Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Almost as soon as I posted a picture of me fishing in a dress shirt and slacks, I received
an avalanche of comments.

"Who goes fishing in an outfit like that?"

"That doesn't look right."

"Are you modeling or something? Who goes fishing in a button-down shirt?"

All comments were spot on. Nobody goes fishing in clean clothes, much less a button-down
shirts. It's usually shorts, a wrinkled t-shirt from 1998, and a baseball hat, right?

Truth be told, I didn't expect to be fishing that day, which was November 6th. As a general
assignment reporter, you don't know your assignment until you get to work and I always
dress in a coat and tie or business suit.

On November 6th, it was 78 degrees in Westchester County, breaking a record that stood
since 1930-something. I was told to go find out how people were taking advantage of the
spectacular day.

My photographer and I went down to the Hudson River in Nyack, New York which had
turned into a wonderland of sporting activity. People were biking, roller blading, and
fishing. After interviewing the man with the fishing pole, I asked if I could cast a line
for "tv purposes".

The man obliged and I got my stand-up for the story. As I was a doing it, a professional
photographer just happened to be shooting the event----and then I hooked a catfish. Now,
that was luck. It was pretty funny moment, so I took advantage of it figuring it would
make for good television, especially in my casual attire. I'm just thankful I took off the
tie or I'd have really heard it from my friends.

It wasn't the first time I was pictured fishing in the great outdoors with unsuitable
attire. While working for NESN and covering the Patriots in 2005, I went fishing in
a 3/4 length leather jacket. Not exactly a good look.

The Patriots were playing a Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins and I didn't
want to sit around in my room all day. Sun bathing on Ocean Drive in Miami was out,
the weather was unseasonably cold. With the high-winds, the temperature dipped into
the 30's.

My photographer and I booked ourselves on a deep-sea fishing charter. Forget about
the frigid temperatures, we were going fishing for some trophies. Trouble was, I didn't
pack for the cold weather, so I hopped aboard in my leather jacket. Hey, man, you have
to do whatever you have to do to deal with the conditions with what you have.

About an hour into our trip, I hooked a big ole' golden Amberjack. In my leather
Kenneth Cole jacket, I felt like Jimmy Houston reeling in that sucker. He put up
a good fight, but I was empowered by the leather jacket, kind of like Fonzie in
"Happy Days"

I didn't look cool, but I felt cool. That made my trip until I flew back to Boston
sitting next to Bridgette Moynihan, Tom Brady's girlfriend at the time. Now, you
talk about a story! I'll save that for another blog.

As for my attire, so what? One can't always dress for the part. If you hook a big
one, it doesn't matter what you wear, leather jacket or button down shirt.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Johnny Cash didn't have Paul Alexander in mind when he recorded the hit song,
"I've been everywhere", but if the music legend was alive today, you can bet he'd buy
the New York native a beer or two just to hear about his journey.

Alexander is the human passport, getting stamped in 33 countries from Chile to Ireland
to Morocco to Fiji.

He's been everywhere, man.

"I love to travel because at a young age my parents exposed me to many new places and
things,"said the 51-year-old golf professional.  "It has always inspired me to see more."

Alexander has seen more of this country than most people can only dream of. He's been to
every state except Alaska and in 2014, made the journey from coast-to-coast, spending
90 days camping out in the wilderness in addition to taking in so many of the breathtaking
sights this great nation has to offer.

Crossed the desert's bare, man
Breathed the mountain air, man.
He's been everywhere, man....

Single with no kids, Alexander can get up and go just about whenever he wants, and
wherever he goes, that place usually has a ton of golf courses. Alexander has teed it up on
more courses around the world than the number of times you've changed your status on
Facebook in the last five years. In addition to golf, he skis on spectacular mountains
and fishes in the most exotic places from sea to shining sea.

Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.

He's been everywhere, man.

Alexander and I have been lifelong friends and while talking over breakfast one day
in November, I casually asked what his plans for the weekend were.

