ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXV

September 1, 2017

Sorry, but it’s time for another “random ramblings.” Here are two dozen one-liners to celebrate the silver anniversary of the “random ramblings.”

  • Just finished reading Chernow’s  Alexander Hamilton.   I recommend it.
  • Prior to “Hamilton,” I read The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty by Hal Bock. This 2017 book is a must if you are a baseball fan. Incidentally, Hal is an East Williston resident.
  • I really miss Bill O’Reilly. His show was fair, impartial, interesting, informative and entertaining.
  • Defense plays second fiddle to offense in nearly every sport, particularly basketball.
  • I’ve become a fan of TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Can I attribute this to old age?
  • Traveling is no longer fun. Florida is the only place I look forward to going to.
  • Terry Collins (Mets) is unquestionably the worst manager in baseball. Maybe the Mets can lose the rest of their games and management will get wise and fire Collins.
  • The USEPA has thankfully come to its senses about global warming…or is it climate change?
  • A second edition of Basketball Coaching 101 is in the works and it will unveil my umbrella offense.
  • Just returned from our annual Easter visit to Sarasota, Florida. It was our 40th straight year of vacationing at the fabulous Sandcastle Resort. Unfortunately, I fractured a vertebrae slipping in the bathroom.
  • Planned on attending the Annual International Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA) Conference in Pittsburgh in June. It would have been my 50th consecutive year in a row of either presenting a technical paper or giving a seminar, or both. Unfortunately, the fractured vertebrae eliminated my travel plans.
  • Just celebrated Mary’s 50th wedding anniversary. Planned on visiting Ireland again to also celebrate Mary’s family reunion. Unfortunately, Mary fractured her femur which eliminated all travel plans. Not the best of summers for the Theodore clan.
  • Noted sports historian Arthur Lovely celebrated his 89th birthday this past April 23rd at the 4½ star restaurant L’Econtra in Astoria. The party of 8 included handsome (that’s yours truly), the irrepressible Danny Doyle, Ed “The Glider” Charles of the fabulous 1972 Mets, and TV fight analyst/former boxer Tommy Gallagher.
  • The indifference and incompetence of government officials continues to amaze me – particularly here in Nassau County.
  • The indifference and incompetence of government employees also never cease to amaze me; I could write an article on my experience with the USEPA and the Albertson Post Office.
  • I keep preaching that defense is as important as offense in basketball, and all my “expert” friends keep agreeing with me. But do they really? Other than Bill Russell (and possibly Dennis Rodman), name one Hall of Famer in Springfield who was selected for his defensive play.
  • Capitalism (along with democracy) is what has made our nation great. But there are times when capitalism has to be harnessed for the common good.
  • Liberty and freedom? Somehow, there is need to balance these against anarchy and disorder.
  • Manufacturing runs has become a lost art in baseball. Everyone is trying to hit a home run.
  • Every batter who regularly faces the infield “shift” should be required to learn how to hit to the opposite field.
  • Lost another of our gang – Zack Mehale. He was one of the good guys who made us laugh and who everybody loved. We’ve become depleted; there’s only a handful of us left.
  • Visited Saratoga in late August (my 61st straight summer visit) – NYRA’s THE place to be if you want to get ripped off. And what does that say about me?
  • A couple of people complained about my June 1 article titled “On Great Eats.”
  • I hope most of you read Ron Roel’s ACT 2 Page three page feature article about me in Newsday on June 25th. It modestly describes my successes during my illustrious career, more in next month’s posting.

 

Once again, this is the silver anniversary edition of the “random ramblings.” Thanks are due to friends, relatives, colleagues, etc., for their interest and support for this unique category of article; my indebtedness is also extended to those individuals in this group who are currently incarcerated or institutionalized.

 

Visit the author on his Facebook page Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

OCTOBER:                 On Newsday’s June 25 Act 2 Article

NOVEMBER:             On Barack Hussein Obama (Revisited) VI

DECEMBER:             On 2017-2018 Hofstra Men’s Basketball

Advertisements

ON THE EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017

Here is my opening paragraph from last year’s newsletter on the budget vote:

“East Williston School District (EWSD) residents are annually requested to vote on a school budget and this year is no exception. Each voting member of the community will have an opportunity to either vote for or against the budget. Every parent, every senior, every taxpayer, and every youngster of voting age should consider voting NO on the budget. Why? Two reasons come to mind:  (A) Waste and (B) Senior Citizen Exploitation.”

 

I then proceeded to provide detailed comments on both above reasons which was followed by detailed proposed solutions to both problems. Guess what?  I not only didn’t hear from anyone but I also received no acknowledgements of my proposal. Isn’t this just great? I’m a taxpayer with no voice. You can thank Kamberg and his brood, Kanas, the teachers, the teachers’ union, and, of course, the pitiful PTO, for this sorry state of affairs. And, let’s not forget that it was the Bergtraum (incompetence)/Israel (greed) era that started the EWSD’s decline.

 

In any event, here’s what’s coming down. Per capita student cost is up (>$36,000). Enrollment is down. Hiring is up. School ranking is down. Student performance is down. College choice for students almost certainly is down. Waste has increased. Senior exploitation has increased. Student/parent exploitation has increased. You want proof? Try to FOIL these parasites in control for information. You’ll get what I got…NOTHING! What a wonderful state of affairs.

 

The community should be aware of the EW Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) 3/22/17 report to the EWSD Board of Trustees. I’ll spare you the details but here are the six FAC’s specific spending recommendations.

