ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ III

October 1, 2020

October 1, 2020

This has become one of my favorites. You know the routine – 5 points for each correct answer. A grade of 90 indicates that you are brilliant; anything below 60 is, well…Answers appear at the end.

  1. What famous movie actor said in Rooster Cogburn: “Well I’ll be damned if she didn’t get the last word in again.”
  2. Who keeps advocating that one should never play zone defenses in basketball?
  3. How long ago did the BIG BANG occur?
  4. Who never put in an honest day’s work in their life?
  5. What famous movie actor said in The Maltese Falcon: “It’s the thing that dreams are made of”?
  6. True or false: The moon is approximately 240,000 miles from our plant.
  7. What metropolitan major league baseball player won the Cy Young award two years in a row (and may win it this year)?
  8. Name the capital of either North or South Dakota
  9. Who is the greatest heavyweight champion of them all?
  10. Name the capital of Iceland.
  11. What famous comedian actor repeatedly used the phrase: “And away we go”?
  12. What two US presidents continue to attempt to rewrite history?
  13. Who is the man of the 20th century? Hint: He’s a British diplomat.
  14. True or False: The temperature in the center of the sun is approximately 29MM°
  15. Who is the toughest Greek who ever lived?
  16. Name the top university in the U.S.
  17. Who is the greatest US president?
  18. What happened in the interim following the BIG BANG?
  19. What famous president said: “Take down this wall”?
  20. What famous (and beautiful) actress said in Casablanca: “Play it again, Sam”?
  21. What corrupt organization recently cancelled racing at Belmont Park from 9/2 to 9/18?

That’s it? Congratulations, if you did well… If not, better luck next time with IV.

ANSWERS:

  1. John Wayne
  2. Well, yours truly, of course
  3. Approximately 13 billion years ago
  4. Career bureaucrats, plus educators (that includes yours truly!)
  5. Humphrey “Bogie” Bogart
  6. True
  7. Met’s pitcher DeGrom
  8. Bismarck and Pierre, respectively. An extra 5 points if you got both capitals.
  9. Full credit here. For me, it was Gene Tunney.
  10. Reykjavik
  11. The great one – Jackie Gleason; he was indeed the greatest of the great.
  12. Full credit for either Carter or Obama.
  13. Winston Churchill, hands down.
  14. From what I have read, it is TRUE.
  15. I have two choices: Alexander the Great or Leonardas.
  16. Full credit. For me, it’s Northwestern followed by Rice.
  17. George Washington. He put everything on the line, including his life for our country.
  18. Full credit. Approximately 4-5 billion years ago, our galaxy was formed (which included planet Earth).
  19. Ronald Reagan
  20. Ingrid Bergman
  21. The New York Racing Association (NYRA). There is probably only a few places in the world more beautiful than New York in early September. So what did NYRA do? Cancel racing at Belmont Park – the most beautiful racetrack in the world – from 9/7 – 18. How did someone as clueless at Cuomo get elected and even worse, where did they find these NYRA executives?

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS:

NOVEMBER 1:          On Election Time

DECEMBER 1:          On Great Eats IV – Burgers and Pastrami

JANUARY 1:              On Hofstra Men’s Basketball – The 2020/21 Season?

FEBRUARY 1:           On Purely Chase, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXX

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

  1. Every attempt should be made to exploit the team’s offensive capabilities against the opponent’s defensive weaknesses.
  2. Players should learn to dribble with either hand.
  3. Players should learn to shoot with either hand.

ON PURELY, CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXIX

August 1, 2020

 

August 1, 2020

 

Here’s a couple for you to think about.

  1. It’s baseball time. The Mets are going to have a tough time with their division but I still bet on them.
  2. When are baseball batters going to wake up and figure out to go the other way when the shift is on?
  3. I could never function effectively today without Mary holding my hand in this high tech society.
  4. My new book on “Water Management” arrived earlier this year. It could be doing better.
  5. Our second edition of the classic 1950 chemical engineering book “Process Heat Transfer” by the legendary Donald O. Kern is surprisingly doing well. I say surprisingly because all my books have one thing in common – they don’t sell.
  6. There’s a great local Italian restaurant named The Sicilian. It’s connected and a tough place. A really tough place. The hat-check girl’s name is Angelo and their special featured dish on Friday night is broken leg of lamb.
  7. Another tough winter. They keep getting tougher and tougher. Really appreciated the move to spring and summer.
  8. Dear friend and noted sports historian Arthur Lovely gave me two new-gems: The two most important words in the English language are “love” and “thanks”.
  9. Finally make contact and had a great conversation with Patricia Pyke, an old flame who (at that time) didn’t know I existed. We reminisced about growing up in Hell’s Kitchen during the Depression, World War II, and several subsequent years.
  10. The highlight for me during the winters is my trip to West Palm Beach and visiting my superstar guard (once the face of Playboy Magazine) Richie Bennett, Cooper Union classmate Arnie Weiss, and first cousin (paternal-side) Nora.
  11. Despite the claims of the environmentalists, air quality has never been better.
  12. I loved growing up in New York City (especially Astoria) because that was where the action was. Sorry to say that it is no longer true.
  13. Still love doing crossword puzzles, Jumbo, and cryptograms. I think it’s the “aha”, “gotcha”, and “eureka” moments that make them exciting.
  14. If you have money, which I don’t, invest in sports book stocks. Bought some William Hill and immediately went down.
  15. Biological terrorism has become a major concern and is apparently here to stay.
  16. Have yet to make it to “6” at Jones Beach. Ouch!
  17. Hoping to do a book on viruses (that I know nothing about). The invisible kingdom and reactions of bacteria and viruses may ultimately destroy civilization as we know it. Hopefully, the CDC and WHO will be displaced and replaced by competent agencies and individuals.
  18. Here is a given from 9 months ago: Biden will NOT debate Trump.
  19. Cuomo seems hell-bent on rewinding the tape of history. After sending the 6200 COVID patients to senior care facilities resulting in thousands of deaths, he is now bragging about his accomplishments and blaming others for his failures. What a guy. I’m also convinced Cuomo is an idiot. Not as dumb as Biden, but close.
  20. The term “peaceful protests” has disappeared from the English language.
  21. How about the teachers, who have forever claimed their dedication to students. Unlike our health care workers, they are now balking at going back to work because of safety concerns.  What a disappointing and parasitic group of non-professionals.
  22. Democrats, liberals, anarchists, socialists…call them what you may, appear hell-bent on personally humiliating Trump, irrespective of the negative political fallout on our nation. They are all traitors whose conduct is disgusting, e.g., Obama’s speech at Lewis’ memorial. Bottom line: Trump is fighting alone for America without the help of the Republican Party and the enemy are fighting Trump.
  23. My neighbor claims that if vandalism arrives at your door, it will be a white kid-with a rich father-attending an Ivy college where a professor has assured him that it is appropriate and proper to loot, maim, and destroy.
  24. Recently saw a TV program on The Battle of Midway (WW2-South Pacific). I wonder if these Bernie thugs and anarchists appreciate the sacrifices Americans made to help ensure our present way of life for those of us who truly love our country.
  25. Never underestimate the stupidity of the electorate: nearly half plan to vote for Biden along with Pelosi, Schumer, and Bernie’s thugs.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)