"I'm just going to Morocco with Carl (his brother) and we're going to play golf with
some guys who invited us over there," Alexander said with all the emotion of a mortician
at the end of double-shift.  I guess that can happen to someone who has been everywhere,

The man's motto is one you might expect from a person who sees the world as his personal

"Mark Twain summed it up best." Alexander said.  "Twenty years from now you will be
 more disappointed by the things you didn't do than the ones you did do."

Alexander hopes to cross Thailand, Patagonia, Alaska, and Prague off his Bucket List
in the very near future, which for the PGA golf professional,  probably means sometime
around Easter.

My father affectionately dubbed Alexander, "007" because he is calm, cool, and has an
aura of mystery and intrigue about him. He is always here today, gone somewhere else
tomorrow. That's Paul Alexander.

He's been everywhere, man.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


The nation honors all those who served our country fighting wars with their own special
day. We pay tribute to the men and woman who put their lives on the line against faceless
enemies in countries far, far away. There will be a few parades and a lot of pictures
flooding Facebook of the American flag and our heroes who did so much for us. They
helped attain what we all enjoy today: freedom.

It's not enough.

For all the bravery, courage, determination, and sacrifice these veterans made, giving
them a day pales in comparison to what they truly deserve. And how our government
treats them is downright right embarrassing.

A 'thank you' will not do.

These men and woman leave the comforts of their home and the love of their families to
spill blood and sweat on foreign soil. What they return to is almost beyond comprehension.
Soldiers who had limbs blown off, their spirits shaken, and in many cases, their psyche
shattered forever, often have to wait long periods of time to get the benefits they earned
and the professional help they desperately need.

Instead of letting them go to the front of the line and take care of them immediately,
our government sometimes doesn't take care of them at all. President Obama may give
them a pat on the back or weave together a few words of praise, but when the cameras
are off it becomes something barely more than a, "hey, good job, thanks for playing."

According to CNN, the average wait for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan to
get their benefits is between 316 and 327 days. Almost a year!  That's absurd. All
the money the government spends keeping Guantanamo Bay open for terrorist
prisoners ($450 million a year) would be better served taking care of our own instead
of all the ones who tried to destroy our country.

After the soldiers return home, turn in their weapons while trying to tune out the
horrors of wars, there is little waiting for them in terms of a career. They don't have
jobs waiting for them or counseling provided by the government to at least
help them find one.

A few corporations like Wal-Mart have pledged to hire up to a 100,000 veterans, but
it's not enough and the government should be doing a lot more. They ask soldiers
to make tremendous sacrifices, fight for our country, put their lives on the line, and
they don't have their backs when they return home.

Professional sports teams produce special Army fatigue uniforms which they wear
and sell for a nifty profit. The message is a great one: support our troops and veterans.
But what do they actually do for them? They, along with their families, should never
have to pay for parking, concessions, and tickets to the game. That should mandated
across the board by our government

According to a report in the New York Times, there are 22 suicides among veterans
every day. Yes, every day! One is too many. 22 is a terrible tragedy that can be
prevented. These men and woman need help. Sure, you trying going to war for
three years and have to kill or be killed. Is your job that stressful? I think not. These
soldiers have to come home, decompress, and then blend into society as if
nothing happened.

It's silly, absurd, and doesn't really make any sense. The government's motto should
be: "We take care of all those who take care of us." That's how it should
be, no questions asked.

Too bad it all can't be that simple. With our government nothing ever is.

Monday, November 9, 2015


I crashed a party on November 6th and it's one of the best things I've done in a while.
During the midst of reporting on a story about the temperatures in New York shattering
a mark that stood since 1885, I happened upon a petite lady whose years, 85, seemed to
match her bodyweight.

Ms. Henrietta, as she introduced herself, was sitting on a park bench on a near perfect,
sun-splashed afternoon. She was the center of attention as her son, daughter, and two
grandchildren surrounded her, joyfully trying to make her birthday, a special one.