 

  1. Adapt recommendations to fund Program, Administration & Capital efficiencies
  2. Develop a framework to measure student achievement/investment
  3. Wages: take steps to continue to limit wage growth
  4. Healthcare: Increase employee contributions/eliminate opt-out
  5. Place a moratorium on contractual lifetime healthcare benefits
  6. Review opportunities to increase non-tax revenue

 

But, here’s the key.  Buried early in the report is “The Board has the responsibility and discretion to implement the FAC’s recommendations.”  Translated into simple English: they can, and will, ignore the recommendations as they have done in the past (I’ll comment on their action next year).

 

Regarding (1), the word efficiency is not in the Board’s vocabulary.  The teachers and their union have always opposed (2). The teachers and their union, the PTA, the Board, and Superintendent Kanas oppose (3). Obviously, the teachers and their union plus their stooges oppose (4) and (5).  Point (6) is a great recommendation that could be implemented by the brain trust in the FAC, but with teachers and their union, the PTA, Superintendent Kanas, and (in particular) the Board, there resides a group that is clueless on business/financial matters. Obviously, not a good situation since the FAC has wasted its time.

 

Here are my comments on reading the FAC report for the year 2017.

 

  • The District’s reputation is understandably on the decline (see later paragraph).
  • Tenure has created many of the problems. These positions should only last 5-years but can be extended if the individual has continued to demonstrate the freshness and enthusiasm of the early years of teaching. You know the teachers would never embrace this recommendation.
  • Need to spend time on converting thoughtless children to caring and thinking individuals.
  • Generate better relationships with students in order for them to maintain lifelong ties to the EWSD.
  • Teacher/community relations are at an all-time low.
  • I believe the rumors that all school boards have adopted illegal practices to undermine the school tax cap.
  • For goodness sake, do something positive about the WASTE.

 

The landscape has changed. My experience suggests that today’s students leave high school more aware of what they want to do and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Nobody I know feels the EWSD is doing enough to adjust to this change.

 

I’ll close with some general thoughts. The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. The mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. There is a need for accountability for not only these upstart programs but also for traditional programs such as at Wheatley. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment. On the positive side, I believe absenteeism has decreased; although there are more cars in the North Side parking lot, there is less of a reduction of cars on Monday and Friday. Finally, I stand by my earlier statements that at least two members of the Board simply cannot be trusted; the Community should not expect them to act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers.

 

You don’t have to believe me regarding much of the above material.  Here is the 4/25/2017 Newsday headline:  “7 LI Schools in the Top 200.”  Guess who didn’t make the top 200 nationally.  Guess who also didn’t make the top 50 statewide (there were 14 LI schools who did).  We also didn’t make the top 100 STEM schools in the state.  These are the FACTS, and the numbers don’t lie.  And yet, many of the uniformed parents refuse to accept that the self-serving EWSD Board, the teachers, the PTA, etc., have failed and betrayed both the students and the community.

 

 

Remember, it’s OK to vote NO on the budget. A NO vote represents a call for better education for our students, fair and responsible treatment of seniors, a call for new leadership for both the Board and the District, and a rejection of the corrupt self-serving policies currently in place.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:                      On Great Eats II

JULY 1:                      On Six Months Later

AUGUST 1:                On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV

 


ON THE OHI DAY IV

November 1, 2018

NOVEMBER 1, 2018

As noted in earlier OHI articles, I was baptized Elias Theodorakos since it is the Greek custom to name the first son after the paternal Papou (grandfather). Within a few years, the name Elias (our first grandson is also named Elias) was displaced by Louis, its American counterpart. Three weeks ago at Grandparents Day at the Foote School in New Haven, CT, 13 year old Elias spoke before an audience of approximately 500 grandparents. He talked about his grandfather or Papou (that’s me), my grandfather, my grandfather’s grandfather, etc. He also noted how proud he was of his name and his Greek heritage. I teared up.

 

In second grade, my immigrant parents were told by several public school teachers that it would be in the best interest of the family to Americanize the last name. The name was soon legally changed to Theodore. About that time, my Uncle Jimmy who came to America with my father changed his name to Theodore while Uncle John chose Theros. My Aunt Stavroula also chose to change her married name from Apostolakos to Lake. I know our children and grandchildren would have preferred that our last name had not been changed. They are also disappointed – along with Mary (who is not Greek) – that I did not insist that they go to Greek school. But, such were those times. Although I am an American first, I remain proud of my Hellenic roots. And, it is for this reason that another OHI article was written.

 

On to the theme of the article. The 79th anniversary of the repulsion of fascist forces by the Greek Armed Forces was recently celebrated several weeks ago on October 28. (The day came and went without a whimper here in the United States.) The Greeks refer to this as the OHI (an emphatic NO!) Day. OHI was Prime Minister Metaxas’s response to Hitler’s order to peacefully surrender. What followed Metaxas’s response was 219 days of fierce battles. That in turn was followed by intense guerrilla warfare that resulted in a brutal occupational that included executions, sufferings, famine, and sever inflation. The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks.

 

For comparison purposes, the days of resistance of the various combatants to the Nazi-Fascist invasions are listed below:

 

  1. Belgium                                                                     18
  2. Czechoslovakia                                                           0
  3. Denmark                                                                     0
  4. France  (the supposed superpower of that time)      43
  5. Greece  (13,696 Greek soldiers died)                       219
  6. Luxembourg                                                                0
  7. Norway                                                                        7
  8. Poland                                                                        30
  9. The Netherlands                                                          4
  10. Yugoslavia                                                                    3

 

The total number of human losses in percentage of total population are also listed below.

