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

Advertisement

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 OHI DAY VI

November 1, 2022

November 1, 2022

This one may be primarily for those readers who refer to themselves as “Greek” or “Greek-American.”

Greeks first started to immigrate to the United State4s in large numbers soon after 1900. The main characteristics of these travelers were their high character, belief in God (most are Greek Orthodox), and their industriousness. My parents fit that description. They successfully managed to pass their traits onto their children…and I believe it applies to me. Today, the children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren?) of the immigrants are our leaders in business, industry, education, and government. The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) reported 13 years ago that Greek Americans rank 2nd in per capita wealth (Jews are first) and first in earned doctorates (Jews are 2nd). Truly a success story that all Americans can be proud of.

My parents emigrated from the Peloponnese region of Greece. It is a legendary place, especially from an historical perspective. This is the peninsula where ancient Sparta was located. Paris of Troy escaped here when he and Helen eloped. The Peloponnese is also where some of the most memorable of Greece’s locations can be found, including ancient Olympia, the site of the original Olympic games, and many others.

On to the main theme of this article. It’s been 3 years since I penned my fifth article on the OHI Day. This is a special day in Greek history as it regards Greece’s heroic involvement in WWII.

My ancestors have a long history of battling and suffering with evil elements and opponents. Unfortunately, history repeated itself in 1939. The 83rd anniversary of the resistance of fascist forces by the Greek Armed Forces was recently celebrated several days ago on October 28. The day came and went without a whimper here in the United States. OHI (an emphatic no in Greek!) 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 occupation that included executions, sufferings, famine, and severe inflation; 10% of the population died. The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks.

Here are comments from two of the major players immediately following this war.

Winston Churchill: “The word heroism, I’m afraid, does not reflect in the least the Hellenes’ acts of self-sacrifice that were the defining factors 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.”

Franklin Roosevelt: “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 hurricane filled the American hearts with enthusiasm and won their sympathy.”

I dug this from my OHI files – a 11/21/1940 Newsday article.

“In a smashing drive at dawn, Grecian mountain fighters stormed the Italian defenses outside Koritza, drove the fascists back into the town and took over the new line from which they fired into the town…Despite desperate Italian efforts to stem the Grecian advances by flying in fresh reinforcements, Greek shock troops reportedly smashed through the Italian lines on the southern front, making another wide hole near Metyoni…Military observers here are of the opinion that if the present Greek progress continues, the Albanian port of Santa Quaranti itself will be threatened.”

Another reminder of the special day was a paper submitted by our 13-year-old grandson, 3 years ago, for his English class. It was titled VACHOS 1,5. Vachos is a small essentially deserted town build on a rocky terrain halfway up a mountain with no apparent means of sustenance itself. Vachos is located in Mani – the middle member of the Peloponnese peninsula – surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Ionean Sea on the west, and the Aegean Sea on the east, …Here was a part of Elias’s passage… “We had started our journey in Athens, and we were now in Mani, the region of the Peloponnese my great grandfather emigrated from…Excited and curious, my whole family had all been waiting for this part of the trip. As we drove into the hills, the sea disappeared. A sign ‘VACHOS 1,5’ told us to turn right and drive 1.5 kilometers to Vachos…It amazed me that my ancestors left this town for more opportunities in America, but a basketball hoop had traveled in the opposite direction…Nestled into a steep hills, the house was made of stone, most of it still intact, with a dilapidated clay roof. Trees obscured the view of the house so we walked down the hill to see it from another angle. Long, prickly brush scratched against my legs as I surveyed the place my Spartan family had lived in a century before…We wandered into the town cemetery, where we were greeted by marble stones with engravings, vibrant flowers, and food and drinks placed on graves. I share blood with all of these people…”

I talk to Elias nearly every night. He keeps asking me about revisiting Greece. Unfortunately, that kind of travel is no longer in the works for me. But we can always dream. Now a senior, I can’t wait for a follow-up paper, perhaps as a senior project.

Finally, I want the readers to know that as a first-generation Greek-American, I never forget the value of growing up in a country – The U S of A – whose economy is based on capitalism and is both democratic and free.

NEXT POSTINGS:

DECEMBER 1:          On Potable Water / Desalination

JANUARY 1:             On the Ultimate Quiz VII

FEBRUARY 1:          On Zzzabbuu VI

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com


On Water Concerns

October 2, 2022

October 1, 2022

This one is not for all of the readers since it is a bit technical.

Water is one of the lightest of those molecules that are most abundant on Earth. In addition, being made of only three atoms, H-O-H or H2O, it has a simple configuration, one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms (at an angle of 104.5° to each other). This simple molecule has several exceptional properties that are all the result of the fact that one large oxygen atom forms a bond with two very small hydrogen atoms, the smallest atom that exists. Oxygen is the dominant partner and attracts the hydrogen electrons, which leads to the unusually strong polarity of the water molecule, which has definite positive and negative poles. The strength of the polarity of a molecule is expressed in the relative dielectric constant. Of all the natural substances, water has the largest dielectric constant. This, together with the small size of the water molecule, is the reason why water is the best known so-called “natural” solvent. It has also been referred to as the “universal” solvent because it is capable of dissolving many substances. This property of water arises from the aforementioned dipolar nature of water molecules. Water molecules effectively surround positively charged ions (cations) and negatively charged ions (anions), which serve to prevent them from precipitating as a solid. This means that wherever water goes, either through the ground or through one’s body, it carries with it various solutes such as dissolved minerals, nutrients, organics, and heavy metals.