OCTOBER 1:              On the Ultimate Quiz III

NOVEMBER 1:          On Election Time

———————————————————————————————————————

 

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

 

  1. Practice putting the ball in play; there should be several options available (and known) without the need to take a time out.
  2. Always run on offense; the only exceptions being if:

a. The bench is weak, and

b.  A key player is in foul trouble (shorten the game).

3. Motion offense is a must, otherwise your grandmother                    can  guard you.


ON THE CORONAVIRUS II

July 1, 2020

July 1, 2020

 

Four months ago, I put forth an article concerned with the coronavirus. This is a follow-up piece that details my thoughts on some of the major players in the field.

 

Two things have occurred in the interim. I am now planning on writing a book on viruses (even though I know nothing about the subject) titled “Virus Contact Agencies and Organizations: A Resource Guide”, and secondly, the virus pandemic has been ebbing at this time. Nonetheless, here are my thoughts on seven of the aforementioned players in the field.

 

  1. Mayor DeBlasio. Ouch! Is this guy dumb or is he an anarchist? He apparently has his priorities on the police and rioters reversed. How in the world could anyone vote for him?
  2. Governor Cuomo. Here is another wimp whose only positive position is that he hates DeBlasio. He is still desperately trying to act presidential during daily press conferences while bragging about his accomplishments and at the same time attempting to rewrite history. His idiotic blunder on the nursing home patients and failure to purchase ventilators cost at least a thousand lives and will forever haunt him. He, like DeBlasio and NYC, is destroying our state — which may explain, in part, why he appears to be losing his mind. What a loser.
  3. President Trump. The Donald just can’t seem to do anything wrong. He guessed right on the early travel ban, approached the pandemic problem as only a competent non-bureaucratic individual would, and set us on the right path to rid ourselves of this menace. Furthermore, the economy (including the stock market) seems headed to bigger and better things. And to top this, it now appears with a high degree of certainty that Barack Hussein Obama and his henchmen in the FBI and DOJ did attempt a coup, an act (if proven) is punishable by death; these guys are really in hot water.
  4. The Media. Many of them belong in jail. I just can’t believe the blatant lies and distortions on CNBC (or what Hannity justifiably refers to as CDNC) and CNN. Their accusations regarding Trump and the pandemic are, at times, actually unbelievable. Their hatred for Trump just simply doesn’t make sense.
  5. The New York Times. Once a great newspaper. Still a great paper except for their coverage of the news and their raw hatred for Trump. I ask the reader to just read the headlines on the first page each day. No fair and learned individual could possibly claim that they are neutral and objective.
  6. Fauci. A fraud. A legitimate fraud who the Donald flushed out early in the pandemic. In March, Fauci proclaimed during a news conference that face masks serve no useful purpose. In April, he revised his position from March, claiming that the masks protect people around you. Then finally in May, he was back on TV telling us that masks were essential. With the coronavirus around for years, how could a so-called expert not know what was going on? His projections, based on poor data and faulty models, also failed us. I’ve written two books on and taught statistics and can assure even the novice or anyone who has taken a high school stat course would have known better. We now know he was wrong – flat out wrong – and should have not extrapolated the models. His advice was anything but science. In addition, he was no doubt attempting to protect the standard and traditional protocol of his profession and also help insure additional so called “critical” tests on oxychloroquine. Write this guy off!
  7. The Center for Disease Control (CDC). They are no different than any other bureaucratic organization… looking to survive and prosper, irrespective of the impact on us. It was founded in 1946 with a 10 million dollar budget. Its budget today is 1500 times larger and is manned with thousands of government employees. It advertises itself as “commitment to excellence”, the “premiere health prevention and preparedness agency”, and (get this) “protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S.” I’ve taught numerous courses titled “Emergency Planning and Response” and “Risk Assessment” (and associated calculations). Firemen take similar courses and can no doubt better attend to this issue than the CDC. In any event, one needs to answer two questions.
  8. Did the CDC do a good job (not ever excellent) of preventing and controlling this virus?
  9. Was the CDC prepared for this once in a decade (or is it century?) the pandemic?