 

  1. Belgium                            1.5%
  2. France                               2.0%
  3. Greece                             10%  (750,000)
  4. Poland                             1.8%
  5. Soviet Union                    2.8%
  6. The Netherlands              2.2%
  7. Yugoslavia                       1.7%

 

Here is what four of the more important players of that time had to say (citations available on request) about the heroic Greek accomplishments against the armies of not only Germany but also the armies of Italy, Bulgaria and Albania.

 

  1. Adolph Hitler: “As a matter of historical truth, I must ascertain that only the Hellenes, of all the adversaries that confronted me, fought with daring courage and the highest disregard for death… “

 

  1. Sir Winston Churchill: “The word heroism, I’m afraid, does not reflect in the least the Hellenes’ acts of self-sacrifice that were the defining factor of the victorious ending of all the nations’ common struggle during the 2nd WW for human freedom and dignity. If it were not for the bravery of the Hellenes and their courageous hearts, the ending of the 2nd WW would not have been clear. Until now we were saying that Hellenes fight like heroes. Now we will say: Heroes fight like Hellenes. The Hellenes in fighting against the common enemy will share with us in the prosperity of peace.”

 

  1. Josef Stalin: “I’m sad because I’m getting old and I will not live much longer to express my gratitude to the Hellenic people whose resistance determined the 2nd WW. You fought without weapons and you won, being small before the great ones. We owe you gratitude, because you bought time and, thus, we could arm ourselves. As Russians and as fellow humans, we thank you.”

 

  1. Franklin Roosevelt: “For Hellas there was granted a delay of 3 hours on the 28th of October 1940 so that she can decide on war or peace, but, even if a delay of 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 years was granted, the answer would have been the same. The Hellenes have taught dignity throughout the centuries. When the entire world had lost all hope, the Hellenic people dared to doubt the German monster’s invincibility fighting back with the proud spirit of freedom. The heroic struggle of the Hellenic people against the German attack, having so thunderously won the Italian attempt to invade the Hellenic soil, filled the American hearts with enthusiasm and won their sympathy. A century and a half earlier during the Greek War of Independence, our nation expressed its sympathy for the Hellenes and was hoping for the Hellenic victory.”

 

Yep, I still get that special feeling when someone refers to me as a Greek-American.

 

Note: Thanks are due my first cousins Helen Lake Anton and Harry Lake, aka Apostolakos, for providing some of the background material for this article. Helen was stationed in Greece during part of her CIA career.   Harry served on the National Board of Directors and was Finance Chairman of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association).”

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:             On Basketball Coaching 101 II

FEBRUARY 1:           On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random                                                Thoughts XXVII

 

 

 

 


ON THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION (NYRA)

September 30, 2018

OCTOBER 1, 2018

Saratoga. Saratoga Springs. Thoroughbred racing. The Mecca of thoroughbred racing. The summer vacation spot to be in August. The grand old lady. Streets lined with historic homes. Sweet corn and tomatoes practically off the vine. Etc. etc. Sounds great. Well, there’s only one problem: The New York Racing Association (NYRA). NYRA runs thoroughbred racing in Saratoga (as well as Belmont and Aqueduct).

 

The thoroughbred racing meeting ended on September 7, so I figured it was time to release some of my earlier thoughts, comments, recommendations, etc., about NYRA. Here are three of my oldies but beauties from the past when I had predicted that weekday attendance would drop from 15,000 to 2,000. How little did I know.  And how wrong could I be?  It is now under 1,000.  I’m certain two absolutely beautiful 750 Fall days (9/26-7) had less than 250 betting fans  at Belmont.!

 

“On NYRA” (The Williston Times, 9/16/96):

“Quite frankly, I am both flabbergasted and disappointed in the media’s coverage of NYRA and NYRA-related activities. There appears to be an unwritten law among turf writers not to provide any bad press on NYRA. As indicated earlier, the two words commonly used by the racing group I associate with to describe NYRA is incompetence and arrogance. The net result of NYRA policies is that more and more of the fans are not coming back. The two extremes – the young and the old fan – no longer find a day at the NYRA races a pleasurable experience. More than anything else, the writing of this article was prompted by my participation in the 1976 National Crime Commission Hearings (President Ford) as a representative of the horseplayer”.

 

“There’s Another Side to Saratoga” (Daily Racing Form, 7/27/97):

“Á significant portion of the racetrack is a firetrap. Standing in line is a ritual that NYRA has come to expect from its customers. The track contains the most uncomfortable seats I have ever encountered at a racetrack. In addition, the spacing between rows is so narrow that it is extremely difficult to navigate. Expect to be gouged. Here is what Bill Finley and Surabhi Avasthi had to say in their May 5, 1996, Daily News article titled “A-Z Guide to Horse Racing in New York.” “G is for Gouged. What you will get in Saratoga Springs. The local businesses – which only have six weeks to capitalize on tourist dollars – usually jack up prices during racing season. Expect to fork over an ample portion of your winnings for a good dinner and a hotel room.”

 

“Blame NYRA for Empty Plants” (Daily Racing Form, 4/26/98):

“The players major concern was that  NYRA has chosen to squash the betting public into a cramped space with poor lighting, lousy TV monitors and limited seating for simulcasting. They also cited long betting lines and the unkempt filthy conditions of the whole area. If NYRA could somehow treat its customers like it treats breeders, owners, jockeys, politicians and the media, the racing industry will be on its way to solving its problem at the turnstiles.”

 

The Queen and I along with the kids and grandkids visited Saratoga late this month and spent two days there. As usual, the experience at this dilapidated firetrap track featured the aforementioned long lines, $5 admission, $10 parking, concession rip-offs, uncomfortable seating and standing, poor race viewing, 38 minutes in between races, etc. etc. To make matters worse, the ass who runs the place (where do they find these people??) essentially closed off the seating in the upper stretch of the grandstand for most racing days. Fans did have the option of sitting on the grass or standing for 5 hours. Thank you NYRA management.

