS IS AN UGLY PERSON


I've never met, seen, or talked to Dani Mathers, but word is, she's a beautiful woman.
Her Wikipedia page says she was the 2015 Playboy playmate of the year, so it's safe to say
Mathers also has a body that's worthy enough to be praised and seen by all.

However, Mathers has proven to be a real ugly human being and validated the phrase that
"beauty is only skin-deep."

While finishing up at her gym recently, Mathers saw a woman in the locker room that caught
her attention. The woman, who was clearly not blessed with a great body and not the winner
of the gene-pool lottery Mathers clearly was, didn't have any clothes on. She was butt naked.
and turned out to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Oh, she thought she was in the right place, in the gym trying to improve her fitness level,
but she was naked in the locker room and within site of the playmate who was feeling
playful in an evil kind of way. Mathers snapped a photo of the woman, (without her
permission of course) and posted it on Snapchat with the caption, "If I can't unsee this,
neither can you."

Pathetic. Disgusting. Reprehensible.

Mathers, who must've been in dire need of attention, a chuckle, and the almighty 'like'
on social media, posted the picture for the most of the Internet world to see.

The response to Mather's invasion of privacy was swift and strong. Social media users
were outraged at Mather and condemned her actions. The gym, LA Fitness, didn't tolerate
her behavior, either. They immediately banned Mathers from using their gym ever
again. The LA Police is currently investigating this gross example of invasion of privacy.


Mathers, who body-shamed an unsuspecting woman, should be shamed from
coast-to-coast, media outlet-to-outlet, and on every social media vehicle out there.

This is sad and another example of how far our society has gone into the dumper.

Many people in this country have worked tirelessly in attempt to curb the nasty bullying
that goes in our society, mostly with adolescents and high school kids. Google "bullying"
and "suicide" and you'll be alarmed to see how one is connected to the other.

How can we put an end to "bullying" when we have "adults" like Mathers engaging in
such despicable acts?  This story is all over social-media and there are kids across the
world who will not learn from this unfathomable situation, but will copy it. They'll say,
"Hey, if this Playboy model can do it, I think I'll do it too." We live in a copycat society
and trust me, there will be more inappropriate pictures coming across the Internet very
soon.

The social-media tsunami is partly to blame for all of this as well. We live in a world
where everybody has to document every five seconds of their lives on Facebook and
Twitter. People are so obsessed with getting a "LOL", or the almighty "like", they will
do almost anything, including making fun of others to get them.

We have gotten to the point where we not only take a picture of what we are about to
eat or our pretty selves sitting in a car seat, but photos of others who may not be as
body beautiful as us. We see things and people and the first thing we come to say is,
"Hey, I gotta get a picture of this and post it on Facebook to get a lot of "likes."

Sad, really sad.

Few people are sadder than Dani Mathers. She said she "accidentally" posted the
despicable to Snapchat. Yeah, right. And every athlete busted for steroids "unknowingly"
took supplements that were laced with illegal substances. Give me a break

Accidentally posted the picture, Ms. Mathers? Seriously. You should've quit while
you were behind.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

MR. MOSLEY: GREAT MAN AND GREAT AMERICAN





Mr. Mosley. Social Studies. Room 221. 8am.

Those were the first words I scanned over as I picked up my schedule for the first
day of classes at New Canaan High School in 1979. I was one of the "new kids" to
arrive on-campus that fall. I loved change, challenges, meeting  new people, and
experienced all of them after our family moved into town from Lake Forest, Illinois
earlier that summer.

Mr. Mosley was the first teacher I met at New Canaan High School. He seemed to be
a New Englander through and through. A bit stand off-ish, weary of outsiders, and a
confidence that bordered on arrogance. That was my take as a self-assured sophomore,
an "outsider" trying to find his way in a new town and new high school.

His classroom was meticulous just as he was, and there was no mistaking as to who
was in charge of it. Mosley commanded respect and always got it. As a person who
served the country at 18-years-old, fighting in the Korean War, there was no way Mosley
would've stood for today's dress code and obsession with cell phones, Twitter, and Facebook.

He was the type of guy who would've held out a cardboard box as his students entered
the  classroom, demanding they place their cell phones in it until class was over. Mosley
was a no nonsense guy and when it came to teaching, he was all business.


Mr. Mosley and I hit it off from day one. He was also a referee in football, not surprising,
given his attention to detail and rules. Mosley did everything by the book. As the
quarterback on JV football team, Mosley and I would trade stories about my games
and the ones he officiated over the weekends.

Mosley was much more than a teacher and football referee. He was a legendary coach,
overseeing the track and field teams for more than 30 years. He guided the Rams to nine
FCIAC titles and four state championships. Mosley took his rightful place in the NCHS
hall of fame in 2012.