Interestingly, the aforementioned hydrogen bonds are responsible for an additional physical property of water that is important for the Earth system: water’s extremely high heat capacity and high vaporization and fusion temperatures. Large amounts of heat are needed to melt or vaporize water and are stored in the water molecule. This high capacity for heat storage is important, not just in nature, but it is also used by humans, e.g., to cool machinery. To melt ice, 146 BTU/lb. (340 J/g) are needed and released by condensation or freezing, respectively. (It is this significant difference in energy level during a phase change that provides crystallization with an advantage over evaporation for desalination processes, a topic to be discussed in a later article.)

The story is a little different here at home in the USA. The USEPA (EPA), in partnership with state and local governments, is responsible for improving and maintaining water quality. These efforts are centered around one theme: maintaining the quality of drinking water. This is addressed by monitoring and treating drinking water prior to consumption and by minimizing the contamination of surface waters and protecting against contamination of ground water needed for human consumption.

The most severe and acute public health effects from contaminated drinking water, such as cholera and typhoid, have been eliminated in America. However, some less acute and immediate hazards remain in the nation’s tap water. These hazards are associated with a number of specific contaminants in drinking water. Contaminants of special concern to the EPA are lead, radionuclides, microbiological contaminants, and disinfection byproducts. These are detailed below.

The primary source of lead in drinking water is corrosion of plumbing materials, such as lead service lines and lead solders, in water distribution systems, and in houses and larger buildings. Virtually all public water systems serve households with lead solders of varying ages; and most faucets are made of materials that can contribute some lead to drinking water.

Radionuclides are radioactive isotopes that emit radiation as they decay. The most significant radionuclides in drinking water are radium, uranium, and radon, all of which occur naturally in nature. While radium and uranium enter the body by ingestion, radon is usually inhaled after being released into the air during showers, baths, and other activities such as washing clothes or dishes. Radionuclides in drinking water occur primarily in those systems that use ground water. Naturally occurring radionuclides seldom are found in surface waters (such as rivers, lakes, and streams). Water contains also many microbes – bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Although some organisms are harmless, others can cause disease. Contamination continues to be a national concern because contaminated drinking water systems can rapidly spread disease.

Half of all Americans and 95 percent of rural Americans use ground water for drinking water This includes residents of Long Island; in effect, this includes the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn plus the counties of Nassau and Suffolk. Pollutants were found in drinking water through testing water in different locations at different times.  Several public water supplies using ground water exceeded EPA’s drinking water standards for inorganic substances (fluorides and nitrates). Major problems were reported from toxic organics in some wells in almost all states east of the Mississippi River. Trichloroethylene, a suspected carcinogen, was the most frequent contaminant found. The .EPA’s Ground Water .Supply Survey showed that 20 percent of all public water supply wells (29 percent in urban areas) had detectable levels of at least one volatile organic. Furthermore, at least thirteen organic chemicals that are confirmed animal or human carcinogens have been detected in drinking water wells.

The reader should also note that water is the original renewable resource. Although the total amount of water on the surface of the Earth remains fairly constant over time, individual water molecules carry with them a rich history. The water molecules contained in the fruit one ate yesterday may have fallen as rain last year in a distant place or could have been used decades, centuries, or even millennia ago by one’s ancestors.

Water is always in motion, and the hydrologic cycle describes this movement from place to place. The vast majority of solar energy heats water at the surface of the ocean, and some of it evaporates to form water vapor. Air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere along with water transpired from plants and evaporated from the soil. The cooler temperatures in the atmosphere cause the vapor to condense into clouds. Clouds move around the world until the moisture capacity of the cloud is exceeded, and the water falls as precipitation. Most precipitation in warm climates falls back into the oceans or onto land where the water flows over the ground as surface runoff. Runoff can enter rivers and streams, which transport the water to the oceans, accumulate and be stored as freshwater in lakes, or soak into the ground as infiltration. Some of this water may infiltrate deep into the ground and replenish aquifers which store huge amounts of freshwater for long periods of time. In cold climates, precipitation falls as snow and can accumulate as ice caps and glaciers which can store water for thousands of years. Throughout this cycle, water picks up contaminants originating from both naturally occurring and anthropogenic sources. Depending upon the type and amount of contaminant present, water present in rivers, lakes, and streams or beneath the ground may become unsafe for use.

The reality is that our nation really does not have a water problem at this time. However, the world needs to prepare for an insufficient and potentially depleted water supply. In terms of conservation, one method of reducing a building’s water consumption is through the use of low volume toilets. The standard toilet uses as much as 5 gallons of water per flush, whereas some water-saving models use as little as 2 quarts. This can lead to substantial water savings, especially in public and commercial buildings. Another major source of water consumption is the irrigation of landscaped areas. This consumption may be reduced through the careful selection of landscape materials. Although conservation is here for the present, desalination (a topic to be addressed two months from now), disinfection, and nanoparticle-related treatment appear to be the major growth areas for the future. In any event, water will achieve a greater significance in the coming years and probably impact society in ways not presently imagined.