 

We stayed at the Gideon Putnam – a historic landmark – and the entire family (but not me) loved it. Notwithstanding my feelings, it was my 64th straight year (this has to be a record) of attending the races at the Toga. I stayed at John’s Farm in the Catskills in 1955 and the Holiday Inn ($19 /night) in 1956. As always, dinner the first night was at Parnell’s and a brief chat with owner/chef Bruce followed by breakfast the next morning at the Triangle Diner.

 

After reading the last paragraph, you would have to conclude that I am a glutton for punishment. And, you would be right, but old habits don’t die easily. I said good riddance on leaving Saratoga but will be back (God willing) next year. Don’t say it. I can’t be that bright, but then again, those others in attendance can’t be too bright either.

 

So, it’s now back to Belmont for nearly two months followed by the Aqueduct winter meeting where NYRA will once again continue to exploit the hapless horse player. Attending has dropped below 1,000 on weekdays and the idiot in charge has yet to figure out how to fix the problem. But dozens of “suits” regularly patrol the stands and I can’t figure out what they do. Ordinarily, the individual in charge would be fired…but this is NYRA.  The end result is that the most beautiful of ALL racetracks is essentially barren during racing days.

 

I close with a tale (without details) about NYRA’s arrogance . . . they are more than just incompetent.  I sued NYRA in small claims court for $22 in 2010.  They were a no-show on trial date.  The judge rescheduled the trial.  Once again they were a no-show.  The judge found in my favor.  NYRA chose not to mail me the judgement.  I had to hire a sheriff to collect.  They sheriff walked into one of their offices and requested the money.  They informed him that it was impossible but they would mail it to me in due time.  He started walking out with two of their computers.  Fifteen minutes later they gave him a check for ALL the charges.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

FEBRUARY 1:           On Basketball Coaching 101 II

 

 

 


On Media Bias

September 1, 2018

SEPTEMBER 1, 2018

Is the media, animal, vegetable or mineral? I’m not sure. But one thing I am sure of is that the media is not only biased but also unprofessional, un-American, and untrustworthy.

 

Consider The New York Times (NYT), the so-called premier newspaper and leader of journalistic integrity. Remember that they supposedly live by the motto “all the news that’s fit to print.” So, if the NYT is biased, would it be unreasonable to consider that others in the media are also biased?

 

Here is my case against the NYT, and I ask that you draw your own conclusion. What follows are 30 undoctored/unedited NYT front page headlines over the 6-9 to 7-17 time period (I went on vacation 7-18). As noted, these are the NYT’s unedited headlines…not mine. Note that I chose to italicize some words. I ask the reader to consider these headlines in deciding the objectivity of this newspaper. Here goes.

 

6/9:     Trump Confronts Allies Over Excluding Russia and Barriers to Trade. Stark Rejection of the Geopolitical Order. Europe, Japan and Canada answer with Anger

6/9:     Risks for President in Attack on the Health Law

6/10:   Trump Confronts Allies over Excluding Russia

6/11:   Outbursts Isolate Trump Before Meeting with Kim

6/11:   Officials Dig in vs. Canada, and Allies Recoil

6/12:   Trump Upends Global Trade Order Built by U.S.

6/13:   President Pitch to Kim Yields Vow with Few Details

6/14:   Vote Secures Trump’s Grip on the G.O.P.: Candidates Now Cross Him At Their Peril

6/14:   President Claims His Talks ended Nuclear Threat, Specifies Still Scarce Over a Path for Reaching Disarmament

6/18:   In Senate Bid, a Provocateur Evokes Trump

6/19:    Trump Resisting a Growing Wrath for Separation

6/19:   Europe Allies, Grip Slipping, Get U.S. Shove; Anti-Migrant Remarks Aimed at Germany

6/21:   In Retreat, Trump Halts Separating Migrant Families

6/22:   4 Military Bases Prepare to Hold 20,000 Children: Chaos on the Ground

6/23:   Migrants Order Tosses a Wrench into the System; Contradicting Policies; Zero Tolerance Clashes Rule to Keep Families Intact

7/1:     How Free Speech Was Weaponized by Conservatives

7/3:     Facing Reinvention as Trump Tightens Grip

7/4:     Trump Wants No Due Process at U.S. Border; Constitutional Worries After A Fiery Attack

7/7:     Trade War Rises, and Trump Plan Remains a Puzzle; Path to Goals is Murky

7/9:     U.S. Delegation Disrupts Accord on Breast Milk

7/10:    Fierce and Costly Fight Over Court Nomination Commence in Capitol

7/12:    Trump Undercuts Leader of Britain After NATO Clashes

7/12:    Fire and Fury as FBI Agent Defends His Decision

7/13:    Trump Embraces Russia As His Aides Make a Fist

7/14:    The President Takes His Denigration of Journalists on the Road

7/15:    Trump’s Choice: Beltway Insider Born and Bred, Father was Lobbyist

7/16:    Gains for Russia as Trump Attacks Allies

7/16:    Trump Rattles Global Order

7/17     Trump, With Putin, Attacks 2016 Intelligence

7/17:    Disdain for U.S. Institutions and Praise for an Adversary

7/17 – 7/28: On Vacation

 

Hope the biased case has been made. Also note that the NYT never reported anything on Trump and/or his Administration of a positive nature. Never.  Not one word last month on Trump securing the return of our fallen heroes from North Korea. WOW!