With his build and military background, he seemed more suited for blowing his whistle
and barking out orders to football players than cross-country runners, but that is where
he made his name and became a New Canaan legend. There is a spot in Waveny Park
where track and field meets are still held today. It's called "Mosley's Hill", a tough
stretch of land that challenges runners and demands their respect---just like Mosley.

Mosley was a tough man, but very fair. And behind a tough exterior was a man with
a giant heart. He cared for his students, his athletes, his school,  his family, and loved
our country. Oh, some people say all the right things about the good 'ole U.S. of A, but
Mosley fought for it and took great pride in it.


Bob Mosley was genuine. He was real. And he was a great American.

On Sunday, July 10, Mosley died peacefully in Danbury. He was 81-years old.
Everybody who met Bob Mosley didn't always love Bob Mosley, but they sure as
hell respected him.

He was a great man and he will be missed.

RIP Bob Mosley.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

POKEMON STOP!



I don't know what Pokémon Go is. I'm not going to Google, Wiki, or listen to anything
the networks have to say about it.

I don't care how many people are playing it, how much Nintendo is making off it, or
whether it's trending or not.

It's freaking stupid.

But I'm not really surprised our country has become obsessed with Pokémon Go. After
all, a majority of us are obsessed with the no-talent, no substance family known as the
Kardashians. We watch reality shows as if they are the "Godfather" trilogy, unfortunately,
there is nothing real about them and they have a tendency to dumb you down to a, um,
Pokémon player's level.


They tell me this Pokémon Go is an app that can be downloaded onto your cell phone.
Great! Another ridiculous thing that can cause people to be rude at the dinner table, oblivious
to the rest of the world around them, and a distraction that can cause drivers to lose their
lives and kill others on the road.

Yes, the world is crumbling around us. Police are killing people on camera, cops are
targets of revenge, Hillary is seemingly less credible than Lance Armstrong, and Donald
Trump is Donald Trump and the nation is obsessed with Pokémon Go!


The Wall Street Journal featured an article about how Pokémon Go is a defining
moment on how we use technology and computers. Really? This is a game where millions
put phone to face and begin roaming their neighborhoods, hunting monsters. The frenzy
has led to injuries, invasion of privacy, and even the discovery of a dead body.

Nice!

You know it's only a matter of time where Pokémon players go absolutely postal.
It'll cause divorce, psychiatric problems, and retreats for those trying to deal with their
obsession.

Like everything new, addictive, and the impetus for peer pressure, there will be
consequences and they're already being felt.

Oh, I long for the days when things were much simpler and Pac Man was the game
everybody loved to waste their time on.

Monday, July 11, 2016

NEW CANAAN'S "MEAN" STREETS FOR BODY CAMERAS


The world is crumbling all around us. Cops are caught on tape killing people, people
seeking revenge are ambushing cops and killing them, the FBI lets Hillary off
the hook for her e-mails, and Donald Trump, who could be the next leader of our
country, is offending everybody with a pulse.

Yes, things have gotten pretty bad in the good 'ole U.S. of A.

They've gotten so bad that even in New Canaan, CT., a near-perfect town along the
state's gold coast and affectionately known as "the next station to heaven," there is unrest
and controversy.

You see, in this picturesque town that Norman Rockwell would've loved to have
painted, things are simmering. The streets which are often lined with BMW's, Mercedes,
Range Rovers, and Suburban's big enough to fit the Brady Bunch in comfortably,
have become a bit, um, mean.

No, not mean in the Bronx, Mount Vernon, and Bridgeport kind of way, But rather,
mean in the preppy, Vineyard Vines, my house in Nantucket is bigger than your house
in Nantucket, kind of style.




And oh, yeah, mean as in, "if you dare to put a friggin' ticket on my freshly-detailed
Bentley, I'm going to sue your ass to kingdom come" type of way. Residents, most of
whom are in higher tax brackets than 95 percent of professional athletes in this world,
are putting the fear of God (and their greatness) into parking officers over tickets.

Yep, parking tickets!


Might be time to call in the national guard to help handle this monumental issue.

Instead, the town has sought a kinder, gentler, way of trying to diffuse the preppy
madness. They have outfitted the parking officers with body cameras. No, you're eyes
are correct and you read that right. The parking officers are wearing $3,600 body
cameras to catch all those Wall Street CEO's imposing their rudeness on the parking
ticket patrol.

As Leslie Nielsen's character famously said in the movie, "Airplane":


Totally serious.

Cops are killing people on camera, then getting murdered themselves and New Canaan
is worried about "volatile" debates over parking tickets? I have to laugh out loud.

This is just too funny. I'm half-expecting Larry David to show up in New Canaan to
film an episode on the subject for "Curb Your Enthusiasm."  When will Keith Morrison
from Dateline NBC arrive on the scene for "Mayhem on Main Street: parking ticket
tantrums."?