They obviously failed miserably on both counts. This pandemic has made it clear that a significant part of the bureaucracy failed us. Fortunately, we Americans always respond to a crises.

We have been taught a painful and expensive lesson. Has the bureaucracy? I doubt it; they’re still employed, collecting checks, and attempting to dictate national policy. Bottom line: The CDC is a typical failed and useless bureaucratic organization.

 

Enough already. Let me know what you think.

 

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or publisher. Opposing views are welcomed.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

AUGUST 1:                On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)

SEPTEMBER 1:         On the Ultimate Quiz III

———————————————————————————————————————

 

Next month’s article will contain three defensive suggestions (from a total of 59) from the upcoming second edition of my “BASKETBALL COACHING 101” book.

 


ON MEMORIAL DAY IX

May 23, 2020

May 31, 2020

 

Once again, it’s Memorial Day. Another holiday and a day off for most. How easy it is for many to think of this as another of the 365 days in the year (actually, 366 this year). We normally barbecue and party…but not this year, thanks to the Coronavirus. Some may give thought to our fallen heroes. Others may pray for peace while others could care less. And then, this holiday that is observed in honor of those who paid the ultimate price, is gone.

 

Every Memorial Day, I am reminded of a passage in the 1957 James Michener book “Tales of the South Pacific,” a story of his experiences in Southeastern Asia during WWII. In part of this passage, a young American soldier expresses his feelings on visiting a cemetery on the island of Hoga Point.

“Before me lay the dead, the heroic dead who took the island. Upon a strange plateau, on a strange island, in a strange sea, far from their farms and villages, they sleep forever beside the lagoon which bore them to their day of battle…”

This passage, in part, describes the sacrifices the men and women made for our country.

 

D-Day, which occurred in June three-quarters of a century ago last year, attempts to recognize the sacrifices made by so many to end wars.  Wars have unfortunately become inevitable during my short stay (86 years) on this planet. But, as long as there have been  wars, our nation has had many who unfortunately gave their lives for a better future. These are the individuals we should never forget. Why? Here is but a short list of things we do today–normally taken for granted–that these brave soldiers will not be able to experience:

  1. Keep company with the loved ones in your life
  2. Enjoy a delicious meal
  3. Watch a classic movie on TCM
  4. Bet the races at Gulfstream Park
  5. Take a leisurely walk
  6. Talk with friends and loved ones by phone
  7. Interact virtually with friends and loved ones
  8. Read a great book
  9. Sit in the backyard under a canopy
  10. See the flowers begin to bloom

Here are a handful of things that we will not experience today thanks to our fallen heroes.

  1. War
  2. Starvation
  3. Drought
  4. Being deprived of our liberty and freedom
  5. Experiencing loss of most, if not all, forms of energy
  6. The disappearance of love in our lives

Yep, we have much to be grateful for…despite the present pandemic. Thank you fallen heroes and let us celebrate America and pray for another year of peace.

 

P.S.: Mother’s Day came and went. Hats off to these special persons. My mother? All I can say is that she sacrificed everything for her two children. Thanks Mom.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JULY 1:                      On the Coronavirus II

AUGUST 1:                On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)

SEPTEMBER 1:         On the Ultimate Quiz III

———————————————————————————————————————

 

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

 

  1. Know who to foul and who not to foul near the end of the game.

 

  1. If losing, consider substituting after a foul shot in order to better set the defense.

 

  1. Practice various backcourt defenses and defensive strategies.

 


ON THE 2020 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT ISSUES AND THE CORONAVIRUS

May 1, 2020

May 1, 2020

 

May 1 articles are normally devoted solely to the EWSD budget vote. But due to the corona episode, I will only devote one short paragraph to the budget. Because of the crisis we are experiencing, I am also providing my thoughts on the coronavirus and the conduct of a handful of the major players.

 

The budget vote? It’s the same old story. Our district has fallen on hard times, thanks to the earlier self-serving behavior of David Israel and Susan Bergtraum, plus the present school administrators and board. Is there a solution? I doubt it, as the deck is stacked against the students, parents, and seniors; the waste, ridiculous salaries, and indifference to the plight of our seniors are the main culprits. Maybe the Village will finally decide to take action. It’s now obvious, and a fact, that spending money like a drunken sailor on education will not correct the problem. In the meantime, is there any chance this incompetent board will demand the teachers take a pay cut during this period when so many of our community are suffering financially? Sorry, you already know the answer. So do yourself a favor and vote NO on this year’s budget sometime after June 1. Yes, it’s OK to vote NO. Don’t be a glutton for punishment and stop being taken for a fool.

 

On to the Wuhan Chinese coronavirus. There are traitors amongst us. A good number of them are our elected representatives to Congress and the media. These are the individuals who put their own interests above all else. These are the same individuals who shockingly savaged both Kavanagh and Gorsuch plus chose the impeachment path to destroy our President, plus….  .  And now, these same individuals are at it again; this time doing immense damage to our nation.

 

Fortunately , we have a President who has somehow withstood merciless attacks from not only his own party, but also the democrats, the unions, educators, Hollywood, fanatics/liberals, and (worst of all) a totally biased corrupt media. Trump is an executive who surrounded himself with experts, and drawing on their knowledge and experience, reached sound decisions and then delegated authority. It’s exactly what you want out of a CEO and that is why our nation prospered like never before prior to the virus. It is frightening to think what would have happened if Obama, or Biden, or the Hill, or … were in charge: corruption would reign supreme and all businesses and other decisions would be based on politics, not the best interests of our nation. You don’t believe this? Look how the Democrats conducted themselves during the Kavanaugh hearing and the impeachment trial. They belong in jail for the way they behaved.