 

What has the media been reporting on? Obstructing justice (for 18 months), collusion with the Russians (for 18 months), stealing the election (for 18 months), hatred for minorities (for 18 months), hatred for illegal immigrants (for 18 months), hatred for America (), exploitation of workers, etc., etc. It’s Comedy Central watching the raw hatred of the liberal fanatics – who continue to fail to report and/or distort the news and are now pushing for violent action – for this individual some of us once viewed as a buffoon. I can’t wait to see what attacks, based on the usual lies, false information, etc., will be forthcoming in the near and distant future. At the time of the preparation of this article it was Manifort and Cohen. Folks, it is indeed Comedy Central.

 

In the meantime, a spoiled billionaire egomaniac playboy (who some of us used to laugh at) somehow overcame insurmountable odds to win the primary, won the election, and deliver on his promises to the electorate – all despite opposition from unions, liberals, the Democratic party, the Republican party, the cesspool in Washington, some truly crazed women, the corrupt media, Hollywood, foreign leaders, sports heroes/idols, etc. And further, and still in the meantime, the corrupt media has mounted nonstop attacks (with no credence) on our leader regarding his physical health, mental health, adult sons, daughter, in-laws, younger child, wife, associates, appointments, lying, womanizing, etc.

 

Case closed…I think.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

OCTOBER 1:              On the New York Racing Association III

NOVEMBER 1:          On “Basketball Coaching 101” II

DECEMBER 1:           On the OHI Day III

JANUARY 1:              On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

FEBRUARY 1:           On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

 

 

 

 


AS I SEE IT ON PURELY, CHASTE, PRISTINE RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVII

August 1, 2018

 

AUGUST 1, 2018

I can’t believe there have already been 26 of these. Here is another set (20) of my thoughts on a host of topics. Hopefully, the reader will not find any of the comments below offensive.

 

  • Any of the readers familiar with my books? A “fan” recently emailed me on my new book: I’ll waste no time reading it.”
  • I’m working on two processes to get safe drinking water from the sea. Sounds simple. All you have to do is separate out the salt.
  • Anyone ever think of starting a business that would provide a service of placing your pet(s) while one is away with others who have pets at a nominal fee (I would call it Vacation Exchange of Pets, VEP).
  • Just finished reading O’Reilly’s “Killing the Rising Sun”. The fanatical conduct of not only the Japanese leaders and military, but also those at home during the war was unforgiveable. I’m going to have trouble buying Japanese products from now on. I can also understand the logic behind the unfortunate interning of Japanese-Americans.
  • Are the Democrats or the Republicans in Nassau County more corrupt? I think it’s a tie. They have all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
  • Trump truly has many attributes. But, at times, he ought to give some thought to the gift of silence.
  • I still can’t believe the number of walks given up by major league pitchers. The key to being a great pitcher is to not walk batters.
  • I also still can’t believe that batters don’t run out ground balls and fly balls.
  • The key to good health is walking and drinking water.
  • Just published my 115th book. This one’s titled “Introduction to Mathematical Methods for Environmental Engineers and Scientists.” It was coauthored by Chuck Prochaska, a graduate student at Manhattan College.
  • Kelly Behan, a junior structural engineering student studied at Buffalo and a resident of Mineola, is the coauthor of our soon to be released book “Introduction to Optimization for Environmental and Chemical Engineers.” Kelly is presently interning with Turner Construction and previously served as the editorial manager on my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.
  • I still maintain that environmentalists have become a liability to our society. Their fanatical conduct is simply not acceptable.
  • The Queen and I received a standing ovation at the recent annual Air and Waste Management Association awards luncheon in Hartford, Connecticut.
  • I can’t believe the widespread hatred for our spoiled egomaniac billionaire playboy president. It just doesn’t make sense, given what he has accomplished in 18 months.
  • Dining out has become ridiculously expensive. The tax and tip increases your bill by approximately 30%.
  • Dining out? Be prepared to get ripped off if you “drink.” Two bloody Marys at Morton’s cost $33…and that doesn’t include the tax and tip.
  • I keep hoping things will be “resolved” in Noko, Iran, Israel, Syria, China and Russia. Am I asking and hoping for too much?
  • What happened to our Mets?
  • The New York Giants are doomed with Manning.
  • I’m planning to do another edition (IV) on Great Eats. The next one will key on casinos.That’s it, folks. I’ll be back with another “random” in 6 months.www.theodorenewsletter.com.

Visit the author at:

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

SEPTEMBER 1:         On the New York Racing Association III

OCTOBER 1:              On “Basketball Coaching 1010” II

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

DECEMBER 1:           On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

 

 

 

 


ON WHEN NEW YORK CITY WAS NEW YORK CITY II

July 1, 2018

 

JULY 1, 2018

As most of you know, I was born in New York City in 1934 and called it home until 1970. My first 7 years were spent in the north end of Hell’s Kitchen. The next 12 years were spent in an area that is known as Lincoln Center. The last 17 years of those were spent in Astoria, Queens. In effect, NYC was my home for the first 36 years of my life. This tale is the second of a 2-part article concerned with New York City during that 36 year time period.

 

I made a conscious decision to split the “When New York City was New York City” article into two timeframes: 1934-1953 and 1953-1970. The first part appeared in August 2017; it keyed on life in Hell’s Kitchen and naturally, the material was autobiographical.