Good grief.

This is a town where Harry Connick, Jr., Paul Simon, and Brian Williams (yes, that
Brian Williams) call home. Nothing bad ever really happens here. Oh, yeah, Simon called
9-1-1 last year after his wife was allegedly abusing him in some mean kind of way.

They both got arrested.


I guess in this day and age, every town has to have a little controversy and the parking
ticket conudrum is it for New Canaan. But body cameras for parking officers?

You have got to be kidding me.

One media outlet reported that New Canaan is the first town in the state to outfit
parking officers with body cameras. Ya think? It wouldn't exactly be going out on
a limb stating New Canaan is the first town in the entire free world to purchase body
cameras for parking officials.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

KEVIN DURANT AND HIS "EVOLUTION OF A MAN"


Let's face it, when it comes to saying good-bye, athletes and coaches usually screw
things up. Badly. They'll try to tell us their exits is not about the money when it clearly is.
They often bring in the 'ole, "I'm doing what's best for my family" when it's clearly about
them and them alone.

No matter what the case or what sounds good, these people in the sports world always
seemed to go off the rails and end up in what big train wreck.

Remember when LeBron James announced on national television he was taking his
talents to Miami in 2010? It was hello, Heat, good-bye, Cleveland.

Yep, that was LeBron's way of telling all those die-hard, never-been-a-winner in
anything fans that he was bolting them for much greener pastures, literally and
figuratively. Buckets of cash and the beaches of Miami over the Lake effect snow
on Northern Ohio.

Then there was Todd Graham who, while at 30,000 feet and on his way to paradise
in the desert, texted his players at the University of Pittsburgh that he was taking a cushy
job with great weather at Arizona State. That was cold. Hey, at least he didn't punctuate
the text with an "LOL."

Kevin Durant added to the long list of lame good-byes by announcing on "The Players
Tribune" where he just happens to be the "deputy publisher" (Yes, I'm serious) that he
was signing with Golden State as a free-agent, jilting the fans, city, and organization that
supported him for many years.

Durant earned his "free" agency after nine years in the NBA playing for Oklahoma City
a place many Americans would have trouble finding on the map. He had the right to
choose where he wanted to continue his career and I'm cool with that. Who the hell are
we to begrudge a guy for following his heart, the money, and pursue an overall better
quality of life?

Let's not kid ourselves, we'd probably do the same thing. It's just the American way.

However, the rhetoric that Durant splattered all over "The Players Tribune", is almost
as laughable as LeBron's "taking his talents to Miami" mantra he made on live television
years ago. Within minutes of its release, Frank Caliendo, the great comedian and
impersonator posted a laugh out loud video on-line, mocking Durant's prose.

Durant told the Internet world which has a propensity to believe everything it sees and
hears that part of his decision to sign with Golden State and leave OKC in his rear-view
mirror was "the importance to find an opportunity that encourages my evolution as a
man: moving out of my comfort zone to a new city and community which offers the greatest
potential for my contribution and personal growth."

Really, KD? Your "evolution as a man?"

Moving somewhere else to chase what you've never had (NBA title) doesn't make you
more of a man, but less of one. To leave a city, fans, teammates, and organization that you
brought to the brink of greatness is weak. A strong man would've stayed to finish the
job instead of joining a team, Golden State, that stood between you and a shot at the NBA championship.

Your "evolution of a man" would've been much more meaningful had you stayed loyal
to the organization that drafted you and the fans who adored you through thick and thin.
Taking the easy way out is nowhere to found in the "evolution of a man". Digging in when
the going gets tough and the chips are down is far more part of the "evolution of a man"
than joining a team of stars that has NBA championship and record for most wins in a
season without you.

Do you become more of a man by bailing on everybody to pursue your own personal
glory? Do you become more of a man just because you have a big gaudy ring to put
on your finger?

What's even more comical, is that you'll have a different reason and story for leaving
Golden State after next year when you have a chance to cash in like never before. The
salary-cap goes up and Kevin, you'll have to back up the Brinks truck to move all that
cash that may help your "evolution as a man."

If it was about anything else than getting a ring and even more cash, you would've
signed a long-term deal with Golden State. Not one with the opportunity to escape after
just one season. You believe that almighty ring will enhance your legacy and make you
even more marketable (meaning more bling) and more coveted.

I'm sure you'll be putting on your "deputy publisher's" hat again this time next year to
announce which team you'll be signing with. I'm just wondering what great reason it
will be now that your "evolution of a man" cop-out line has been used.

Kevin Durant, you have a long way to go to be a real man. But that's OK, it's a process
and "evolution." But leaving OKC is not the way to do it in your quest to be one.