There was a small cake drenched with vanilla frosting and a few gifts already unwrapped,
resting against the concrete base of  a bench that had little trouble supporting her. There
was something about Henrietta that fascinated me. It may have been the big smile or the
deep grooves in her forehead which were like the rings of an oak tree. There were many
which indicated she had been around for a while. Henrietta was born in 1930 and her
soulful eyes with a tinge of sadness, screamed out loud that she had seen a lot in her
lifetime, not all of which was good.

I sat next to Henrietta on the park bench, microphone in hand, ready to capture a few
words that would certainly give a little more joy to my story. There were moments when
Henrietta would just stare out at the small ripples on the Hudson River, the only things that
could smudge an otherwise, Chamber of Commerce day.

I asked Henrietta where she was from. "I was born in Poughkeepsie," she said. Then
after a long pause, Henrietta said, "but I moved around to a lot of different places before
settling in Nyack." She made "a lot of different places" sound like "a lot of tough times."

Born during the Great Depression era, I couldn't imagine the things Henrietta and her family
may have gone through. As a teen, she lived through a brutal period where blacks in
this country were heavily discriminated against. No, Henrietta didn't need to write
a book with pictures to let the world know life had not been easy. You just knew. She
didn't wear her heart on her sleeve, it covered every inch of her face.

Henrietta became a big part of my day and I needed to find a way to make her part of my
story. She was a true gem and one of those people who can put a smile on a face without
saying a word. Not a single one.

It was 78 degrees on November 6th, a spectacular day to celebrate an 85th birthday. I asked
Henrietta if she had ever experienced a day like this one on her birthday.

"No I haven't," Henrietta said. "It's a beautiful day. A really beautiful day."

And Henrietta is a beautiful person. A really beautiful person.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015



I'm not sure how much of the World Series I'll watch, but when Bartolo Colon of the New
York Mets comes into the game, I will be glued to the television. As a former catcher, I just
love watching this guy pitch. The 42-year-old veteran is quite fascinating, really. He's
half-man, half-cartoon character and a player who draws comparisons to former wrestling
great, Andre the Giant.

Listed at 285 pounds in a media guide that must have received that number about 10 years
ago, Colon appears to be about a biscuit away from 305. Off-season fitness program? I
highly doubt it. In-season workout schedule? Perhaps, if it means making a run for Dunkin'
Donuts in between a day-night doubleheader. Colon is old-school like Babe Ruth. If it's
not moving he'll probably eat it, but once he gets between the lines, he's all business.

The New York Mets made a smart business decision when they signed Colon to a 2-year,
$20 million contract. They knew, even at the age of 41, Colon could eat up innings just
as he devours everything on his plate. Over the last two seasons, he's won 29 games, which
is something a lot of pitchers would love to have on the back of their baseball cards.

Colon entered the league with the Cleveland Indians in 1997 and seems to have been playing
forever. He has 218 career wins which is two more than Curt Schilling and also has something
the former Red Sox pitcher doesn't have: a Cy Young award. Colon won the award in 2005
when he went 21-8 for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Colon has been a rock for the Mets. Besides his 29 wins, Colon has gobbled up a hefty
plate of 396 innings. Yep, all at the age of 41 and 42. His record hasn't been all that
squeaky clean, in fact, Colon has been a little bit dirty. He was suspended by MLB
50-games in 2013 for testing positive for PED's. The Mets gambled on him and Colon
has paid dividends as big as his near 42-inch waste.

When Colon gets on the mound, he never seems to waste much. This season, 85 percent
of his pitches were fastballs, mostly of the two-seam variety. He paints the black with his
88 mph heater and often freezes hitters when the ball moves incredibly back across the
plate like Greg Maddox.

Colon is another reason to like the Mets. He's humble, humorous, and hard-working.
Eh, well, two out of three isn't bad. Bad body and all, America loves Bartolo Colon and
he could become a household name when this series is over, or at least have deli sandwiches
in New York City named after him.