ON THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION (NYRA)

September 1, 2020

September 1, 2020

This is not an easy article for me to write. There are half a dozen activities that impacted my life. One such activity has been/is/and probably will always be thoroughbred wagering. I’ve been betting horses since I was 16 years old when I won my first bet – $2 win on Bedazzle at the old Jamaica track that paid $10.80. I can also still remember giving testimony as a representative of the horseplayers at a Presidential Crime Commission hearing in 1976 (my testimony is in the archives). In any event, any discussion on thoroughbred betting to follow would unquestionably have to center on the New York Racing Association (NYRA).

 

NYRA is home to three thoroughbred racetracks in New York State: Aqueduct, in New York City; Belmont Park, in Elmont; and, Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs. (An automobile racetrack is located in Watkins Glen.)

 

  1. AQUEDUCT RACETRACK. The genesis of the name? Aqueduct is any artificial channel built to transport water; the aqueduct may take the form of an open or enclosed canal, a tunnel, or a pipeline. Underground aqueducts were in use in ancient Mesopotamia, but the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome are the most famous. Several extensive aqueducts have been built in Europe but the most extensive aqueducts system in the world is that which supplies water to southern California, including the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. The major source of water is the Colorado River. In any event, Aqueduct Racetrack today is also home to the Resorts world Casino. My thoughts? ? The track is an absolute dump; I haven’t been there for 11 years.
  2. BELMONT PARK. It’s Belmont Park, not Belmont, a city in San Mateo County in California or Middlesex County in Massachusetts. The original Belmont Park opened in 1905 in Elmont, Long Island. Nearly 40,000 were in attendance on opening day. Today? NYRA has successfully converted what was once the most beautiful racetrack in the world into a fourth-class hangout for a handful of abused senior citizens. NYRA’s incompetence – no surprise since it is run by either career bureaucrats or career bureaucrat opportunists – is to blame. I stopped going last year after NYRA knowingly shortchanged their Belmont senior ticket wagering the time had come to end their abuse and exploitation – 25 years ago, I predicted (in the Daily Racing Forms) that daily attendance would drop below 5,000. Hell, I was wrong. Prior to COVID-19, weekday attendance was under 1,000!!! The place is now a disaster, plain and simple … a ghost town and a manure-hole. Thank you NYRA. Thank you Cuomo.

 

  1. SARATOGA RACECOURSE. This track is housed in upstate Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Springs is not to be confused with Saratoga, FL, our family’s favorite vacation spot or the city of Saratoga in Santa Clara County in California. Saratoga Springs conducts the summer meet (part of July and August) at Saratoga Race Course. Since 1955 (1), your author has attended the races there 65 years in a row. Weekly vacations have been reduced to a 2-night stay with the entire family at the historic Gideon Putnam, with breakfast at the fabulous Triangle Diner and dinner at Friend Bruce’s local gem Pennell’s and the overly expensive 15 Church. For me, going to Saratoga Springs is a bad habit that has gotten worse … but Mary, the kids, and the grandkids love the joint. Attend if you must, and you won’t get ripped off … you’ll get GOUGED like never before.

 

I won’t mince words early on, but here is how I have described NYRA in the past. “… a corrupt organization that has perpetrated one of the biggest scams on an unsuspected public”. This so-called “non-profit” organization is dedicated to maximizing profits for the thoroughbred industry at the expense of the patrons, public, and incompetent government officials (e.g., Cuomo). The only bigger scam and fraud in the NCAA.

 

So what’s the problem? As noted, it’s simply that NYRA has managed to destroy New York Racing as we once knew it. The sport survived 2 scares in the last half century. OTB first brought in a whole new group of fans. NYRA started staggering again soon after but casinos came to their rescue in recent years. I don’t think there is another Trump (no pun intended) card around for this industry. So the bottom line is that it is just a matter of time. The sport CANNOT survive! Why?

  1. A near 20% takeout will not sit well with crafty younger-set investors / gamblers in the future.
  2. I just don’t see them ever trying to accommodate the patrons. My suggestion is that you save your money and buy a sports book stock. I just purchased 2.000 shares of William Hill (WIMHY) two weeks ago at $6.08/share.