 

In any event, it is essentially impossible (I mean impossible) for two large groups of individuals (Democrats and Republicans) to vote in a totally polarized manner without one group being corrupt. It is simply impossible from a statistical perspective! And, I leave it to the reader to determine which group is corrupt.

 

My thoughts on some of major individuals and organizations follow. Here are eight (8) 1-liners:

 

Pelosi:  An evil, wicked woman who is mentally deranged and a traitor who commented that Biden “is the best individual who can solve our nation’s problems”.

Biden:  Three years ago I wrote: “Joe Biden is the dumbest individual in Washington” and I repeated these words three times since; you can also add: perhaps the most corrupt. Maybe I’m a little smarter than I look.

Obama:  Lazy and incompetent best describes this guy.

Pence:  Has come up smelling like roses during this virus episode.

New York Times:  All you have to do is read the headlines to realize how corrupt this paper is. This appeared last Sunday: “GOP Planning is to Make China its Scapegoat – A Way to Deflect Virus Blame from Trump”. Truly pitiful.

CNN:   Traitors galore; it is sad to watch their behavior on clips on FOX.

Newsday:  Local paper that has seen better days.

Democrats in Congress:  Almost all traitors. Playing politics with taxpayers’ money when it comes to the virus.

 

A short paragraph on Cuomo. What a loser–worse than his father. Cuomo is presently frantically trying to place the blame elsewhere.  He obviously is thinking about running for President despite his failures to purchase the ventilators recommended by his own committee in 2015. His daily chats, where he lectures us and insults the President, are sickening; it is his attempt to act presidential. But most importantly, he should explain to us why our state’s virus per capita death rate is astronomically higher (yes, astronomically) than in not only our country but also the world. Incompetence led to his mismanagement of the virus crisis. No wonder we lead the nation in numbers leaving our state.  We would not be experiencing a pandemic if New York State and New York City had been so totally unprepared or if New York were not factored in the virus analysis.  Prediction: He will continue to blame Trump for our problems and demand a bailout.

 

I close with my thoughts on elected officials and career bureaucrats. It is important for all Americans to understand that most (not all, but mostly all) government employees have never earned an honest day’s pay and/or had a legitimate job. They are not only adverse to putting in an honest day’s work but also fearful of making decisions. They are the main reason our government has been effectively paralyzed in the past. The arrival of Trump three years ago, who works 16 hours a day and prides himself on making decisions, even difficult ones, has created numerous problems for these freeloaders. As far as the upcoming election goes, we should not underestimate the stupidity of many of the voters — there is still a chance that Trump will be defeated. Ouch!!! A colleague recently commented to me that Trump is a bully. Well , yes! In government and academia you get promoted if incompetent or lazy. With Trump, you get fired! It is now apparent that the only hope for the media and the liberals is to successfully portray Trump as a liability to our nation. They know if they fail they will add Republicans to the Senate and lose the House.  That is why they can’t say anything (and I mean anything) positive about Trump, his appointees, and his supporters.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)

AUGUST 1:                On the Coronavirus

———————————————————————————————————————

 

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

 

  1. If playing on the visiter’s court, check the integrity of the basketball rim before, and if possible, each half.

 

  1. Practice should include big players bringing up the ball; this could prove invaluable against a team with a great defensive guard.

 

  1. If applicable and possible, attempt to have the opponent’s weakest defensive player guarding your best offensive player.

ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ II

February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020

 

I started this “quiz” approximately a year ago and got some positive feedback. (Incidentally, the newsletter is approaching 15,000 hits.) Here is the second quiz with 21 questions, with the grading at 5 points per question. A total grade of 65 is passing; you are a genius if you are at or above 90.

 

  1. From a gambler’s perspective, what casino game provides the player with the best opportunity to win?

 

  1. Name the capitol of either North or South Dakota.

 

  1. What renowned author and basketball authority recently celebrated his 85th birthday?

 

  1. What legendary Astoria singer made famous the song “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”?

 

  1. The 50s and 60s band “Spontaneous Combustion” – featuring Steve Jones – has its roots in what general Nassau County locale?

 

  1. What Landmark Astoria diner is alive and doing well despite real estate interests in their property?

 

  1. Who keeps telling his friends this: “Every day is a blessing.”?

 

  1. Name the smallest country on Earth.

 

  1. Who uttered the quote: “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”?

 

  1. Who discovered the Periodic Table?

 

  1. What nation is dry and stony, and features olives, grapes, lamb and goats?

 

  1. What college academic discipline could be classified as totally useless and serves a legitimate escape from reality?

 

  1. What actress said: “There’s no place like home.”?

 

  1. True or false? Mars is named after the Roman God of War.

 

  1. True or false? The moon is approximately 242,000 miles from Earth.

 

  1. Name the largest country on planet Earth.

 

  1. Who is the greatest boxer of all time?

 

  1. True or false: Shakespeare’s first name was Sylvio.

 

  1. Who is the greatest football running back of all time?

 

  1. Provide the age of the Sun and its distance from planet Earth.

 

  1. What renowned Civil War general said the following: “Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.”?

 

I’ll return with Quiz III later in the year.