 

Flash back to 1953 and the tale of this piece begins in Astoria, Queens – my new residence at that time. World War II is a thing of the past and a fleeting memory. The Great Depression is also a fleeting memory. Gone is the Office of Price Administration (OPA) and the accompanying rationing via coupons, and, to a lesser degree, tokens. Jobs abound. Good-paying jobs. Some really good-paying jobs. The worm had indeed turned. Our great nation is experiencing boom economic times along with superpower status due, in part, to a combination of democracy and capitalism. Perhaps even more important was the Marshall Plan, devised by General George C. Marshall. The World War II period had converted out nation into a manufacturing giant. But, the economic boom was about to come to a halt since there weren’t enough buyers of the goods and services we could produce. Enter the aforementioned Marshall’s plan of reviving the economies of Europe and Asia in order to develop markets for our goods and services. And, guess what? It brought prosperity beyond belief to our nation for nearly 40 years.

 

The 50s and 60s were understandably periods when it seemed that nothing could go wrong, everything was going right, and anything was possible; it was a special era. The relentless pressure of war and personal and economic sacrifices were now history. In a very real sense, it was a time of innocence. WWII was just a 2-letter Roman numeral. The Hamptons were still a rich Waspy family living on Park Avenue. Korea was also a thing of the past. The basketball point-shaving scandals didn’t apply to my friends who I have dubbed the Boys of Killeen’s. Jack Molinas was one of the few Greeks (I thought)–he was Jewish–who had gone bad. It almost was a reincarnation of the roaring 20s–everyday brought joy, excitement, laughs, new challenges, etc. It was also a time of great friendship, good times, perhaps excessive drinking, beautiful girls and great athletes.  “Eddie My Love,” a haunting melody that is still with me, was the juke box favorite over several summers. There were other tunes during that period. In addition to “Eddie My Love,” there was “Sh-Boom” (Crew Cuts) and “Earth Angel” (the Penguins). Rock ‘n’ Roll had arrived. The song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was also bothersome at the time since I found myself walking home alone every night. Likewise was the tune “You Belong to Me” (Jo Stafford), since there was no one I could claim belonged to me. Add this to my favorite tune from the late 1940s, Russ Morgan’s “So tired” (I’ll wait forever dear).   But along came the Chordettes with “Mr. Sandman” who indeed did bring me a dream–a Bayside Queen named Mary Kathleen Tonry–and my lonesome nights were over. I fortunately disregarded Damon Runyon’s advice, “fall in love with an heiress if you must fall in love.”

 

Here are five of my memories of that era—memories that will never leave me.  They center around Killeen’s Tavern, my basketball team, Rockaway Beach and (of course) my favorite.

 

  1. Killeen’s Tavern

 

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a small bar named Killeen’s Tavern on a side street in Astoria, New York. The tavern’s history dates back to about 1934 (the author’s birth year).  It was owned by a burly Irishman. The whole place was no bigger than 30 ft. by 15 ft., half of it designed like a half-moon bar, and the other half consisting of a few tables, a juke box, a telephone booth, a toilet that was always clogged up, and a kitchen that didn’t work. Beer was 12 cents a glass, and a shot of rye was 45 cents. The local crowd had its colorful characters. Damon Runyon would have loved this place. There was “Buster” the late night singer who crooned Sweet Leylani, Lorraine the Dancer, “Cuz” the night bartender, “Oil Pan” Tom, the landlord Pete the Russian, Freddie “Spook” Stegman–the greatest sport birddog this side of the Mississippi, and dapper George Connelly–the Sunday bartender of 30 years who many believe James Cagney had copied his mannerisms from.

Then there was the day bartender–Pat Killeen himself. An impressive 6′ 1″ and burly 275-lb. man with a thick Irish brogue, who, when angry, would roll his black cigar from one end of his mouth to the other. Yes, he could intimidate if necessary. But he was a fair and open-minded individual, always with the best intentions at heart.

Who were the other inhabitants of the Tavern? Here are some of their names: Scratch, Buddy, Gaylord (the author), Big Dan, The Whale, Jimmy the Greek, Steve the Greek, Weegie, The Rat, Vince the Prince, The Grey Fox, The Scavenger, The Buff, The Snake, The Brat, Tuto, Tex, Superman, Buster, The Hawk, The Cool, The Phantom, The Bant, The Weedler, Big Fitz, Red, Joey Hot Dog, Sparksy, Dixie, Jake the Weightlifter (all 95 lbs. of him) Bugsy, Louie The Lob, Filthy Phil, Tony Guido, etc. The girls included Mary Gloves, Marie the Dancer … perhaps it be best to stop here.

 

The Boys of Killeen’s were the children of working-class parents who endured The Great Depression and survived the harsh times of that era. Although better off than their parents, the Boys of Killeen’s were a group that appreciated good times, and were not nearly as security-conscious as their parents. It was a group that ultimately went on to succeed in the workplace, no doubt influenced by their New York City and Killeen’s experiences.

 

 

  1. The legendary Killeen’s Tavern basketball team

 

I’ll pass here since most of the details appeared in my book, Basketball Coaching 101 (Amazon $18).

 

  1. Rockaway Beach

 

It was New York City’s beach of beaches during that era. It was a period when many referred to the Rockaway’s as the Irish Riviera; interestingly, Jimmy Breslin described it as “where wood rots and people waste.” There were numerous drinking establishments one block from the beach to accommodate the crowds. They included Murphy’s and Gilroy’s on 90th Street, the quartet of the Irish Circle, Rainbow Bar, Leitrim House and Mickey Carton’s Mayo House on 103rd Street (he played the accordion while his sister, Mary, sang). Ruthie Morrissey, regularly featured at the Mayo House, captured and touched so many hearts. The Mayo House was a favorite of the senior folk but it was Gildea’s–famous for drinking, dancing and fighting–that the younger set frequented most. Further west was McNulty’s and the White House on 109th Street and 110th Street, respectively. It was also a time I earnestly became interested in girls. At Gildea’s, I remember watching, with envy, the Savoy–a dance I never quite mastered. The 108 St basketball courts? I’ll pass again since numerous details and memories are available elsewhere. Did I mention my book, Basketball Coaching 101 (Amazon–$18)?