I close with a quote from my memoirs. “Water has always fascinated me; where it comes from, how we use it, … etc. I recently convinced myself that there is a viscous water cycle on planet Earth. What an unbelievable resource that – get this – is automatically recycled. It’s a shame nature didn’t bother to do the same with our other resources.”

Visit the author at:

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

NEXT POSTINGS

NOVEMBER 1:         On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On My Two Patents

JANUARY 1:             On the Ultimate Quiz V

 ——————————————————————————————————————–


ON INFLATION

September 1, 2022

September 1, 2022

Inflation! You have been hearing a lot about it since President Biden took office. Here is my take on this controversial issue.

Let’s start with what Webster has to say on inflation: “increase in the amount of money in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices.” The opposite is deflation, which is defined as “a lessening of the amount of money in circulation resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden rise in its value and fall in prices.” Thus, inflation and deflation are terms used to describe a decline or an increase, respectively, in the value of money and in relation to the goods and services it will buy.

Since inflation is the continuous rise in prices in goods and services, these price increases erode the purchasing power of money and other financial assets with fixed values, creating serious economic concerns. Repeated price increases were historically unique and often directly linked to wars, poor harvests, political upheavals, etc.

Effects? Inflation initially increases  business profits, as wages and other costs lag behind price increases, leading to more capital investment and payments of dividends and interest. Despite this temporary gain, however, inflation eventually disrupts normal economic activities, particularly if the pace fluctuates. Interest rates typically include the anticipated pace of inflation that increases business costs, discourages consumer spending, and depresses the value of stocks and bonds Higher mortgage interest rates and rapidly escalating prices for homes discourage housing construction. As noted above, inflation also erodes the real purchasing power of current incomes and accumulated financial assets, resulting in reduced consumption, particularly if consumers are unwilling to draw on their savings and increase personal debts. Business investment suffers as overall economic activity declines, and profits are restricted as employees will demand immediate relief through some form of automatic cost-of-living escalator clauses. It is fair to say that inflation is a major element in the prevailing pattern of booms and recessions that cause unwanted price and employment distortions and widespread economic uncertainty.

Impact? The impact of inflation on individuals depends on many variables. People with relatively fixed incomes, particularly those in the low-income groups, suffer during accelerating inflation, while those with flexible bargaining power may keep pace with or even benefit from inflation. Those dependent on assets with fixed nominal values, such as savings accounts and pensions, suffer erosion of real wealth. Borrowers usually benefit while lenders suffer, because all forms of loans are paid with money that loses purchasing power over time and interest rates tend to lag behind the average rate of price increases.

Stabilization measures? I have no answer since I am not an economist. However, it seems to me that any serious anti-inflation effort will be difficult.

I close with these thoughts:

  1. Politicians like to spend money because it gets them votes and power. They spend more than what is raised by taxes so they have to seek money elsewhere. They turn to printing money and / or borrowing money. Money is borrowed from government trust funds such as Social Security and Medicare and from the open market via Treasury Bonds. This assumes that the government can always borrow money without consequences. It also assumes that interest payments can also be borrowed. Elected officials know they must be right because this scheme has worked out pretty well since 1964 with the start of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. But now,  it appears that a day of reckoning may be fast approaching.
  2. The question of money always arises in inflation discussions. A nation can only create money of value when there are businesses creating useful goods at a profit. With these conditions, it is then a function of government to print money to facilitate commerce. As businesses prosper and trade increases, then governments, of necessity, print more money, However, if government prints money faster than the increase in business activity, then excess money will begin to chase the supply of goods available and prices will rise. Enter inflation.
  3. Our nation is blessed with an economic system which is very productive and efficient. It is able to take materials of low cost and make them into very valuable products. (The productivity of workers today is orders of magnitude higher than in those days of handcrafting.) As a result, workers are paid salaries that allow them to save money. These savings are a result of goods that have been made. If businesses borrow savings, it is usually to create more production and more money of value, and that is good. However, government spending rarely creates useful goods at a profit which would result in new money creation. In fact, the opposite happens. Most government spending destroys the value of money since government spending can result in the earlier statement of too much money chasing after a limited supply of goods. Once again, enter inflation.
  4. Treasury debt now exceeds 30 billion dollars and is still rising rapidly. Ouch!!

Note: Thanks are due to fellow Cooperite, colleague and friend Dick Graven for providing some of his thoughts on this controversial topic.

NEXT POSTINGS

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

NOVEMBER 1:         The OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On My Two Patents

 


On The Constitution

August 1, 2022

August 1, 2022

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The above quote is the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. Every American, particularly those who vote, should read it (at least once). It is the basic instrument of our government and the law of the land.

In terms of history, the Constitution was drafted by/at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 and ratified by 2/3 of the states (as provided in the Constitution and became effective in 1789). The Constitution provided for a national government of three independent branches: executive, judicial, and legislature. One of the conflicts that arose at that time concerned the makeup of the legislature. The dispute was resolved by the so-called Great Compromise, establishing the present arrangement whereby the states are equally represented in the Senate while the House of Representatives is represented in proportion to their populations.