 

Not a pretty picture. Let me know what you think. Incredibly, the newsletter is approaching 15,000 hits.

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

OCTOBER 1:              On the Ultimate Quiz III

NOVEMBER 1:          On Election Time

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

 

  1. Devise delay strategies to allow the opponent shooting a foul shot to “cool” off.: this can include making a substitution or having the individuals on the line crisscross. Delay. Delay. Delay. Delay especially at the end of a game.
  2. Where appropriate, employ a shuttle system to ensure that the best defensive players are on the court.
  3. Practice one-on-one defense with each player. See also (#11).

 


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

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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 HOFSTRA’S 2019-20 MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

 

Here is how I opened my earlier analysis at the start of the Colonial Athletic Association season (12/1/19) – “This year’s analysis? I love Coburn as a player – he was my type of player when I was coaching. But Buie is the key. I think it will be his defense that will hopefully carry the team to the CAA Championship and an invitation to the Big Dance. This will really be an exciting year if this comes to pass. And, they have a reasonable shot to make it happen.”

 

The prize this year, as always, remains the same: Win the CAA Tournament in March and earn a bit to the NCAA tournament. The result? They won the CAA conference outright. But the conference and tournament are two difference things since the season conference title earns you nothing although the team became the sixth program in CAA history to win consecutive season titles. Along the way, Hofstra ranked second in the nation with road/neutral site wins (13), hit 20 3-pointers in a game, exhibited a tenacious defense (at times), and their four guard-three point shooting offense was in high gear most of the time. Pemberton and Kante were selected to the second and third team All-CAA teams, respectively, while Tareq Coburn was selected the basketball scholar athlete of the year. And Buie? He received the Ehlers Award, which is presented annually to the men’s basketball student-athlete who “embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with his academic athletic achievement.” After earning his undergraduate degree from Hofstra, Buie is currently earning his M.E. in Higher Education Leadership & Policy Studies, holding a 3.92 grade-point average. On the court, Buie led the CAA with 5.0 assists while pacing Hofstra with 18.5 points per game including 44 points in one game. Buie was also a first team all-CAA selection and was once again on the CAA’s All-Defensive Team.

 

On to this year’s tournament. The previous four years found the team in the finals twice, only to fail to win the championship. But this was another year. They won it easily which moved them onto the NCAA tournament. But wait! How do you spell infectious disease? CORONA!! End of story. After convincingly earning their first trip to the NCAA tournament in nearly 20 years, the event was cancelled.

 

As we gamblers often mumble after a tough loss…next case. On to next year and what can the faithful expect? Starters Coburn, Ray, and Kante will be back along with Schutte. Trueheart, Silvero and Burgess. Ray and Kante figure to have great years but Silvero could make a monstrous difference. New recruits will only add to a quality starting team that will consist of Coburn, Ray, Silverto, Trueheart, and Kante. I look for big things next year.

 

Finally, more on Buie. Can he make it to the next (professional) level? The scouts I talked to all felt he was not only too small but also too light. I disagreed in his case. Maybe I just have a soft spot in my heart for guards (I also touted Charles and Justin), but I believe that guards – particularly those who can play defense, – can most impact the quality of a team. (There’s an off-guard at Providence that currently comes to mind.) Buie has also shown dramatic improvement in each of the last four years; his ability/talent has increased near exponentially during this period. I really think he has a chance.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

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)

AUGUST 1:                On the Coronavirus

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

 

  1. Officials should be charted, particularly under the offensive basket.
  2. Practice a small forward and (in particular) guards laying the low post to exploit any weak defensive player. Some (1) or (2) guards are especially adept at playing the low post, perhaps due to earlier playground experiences.
  3. With 40-70 seconds left at the end of the half or game, shoot before 30 seconds to insure another shot.

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.

 

 


ON THE HOFSTRA 2019-20 BASKETBALL SEASON

December 1, 2019

December 1, 2019

 

Here is part of what I wrote last year at the start of the Hofstra Men’s 2018-19 basketball season. “The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away “Hofstra Targets NCAA: Wright-Foreman key to making March Madness.” Here is what appeared this year in the 11/2/19 Newsday headlines, “Hunger Pains: Pemberton, Pride Wants to Earn Spot in NCAA Tourney!” Now I ask you: What team doesn’t want to make the Tourney? In any event, the problems that existed last year still remain.  What problems remain? The same four I raised earlier, as detailed below.

 

  1. How many teams that made the Sweet 16 play zone defense? If you answered hardly any, you’d be right. And, there is a reason why the better teams do NOT play zone defense. Accept it – nothing can replace the intensity of an in-your-face man-to-man defense. NOTHING!!!
  2. I keep repeating this after each season. You are inviting trouble when you commit to a 7-man rotation, with 5 players rotating around 4 positions. A successful team needs season-tested players not only when players are in foul trouble but also at tournament time when confronting either a 3-game/3-day or 4-game/4-day schedule. Hopefully, this will not occur again this season.
  3. Coach Mikalich and his staff have done a superb job in recruiting – when it comes to offensive players. But, defense is as important as offense, right?  Anything been done about it? Time will tell.
  4. The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. How does a team do this? I discuss this very topic in the upcoming 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book . . . or, simply talk to Coach Timmy Cluess of Iona.

 

On to this year. Buie, Pemberton, Ray and Coburn are back. So is Truehart, although currently sidelined. The new additions include guard Silverio (Omar) and center Kante (Isaac). The starting five appear (at this time) to be guards Buie, Pemberton, Ray, and Coburn with Kante at center. Subs appear to be the aforementioned Silverio, Shutte (Ken) and (perhaps) freshman Burgess (Caleb). This year’s analysis? I love Coburn as a player – he was my type of player when I was coaching. But, Buie is the key. It will be his defense that will hopefully carry the team to the CAA Championship AND an invitation to the Big Dance. This will really be an exciting year if this comes to pass. And, they have a reasonable shot to make it happen.

 

Here’s more:  the club is off to a decent start.  So far, so good.  The team’s record at the time of the preparation of this article (12/1) is 4-3 that includes an embarrassing loss to San Jose St. and a dramatic come from behind 20-point victory against UCLA.

Here is my usual pitch on why everyone, particularly seniors, should consider attending Hofstra games this season. Attending these games for me still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; it’s even cheaper than going to the movies. There is ample free parking, easy access in and out of the Mack Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.50 for a dog, $3.00 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Did I mention that its $6 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Many home games last year turned out to be thrillers. Share it this year with someone you care about.

 

GO PRIDE!

 

Note: The theodorenewsletter will begin a new feature starting this month (see below). The new feature will provide either three offensive or three defensive basketball suggestions that will appear in the upcoming 2nd edition of “Basketball Coaching 101”, and replace the weekly basketball suggestions that have appeared on Facebook’s “Basketball Coaching 101.”

 

This month’s Basketball Coaching 101 offensive hints:

 

  1. Run back at near full speed after a turn of possession (or turnover) to play defense.
  2. Never play zone defense. There are some exceptions, detailed in (3).
  3. Consider playing zone defense only if one of your star offensive players is a weak defender or if one of your star offensive players is in foul trouble or if you intend to use only 5, 6 or 7 players, i.e., the person (substitute) players are weak. Massimino used this strategy during Villanova’s championship run in 1985.

 

You want more? Tough. You’ll have to wait until next month for 3 offensive suggestions.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JANUARY 1:   On Four Issues I:  Climate Change

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: NYRA

 

 


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

 


ON THE ULTIMATE QUIZ

July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

From my files. Here are 25 questions worth four points each. Good luck. The answers appear at the end of the article.

 

  1. What world-renowned philosopher said: “Revolutions break out when opposite parties, the rich and the poor, are equally balanced; and there is little or nothing between them; for, if either party were manifestly superior, the other would not risk an attack upon them.”
  2. When and what famous and charismatic individual wrote a Broadway musical play last year that no one gave a second thought?”
  3. Can you describe the origin of the term “subway” as it relates to tipping (gratuity)?
  4. What famous actress said: “don’t kiss me, I just took a bath.”?
  5. Who is currently involved with developing new potable water process systems in order to solve a major problem facing mankind?
  6. What famous actor said: “We’ll always have Paris.”
  7. What immortal movie character said: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”?
  8. What famous actor said, “Go ahead, make my day.”?
  9. What President said: “Government’s view of the economy can be summed up in a few short phrases: if it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; and, if it stops moving, subsidize it.”?
  10. What author said: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”?
  11. What famous television newscaster said, “We are not educated well enough to perform the act of intelligently selecting our leaders.”?
  12. What famous world leader said: “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”?
  13. What famous philosopher said: “In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party to give it to the other.”?
  14. What famous author said: “No man’s life, liberty or prosperity is safe while the legislature is in session”?
  15. What famous individual said: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free!”
  16. What President of recent times decided to rewrite and reinterpret history?
  17. What famous world leader said: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessing; the inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”?
  18. What famous personality first described Barack and Michelle as “The Entitlement Kid” and “The Last Lady,” respectively?
  19. What famous American said: “A Government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have”?
  20. If Joe Biden isn’t the dumbest individual in the swamp, then who is?
  21. Can you offer a comment on the 10 senators who questioned Kavanaugh?
  22. What do Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Gerald Nadler, etc., have in common?
  23. Which democratic presidential hopeful would best serve our great nation?
  24. What would have happened to our great nation if The Hill, and not Donald Trump had been elected?
  25. Is it possible to Make America Great Again?

 

Bonus question: Can you explain the difference between investigating and spying?

 

Here are the answers to the 25-question quiz. Each question was worth four points. How did you do?

 

  1. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.); Politics, Book V
  2. It was last year and Lou Theodore.
  3. A soda/beer concessionaire at the old Jamaica, Aqueduct and Belmont racetracks in the late 50s would bellow out “subway” when a customer left a nickel tip (a generous one in those days) – the same cost as the fare on the subway.
  4. Barbara Stanwyck
  5. Why your favorite author, of course.
  6. Why Bogie, of course – Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca, 1942
  7. Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind, 1936.
  8. Clint Eastwood, 1983
  9. Ronald Reagan, 1986
  10. George Bernard Shaw
  11. Walter Cronkite
  12. Winston Churchill
  13. Voltaire, 1766
  14. Mark Twain, 1866
  15. J. Rourke, Civil Libertarian
  16. Jimmy Carter, and more recently, BHO
  17. Winston Churchill
  18. Lou Theodore, 2010
  19. Thomas Jefferson
  20. Nancy Pelosi and BHO are a close second and third, respectively.
  21. In a very real sense, they are traitors.
  22. They too belong in jail
  23. Sorry! I wanted to lighten the presentation. The question is obviously a joke.
  24. You can find out by electing a liberal/democratic as president in 2020.
  25. It is possible, but there is only one who can do it and, no matter what you think of him, our nation will forever be grateful for saving us from The Hill.

 

Bonus question answer:

To investigate is to inquire in order to uncover facts and determine the truth about an individual with his knowledge. To spy is similar except the inquiry is conducted secretly without the individual’s knowledge. In other words, Trump was spied on by HBO’s administration.

 

I had fun writing this one. Prepare for another quiz in the not too distant future.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

AUGUST 1:                On Engineering as a Career

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

OCTOBER 1:              On Barack Hussein Obama Update VI

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

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

 


ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE HOFSTRA 2018-19 BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

Here is part of what I wrote at the start of the Hofstra Men’s 2018-19 basketball season. “The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away ‘HOFSTRA TARGETS NCAA: WRIGHT-FOREMAN KEY TO MAKING MARCH MADNESS.’ I disagree. Wright-Foreman and defense will send Hofstra to the Promised Land. The backcourt, led by superstar all-American candidate JWF, may be able to carry the club and overcome any deficiencies upfront…and this will be determined as the season goes forward.”

 

Well, what about the players this year? Superman (Justin Wright-Foreman) emerged as a star. My discussions with 7 NBA scouts suggest that he has a 25% chance of making it. His major drawback: physical size and body strength. I like his chances for two reason: backcourt drafts are preferred and JWF has continued to improve with each season. The rest of the team? Buie and Ray also continued to improve and Coburn was the most pleasant of all surprises. To top it all off, Taylor, the center transfer from Purdue, improved significantly as the season progressed; he proved a more than adequate replacement for Rokas with his shot blocking and stellar defensive play, as well as his ability to make layups and foul shots. The team appeared unbeatable midway through the season.

 

And, what about the team’s performance this year? I’ll make this short. The club had what I would consider a turn-around year. They won the CAA Championship but failed to win the tournament, losing to Northeastern in the finals following a lackluster performance in their previous 5 CAA games. They closed the season out with a loss to a quality opponent in the first round of the NIT…an ultra-solid game in which they played great and could have won with a couple of breaks.

 

It is fair to conclude that the personnel was there for the team to go further. Here’s my analysis of reasons on why they didn’t.

 

  1. How many teams that made the Sweet 16 played zone defense? If you answered hardly any, you’d be right. And, there is a reason why the better teams do NOT play zone defense. Over the years, only Syracuse’s zone has withstood the test of time, but they too have fallen by the wayside in recent years as more well-coached teams have figured out how to destroy this defense. Hofstra, once again, committed to a zone defense this season and that, more than anything else, lead to their limited success. Case in point: During the CAA championship game between Hofstra and Northeastern, Mary (my wife) kept questioning why Northeastern was getting so many easy open shots while Hofstra struggled to get a good shot. I explained what happens when a team plays zone defense. Accept it – nothing can replace the intensity of an in-your-face man-to-man defense. NOTHING!!!
  2. I keep repeating this after each season. You are inviting trouble when you commit to a 7-man rotation, with 5 players rotating around 4 positions. A successful team needs season-tested layers not only when players are in foul trouble but also at tournament time when confronting either a 3-game/3-day or 4-game/4-day schedule.
  3. Coach Mikalich and his staff have done a superb job in recruiting — when it comes to offensive players. But defense is as important as offense, right? All coaches agree with this irrefutable statement, but few do anything about it. Bottom line: Recruit for defense as well as offense.
  4. The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. Iona College, with essentially mediocre seasons, has won the MAAC tournament the last 4 years in a row. Does Tim Cluess know something that other coaches don’t know? I believe he has figured out that the corrupt NCAA has stacked the deck against mid-major teams, and the only way to survive and prosper is to win their tournament. Bottom line: Play to win the tournament, NOT conference games during the season. How does a team do this? I discussed this very topic in the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.

 

I also noted earlier that this might be a do-or-die season for Hofstra since the club is top-heavy with seniors and only one freshman along with two sophs. But things have changed. My spies have informed me that Buie has been granted another year of stay (eligibility) and Jalen Ray – who continues to grow (physically) – has become as a quality guard/small forward with some defensive skills. Add to this that Pemberton, although short at times on defensive output, will emerge next season as a scoring machine. Also add to this the performance of Coburn this past season. I’m good at math and it seems that they will have an excellent starting 4 that may be devoid of a center. Hopefully, one of the transfers or one of the freshmen or a new recruit will fill this void. Bottom line 1: a quality center could bring another CAA championship next year. Bottom line 2: playing man-to-man may insure 1. In any event, I’ve changed my mind and now believe that 2019-20 will be another good year.

 

I return at the start of next season.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

MAY 1:           On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:          On the Theodore Healthcare Plan

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


ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE, AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVII  

March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019

Here we go once more…my 27th. This one’s a mixed bag, with both sports and personal commentaries.

 

  • Still fighting to keep my weight down. My diet, described in an earlier newsletter, has really helped.
  • Humanity can survive without numerous amenities. However, it cannot survive without energy or potable water.
  • Had a successful visit with three of my guys to the simulcast facility at Monmouth Park Racetrack and (naturally) dropped by their Sport Book. My bets? The Nets (750-1) to win it all. The Mets (22-1), Atlanta (18-1), and Diamondback (750-1) to win it all. Virginia (15-1), Buffalo (75-1), Tennessee (16-1), Kentucky (17-1) and we have Marquette (25-1) to win the NCAA. Partners with two others. Wish me luck.
  • Working on desalination projects. Hoping to come up with a viable economic process that will provide potable water. Someone is going to get rich in this area but it won’t be me. My best so far involves geothermal energy. My associate and former classmate is working on mangroves and hybrid processes.
  • I’m also still working on accident and emergency planning/response issues, particularly as they apply to terrorism. Stopped giving seminars but my book is still selling.
  • NYRA is a disaster; they have effectively destroyed Belmont Park, the most beautiful racetrack in the world. But hope springs eternal. Kay, the CEO, has thankfully left. We now await another Cuomo political appointment who no doubt will also fail to right the ship.
  • I used to think that energy and water were the critical issues that mankind needed to address this century. Nope! It’s water, and solely water.
  • Go Mets!
  • I should stop complaining. I still go out for dinner, walk almost 2 miles a day, do 8 pushups on awakening, write books, keep pace with my newsletter, go to the track several days a week, bet horses every day, etc.
  • A few of my guys are now claiming they have property in Oz.
  • Insecure people use profanity.
  • There are days when I wish I could go back in time and relive my Killen’s Tavern basketball memories.
  • I have tremendous difficulty throwing anything away, particularly things related to my books. And yet, when I go, they will certainly find a home in a circular file.
  • I’m still addicted to hot pastrami sandwiches, hot dogs with kraut and mustard and hamburgers. Perhaps Trump and I have something in common.
  • People continue to ask me out to lunch or dinner. My usual response: “Can I have the money instead?”
  • Please remember that the fanatical green environmental self-defined experts-engineers and scientists alike – who have certified (*!*$#%*) the existence of a global climate/warming problem would be out of business if no problem actually existed.
  • I’m often asked: How am I doing? I often respond with “How good could I be doing if I’m talking to you?” Is that a politically incorrect response?
  • I’ll be 85 come April. Hard to believe! But I’m still good looking…well, sort of.
  • The major effect of breaking my back (fractured vertebrae) 1 ½ years ago is that I am now 2 inches shorter. Not good for a guy like me.
  • Let’s hope one of the sports will ban players from spitting. It’s disgusting, particularly in baseball.
  • The second edition of my Basketball Coaching 101 book is now officially on hold due to numerous other commitments.
  • I hope to soon publish details on my basketball “umbrella offense.”
  • Travel has now become such a hassle. Visiting Florida is the only place that has been acceptable. There obviously will be less travel in the days ahead.
  • I’m hoping to do an article on taxes in the near future. Here is a checkbook list of mine: Federal, State, County (Nassau), Town (North Hempstead), Village (East Williston), and School (East Williston). Add to this sales, gasoline, gambling (when I occasionally win), etc. Twenty percent tipping has added to my woes.
  • Legendary sports historian Art Lovely (my dear friend) recently celebrated his 90th birthday with his beloved Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series. Unfortunately, I needed the Dodgers at 8-1.
  • Kudos to yours truly. I hope sports officienadoes will finally come to agree with me that Eli Manning is the luckiest and most overrated athlete (not just quarterback) of all time. Thank you Lou for letting us know early on.
  • Blew a couple of big consulting jobs as an expert witness…more and more people are apparently questioning my claim to be the world’s premier environmental authority.
  • Every time I meet someone socially, I ask about the $20 they owe me. One guy recently and a gal sometime back took me seriously.
  • Every one of us is aware of the lazy, indifferent conduct of government employees…and most of us accept it. But now, their conduct has expanded to include criminality. The best way to solve the problem is to eliminate most of these positions.
  • Baseball pitchers (and managers) have yet to figure out the truly negative results produced by walks.
  • Hunkered down for another winter. Ouch! But I still have The Queen, the kids, and the grandkids, along with my other activities.

 

Feel free to get back to me whether you agree or disagree with my comments. Happy hunting till XXVIII.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

APRIL 1:                     On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018-19 Basketball Season

MAY 1:                       On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:                      On the Theodore Healthcare Plan