 

  1. The Queen

 

How many guys have married the girl of their dreams? Well, I did. We married in 1967 after a 3-year courtship. Mary recently celebrated her 51st anniversary. It was dinner with the entire family at the Limani restaurant in Roslyn (see attached photo).

 

  1. The Fabulous Copacabana

 

And, it was indeed fabulous.  And, it was a time I was courting The Queen.   Name the premier entertainers of that era,  and The Queen and I saw them at the Copa. George Duganis was the maître d’ and a great table was always available. The best shows included Louie Prima, Don Rickles, Joe E. Lewis, Bobby Vinton, etc.

 

Of course, there was more: Belmont Park, Saratoga, Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceway, the Jewish Alps (the Catskills), bar-hopping, etc. Space precludes providing details.

 

I close this out with a comment from one of my readers on the first article: “I’ll always believe that our New York City was quite special. Somehow, I think you’d agree.” Amen!

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

“The great hills of the South Country they stand along the sea; and it’s there, walking in the high woods, that I would wish to be, and the men that were boys when I was a boy walking along with me”  (from The South Country: Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953).

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

AUGUST 1:                On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

SEPTEMBER 1:         On the New York Racing Association III

OCTOBER 1               On the OHI Day III

NOVEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

DECEMBER 1:          On Basketball Coaching 101 II

 

 

 

 


ON GREAT EATS III: GREEK-EDITION

June 1, 2018

JUNE 1, 2018

Memories! Flash back to the World War II years (1941 – 45) that spanned my 7-11 age years. The location was just north of Hell’s Kitchen, presently home to Lincoln Center. One of the key memories during that period of time that has yet to leave me was dining out on Sundays approximately once a month. It was the Greek restaurant, The Acropolis, located on 60th Street, just west of Central Park. I wish it were still around. I can still taste the roast lamb and pastitsio, your author’s two favorite Greek dishes. Enough on the old days.  On to this, the 3rd Edition of Great Eats.

 

First, there was Great Eats I. Then there was Great Eats II: Italian Restaurants (April 2017). Well, what would follow? Naturally, Great Eats III: Greek Restaurants. Most of you know that I was not only born and raised (early years) by Greek immigrant parents in Hell’s Kitchen but also spent my formative years prior to marriage in Astoria, a colony of Greece located in Queens (I have such fond memories of Astoria; I was extremely fortunate to spend 15 years living there). So, if one wants to discuss Greek food, a review of Greek restaurants in Astoria would be absolutely appropriate. Therefore, there will be two parts to this restaurant review for this GREAT EATS article: restaurants in Astoria and North Hempstead/Nassau County.

 

ASTORIA

 

Some have referred to Astoria as a suburb of Athens and for good reason: the restaurants. My favorite is the Neptune Diner, unquestionably the best diner in New York City. But there are many other good restaurants. Here is a sampling of those to consider when in Astoria, Queens.

 

  • Elias’ Corner: A favorite seafood place. Upscale, great seafood, easy parking, and reasonable service. A bit pricey. I wasn’t impressed, but others love the joint.
  • MP Taverna: Very high reviews in the press. Upscale. Excellent food. Fair service. Near impossible to park. My people loved the place, but I’m passing.
  • Neptune Diner: It was my favorite 65 years ago and it’s still my favorite. Expansive menu. Great food. Big portions. Very reasonable prices. Comfortable. No problem parking. The avgolemeno soup and chicken lemonado is the absolute best, anywhere.
  • Stamatis: One of my favorites. Reasonable prices. Excellent food. Loud. Lousy service. Valet parking. I love everything on the menu. You can’t go wrong here.
  • Taverna Kyclades: The seafood is great and is very reasonably priced. Comfortable but tables are jammed together. The problem with the place is that there are ALWAYS long waits and it is near impossible to park.
  • Telly’s: Similar to Stamatis. A bit more expensive. Not for me.

 

You also need to visit one of a host of pastry shops. Baklava is the favorite pastry. But my friends and family prefer the galakobouriko – try it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

NORTH HEMPSTEAD/NASSAU COUNTY

 

Bad news! I’ve yet to eat at a Greek restaurant in our area that compares to those in Astoria. My spies tell me that Limani and Kyma (both in Roslyn) are excellent. Both are for those who enjoy getting ripped off since they are hellaciously expensive. I suggest passing but some have recommended lunch. I found Limani a beautiful restaurant –with lousy service, reasonable, but only with their early-bird specials ($40). In any event, here are my comments on six Greek (not Mediterranean) restaurants (in alphabetical order) in our local area.

 

  • Greek Corner, Carle Place: Very reasonably priced. Some special deals. Comfortable seating. Ample parking. Food is average at best. Pass.
  • Gyrolicious, Jericho: Not for me.
  • Opa Grille, Williston Park: Opa can be loosely interpreted as “hail”. One of the better ones. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. A bit pricey with small portions but the food is above average. One of my family’s favorites, but not for me.
  • Platia Greek Station, Syosset: A relative newcomer. As with most new arrivals, the prices are unreasonable. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. Although the food is above average, I’ll pass.
  • Santorini Greek Restaurant, Merrick: Named after the island. My favorite for this area. I’ve sent numerous friends there and no one has yet to complain. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. The salad (with dinner) is great. My favorite is the half-chicken with the lemon potatoes. My wife loves the seafood house favorite.
  • Yasoo Yeeros, Plainview: Yasoo can be loosely interpreted as “greetings”. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. Price is reasonable and so is the food.