 

 

ANSWERS:

  1. According to your author’s statistical analysis, the answer is blackjack (21). Dice (craps) is a close second.
  2. Bismarck and Pierre.
  3. An easy one, yours truly.
  4. Ethel Merman.
  5. The Willistons.
  6. The Neptune Diner.
  7. Legendary (92 years old) sports historian Art Loveley.
  8. A tough one. The Vatican.
  9. Full credit here since no one knows for sure; it was once incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain.
  10. A tough one. Dimitri Mendsleev (a Russian chemist) in 1869.
  11. The land of my forefathers – Greece.
  12. A liberal arts program.
  13. Dorothy (Judy Garland) in Wizard of Oz.
  14. True.
  15. True.
  16. Russia.
  17. Full credit here. For me, it was Sugar Ray Robinson, with Gene Tunney a close second. Interestingly, in 1950, Jack Dempsey was voted the greatest fighter over the past  50 years.  He received 251 votes to 104 for Joe Louis, and there were none for Tunney.   My favorite growing up was Kid Gavalan.
  18. False! It turns out Sylvio was his middle name. His first name was Vincenzo; close friends affectionately called him Vinnie.
  19. Full credit here. I didn’t care for him as a person, but for me, it will always be Jim Brown.
  20. Approximately 4.5 billion years and 93 million miles.
  21. General William T. Sherman.

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIX

APRIL 1:                     On the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: The New York Racing Association (NYRA)

 

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

 

  1. There is a need to be able to defend one-on-one. Practices should include this exercise.

 

  1. Never relax on defense. Never!

 

  1. Each man-to-man defensive player should be defending at all times. The author describes it as the “war” defense. During the Killeen’s basketball team era, one of the author’s small forwards took it personally when his opponent scored.

 

 


I – On Solving the Greenhouse Gases Problem

January 1, 2020

 

January 1, 2020

 

This article is concerned with the general subject that has come to be defined as global warming / climate change. Well, is it global warming or is it climate change? It depends on who you talk to. What one can say for certain is that many have come to believe that both are related to the so-called greenhouse gases.

 

The greenhouse effect appears to some to be a completely man-made phenomenon in the world today – one that some engineers (not your author) and scientists feel is leading the planet to the brink of disaster.  The term “greenhouse effect” describes two separate but interpendent occurrences: (a) the increase of trace greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, methane, tropospheric ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons) in the earth’s atmosphere, and (b) the absorption and re-emission of long-wave radiation by these gases. In theory, the greenhouse gases act like the glass in a botanical greenhouse, trapping heat and warming the planet. The increased concentration of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide, i.e., CO2) in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution is a well-documented fact; however, the predicted effects of this increase are still in debate among the technical community in the environmental field. Current debate centers around questions such as: (a) Have greenhouse gases affected global weather as yet? (b) How high will the temperature rise once the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reach higher concentrations? (c) How long does it take for changes in greenhouse gas concentrations to affect global climate? However, keep in mind that a half century ago, environmentalists were claiming that the Earth was cooling.

 

Here is my take on the global warming / climate change issue. The entire issue is bogus at this time. The policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are bogus. The changes recommended and advocated by environmentalists are bogus. The present ideologies of environmentalists are bogus. Why bogus? There simply are no hard facts to back up their doomsday predictions. It would therefore be reasonable for one to conclude that any effort to curb CO2 emissions into the atmosphere that involve significant economic changes that can impact man’s social behavior cannot be justified. Any effort to reduce and/or eliminate CO2 emission is thus certain to downgrade the quality of life and lead to an increased state of poverty and world instability; in effect, it would have a dramatic negative impact…and only a minimal effect on global CO2 emissions.

 

Society needs to come to grips with the reality that environmentalists and their supporters are probably the greatest threat to society.  They are a frightening group that is fanatical.  This group will do anything – lie, manipulate, deceive, etc. – to achieve its misguided goals, including to save Mother Earth from itself.

 

Environmentalists justify their conduct by arguing that over 90% of the technical community, based on the flimsiest of hard data that has not been adequately peer reviewed by opposing viewpoints, support their position on global warming. But nearly all of the 90% they refer to have vested interests in the existence of this catastrophic problem facing society.  If there is no problem, most of these so-called experts will be out of a job.  At a minimum, there will be no tenure, no promotions, no articles, no consulting, no books, no government grants and contracts. The environmental organizations who also support this scam will have greater difficulty in generating funding, donations, and government support. And, government bureaucrats will no longer be able to justify to the electorate that they, and they alone, are capable of addressing and solving this contrived problem. Many of my colleagues, authorities in the environmental field, disagree with these environmentalists. Gone are the days when scientists and engineers were beyond reproach.  The reality is that today’s scientist/engineer is as corrupt as the lawyers society has come to detest.

 

You are no doubt aware that lawyers are adept at creating problems while engineers are noted for their ability to solve problems. In days of old, some lectures to my chemical engineering students emphasized how to solve problems. Here is basically what I had to say. First, clearly define the problem. Then apply my 3 Cs concept: Cause, Consequence, and Cost. In effect, what is the cause, what are the consequences, and what will it cost to remedy/eliminate the problem. Here is what we have when this simple concept is applied to global warming and climate change: We really don’t know the cause and we really don’t know the consequences. The solution proposed by the fanatics (they are either dumb or crazy…or both) would bankrupt our economy and probably lead to WWIII; their proposed green agenda is absolutely nuts.

 

Some of my critics claim that I often complain about problems but never offer any solutions. Well, here are seven possible solutions to this potential environmental problem by your favorite author that will have little to no adverse effect on society.

 

  1. Plant 500,000,000 trees. The journal Science (Newsday: 7/5/2019) claimed a trillion trees would do the job in the most efficient manner.
  2. Convert totally from a coal energy economy to one totally based on natural gas. I have previously shown that it would halve (actually 46%) CO2 This partial energy conversion in the U.S. accounts for our achieving the goals of the (ridiculous) 2015 Paris Climate Account.
  3. Convert to a natural gas/oil energy economy. Oil emits approximately 25% less CO2 than coal per unit of energy generated.
  4. Embark on more aggressive domestic and industrial energy conservation programs. This can include converting to electric cars, capping unused wells, controlling CO2 and CH4 (methane) emission from fracking operations, landfills, etc.
  5. Convert to nuclear power. Don’t believe Ralph Nader – the man is clueless. It’s simple, safe, and economically attractive AND there would be no CO2 This is obviously the cheapest and most effective solution.
  6. Halt World Bank funding to China for potential coal-fired power plants since China is no longer (2015) classified as a developing nation.
  7. Any combination of the above.

Any of my solutions would have a dramatic positive impact on our economy with a corresponding reduction on elimination of carbon emissions. My plan would ensure our nation’s energy future without the inevitable loss of jobs. It would replace Obama’s Paris “agreement” – his success story – that allows China to operate nearly an infinite number of coal-fired boilers and India planning to build 23 new coal-fired plants; this was indeed another Obama Administration whopper. Now really, how does the above compare to the green agenda currently being proposed by the liberal progressive Democrats?

 

Bottom line: For the past 4.5 billion years, the Earth’s temperature has varied from year to year, decade to decade, century to century, millennium to millennium, etc., and the changes, at times, were really significant. The same can be said about Earth’s climate. None of these changes were man-made, and only some of these changes have been satisfactorily explained. Yet here we are, not only having survived but also prospered. At the present time, the cause(s) for today’s changes are unknown, the consequences are unknown, and therefore, any attempt to address these phenomena with massive economic expenditures and altering present lifestyles would be insane. Case closed. Next case.

 

Any questions or comments? Bomb away!

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

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Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

FEBRUARY 1:           On the Ultimate Quiz II

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIX

APRIL 1:                     On the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: Climate Change

Here are this month’s three offensive basketball suggestions from the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.

 

  1. Every shooter should either follow their shot or get back on defense; he should not just stand there (as with most players today) like a prima donna watching to see if the ball is going to go in. Players were always instructed in earlier times to “follow your shot,” since the shooter, better anyone else on the court, knows where the ball might go.
  2. Whenever possible, shots should be attempted from the head of the key or center position (dead center if possible) of the court, not from the side or end line.
  3. Always fast break – always! One cannot beat taking layups which often results in a fast break.

On The OHI Day V

November 1, 2019

 It’s been 9 years since I penned my first article on the OHI Day (some of which is reported below). This is a special day in Greek history as it regards Greece’s heroic involvement in WWII. Our family’s recent visit to Greece was yet two reminders of this day.

 

As noted in earlier 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. 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. Although I am an American first, I still remain proud of my Hellenic roots.

 

On to one of the themes of this article. My ancestors have a long history of battling and suffering with evil elements and opponents. Unfortunately, history repeated itself in 1939, as documented below. The 80th 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!) 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 severe inflation. The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks. Here are some comments immediately following the 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 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.”

 

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.”

 

The second reminder of this special day was a recent paper submitted by our 13-year old grandson for his English class. It was titled VACHOS 1,5. VACHOS is a essentially small deserted town built on a rocky terrain half way up a mountain with no apparent means of sustenance itself. Vachos is a located in Mani – the middle member of the Peloponnese peninsula – surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the south, the Messenian Gulf on the west,  and the Laconian Gulf  on the east. Elias’s passage follows:

 

“I opened the car door and the blazing sun came right at me, forcing me to quickly cover my eyes. It was pushing 100 degrees late that afternoon, a dry, windy, burning heat. We had started our journey in Athens, and we were now in Mani, the region of the Peloponnese my great grandfather emigrated from. We were staying in Limeni, a small town on the Mediterranean Sea, with turquoise and emerald blue water and vibrantly colored fish that eluded my grasp. Limeni was five minutes away from Vachos, my great grandfather’s hilltop town. 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 from our sight. A sign ‘Vachos 1,5’ told us to turn right and drive 1.5 kilometers to Vachos. In our little stick-shift Toyota, we started along a bumpy road with tall grass that surrounded us. Ascending the steep hill, the car rolled back every time we began again after a stop. Houses that had looked like dots from afar came into view, and we pulled into what looked like the town square.

 

The square was a flat expanse among the hills, empty except for an older man in a run-down pickup truck. He got out to introduce himself as the mayor. He was a third cousin of my grandfathers, and an important person who lived in the town. Much to my surprise, this otherwise bleak town square had a basketball hoop that hung from the patio of a shuttered restaurant. It amazed me that my ancestors left this town for more opportunities in America, but a basketball hoop had traveled in the opposite direction.

 

Our cousin, Kiriakos Theodorakos, who could only speak Greek, and a dialect at that, toured us around the town. We walked up a curving path and around abandoned stone houses in search of my great-grandfather’s house. My grandfather stopped in front of an old house “This is the one,” he said, pointing. We all started toward it. Nestled into a steep hill, 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 could see the door where this family entered and the dirt floor they walked. The sound of cicadas and the smell of oregano overwhelmed me. I wonder what it would have been like to live in these remote Greek hills.

 

The town’s population is about sixty and probably wasn’t much more in the early 1900s. How different would New York City have seemed to my Great Papou when he sailed into the harbor? I asked my grandfather if we could go inside and he translated the question. Our cousin kept saying “fidia,” but my grandfather either couldn’t understand his accent or didn’t know the word. Finally, our cousin wiggled his hand and we understood that the house was now filled with snakes.

 

On our way back to the town square, 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. The mountains surrounded us, but we could not see any water nearby. Why did people build a town here? As we were leaving the town square, our cousin went to his truck and brought us a jar of oregano. As we drove away I opened the jar and crumbled the leaves between my fingers, the smell of oregano filling the air.”

 

Thank you Elias for keeping the memories alive.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

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NEXT POSTINGS:

 

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Upcoming Basketball 2019-20 Season

JANUARY 1:              One the Ultimate Quiz II

FEBRUARY 1:           On Four Issues I: NYRA

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIX

APRIL 1:                     On the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2020 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day V

JULY 1:                      On Four Issues II: Climate Change

 


ON PURELY, CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVIII

October 1, 2019

Hard to believe. The 28th! Here’s another 25 thoughts of yours truly.

  • It’s a new football season, but I still maintain that Eli Manning is the most overrated and luckiest individual to play the game of football…ever! The football Giants are toast if they don’t go with another quarterback.
  • Had contact with a recently graduated college basketball player who confirmed that two players on his team were paid. Now get this…he attended a mid-major
  • The Mets failed us once again. I thought nobody could be worse than Terry Collins. I was wrong.
  • I maintain that the bulk of the media continues to peddle lies and distortions.
  • Mets reliever Diaz doesn’t deserve the bad press. I believe he has the highest swinging strike ratio in the league – and that is an excellent measure of how good a pitcher is.
  • Just returned from a 3-day visit to Saratoga Springs. It was my 63rd year in a row. Lost some money but had a great time with the family. Finally had dinner at 15 Church Street; it was a unique experience.
  • Recently met democrat Judy Bosworth, Supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead, and was impressed…so much so that I might vote for her next time around. Ditto with Councilman Pete Zuckerman.
  • It’s World Series time. The Mets are dead but I’m still alive with the Yankees (ugh!) and the Braves.
  • My new book on “Water Management” will be out before the end of the year.
  • Mary still gets mad at me when I ask the maître d’ at an upscale restaurant: “Are franks and beans on the menu?”
  • Winter is just around the corner, and I’m not looking forward to it.
  • Lost Richie Dreyer (St. Francis), one of my players, last month. He brought a toughness that was lacking on my Killeen’s Tavern basketball team. He mellowed in his old age and did some wonderful things for AA.
  • I believe that one of our nation’s biggest problems is that family life has been displaced by government subsidies for far too many people.
  • Travel by any mode is terrible in Manhattan. Ditto Brooklyn.
  • Visited Quebec City in late June to attend the annual Air & Waste Management conference and presented two papers. Loved the Canadians and what a great city.
  • When are baseball pitchers going to wake up and figure out that the key to success is to not walk anyone and batters realize to go the other way when the shift is on?
  • Only got to Lot #6 at Jones Beach twice this year. I still maintain it is the most beautiful beach in the world.
  • The New York Racing Association seems hell-bent on destroying thoroughbred racing at Belmont Park. I paid for a season pass but won’t be going back this year; it simply isn’t an enjoyable day anymore. The level of incompetence of this organization is beyond belief. Hello Nassau OTB. I’ll have more to say about this in January.
  • The level of hatred for de Blasio continues to mount; it is almost as bad as that for Trump.
  • Still involved with developing potable (drinking) water processes via the desalination route, but have recently extended my work to include non-desalination methods. This has really been exciting work.
  • Traveled to Monmouth Racetrack (twice!) with several of my players. We visited my dear friend Steve “The Greek” Panos, the toughest Greek since Alexander the Great.  I am forever indebted to Steve for probably saving my life during a riot at one of our basketball games in 1963.
  • It’s all Greek to me. I still love lamb and pastitsio.
  • Recently attended a Kourtakis (maternal) family reunion in New Jersey, and it was just great. Some of us reminisced about life growing up in New York City.
  • Dear friend and noted sports historian Arthur Lovely keeps hitting the nail on the head with his “every day is a blessing”
  • My new quote to those close to me? “I hope misfortune follows you but never catches up.”

 

Tata!

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

JANUARY 1:              On Four Key Issues

FEBRUARY 1:           On the Ultimate Quiz II

 


ON GREAT EATS IV: DINERS

September 1, 2019

Food has been defined as anything eaten to satisfy an appetite and to meet needs for growth. It maintains all body processes and supplies energy to maintain body temperature and activity. So food is important. But the questions that remains is – where should the food be consumed? At home? In a restaurant? This fourth article on Great Eats is concerned with diners and servers as a follow-up to an excellent May 25, 2019 New York Times (NYT) diner article titled “A Last Cup of Coffee, to Go.”

 

As one might suppose, the word diner has come to mean different things to different people. Webster defines diner as “a small restaurant built to look like a dining car and equipped to serve meals” while the NYT offered “factory-made lunch cars, often with stainless-steel finishes and neon signs.” Others might describe it as something between a step above a simple eatery with a limited menu to a restaurant with an extensive menu, fancy booths, full bar, take-out menu, etc. The former would probably best describe my father’s “9 stool – 3 table business at the North end of Hell’s Kitchen prior to being evicted by Robert Moses, while the latter would best describe the first two of the diners to be described shortly.

 

But, then again, why a follow-up article? The NYT article keyed on diner history and diners located in New York City. This article expands the diner story to include not only those in Queens but also Long Island. What follows is a short writing on a diner in Queens and five diners on Long Island. I asked each diner owner to comment on their background, their business, the present state of the diner business, and the future of diners. Here is some of how these six individuals responded.

 

  1. The Old Westbury Diner (formerly Seacrest), 4 Glen Cove Road, Old Westbury.

The premier upscale diner on the Island. Owned by Stavros Dimas, who emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1980. He has expressed major concerns with rising labor costs and believes only the large diners will survive in the future. My Take? One of my favorites. Great breakfast, full bar, expansive menu, excellent food, easy parking, very pleasant owner who is concerned with the community, and excellent service. This place is also the closest thing to a classy restaurant.

 

  1. The Apollo, 630 Merrick Avenue, East Meadow.

The Apollo is owned by Jimmy (son) and Harry (father) Constantotos. Harry emigrated (legally) from Greece in 1963 and has owned the Apollo since 1976. Perhaps my favorite. As Jimmy put it to me, they “provide basic services, good food and a clean environment.” It features an expansive menu, full bar, ample parking, large portions, very reasonable prices, and excellent service (ask for Nicoletta to be your server). They appear optimistic about the future but expressed concerns with existing competition, labor costs, and the real estate market.

 

  1. Uncle Bills, 307 Stratton Place, Linden Place, Whitestone.

This one is owned by “Aki” (little one in Greek), a big brute by my standards. This lovable Greek emigrated (legally) from Cyprus in 1973 and has owned Bill’s for 16 years. Aki claims it is the cheapest diner in Queens (I think he is right). He is concerned about the future because of rising salaries, rent, and competitors. My Take? The place is a local gem with lots of good dishes, easy parking, and the price is definitely right.

 

On to the next two. Both are Mary’s favorites.

 

  1. Thomas’s Diner is located at 325 Old Country Road, Carle Place.

This place is Mary’s favorite. The diner opened in 1946 and has been owned by the (Thomas) Koukoulas family since 1973. Tom indicated that diners will have difficulty surviving in the future because of “chain restaurants where the quality continues to improve. The old school diner will not be around long as many families are not passing the business along.” The place has a limited menu with great food at very reasonable prices. Despite limited parking, this landmark joint is always (and I mean always) jammed. Mary’s favorite (not mine) and an absolute must for diner lovers.

 

  1. The Mineola Diner, 138 Jericho Turnpike and Willis Avenue, Mineola.

This is one that has survived the relentless passage of time. Michael Alpert purchased the diner (from a Greek) approximately 10 years ago. One of Mary’s favorites, it features excellent food at reasonable prices. The place is small, parking is a problem, and is only open for breakfast and lunch. The menu is limited but there are nearly 100 items to choose from. Not my favorite, but another landmark that has survived the times and one of the better ones that belongs on everyone’s go-to-place list.

On to the sixth one.

  1. Station Plaza Coffee Shop and Diner (breakfast and lunch) at 206 Station Plaza, North Mineola (facing South at the train station).

A newcomer and a relatively unknown, it is usually packed. Probably the cheapest diner to eat at. And, the good news is that the food is excellent and plentiful. Lots to like here even though it doesn’t look like a diner. But as the old saying goes – try it and you’ll be sure to like it. Only negative: metered parking is a problem. New owners, George Arniotis (and father) and Pete Vatakis – Greeks, of course – are there for 2 months and are optimistic about the future of diners. “Give them good food and they’ll keep coming back.”

 

I would be remiss if I did not comment on three other diners. Presently, the diner of all diners is The Neptune (Astoria Blvd. and 31st Street). It was my favorite 65 years ago while growing up in Astoria, and it still is, and is the diner by which all others should be compared. Unfortunately, its days are numbered; it opened its doors for the last time TODAY.   (Update:  Interestingly, the media had reported that the diner was closing but apparently, the lease was extended.)  Another is Mykonos (not the one in Great Neck) – a hole-in-the-wall, semi-diner; it is named after an island in Greece and located in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a community overrun by Greeks and Greek-Americans. Finally, one of my early (pre-teen years) memories that has yet to leave me was dining out on Sundays approximately once a month. It was a Greek eatery – 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.

 

Finally, diners remain near the top of my list of restaurants to frequent. Why? Six reasons.

 

  1. The food is always fresh
  2. The price is right
  3. Expansive menu
  4. Generous portions
  5. The ambiance is usually casual
  6. Rarely a wait

 

In addition, I still think diners have a bright future despite concerns with dwindling customers, rising rents, lost leases, shrinking profit margins, etc. Some of this is true, but most of the new restaurants reviewed in the literature are hellaciously priced. I make every effort to stay away from these joints; they simply are not worth it. The diners have been hurt by credit cards and a more strict enforcement of the tax codes, i.e., they can no longer rely on patron tax charges that often served as the margin of profit. Two options that can help diners survive is to modestly increase prices and provide a more compact, rather than expansive, menu.

 

A closeout? I need to mention my current favorite of favorites. It is the Triangle Diner located in Saratoga Springs, home of summer thoroughbred racing in August; my recent visit to SS was the 64th year in a row (see pics below).  The diner is a “garage,” similar to an old-fashioned diner located in the middle of nowhere during the depression era.  It is surrounded by some really great 4-star restaurants, including 15 Church and Pennell’s. Yet, it is the 3rd highest rated restaurant in SS. Fantastic breakfast and lunch at extremely reasonable prices. A local gem and a must for all SS lovers.

 

 

 

Below are three pics.  One at our hotel, another at the racetrack and the third at the Triangle Diner.

 

Please drop me a note about your favorite diner.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

OCTOBER 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season