The Constitution was signed by 39 delegates (a great trivia question). I recognized only four signatures: Ben Franklin (PA), Alexander Hamilton (NY), James Madison (VA), and George Washington (VA). The ratification process brought on intense debate and conflict. This was resolved when it was agreed to amend the Constitution with the inclusion of a Bill of Rights. A total of 42 amendments were proposed but were subsequently reduced to 12. Two (2) failed ratification and the remaining became the first 10 amendments, today referred to as the aforementioned Bill of Rights. Unquestionably, these were major and significant additions to prevent government abridgement and to insure the fundamental rights of individuals.

Here is what I would consider some of the key amendments. Read #10 carefully.

Amendment 2:

“…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Amendment 10:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

Amendment 13 (1865):

“Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

Amendment 14 (1968):

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State      wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States …”

Amendment 15 (1870):

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Amendment 16 (1913):

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived …” Ouch!!

Amendment 18 (1919):

“…the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States…for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

Amendment 19 (1920):

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Amendment 21 (1933):

“The 18th article of the amendment to the Constitution is hereby repealed.”

Amendment 26 (1971):

“The right of citizens of the United States who are 18 years of age or older to vote shall not be denied or abridged…”

Exit the objectivity of the above material. Enter my take on the Constitution. I believe the intent of the framers was to protect the rights of the people, and not the government and/or elected officials. Unfortunately, most officials and some of the Justices have chosen to ignore the intent and instead reinterpret many of the laws of the land. The framers obviously were concerned that an expanded government would encroach upon the rights of individuals. An objective review of the Constitution clearly indicates their concern that government expansion would adversely affect the rights of individuals.

How lucky we are to be Americans. As I noted at the top, everyone should take the time to read our Constitution. It is a brilliant document that has fortunately and understandably withstood the test of time.

Note:   I have decided to discontinue the closeout note for these articles on offensive or defensive basketball suggestions since work on the second edition of “BASKETBALL Coaching 101” is now in full swing.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

NOVEMBER 1:         The OHI Day V

 ——————————————————————————————————————–


ON GREAT EATS V: PASTRAMI

July 1, 2022

July 1, 2022

Over seven years ago (2015), I wrote my first article concerned with GREAT EATS. Since then the newsletter has addressed food topics concerned with diners, steakhouses, Greek restaurants, and Italian restaurants, and there has been some feedback on each.

After much deliberation, it was decided to follow-up these articles with one concerned with pastrami sandwiches. Why pastrami? Because it is part of the New York city landscape. There are only three recommendations to follow since any contact with restaurants / delis have been limited. In any event, here goes.

  1. BEN’S. Not my favorite but Mary loves going there. Their pastrami sandwiches have gotten smaller and the pastrami tougher and fattier. Of course, order your sandwich on rye. Ask for extra sour pickles, two additional slices of rye bread. The french fries are good, but don’t taste well the next day. The coleslaw that comes with the sandwich is fair, the mustard excellent, and the Russian dressing is excellent. We normally order (and split) the pea soup which is good (I think their soups are devoid of salt). I try to go with specials or on our birthdays.
  2. LIDO KOSHER DELI. Similar to Ben’s but the sandwiches a little bigger. Their hotdogs and knishes are excellent. One of our favorites when we visit Long Beach. The service is also similar to Ben’s. No specials here which detracts. It’s rumored that it smokes, cures, and steams their pastrami at the location.
  3. SUPERMARKET PASTRAMI. I regularly purchase pastrami from the North Shore Supermarket in Mineola but any supermarket would do. I usually heat it up in the toaster oven and then prepare a sandwich. The pastrami is leaner, less tough, and, of course, the price is right (the price of a deli pastrami sandwich usually ranges from $12-$15): and, there is no 20 plus percent tip. I often do the same thing with corned beef. The meat lasts for nearly two weeks. This is my favorite approach to pastrami sandwiches.

There are a host of deli locations in not only Queens and Brooklyn but also Nassau County. I suggest trying some to find out for yourself. The three that come with some positive recommendations include Pastrami Plus, Pastrami and Friends, and Pastrami King. Happy hunting.

I return next year with GREAT EATS VI.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

AUGUST 1:                On the Constitution

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Coaches should stress the importance of helping each other on defense at all times.
  2. Defensive drills should include one-on-one practices against various types of offensive players.
  3. Practice what to do if the offense is planning to miss a foul shot at the end of a game.

ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE, AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXXVI

June 1, 2022

June 1, 2022

Back to another one of our four favorites…here are 20 comments that may (or may not) tickle your fancy.

  • The recent baseball strike can best be described by one word: greed. Both parties were guilty but the players more so.
  • My virology book is finally in publication, due out in late November. Hopefully, this one will sell.
  • I may go forward with a book on hydrogen energy – a hot topic.
  • The recent March Madness tournament was but another reminder on the level of NCAA corruption.
  • I’ve now lost almost all of the players of my basketball team of the 1955-65 era. Unfortunately, death continues to pay us a visit.
  • Can the Mets finally do it??? Let’s go Mets!
  • It was 80 years ago at this time that 76,000 American were subjected to the 60-mile death march by the Japanese invaders in the Philippines.
  • COVID-19 and the Ukrainian war are beginning to take a toll on my mental state.
  • I keep asking colleagues, friends, foes, relatives, etc., about the $20 they owe me…to no avail.
  • My files continue to mount. I’m going to have to get rid of them one of these days.
  • I really believe potable water is the major problem facing society. Unfortunately, my book and two patents on water have yet to be favorably received. I’ve modestly titled one of the patents, “The THEOGEO Process.”
  • I often think about the millions of people our nation has saved.
  • I continue to feel that no group of people have impacted civilization more than the Greeks (my forefathers).
  • I’m making fewer and fewer trips to Astoria, Queens (my earlier abode) which is home to some of the best Greek restaurants.
  • My earlier years in Hell’s Kitchen during the Great Depression is slowly becoming a fleeting memory.
  • Recently returned from Florida after a one-week vacation (our 48th) at the beautiful Sandcastle Resort in Sarasota, Florida.
  • Taking a beating in the stock market – invested in Draftking’s (ugh!). Thankfully, I’ve only a few thousand invested.
  • Finished reading the 2020 book “The Henna Artist” by Alka Josi. This is a must read for those from India, particularly women.
  • I’m unfortunately looking forward to the visit to Saratoga Springs for the races for the 77th (straight) year this August.
  • Both the winters and summers seem milder than what it was nearly a century ago.

I return early next year with another “rambling” article.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats V: Pastrami

AUGUST 1:                On the Constitution

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Try to avoid inbounding the ball in the corner if the opposing team is pressing.
  2. Try to avoid dribbling or passing toward one of the forecourt corners when the opposing team is pressing.
  3. Players should practice their offensive skills whenever and wherever possible.

ON ZZZABUU VI

May 1, 2022

May 1, 2022

You were reintroduced to Zzzabuu one year ago. He had arrived earlier in 2003 from the planet Zzokki in a faraway galaxy, having been dispatched to Earth on a fact-finding trip involving politicians in the United States. More recently, Zzzabuu had been selected once again for a special assignment by The Superiors in 2021 to determine details (both pros and cons) of gambling investment opportunities on Planet Earth. As per instructions from the Superiors, Zzzabuu met with a retired, often confused, outspoken, nefarious chemical engineering professor (who shall remain nameless) in order to obtain background material and guidance prior to preparing his report on this assignment.

As promised, this third of five articles on gambling is concerned with casino gambling. This piece is particularly appropriate since New York State is now expanding casino gambling. In any event, here is my take on this betting activity.

Let’s proceed directly to the bottom line. For me, there are four modes of gambling in casinos: slots, roulette, dice, and blackjack. Before discussing each of these games, I should note two factors: all are games of chance (unlike pari-mutuel wagering – see August 1, 2021 article) and thus all chances of winning are a function of the takeout. Remember, the takeout represents the amount of money returned to the bettor after the result of the bet has been determined, e.g., with a 5% takeout, the casino returns 95% to the bettor and retains 5% as profit. In any event, here is the lowdown on each of the 4 above games of chance.

SLOTS. Depending on the casino, the takeout here ranges from 1-10% with 3-4% a reasonable norm. Although it is the most popular game, I rarely – if ever – play the slots. Why? The takeout is simply too high. The game is easy to play: you simply press a button after inserting your money and wait for the results, hoping for a lot of noise.

ROULETTE. Once the game of royalty, the takeout here is approximately 3.5%. This one is also not for me. The game is easy to play: you put money on red or black and a number ranging from 1 to 35. The roulette wheel is spun and you hope for the circling ball to fall in the right slot.

DICE: My game. Some refer to it as craps. I just love playing dice; it is all I play when I am in a casino. The takeout here can be as low as 0.5%; this effectively means you have close to a 50-50 chance of winning. Here is how I recommend you play. Put your money on PASS and roll the dice. If a 7 or 11 comes up on the first roll, you win and the game ends. If a 2, 3, or 12 comes up on the first roll, you lose and the game ends. If a 2, 3, 7, 11, or 12 doesn’t come up on the first roll, then 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 must come up, and the game continues. Whichever number amongst these six numbers come up on the first roll becomes “your number.” You then continue to roll the dice until either a seven (you lose) or your number (you win) comes up. The game then ends. However, after the first roll, you are provided the option to double your bet on “your number.” You should definitely avail yourself of this opportunity since the takeout on this latter bet is 0%. For example, if you roll a 4 or 10, or 5 or 9, or 6 or 8 on the first roll, the odds of winning become 2 to 1, 3 to 2, and 6 to 5, respectively. That’s it. Do not get involved with any of the other available bets on the dice table.

BLACKJACK. Often referred to as 21. Not my favorite; but it is the game of most of my gambling degenerate friends. The takeout is close to 0%! Many years ago, a group of MIT students started winning at the casinos by “counting.” A book describing their approach makes interesting reading but essentially involves counting cards. In the game, the dealer gets two cards (with one face-up) and the bettor gets two cards. You may request additional cards in an attempt to get as close to 21 as possible, BUT not go over 21. Whoever goes over 21 first loses. If no one goes over, the winner is the player closest to 21. Counting? If a lot of high cards come out during the game, the bettor is at a disadvantage the next game. If a lot of low cards come out, the bettor has the advantage and should increase the bet the next game. How do you count? Here is a simple method. I suggest assigning a -1 to discarded cards that are 2, 3, 4, or 5, and +1 to those that are 10, J, Q, or K. If your total is in the negative regime, increase the bet the next game.

I leave you with this: A day at a casino is a great day out, particularly for seniors. Follow my suggestions and you almost certainly will not get hurt. You want more? Go to the library and pick up a book on casino gambling or simply go on the Internet.

Contact me if you have any questions. Once again, just remember that LOTTO has a 50% takeout, and is therefore an ideal game for those poor in arithmetic.

I return later this year when Zzzabuu will report on sports betting.

P.S. For those readers residing in East Williston, remember to vote NO on the school budget this month.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

JUNE 1:                      Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXXI

JULY 1:                      On Great Eats V: Pastrami

AUGUST 1:                On the Constitution

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Aging

OCTOBER 1:             On Water

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice strategies to employ for offense(s) near the end of a game.
  2. Practice strategies to employ when attempting to gain an offensive rebound following a foul shot.
  3. Drive to basket at the end of game if trailing; in effect, help the official blow his whistle.

ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ

April 1, 2022

April 1, 2022

As indicated in the past, this has become one of my favorites. You are requested to provide the correct answer to the following 20 questions. Credit 5 points for each correct answer. A grade of 85 indicates that you are brilliant. Here we go once again with several of the questions related to baseball and yours truly.

  1. True or false: Queens was established in 1863.
  2. Who published his theory of relativity in 1915?
  3. Who authored “A pound of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?
  4. Who was the star of the movie “The Maltese Falcon”?
  5. What Baseball Hall of Famer recently had a street in Astoria named after him?
  6. Jingle Bells was the first holiday carol to be broadcast from what unique location in 1965?
  7. What is the currency of Greece?
  8. Who is the greatest baseball player of all time?
  9. What was the final score of Don Larson’s perfect World Series no-hitter?
  10. The age of the sun is approximately how many years?
  11. Project Independence is concerned with what county?
  12. What singing great from Astoria belted out “there’s no business like show business…”?
  13. What Baseball Hall of Famer was the only pitcher to beat Walter Johnson four times?
  14. Who was the first batter to bat at Yankee Stadium in 1923?
  15. What songwriter from Astoria wrote the tune Mary?
  16. What group gave their last full concert at Candlestick Park on 8/29/66?
  17. Who recently received a potable water patent that generates water from the flue gas produced following natural gas combustion?
  18. What web-based  word game was recently sold to the New York Times?
  19. Name the author of a soon-to-be published book titled “Virology for Engineers and Applied Scientists”?
  20. Your favorite author was recently essentially barred by an administrator from attending basketball games at what school?

ANSWERS:

  1. It’s hard to believe but it is true.
  2. Albert Einstein. Interestingly, he did not receive his one and only Nobel Prize for this theory.
  3. Benjamin Franklin.
  4. Bogie.
  5. Edward “Whitey” Ford.
  6. A tough one here: Space.
  7. It is not the drachma; the correct answer is the euro.
  8. Full credit here. I would guess Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Mariano Rivera should get the most consideration.
  9. 2-0.
  10. 4.5 billion years.
  11. Nassau County.
  12. Ethel Merman.
  13. Babe Ruth.
  14. A tough one: Whitey “Witt” Witkowski.
  15. George M. Cohen. Was he referring to my wife?
  16. The Beatles.
  17. You all should know this. It’s none other than your favorite author.
  18. Wordle, developed by Josh Wardle.
  19. Once again, your favorite author.
  20. Hofstra University.

I’ll return with another quiz late in the year.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

MAY 1:          On Hofstra’s 2021-22 Basketball Season (to be replaced)

JUNE 1:          On ZZZabuu VI

JULY 1:          On Great Eats V

——————————————————————————————————————–

Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Practice one-on-one basketball under the basket.
  2. Practice one-on-one basketball from beyond or just inside the 3-point line.
  3. Practice various strategies for inbounding the basketball at various locations on the court and when one is free to move along the end-line.

ON ONE LINERS: BIDEN’S ADMINISTRATION

March 1, 2022

March 1, 2022

It’s been over a year since an article of a political nature. Here are 30 one (or occasionally two) liners drawn from my Biden file. For some of you: please don’t get upset – these are only my opinions.

A comment on history repeating itself before providing my notes. In 1939, it was Hitler and Chamberlain on Poland with Churchill waiting in the wings. Today, its Putin and Biden on Ukraine with Trump waiting in the wings. Perhaps Putin and Biden should hold hands and visit WWII cemeteries in Europe.

  1. Two impeachments and now a senate trial on the events of January 6, 2021; these have proven to be nothing but bad theater in a useless attempt once again to defame and insult President Trump.
  2. Polls clearly indicate that Biden continues to reject the desires of the voters and has failed miserably on near all of his actions.
  3. Our Constitution might be somewhat flawed but it is still the most ideal way to govern a complex entity such as our country.
  4. The democratic party is infested with career bureaucrats who are cunning and corrupt lawyers / politicians.
  5. The current immigration policy of the democrats will get them voters, which will get them the desired vote, which will get them money and power. In the meantime, they are violating federal law, endangering lives (health and crime), and negatively impacting our economy.
  6. Trump has many faults, but he is devoted to our nation and to its defense; his original mission remains unfulfilled.
  7. The enemy continues to rant about Trump’s lies. I’ve listened to all his speeches and am still trying to figure out what the lies are.
  8. Trump delivered on virtually all his promises prior to his election – particularly providing 3 vaccines and 2 antibodies. And, what about historic peace in the Middle East, Korea, China, etc.
  9. I am really mad at our elected officials. Why aren’t they demanding Biden sever all relations with Russia and move back to Trump’s state of energy independence? Don’t they understand that there is a war and people are dying?!
  10. Here is what we are currently experiencing under the Biden Administration: shootings, murders, vandalism, riots, silencing opposition, defunding police, open borders, pacifying our enemies, inflation, etc. Add to these attempts to abolish the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, attempting statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., terminate the filibuster, etc.; perhaps ever worse is their current education policy of defaming our country and also really dividing our country. How about the recent Durham revelations that Trump was indeed spied on.
  11. Obama has blood on his hands with what transpired with ISIS. Now Biden has blood on his hands because of Ukraine.
  12. Biden and his administration claim that government spending does not cost the taxpayer. Is it creative mathematics or a complete fraud?
  13. The fact that 38% of the electorate think that Biden is doing a good job is a tribute to how dumb, indifferent, and misinformed they are.
  14. Biden has unquestionably emboldened our enemies: Taiwan and Ukraine are prime examples.
  15. What the hell is Biden doing? Surrendered Afghanistan, failed our citizens and allies remaining there, and left military equipment for our enemies (that could now be used in the Ukraine). Can anyone be that dumb?
  16. Biden appears more concerned on attacking individuals such as your favorite author than in protecting us from our enemies; I’m also tired of him, his cohorts, and the news media calling me a racist, un-American, a Nazi, a hater, etc.
  17. FOX News, better than anyone, has proven that media bias exists with their videotapes of CNN, CNBC, etc.
  18. The New York Times news reporting is disgusting; just read their headlines every day.
  19. Biden and his family are probably the most corrupt family in American history; the recent news about Pelosi puts her in second place. Virtually every elected official in Washington becomes a multi-millionaire; thank you Donald for opening my eyes to this fact.
  20. Biden’s entire cabinet is made up of career bureaucrats; none have ever worked for a living. And, no surprise, there are no republicans. How’s this for his promise to put forth a competent and diverse cabinet.
  21. Pelosi labeled Biden as “just perfect.” Really?? Wow!! She obviously is lying and she must know it.
  22. Biden called Trump’s COVID testing a travesty, then promised free testing without an ability to provide testing. Another failure.
  23. Perhaps we should pray for Biden because next comes Harris (what a disaster) and Pelosi (is there a more evil person?).
  24. Any chance Pelosi will provide her tax returns given what was recently made public? And what about Hunter Biden’s returns?
  25. The corrupt media is the greatest concern. Many citizens are either misinformed or not informed. Prior to Biden’s election, 30% of democratic voters did not know of Hunter’s activities and 25% of those said they would not have voted for Biden if they knew.
  26. Our nation definitely needs Trump. Hopefully, he will pick a woman for a running mate to pick up some of his haters (perhaps it would be best if he didn’t run with the raw hatred some have for him).
  27. This COVID-19 pandemic came about primarily because of the incompetence and inaction of both the CDC and WHO. Fauci the Fraud, who heads up the CDC’s 50-billion-dollar program, has caused the death of many Americans.
  28. Trump was transparent from the day he entered the race, always responding to a hostile media… and, on a daily basis. Biden? He’s been AWOL since Day 1 and refuses to answer questions.
  29. Regarding January 6, nearly 1,000 were arrested but only a handful were guilty of wrong doing. This demonstration was peaceful compared to some earlier fanatical democratic demonstrations.
  30. Finally, and thankfully, it appears most (but not all) of our elected Republicans have united.

I really believe that Trump looked after those – such as your author – who have no voice. But we may still survive. When will I return with another one of these? Who knows?

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

APRIL 1:        On the Ultimate Quiz VI (replacing Hofstra’s season)

MAY 1:          On the EWSD School Tax Vote

JUNE 1:          On ZZZabuu VI

——————————————————————————————————————–

Here are this month’s three defensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. Players should not view defense as a time to rest and relax. Practice time on defense should be as important as time on offense.
  2. If an opposing team’s offense is run by their playmaker, the defense should attempt to prevent him from getting the ball.
  3. Defensive drills should include double and perhaps triple-teaming an offensive player.

THE BOYS OF KILLEEN’S

February 1, 2022

February 1, 2022

            “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.”

The South Country

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a small bar named Killeen’s Tavern located on a side street in Astoria, Queens. The tavern’s history dates back to about 1934 (my 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 (required by law) 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.

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.  And then there was dapper George Connelly – the Sunday bartender of 30 years who many believe James Cagney copied his mannerisms from.

Who were the other inhabitants of the Tavern? Here are some of their names: Scratch, Buddy, Gaylord (your 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, The Hawk, Marty Cool, The Phantom, The Bant, The Weedier, Big Fitz, Red, Joey Hot Dog, Sparksy, Dixie, Jake the Weightlifter (all 95 lbs. of him), Bugsy, Louie the Lob, the Dolly Sisters, Filthy Phil, Tony Guido, etc.

Among these notables was a younger contingent known as the Boys of Killeen’s. They 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 was 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.

It has been written that most Long Islanders are displaced New Yorkers. For certain, many in the reading audience have their roots in Queens and Brooklyn, if not Manhattan and the Bronx. The displacement process occurred at different times for different individuals and groups, but for some, despite the emigration to Long Island, the ties of friendship and companionship remain as strong today as it did nearly a century ago.

Rhetorically speaking, it seems like it happened eons ago. But in real time, it all started nearly 70 years ago. There was a group of guys that had just exited their teenage years and were brought together by a common love: basketball. They were headquartered in Astoria, Queens. What follows is a tale of their pilgrimage through time over the last half century plus.

In the late part of 1954, a group of youngsters 17, 18 and 19 years of age decided to rent the empty storage room next to Killeen’s. The Phantom, later Special FBI Agent Ernie Haridopolos, was the instigator for the club and first dubbed it the Parkside Nationals. The room was 20 ft X 15 ft and contained a Coke machine, a 7-ft bar, one card table, a fumigated sofa and six chairs. The bathroom (ugh!) was shared with the adjacent deli. Things soon improved as up went sheetrock, a tile floor, and a phonograph. This was followed with a monthly $50 split-even raffle to pay the $35 rent and for parties (approximately twice a month).

During the early 1950’s, and prior to the massive TV sports agenda available today, Sunnyside Gardens (located of course in Sunnyside, Queens) annually hosted an Open Basketball Tournament that featured all the great amateur stars of that era. The young teenagers who patronized Killeen’s Tavern, located on 24th Street off Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria regularly paid the one-dollar admission fee to see their basketball heroes perform. And then, as if blessed by a magic wand, these same youngsters became basketball stars in their own right.

In late Spring of 1955, they came to the conclusion that “hell, we can play with these guys.” And were they ever so right. They enlisted the help of one of their own with limited basketball ability, (yours truly) with directions to field a team for the upcoming summer tournaments. I was baptized coach and the Killeen’s Tavern dynasty was set in motion. I got Pat Killeen, owner of Killeen’s Tavern, to sponsor the team and made the necessary arrangements to enter the team in the various tournaments. The Killeen’s team was officially born.

All the pieces were put into place when the recruiting process started that would effectively mold the team into a winner over the next dozen years. The talent was primarily gathered locally from Astoria that included Marty Collins (Elon), Steve Afendis (High Point), Joe Montana and John Caso (St. John’s), Bo Erias (Niagara and later Minneapolis Lakers), Don Ryan (Atlantic Christian), Richie Bennett (Bryant High School), Tom Rice (School of Hard Knocks), and Wally DiMasi (Providence). Key amongst this group was Danny Doyle (Belmont Abbey and later the Detroit Pistons). The first year also saw additions to the local mix that included Dennis Costigan (Hofstra), Ivan Kovacs (St. John’s), York Larese (North Carolina), Timmy Shea and George Blaney (Holy Cross), Nick Gaetani(Brooklyn College), Kevin Loughery (St. Johns), Tom Fitzmaurice (St. Bonaventure), Brendan Malone(former Knick assistant coach), Al Filardi (NYU), and the Quarto brothers —Frank (Manhattan College) and Vinnie (Adelphi). All, at one time or other, for over a ten-year period, wore the $2.00 blue T-shirt and $1.50 white shorts that marked them as The Boys of Killeen’s.

Summers came and went, but from 1955 to 1965, summers in New York featured tough basketball. All the Killeen’s Boys came home from school to the Big Apple to sharpen their game on the blacktop. Legendary tales of summer activities about Rockaway Beaches 108th Street Basketball courts – sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the McGuire and Fitzgerald bars to the north – have remained some of this area’s proud historical moments in time. Later came graduation, and winter brought on the Star Journal, Long Island Press, CYO and YMCA leagues, plus the Haverstraw, New City, Jersey City, and the famous Don Bosco Tournaments. It was truly an exciting era. The Boys of Killeen’s were an integral part of that era. The one player who will always be remembered is the aforementioned Danny Doyle. He was a Killeen’s star for many reasons, but Doyle may have said it best with, “I probably was the most heralded player on the team, but was probably the third or fourth highest scorer. In a very real sense, this was a team without a star, and yet every player on the team was a star.”

Over the years, The Boys convened annually in January at my house. When this ritual started over 40 years ago, there was a robust group of over 30 attendees. A few more were added along the way, but the relentless passage of time has taken its toll on The Boys. There was a time when attendance was viewed as mandatory, even if one were sick or located elsewhere. However, the number of attendees reached 10 two years ago and was decreasing at an  exponential rate. Enter Covid-19 and, unfortunately, the ritual ended as The Boys now have but a handful of curtain calls remaining.

I still keep in close contact with the remaining members of The Boys. A problem with The Boys is that a large number have unfortunately left us. Memories of youth, earlier love, Killeens Tavern, the basketball team, etc., now find The Boys often attempting to relive what Hilaire Belloc (in the preamble) was referring to with “it’s there . . . that I would wish to be, and the men that were boys when I was a boy walking along with me.” No matter; it was a great ride for all of us as the life and times of The Boys prepare to ride off into the sunset.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Random, Pristine Thoughts XXVI

APRIL 1:                    On Hofstra’s 2021-22 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                      On the EWSD Town Tax Vote

 ——————————————————————————————————————–

Here are this month’s three offensive suggestions from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

  1. An assistant (coach) who specializes in developing offenses and / or offensive strategies would help.
  2. Practice dribbling with both hands. In effect, the player should be just as capable driving or dribbling left as well as right.
  3. Practice taking layups when dribbling toward the basket at top speed.