 

There are dozens of others including Grecian Grille (Farmingdale), Greek Place (New Hyde Park), Greek Tavern (Rockville Centre), Mykonos Taverna (Manhasset), Souvlaki Stop (Mineola), etc., etc.

 

The above list would not be complete without the addition of other special/unique places to enjoy Greek food. For diners, my favorite is the Old Westbury Diner (Westbury), owned and operated by the Dimas family; the Apollo Diner in Merrick is also one of the better ones. Greek festivals include St Paul’s (Garden City Park) in early summer and the Port Washington Harborside in early fall. The food was once great but the quality and price have gone awry and in wrong directions. Pass on Harborside because of the parking and traffic control. Of the supermarket foods, I recommend North Shore Farms, Mineola; their pastitsio is the absolute best. Finally, Harry’s Hilltop Deli (in Williston Park) offers some excellent dishes.

 

The best Greek restaurant? It may be in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a community overrun with Greeks and Greek-Americans. Pappas, was the most famous of all restaurants in earlier days. Today, it is Mykonos, a hole-in-the-wall semi-diner, named after an island located off mainland Greece. It is a restaurant that two “Greeks,” along with your author, regularly visit. The other two Greeks? Tex Zoucourides, (I was his best man and our daughter, Molleen’s, Godfather) a retired baseball umpire and teamster rep, and Ernie Haridopolos, a retired superhero (legitimately) from the presently disgraced FBI. Dinner there is one of the highlights during each of my trips to the West Coast of Florida. My recommendations, if you are lucky to stop by, include: (1) the combination platter, (2) lamb chops, and (3) lamb sevetsky.

 

P.S. I also need to comment on three additional stops.

 

  1. I highly recommend two Portuguese restaurants: Heart of Portugal, Mineola, and Lisbon Café, Carle Place. Both got high marks.
  2. Try Mr. Chen’s Chinese Restaurant, Carle Place– a local gem – for excellent food and very reasonable prices … but slow service.
  3. I’ve been at the Swing the Teapot restaurant in Floral Park three times. The food is excellent and very reasonably priced; the service is also excellent. Try to stop by when the group Hell and High Water are entertaining (perhaps next fall). You’ll love them and the place.

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JULY 1:                      On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVI

AUGUST 1:                On the New York Racing Association III

OCTOBER 1:              On “Basketball Coaching 101” II

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

 

 


ON THE 2018 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2018

 

May 1, 2018

It’s amazing what can happen when incompetent people with self-serving interests and a near total lack of what quality education is all about running a School Board. We are all aware that the EWSD is now just another school district, no longer one of the quality premier ones in the country. I’ve already detailed in the past how this came about: Entine’s massive and senseless giveaway programs, the ridiculously incompetent Bergtraum (remember the 4th building?*!?) and self-serving unethical policies of union leader, Israel. And, let’s not forget the pitiful, embarrassing and comical PTO that has been successfully duped by the teachers and their union. The bottom line is that the EWSD is no longer a school district that we can all be proud of.

 

I believe the Board and Superintendent are beginning to get desperate and have pressed the panic button. Why this belief? Last month, the Superintendent sent out a questionnaire requesting input from residents to provide their top academic related priorities for the next 5 years. Is it possible this brain-trust (?) doesn’t know what they should know? Certainly, the residents don’t know. Thus, in the final analysis, the residents could be held to blame for the district’s precipitous drop in its reputation. I taught engineering, served as academic advisor, participated in admission decisions for 50 years…and can honestly say that I don’t know what the priorities should be at this level. (Note: I’d love to find out about their Project Lead the Way, a 4-year engineering program. It might be enlightening, but I doubt it). And, does anyone think that they are really interested in your thoughts? I had two solid recommendations last year that were totally ignored; no one got back to me — No One! Anyone want to try to convince me that they really care about our thoughts/concerns/recommendations? In any event, if they don’t know, and we don’t know, what does that say about the people running the asylum…I mean school.

 

The Board and superintendent Kanas recently claimed that “…continue the tradition of fiscal responsibility…”. Surely, they were joking. I know no one (maybe I know the wrong people) who ever claimed that the EWSD was fiscally responsible. All residents have to come to grips with the fact that the EWSD has never really concerned themselves with the best interests of the students, the parents, the seniors, and all other members of our community.

 

Here again are some general thoughts. The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. In addition, the mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. There is a need for accountability for not only these upstart programs but also for traditional programs. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment. On the positive side, I believe absenteeism has decreased; although there are more cars in the North Side parking lot, and there is less of a reduction of cars on Monday and Friday. Finally, I stand by my earlier statements that at least two members of the Board simply cannot be trusted; the community should not expect them to act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers.

 

The salary of teachers has skyrocketed and the quality of education has plummeted. What would a reasonably intelligent individual conclude from these 2 FACTS? What about the college level? When I went to school, tuition was below $2000 per year, a sum a student could earn over the summer and Christmas recess. I don’t think a student could come close to earning dollars $60K plus during the same period today. What do I conclude? The teachers’ union is in the process of destroying quality education at levels.

 

Remember, it OK to vote NO on the budget on May 15. A NO vote represents a call for better education for our students, fair and responsible treatment of seniors, a call for new leadership for both the Board and the District, and a rejection of the corrupt self-serving policies currently in place.

 

I close by issuing a call to members of our district who are concerned about taxes, seniors, and (most importantly) school children, to consider running for the Board in the future. I hate to put it this way, but almost anybody would be better than what we have now.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVI