Thursday, November 12, 2015

Catching Up on the Mets, Driving, Dressing for Work, Quick Pitching and Debate Winners/Losers

Time to catch up on some random thoughts that have been scurrying around my brain for the last few weeks or so …

I wonder if the owners of the Empire State Building were not all-in behind the New York Mets. While driving across the Kosciusko Bridge one night during the World Series (btw, a spectacular vantage point to observe the grandeur of Manhattan, second only to the drive north along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn Heights), I noticed the top of the iconic building was lit up in green (GREEN!!!) and not Mets blue and orange. Did St. Patrick’s Day change its date this year? I seem to recall blue and white bathing the top of the structure when the Yankees played in the Series. I’m not a Mets fan, but I do believe the Empire State Building dissed the team …

Driving Gilda to and from Manhattan three times a week has given me an insider’s perspective on the quality of drivers in the New York metro region. The worst drivers are those behind the wheel of SUVs. They tailgate, speed and change lanes irresponsibly more frequently than any other drivers. 

I would love to be able to make citizen arrests. Won’t happen. But what I truly would like is a car that includes a retractable rear sign telling a tailgater to “Back Off!” We have horns to warn drivers on our side when they get too close; why not a sign that calls out tailgaters?

There are plenty of Uber drivers out there. Since they are in unmarked cars, mostly black, they are not as predictable as yellow or green taxi drivers who don’t really surprise you when they scurry across two lanes or stop abruptly. But Uber drivers can and do surprise you. 

Of course, trucks and buses pose larger threats. Wednesday I took action after a truck blocked my attempt to change lanes and avoid an exit ramp off the Major Deegen Expressway in The Bronx. I called the telephone number on the truck to report its driver. Last winter I reported the unsafe actions of a city bus driver who changed lanes without regard and almost hit another vehicle. Who knows if the drivers were disciplined but it made me feel good.  

One of Gilda’s favorite pictures of me hanging on a wall in our family room is from my time as a reporter/bureau chief for The New Haven Register some 40 years ago. It’s a black and white photo, taken by Larry French, the chief copy editor, with a telephoto lens during one of the slow periods in the newsroom.

 My desk is a mess of papers piled helter-skelter. A brown paper bag stands upright and open at the top on the side of the desk. My hair is long and bushy, what we used to call a “Jewfro.” My beard has not yet turned grey. I am wearing an open collar plaid shirt, two pens visible in my shirt pocket. My left leg is crossed, the knee perched above the papers. Most likely I am wearing jeans, though khakis are a possibility. 

I bring this to your attention because of an article in Monday’s New York Times on the wardrobe choices for the movie Spotlight, a film about The Boston Globe’s reporting of the child sex abuse scandal within the Roman Catholic Church. The headline for the question and answer piece was “‘Spotlight’ Costume Designer on What Makes Newsroom Chic” (

No one among the hundred or so reporters at The Register could have been considered a GQ devotee. The rare necktie and sports jacket, a corduroy or tweed, were occasionally worn by the New Haven city hall or the Yale University beat reporter. Female reporters were not fashionistas, either. 

But then, the gestalt of the newsroom was not about how spiffy we looked but rather about how well our stories illuminated and informed. Those concepts permeated my years at Chain Store Age/Lebhar-Friedman, as well, but my wardrobe underwent a seismic makeover. 

L-F had a suits-in-the-office policy. A sports jacket and slacks would draw a rebuke from the president of the company. While working at The Register I owned two suits; one of them was my wedding tuxedo. By the time I retired from Chain Store Age my closet boasted (?) some two dozen suits. 

Let me say this: the first thing I did upon entering my office every day was take off my suit jacket and roll up my shirt sleeves. It was the closest I could get to the comfort of my Register reporter’s days. 

It’s a widely held belief that the New York Mets lost the World Series in the bottom of the ninth inning of the first game of the five-game contest when Mets closer Jeurys Familia tried to trick Kansas City’s Alex Gordon, only to have his quick pitch smacked over the center field wall to tie the game at two. The Mets eventually lost the game in 14 innings and lost three out of the next four games to the Royals.

When I regularly pitched for our temple’s fast-pitch softball team, I sometimes interspersed a quick pitch as well. I don’t recall giving up any home runs with the pitch, but I also don’t recall striking anyone out, either. 

Now, during any of my infrequent appearances on the mound, I don’t employ a quick pitch. It has vanished from my repertoire, as has most of the heat on my fast ball.  

You’ve no doubt read reviews (including mine) of Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate. In case you missed it, here’s how The Drudge Report scored the candidates, based on 348,324 poll respondents:  

 34.92%  (121,608 votes)
 23.7%  (82,529 votes)
 15.78%  (54,941 votes)
 13.93%  (48,496 votes)
 4.82%  (16,780 votes)
 4.27%  (14,885 votes)
 1.56%  (5,424 votes)
 1.02%  (3,571 votes)

Go figure!

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