Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction stories and essays.

When Mr. Potato Head Was A Real Potato

Does anyone remember when Mr. Potato Head was made with a real potato? Today’s Mr. Potato Head is a large, clean plastic potato replica into which you stick plastic ears, eyes noses and lips.  But when I was a kid, Mr. Potato Head was a lot more crude. The Mr. Potato Head toy first came out in 1952, and  was just a little box with all the accessories and nothing else. You had to go out and find a real potato into which you would stick the eyes, ears, nose and anything else you could dig up. Maybe you even gave it hair made from some old lint ball found under the couch.

The original Mr. Potato Head from the 1950s

The original Mr. Potato Head from the 1950s

Kids loved the toy and it was an instant hit. Parents liked it too. It was inexpensive, kept kids busy for hours while stimulating kids’ imaginations. Of course using a real potato did have its drawbacks.

Today's modern Mr. Potato Head

Today’s modern Mr. Potato Head

Many a child would let out a terrified scream after finding a forgotten Mr. Potato Head in the back of a closet. After a few months alone, the Mr. Potato Head would be growing new appendages and sprouts and be covered in a fine lumpy mold.  This is probably why you don’t see any toys made from real food anymore.

Rest in Peace Mr. Potato Head

Rest in Peace Mr. Potato Head

The modern Mr. Potato Head is still a lot of fun. Of course unlike the original toy you can’t eat it when you are done playing.

Cool – The Most Dangerous Four Letter Word

Cool is the most dangerous four letter word in the English language. How many thousands of stupid decisions have people made in the never-ending quest to be considered “cool”?  People abuse drugs or alcohol, start smoking cigarettes or drive cars drunk partly so that they can be cool.

Smoking is so Cool

Smoking is so Cool

Somehow cool has maintained a hold over the American psyche, long after other slang words have lost their mystique and died an ignominious death. No one wants to be “groovy” or “boss” or “outta sight” or even “hep”.  In fact, anyone even using those expressions would most likely be laughed out of the room. Yet Cool remains the king.

That's right - I'm Cool!

That’s right – I’m Cool!

The worst part of trying to be cool is not what you do, but what you don’t do. The cool-seekers dissociate themselves from anyone considered un-cool. Loving family, good teachers and childhood friends are all abandoned when it becomes obvious that they are not cool.

At least he walked away

At least he walked away

Sometimes, years in the future, the cool-seekers realize that they have abandoned the best people in their lives. Of course by that time, it it often too late. Those good friends and family  are gone, forever.

What can we say?

What can we say?

So maybe it’s time for Cool to finally exit the stage and go the way of “groovy”. What will be left without people trying to be cool? Maybe, a world where everyone can be happy with who they really are.

So Cool

So Cool

 

Rogue Heroes – a fascinating book about the SAS in World War II

Rogue Heroes by Ben MacIntyre is a fascinating story  of the British unit in World War II which created an entirely new way of fighting the Nazis. It reads more like an action novel than a history book, except that all the characters and action sequences really happened.

The SAS (Strategic Air Service) was the brainchild of David Sterling, a young British Lieutenant who was more known for his  parties, drinking  and lack of discipline than his military skills. He felt that the middle ranks of the British Army had no imagination whatsoever, and were still trying to use tactics from World War I.

Jock McDiarmid and his SAS team o a raid in the North African desert

Jock McDiarmid and his SAS team o a raid in the North African desert

Lieutenant Sterling envisioned a small group of highly trained soldiers which would  strike the German air bases in North Africa using hit-and-run guerrilla  tactics. This concept may seem common-place on today’s battlefields, but at the outset of World War II, this was a brand-new concept. At the time, commanders were still relying solely on full scale frontal assaults.  As a result, the traditional Army men were very hostel  to Sterling’s concepts.

Author Ben MacIntyre (left) & SAS founder David Stirling (right)

Author Ben MacIntyre (left) & SAS founder David Stirling (right)

In fact, Sterling probably never would have gotten a chance to try out his ideas, except for one thing. David Sterling came from a very upper class British family, and in those days, class was still  important- even in the Army. Sterling got invited to dinners with various high ranking officers, where he used the opportunity to present his plan to command generals. He was able to skip the middle-rank bureaucracy which normally would have prevented any general from seeing such a wild scheme.

The SAS in World War II

The SAS in World War II

At the time, the war was not going well for the British in North Africa. Rommel was beating back the British forces and it looked like the Germans would soon drive the British out entirely. The British generals sanctioned the SAS and gave Sterling men and equipment. The British high command did not really think the idea would work, but at this point they were willing to try anything that could possibly hurt Rommel. If the SAS  worked it would be great. If it did not, then the few men lost (killed) was very considered very minor.

The SAS did succeed beyond everyone’s wildest dreams.  The men worked in small teams that lived far out in the desert. The Germans were not expecting attacks to come from the desert since they did not think it was possible for any troops to stay in the desert for long periods of time.

With small teams of men, the SAS was able to sneak onto the German airfields and plant bombs on planes. Over the course of a few months, the SAS has destroyed hundreds of aircraft.

Rogue Heroes gives fascinating details. For example the very name “SAS” had started out as the name of a fictitious unit, long before there was an actual group. A British intelligence officer had been giving the task of creating false intelligence reports to confuse the Germans. He came up with the impressive sounding  name “Strategic Air Services”, and started rumors that this was a gigantic force which would be parachuting in to attack Rommel’s men. This larger than life fictitious unit existed long before there were any real soldiers to go along with it. Throughout the war British Intelligence continued to create false reports to make the SAS appear many times larger than it really was.

In fact,  the psychological impact of the SAS on the German troops was one of the main successes of the group.  The SAS hit and run tactics behind German lines made the German troops worry that they were never safe no matter where they were.

When the war in North Africa was won, the SAS moved to Europe and continued its work. This is where the war became even nastier.  They were so successful that Hitler himself had taken notice of them. He issued his infamous “Commando Order”. This directed that anyone found operating behind German front lines was to be immediately executed, even if in uniform and surrendering. In addition, the Gestapo carried out reprisal executions of French civilians every time there was an SAS raid.

There is one shameful period in SAS history that Ben MacIntyre left out of the book. In the 1970s-1980s the British used the SAS in Northern Ireland as murder squads to kill members of the IRA without trial. On the one hand, the British claimed that all people in Northern Ireland were British citizens. However, the SAS was given instructions to “shoot on sight” any leaders of the IRA even if they were unarmed. No capture or trial. On other occasions, the SAS did not do the killings itself, but provided intelligence to Ulster Loyalists who then carried out attacks on Catholic civilians. Even today, this period of SAS history has been conveniently swept under the rug.

Ben MacIntyre is an excellent writer, and makes history come alive. He focuses on the individual men of the SAS and we get to know these unique personalities on a first name basis.  Of course, this makes parts of Rogue Heroes very sad. War is not a game, and a high percentage of SAS men were killed due to the large amount of combat they were in.  Rogue Heroes is a real tribute to these men. It has the respect to treat these men not as superhuman, but as real people who made extraordinary sacrifices.

We highly recommend Rogue Heroes, and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

 

 

 

Is Amazon Echo’s Alexa Spying on You? – The police say “yes”.

Is Amazon Echo’s Alexa secretly recording everything that happens in your home and reporting it to Amazon? The police say “Yes”. They have subpoenaed  Amazon in a murder investigation for Echo’s data, and Amazon has refused to comply. What is Amazon afraid of?

James Bates whose Amazon Echo may send to prison

James Bates – his Amazon Echo may have recorded him committing murder.

Victor Collins was murdered in the hot tub of James Bates on the Night of November 22, 2015. Bentonville Arkansas police think that the Amazon Echo device in the home may have heard and recorded the event. Amazon refuses to confirm or deny the possibility.

Victor Collins - murdered in a hot tub in Bentonville Arkansas

Victor Collins – murdered in a hot tub in Bentonville Arkansas – “Alexa who killed him?”

That is a very strange assumption on the part of the police. The Amazon Echo is just supposed to answer your questions when you begin a sentence with the word “Alexa.” Something like “Alexa. What is the temperature?”.  Amazon has never mentioned anything about Echo keeping permanent records, or even doing anything unless the magic word “Alexa” is spoken.

So why doesn’t Amazon just say to the police, “We can’t help you. Our device does not record what happens in people’s homes and we don’t have any such records.” Instead, Amazon has refused answer any questions about Echo’s capability.

Search Warrant document related to Amazon Echo

Search Warrant document related to Amazon Echo

You do not have to be paranoid to wonder what Amazon is trying to hide. If, in fact, the Amazon Echo can help solve the murder, then that would mean that those friendly devices are actually recording everything in your home  24/7. It also means permanent records are being kept. In 1984, George Orwell thought the television set would be doing that job. It turns out instead, that a cute little cylinder nicknamed “Alexa” is doing the task.

Victor Collins and some other men spent the evening watching football at Bates’ home. Bates claimed that he went to bed early and Collins and the other guys stayed late. The next morning Collins was dead in the outdoor hot tub. At first, it was assumed he had been drunk and drowned. However, an autopsy showed that he had been strangled and forcefully held underwater until he died.  Forensics also showed that a hose had been used to wash blood off the deck near the hot tub.

Police have already been successful with some computer evidence in the murder. Victor Collins’ house was equipped with a “smart water meter”, which electronically records how much water is used and when. This smart meter showed that on the night of the murder a large amount of water was used in the middle of the night. This could be consistent with someone hosing blood off the deck around the hot tub.

Amazon is in the ultimate “lose-lose” scenario. If they admit they can help, then they are telling people world-wide that Amazon has been secretly recording every private moment in their homes. If Amazon continues to stonewall, they could be helping a murderer go free just to save their corporate bottom line.

Of course,  this could just be the opening of the floodgates. If Alexa can “testify” in a murder case, what about divorce proceedings or child custody hearings?  Will Brad Pitt subpoena the Amazon Echo in the home he used to share with Angelina Jolie? She says Brad was a bad parent.  Could he use the Amazon Echo recordings to show he was always nice and kind to the kids?

Orwell's advice that Amazon should take note of

Orwell’s advice that Amazon should take note of

We certainly do not mean to make light of this.  In all the theoretical discussions about what Amazon should do, the forgotten man is the murder victim Victor Collins. He suffered a terrible death with someone grabbing him by the neck and holding him under hot water until life left him. Amazon should help the suffering of his family by coming clean and telling the world what Alexa does or does not know.

So in 2017, the Sci-Fi future Orwell warned us about has fully arrived. If you have some deep secret you need to share, don’t mention it near your computerized friend. You can’t trust her.

 

 

East Coast Stories Top 7 Posts of 2016

It has been another exciting year at East Coast Stories with growing readership and subscribers. Here is a list of the top 7 stories in 2016 based on the number of views. If you missed any, click on the title to be directed to the story.

  • Roadies Disrespects Those Who Died at the Who Concert in Cincinnati got a huge number of views. Many readers readers knew nothing of this 1979 tragedy in which 11 people were crushed to death in a stampede. Readers were grateful we published the names of the victims. However, some very emotional  readers hated that we criticized the T.V. show Roadies for using this tragedy as a cheap plot device. They were more concerned with the T.V. show than the actual tragedy.
Police cover dead body at The Who Cincinnati concert

Police cover dead body at The Who Cincinnati concert

  • Yelena Isinbayeva Strikes Back is about the greatest female pole vaulter in the world who was banned from the Rio Olympics along with the rest of the Russian Track & Field team. Ironically Yelena Isinbayeva has never taken any drugs and had always been an outspoken critic of the entire Russian doping program.  She is currently trying to change things in Russia by running to become head of the Russian athletic federation.
Yelena Isinbayeva - The world's greatest female pole vaulter

Yelena Isinbayeva – The world’s greatest female pole vaulter

  • Qasim on High Maintenance is about one of the episodes of this quirky show about an upscale marijuana delivery guy in Brooklyn. In this episode, Anna Rose Hopkins finds out that the great new man she just met gives new meaning to the word stranger.
Anna Rose Hopkins in the Qasim episode of High Maintenance

Anna Rose Hopkins in the Qasim episode of High Maintenance

  • Tijen Karas profiles the Turkish Anchorwoman who was on the air when coup leaders burst into the T.V. studio and at gunpoint forced her to read their demands. Her courage and composure is astounding.
Turkish Anchorwoman Tijen Karas

Turkish Anchorwoman Tijen Karas

  • Is Alicia von Rittberg Pregnant? details how a joking Pinterest photo lead to viral internet rumors about this German Movie Actress. Alicia von Rittberg has a huge following in Europe, and  is best known to Americans for her appearance as Emma in Fury.
German Actress Alicia von Rittberg

German Actress Alicia von Rittberg

  • Peter Dinklage in Basking Ridge New Jersey  is the story of how this world famous Game of Thrones star appeared at a purely local event to help his mother raise money for New Jersey’s Somerset Hills Chorus. It was a very hush-hush local event. The only announcements of Peter Dinklage’s participation came from small notices in the local library.
Peter Dinklage appeared at an unadvertised event in Basking Ridge New Jersey

Peter Dinklage appeared at an unadvertised event in Basking Ridge New Jersey

  • The Girl From Greiz and Her New Trabant – is a true story of a young woman growing up in East Germany just as the Berlin wall was about to fall. These major political events turned out to be simply a distraction to her lifetime dreams of getting her degree and a new car.
The Girl From Greiz and Her New Trabant

The Girl From Greiz and Her New Trabant

We hope you enjoyed all our 2016 stories, and we  look forward to enlightening and entertaining you in 2017. Be sure to post your comments (favorable or unfavorable) on any of the stories. Don’t worry, we do not publish your email.

Thanks for Reading!

 

 

Confessions Of A Bad Runner

Go to any running race in the tri-state area and you will see me there. Look for the 6 foot tall, thin guy running with a beautiful stride at the front of the race.  That’s not me. Look further back. No – much further.  That’s right, the boxy short guy with grey hair huffing and puffing at the back of the pack.

I never win. I never come close to winning and  never will. There was a time when I thought that I would start winning “age category” medals as I got older. I would keep myself in shape and eventually be able to outrun the old duffers who had let themselves go. This was a miscalculation. It turns out that there are one Hell of a lot of old guys who can still zip by me like I am standing still.

Pack runners

Pack runners

So why do I do it? It is because running races are one of the last true community events that actually bring people closer. Men,and women, teenagers, senior citizens and  kids all run together. They run at different speeds and tremendously different abilities, but they all encourage each other. There is no nastiness of body-shaming. The fact that you are trying is good enough.

The runners at the front of the pack are like beautiful Ferrari or Maserati sports cars gliding  along at top speed.  Those of us in the back are more like boxy little Jeeps bouncing and almost tipping over as we take the turns.

Usain Bolt the world's greatest sprinter

Usain Bolt the world’s greatest sprinter

The best part of any community running race is the finish. Not because it is over, but because the great runners at front who finished long ago wait for and congratulate every single finisher, no matter how long it takes.

I have never gotten a medal when I cross the finish line. I have gotten a lot of free Popsicles, and drinks of rubbery tasting hose water. Sometimes, there is even a free T-Shirt with a charity’s name on it.  Somehow, that’s enough.

 

The Winter Cat

Cats have the right Winter philosophy. For cats the Winter  season is not about cold and sleet and snow and cars skidding into each other. For cats, Winter is the perfect time to snuggle under a warm blanket and do nothing but relax until  Spring.

Sleeping Cat in Baby Blanket

Sleeping Cat in Baby Blanket

Of course, cats occasionally  have to wake up and eat, secure in the knowledge that a certain type of soulful look will guarantee some human preparing a tasty meal.

Beautiful Ragdoll Cat

Beautiful Ragdoll Cat

We here at East Coast Stories wish our readers a wonderful Holiday Season, and hope that  in 2017 you are all as peaceful and secure as cats.

High Tech/Low Cost/Made In America – TIPS Sticker Stylus

The TIPS Sticker Stylus™ is a unique new tech product.  It sticks on to the end of a pen or pencil and allows you to use it as a computer stylus.  Apple calls its stylus the Apple Pencil™ and sells it for $99.00.  TIPS™ converts a pencil into a stylus at a cost of $1.99.

TIPS Sticker Stylus comes in a flat envelope

TIPS Sticker Stylus comes in a flat envelope. A pack of 6 costs $11.94, which comes to only $1.99 each.

The TIPS Sticker Stylus™ was designed in the United States and is 100% made in the U.S. by a new entrepreneurial company based on the East Coast. (That’s right –  not all tech entrepreneurs live in California)

TIPS Sticker Stylus

TIPS Sticker Stylus

This innovative yet cost-effective new product has a number of really cool features:

  • Turns any pen or pencil into a capacitive (touchscreen stylus)
  • If you want to, you can use it as a screen stylus and write on  paper simultaneously. Even the Apple Pencil™ cannot do that.  It is  ironic that the Apple Pencil™ cannot function as an actual pencil. The TIPS Sticker Stylus™ can.
TIPS Sticker Stylus fits into a Smartphone case

TIPS Sticker Stylus easily Fits into a Smartphone case

The fact that the TIPS Sticker Stylus™ fits into a smartphone case, means it is easy to carry around without losing it.

If you are looking for a last minute holiday gift  at a reasonable price East Coast Stories recommends the TIPS Sticker Stylus™.

 

 

Zombies Represent Gerascophia -A Fear Of Getting Old

Zombies really represent Gerascophia, which is a fear of getting old.  The Zombie genre  is so popular since the fear of getting old is universal. In fact, many  people fear the incapacitates and indignities of old age more than they fear death itself.  The Who song My Generation, comes right our and says  “Hope I die before I get old.”

When the young beautiful people run from  Zombies in movies, they are really running from old age. Here are the hints that show what Zombies are really about.

  • Like old people Zombies don’t remember who they once were. However, they congregate at places like malls which they used to enjoy. Walking aimlessly in malls seems to be a big attraction for zombies (and old people in the real world).
Zombies and old people in Cockneys Versus Zombies

Zombies and old people in Cockneys Versus Zombies

  • In most movies, Zombies walk slowly like old people. (Of course, newer movies have brought in faster Zombies to add to the excitement).
Zombies slowly fall apart as if aging

Zombies slowly fall apart as if aging

  • Zombies never seem to actually die. They just look worse and worse like someone slowly aging.
  • In a huge portion of the zombie movies the people are never able to actually escape the fate of becoming a zombie. No matter how far you run or what you do the zombies (old age) eventually catches up with you.
Beautiful young women fight in Price & Prejudice & Zombies

Beautiful young women fight in Price & Prejudice & Zombies

  • The people best at fighting zombies are the young ad beautiful
  •  In most zombie movies, there is no cure, although many potions get tried. (Just look on the internet sometime and see how many “anti-aging” pills and creams are for sale.)
  • Euthanasia is often practiced in zombie movies.
Einstein points out there are some advantages to being older

Einstein points out there are some advantages to being older

  • If you are touched or bitten by a zombie you will become one. This goes back to fears that many children have of extremely old people. In fact, the terms Gerascophobia (or Gerontophobia) are used to describe both  the fear or getting old and the fear of old people themselves.  People are so afraid of the elderly that that  subconsciously end up envisioning aged people as monsters (Zombies).

So the next time you are screaming at a zombie movie remember that you may really be letting loose your primeval fears of aging. Of course, that means that the primitive part of your brain may be thinking of kindly old Grandma and Grandpa as horrible zombies that would be better off dead.  But don’t feel too bad.  After all you are doing it subconsciously.

So have a good scream. Bring those fears to the surface and let them out. Besides, no matter what you do the zombie (old age) is going to catch up with you in real life, even if the people somehow manage to  get away in the movies.

Then stop worrying about it. Maybe that’s why we love animals so much. They don’t sit around worrying about how old they are or what will happen when they get older. Animals don’t spend their time worrying about their life. They spend their time living it.

 

 

 

Little Bunny Blogger

Little Bunny Blogger is a wonderful  website for Bunny  lovers. It features terrific pictures of rabbits and has useful facts about the care and feeding of these gentle creatures.  It is authored by Carlee, who  has always loved rabbits. One of her earliest memories  as a little girl  is that of hopping around the house pretending to be a rabbit.

Pup, Luna & Carlee from Bunny Bloggers

Pup, Luna & Carlee from Bunny Bloggers

Little Bunny Blogger includes a section on random rabbit facts. We never knew before that rabbits can run 35 miles per hour or that they have 28 teeth and 18 toes.  It also emphasizes that rabbits are not toys, but a “member of the family” that need to be treated with love and care.

Pup enjoying some Timothy Hay

Pup enjoying some Timothy Hay

Little Bunny Blogger is especially useful for those who are first-time rabbit owners, or who are thinking of adopting a rabbit. It has a whole section of “dos and don’ts” explaining useful items like what foods are good and which can be dangerous.

Piper who was found wandering in Arkansas

Piper who was found wandering in Arkansas

Carlee’s love of animals extends to dogs and cats as well. There is an adorable picture of Piper, a Labrador/hound/Beagle mix who was found wandering streets in Arkansas when only 3 weeks old.

It is great to meet another blogger who loves bunnies and other animals as much as we do. We wish Carlee and Little Bunny Blogger great success.

22 Pushup Challenge Is The Wrong Way To Help Veterans

Doing 22 pushups may be the wrong way to help veteransPeople are ignoring the 81 suicides a day of Americans who are not veterans.  Many of those  patriotically doing 22 pushups mistakenly believe that the 22 suicides occur because the victims  are veterans.  Then people demand  special veteran-related solutions.   That is going down the wrong path and does not fix the problem. Suicide is an American-wide problem, not limited to veterans.

22 Pushup Challenge ignores the 81 non-veteran suicides per day

22 Pushup Challenge ignores the 81 non-veteran suicides per day

Many of those 22 who commit suicide are older people who  left the Armed Forces decades ago, and never served in any war. They killed themselves not because of what happened in the service, but because  of the same stresses faced by non-veterans. Mental illness, drug dependency, poverty and disease are taking their toll on veterans and non-veterans alike. Being a veteran does not protect someone from the ravages of mental illness or the fall into deep depression that leads to taking one’s own life.

The best way to lower veteran suicides is to work on programs to lower All suicides. America needs more drug treatment centers, suicide hotlines, and mental health centers. We need to remove the way Americans are stigmatized if they ever admit to having a mental illness, or needing psychological help.

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) explains the 22 Push Up Challenge

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) explains the 22 Push Up Challenge

The one thing the 22 Pushup Challenge has done is to open up a discussion of suicide in America.

Like most people when we heard the 22 a day statistic we thought it could not possibly be that high. When we looked into it, we found that the situation is much worse. In total, about 38,000 Americans per year kill themselves. That comes to 103 per day.

Now that the 22 Pushup Challenge has gotten everyone’s attention, let’s fix the problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue Bun-Nanza Returns!

Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue’s annual Bun-nanza returns on Sunday October 9th. This  year it will be held at:

Bunny snuggles with the bear

Sunshine snuggles with the  Teddy the bear

  • the Clinton Community Center
  •  Halstead Street
  • Clinton, NJ 08890
  • 11am- 4pm

If you love domestic rabbits, or are just curious about them, this is a great event for the whole family. You can even bring your own bunny, to get a nail trim and grooming.

On a hot day, Sunshine relaxes on the cool slate by the fireplace

On a hot day, Sunshine relaxes on the cool slate by the fireplace

Rabbit expert  Darrin Fournier has come all the way from the Bunny Whisperer in  California to be a guest speaker.  There will be  maze set up for bunnies to explore. Anyone who owns a rabbit knows that scrunching in and out of small places is one of the adventures that bunnies enjoy the most.

children 2

Joyce Wang of Elvis Parsley Products will the there with organic edible wreaths and brooms. Artist Susan Bromirski will be offering her unique digital paintings. We will also meet Alice Shope of Country Pet Specialties. Don’t forget that bunnies like to play so be sure to check out the bunny toys from Busy Bunny.

Bunny Contest 004

Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue is a wonderful organization which we have written about many times. It takes care of abandoned and abused rabbits and finds them good homes. My wife and I have a wonderful bunny named Sunshine, who we got from Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue. Sunshine was brought to Safe Haven Rabbit rescue after someone threw him out of a car window at a traffic light.

Bun Day Oct 5 022

Unfortunately, there are many people who treat domestic rabbits as “disposable pets.” They get rabbits thinking they are simple and easy like a stuffed animal. Once they realize this is a living creature that has needs to be cared for and nurtured they just “throw out” the rabbit.

sleepy dog

Many people take domestic rabbits to vacant lots or parks and just “free” them.  But these little guys cannot survive in the wild. They are not wild rabbits any more than dogs are wolves. Just leaving a domestic rabbit in a park or woods is the same as condemning it to a cruel death.

Kind people who find these abandoned domestic bunnies bring them to Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue, for a second chance at life. Please come to the Bun-nanza on October 9 and help rescue these fun little creatures.

Why Does Anyone Watch “American PIckers”? 8 Reasons.

Why does anyone watch The History Channel’s American Pickers? It is basically just two guys traveling around in a van buying other people’s junk. Theoretically, they hope to make money restoring & reselling the junk  sometime in the future, although that aspect of the show is not a big feature.

Despite this very simple premise American Pickers has been on the air for 6 years and is immensely popular. We decided to review it and find out why. It turns out that thee are a lot of reasons people love American Pickers. Here are seven..

  • The cast of the show genuinely like each other.  Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and Danielle Colby Cushman are friends and enjoy each others’ company.  They seem like nice folks you would like to come over for a barbecue. There is no phony staged drama or conflict like you see on other “reality shows”.
Mark Wolfe, Danielle Colby Cushman and Frank Fritz

Mike Wolfe, Danielle Colby Cushman and Frank Fritz

  • They don’t cheat the people they buy from. Mike & Frank try to buy something for $100 that they can fix and resell for $150. They are not  trying to get a $10,000 item and cheat the seller by only paying $200.  There are many times where they pay more than the asking price,  when the seller is unaware of how valuable an object is. This is in stark contract to the people in Pawn Stars who cheat the sellers every chance they get .
Mark Wolfe & Frank Fritz with a rare find

Mike Wolfe & Frank Fritz with a rare find. (What they call “rusty gold”)

  • It is a very relaxing show to watch. Seeing Mike & Frank leisurely driving through  beautiful rural parts of the United States is very soothing. It is the antithesis of modern fast-paced, high-pressure American life.
Mark Wolfe of American Pickers

Mike Wolfe of American Pickers

  • Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz take the time to get to know people. A lot of the people Mike & Frank deal with are a little odd to say the least. Who can forget the episode where they met “Speedo”, an octogenarian who rode a motorcycle wearing nothing but a tiny yellow Speedo bathing suit.  The highlight of the episode was Speedo speeding though the town on his motorcycle with Mike riding  in the sidecar.
"Speedo" relaxing after his motorcycle ride

“Speedo” relaxing after his motorcycle ride.

  • Mike & Frank make new friends everywhere they go.  Many of the sellers can be classified as “hoarders” rather than collectors. Some of these people have acres and acres of rusted junk yet don’t want to sell even the smallest piece no matter what price is offered. These people have to be slowly seduced into selling anything. Mike and Frank carefully listen and learn why the items are so precious to these people.  Mike & Frank use the technique of “breaking the ice” by getting the hoarder to sell one tiny item first. Usually the owners will eventually sell items when they realize that Frank and Mike will love the objects too. Only then does the matter of price come up.
Danielle Colby Cushman of American Pickers

Danielle Colby Cushman of American Pickers

  • Danielle Colby Cushman adds a touch of craziness to American Pickers. Danielle is an ex-burlesque dancer and has a passionate interest in the history of burlesque in America. She has even created documentaries on the subject. Her wild tattoos alone let the audience know that she looks at life a little differently than Mike & Frank.  She finds many of the places for Mike & Frank to visit, and encourages them to go to new locations.
Frank Fritz of American Pickers

Frank Fritz of American Pickers

  • There is a  Treasure Hunt aspect to American Pickers. When Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz find a huge pile of potentially valuable items they refer to it as the “honey hole”. The Holy Grail they are searching for is “rusty gold”, which is a item that looks bad but is really a valuable antique.
  • Fans can participate – American pickers has stores in Nashville, Tennessee and LeClaire, Iowa where fans of the show can buy items they have seen on the show. You can even buy on line. This gives watchers  of the show a physical connection with the action on screen.

Of course, there are some parts of American Pickers than any business person will notice from a financial perspective. For instance, any company trying to maximize profits would not send 2 guys when you could do exactly the same job with just 1. There is also the issue that often tell you the “theoretical” profit they are going to make . Sometimes after the purchase they discover that what they thought was “rusty gold” turns out just to be rusty junk that is worthless.

Still; how to make money is not the point of American Pickers. The show is about taking a leisurely trip across the U.S. and making new friends along the way.

Styes and the 6 points you need to know about them. The 6 Ps.

Styes are painful red bumps on the exterior of interior of the eyelid. They can cause an itching, burning sensation, and can even blur your vision if the stye gets large enough.  There are 6 important points (all coincidentally beginning with the letter “P”) that you need to remember in treating this condition.

Stye with discharge

Stye with discharge

Panic – Don’t! Many people tend to “freak-out” if they have never had a stye before. The fact that it is so painful and next to the eye causes people to panic and worry about losing their vision. In fact, styes are a very common condition and most can be easily treated.

Pop  – Do not pop a stye. It is not a pimple. The fact that it looks and feels like a pimple, means that many people, especially children or teenagers will try to pop it.  The stye is filled with pus and water and popping it will cause the germs to spread and can lead to additional eye infections.

Pure – If you have a stye it is important to keep impurities away from your eye and the stye. Do not use makeup near the area. Make sure all your washcloths, pillowcases, towels and anything else that comes near your eye is clean and that you do not share these with anyone. You have to worry about exasperating the infection. You also want to make sure that you do not infect anyone else. Try to avoid rubbing your eye and make sure to always keep your hands clean.

Prognosis – Usually styes  go away on their own within 4-10 days. Of course, that seems like an eternity if you have a stye, and later in this article we will discuss treatments that can help.  Some styes do develop into a chalazion, which is a hard bump that does not go away on its own.  A chalazion is usually larger than a stye. It  does not have the pain and redness of a stye, but does require a doctor to remove it.

Prevention – Styes are caused by a blockage of the oil gland at the base of an eyelash. Teenage get styes more often than other age groups.  Some people are more susceptible that others, and those who get a stye once, often have a recurrence.  While there is no way to guarantee you will not get a recurrence, there are some very simple steps that significantly reduce the chance of replete infections.  These include:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Drinking enough water
  • Proper Hygiene
  • Not rubbing your eyes. (This is a very hard habit to break since it is usually done unconsciously)

Proper Treatment – One you have a stye, there are a number of potential treatments, as follows:

  • Putting a warm clean washcloth against the stye several times a day. This helps to break up the the solidified oils and let the stye drain naturally. This  will also  remove any crusty discharge that is blocking the stye. Remember do not rub the eye of the stye.
  • Putting a wet teabag against the stye is an old-time remedy still used by some. However; we do not recommend this since tea is very acidic and you certainly do not want tea acid going into your eye. You are better off with just the warm wet washcloth.
  • If the discharge from the stye is very crusted and does not come off with just the warm washcloth, you can gently clean the area with a mild soap or baby shampoo.

Over the Counter Medications as part of Proper Treatment

There are a large number of over the counter medications for styes in a wide range of prices. Below we will give our review of a few of them.  What is most important is to find a medication that will allow the stye to heal itself  the fastest. Do not make the mistake of believing that more expensive is better.

  • Stye Lubricant – This is available for about $10.99. This product helps relieve irritation and itching. That is important since you must refrain from scratching the stye and spreading the infection.
Stye Lubercant $7.99

Stye Lubricant $7.99

  • Polysporin, which is advertised as a product for both Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) and Styes. This costs $59.99 and is an example, of a product where more expensive does not mean better.  Pink Eye is an entirely different problem than a stye. Pick Eye (Conjunctivitis) is very contagious and is a disease i the eye itself. It does not get treated the same way as a stye. If you or your children have conjunctivitis you should immediately see a doctor and get a prescription.
Polysporin advertised for Pink Eye & Styes $59.99

Polysporin advertised for Pink Eye & Styes $59.99

  • Warm compresses are available for about $9.99. These can help the stye in the same way as the warm wet washcloth. It might be more convenient  than the washcloth.  However;  the “reusable” aspect is a concern, considering that reinfection is an issue.

 

Eye warming compresses $9.95

Eye warming compresses $9.95

  • Eye Stye & Chalazion treatment. As noted earlier, if a stye turns into a Chalazion it is time to see a doctor.
Stye & Chalazion treatment $26.99

Stye & Chalazion treatment $26.99

Similasen - $10.99

Similasen – $10.99

  • Similasan is used for pain relief. This not only gives you comfort but reduces the chance of you scratching.
  • Tylenol,  sprain and other pain relievers.  Don’t forget these simplest of medications. Even in a best case scenario, you will be suffering for about 1 week with an itchy painful stye.  The more pain relief you can get the easier that will be to get through.

We hope this article has provided  you with some useful information. Be sure to give us your comments and input.

 

Yelena Isibayeva Wins In Rio!

Yelena Isibayeva was able to win in Rio, despite being banned from competing. Yelena Isibayeva was given a huge tribute by her fellow athletes.  She has been elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete’s Commission.

Yelena Isibayeva in Rio

Yelena Isibayeva in Rio

This tribute is well deserved. Yelena Isibayeva has always competed “clean” and has spoken about for years against doping. Yet despite this, she was included in a blanket ban of Russian athletes from Rio.

Yelena Isibayeva announces her retirement

Yelena Isibayeva announces her retirement

Yelea Isibayeva came to Rio to accept her new position on the IOC, and to announce her retirement from pole vaulting.

Yelena Isibayeva the best female pole vaulter in the world

Yelena Isibayeva the best female pole vaulter in the world

It is a shame she was not allowed to compete in what would have been her final Olympics. When she heard of her ban Yelena said that whoever wins the event “will be second by default.”

Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece Rio Gold Medal Winner

Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece Rio Gold Medal Winner

Much as we like Yelena, this is a very snarky  comment. However,  it does point out the blanket ban on Russian athletes partially  takes away the thrill of victory for the medal winners. Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece won the Gold Medal. Could Yelena have beaten her? We will never know. And the worst part is that  Ekaterini Stefanidi  and Yelena Isibayeva will never really  know what would have happened either.

Sandi Morris of the United States - Rio Silver Medal Winner

Sandi Morris of the United States – Rio Silver Medal Winner

The one good part about all this controversy is that it helps highlight the incredible athletic accomplishments of all the female pole vaulters. Sandi Morris of the United States won the Silver, and Eliza McCartney of New Zealand won Bronze.

Eliza McCartney of New Zealand - Rio Bronze medal winner

Eliza McCartney of New Zealand – Rio Bronze medal winner

We at East Cost Stories continue to wish Yelena Isibayeva the very best. Her next challenge is her quest to become the head of the Russian Athletic Federation.  A few days ago we did not think she had a chance. However, maybe now that she is on the IOC Athletes’ Commission that prestige will help her in election in Russia.

One thing is for sure. Never underestimate Yelena Isibayeva.

 

Bunny & The Stuffed Bear

We bought a giant stuffed bear at a garage sale for only $5. It turns out that the that Sunshine the bunny thought we got it just for him.

Sunshine explores the giant stuffed bear

Sunshine explores the giant stuffed bear

He seems to consider it a combination friend and pillow.

Bunny snuggles with the bear

Bunny snuggles with the bear

The cat, on the other hand was very unimpressed, and preferred his usual spot on the couch.

Kitty relaxing on the couch

Kitty relaxing on the couch

At the end of the day, both Kitty and Bunny decided it was time to relax after all the excitement.

Kitty & bunny relaxing

Kitty & bunny relaxing

 

 

Would Ibtihaj Muhammad Be Banned From French beaches? The disgrace of the French law banning Burkinis

Ibtijaj Muhammad is the American fencer who won a medal in Rio. As a modest Muslim woman she did so while wearing a Hijab. However,  if she visits France she will be banned from beaches unless she goes against her religion and wears a bikini or other skimpy bathing suit.

The US women's fencing team celebrates with their medals

The US women’s fencing team celebrates with their medals

The French have banned the Burkini, saying it is an outward display of a religious symbol that will inflame tensions. This is the worst possible reaction the French could have to the recent terrorist attacks.  It drives a wedge between French Muslims  and French people of other religions. That is exactly what the terrorists want.

French Muslim women bathing in Burkinis

French Muslim women bathing in Burkinis

It is also a disgrace for the French government to say that the law is really just about “religious symbols”.  You can see lots of  Catholic French women on beaches wearing a gold necklace with a cross on it. Would that be banned also? What about prole who wear a Star Of David?  Do they also  get banned from the beach?  No, the ugly truth is that the law  has the sole purpose of keeping religious French  Muslims off the beach. The message it sends is – “You are not really wanted here, even if you were born in France.”

We at East Coast Stories are especially proud of Ibtihaj Muhammad. She comes from our home state, being  a native of Maplewood New Jersey.  She has shown the best of the American spirit. Ibtihaj Muhammad has been able to accomplish her goals while being true to her religion. That is exactly the type of religious freedom the founders of America wanted.

 

 Maplewood New Jersey native Ibtihaj Muhammad

Maplewood New Jersey native Ibtihaj Muhammad

Some people claim that banning the Burkini is just a way of giving Muslim women more freedom.

Let women swim in whatever makes them comfortable

Let women swim in whatever makes them comfortable

Freedom for women means letting women decide what is best for themselves.  Tale a look at the above picture, which shows 3 women enjoying a day at the beach. One is wearing  a bikini,  the second a one-piece bathing suit, and the third a Burkini. They are all having fun and all feel comfortable with what they are wearing.  Why does the French government think it has the right to tell any of them what to wear?

The French should be very careful abut opening up the gates to let out the horrors of religious intolerance.  Of course, everyone knows  that in  World War II  when the Nazi’s occupied France they rounded up the French Jews and sent them to death camps.  Brave Free French forces and French resistance fighters fought the Nazi’s with all their might. They were fighting for the freedom of ALL the French people. The very word Liberty was coined in France.  Te proud French tradition of freedom is too important to be discarded for something like a Burkini.

 

Yelena Isinbayeva Strikes Back

The injustice done to Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva demonstrates the unfair political nature of the Olympic games. Yelena Isinbayeva is the world’s best female pole vaulter. She has 3 Olympic gold medals and 3 World Championships. Yet she has been banned from the Rio Olympics because other Russian athletes were involved in doping.

Yelena Isinbayeva - the best female pole vaulter in the world

Yelena Isinbayeva – the best female pole vaulter in the world

Yelena Isinbayeva has never used performance enhancing drugs and has never even been accused of doping.  In fact, Yelena Isinbayeva for years  has repeatedly and strongly spoken out against doping in Russian athletes.

Yeleda Isinbayeva - 2 Olympic Gold Medals & 3 World Championships

Yeleda Isinbayeva – 2 Olympic Gold Medals & 3 World Championships

The Russian Track & Field athletes were given a total ban, so that even the completely  clean Russians like Yelena cannot come to Rio. This is very strange, since in other sports, like swimming, Russian athletes are allowed. The swimmer  Yulia Efimova is allowed to compete, despite having failed drug tests twice in the past.

Yelena Isinbayeva is running for President of the Russian Athletics Federation

Yelena Isinbayeva is running for President of the Russian Athletics Federation

Yelena Isinbayeva is not taking her ban quietly. She has decided to attack the cause of the problem, which is the Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF).  This is the body that promoted the “win at any cost” culture that lead to and even promoted doping.

Yelena Isinbayeva banned from Rio

Yelena Isinbayeva banned from Rio

We at East Coast Stories hope that Yelena Isinbayeva does become the President of the Russian Athletics Federation. It would demonstrate that Russia actually has respect for its athletes and will now stop using them as expendable political pawns.

Russian Yelena Isinbaeva competes in the women's pole vault contest during the IAAF

Russian Yelena Isinbaeva

Most experts agree that Yelena Isinbayeva does not have a chance at becoming President of the ARAF. The job will go to a friend of Vladimir Putin, who will use the position to skim money and award high paying jobs to other friends of Putin. That is the reality of modern Russia.

Yelena Isinbayena - the greatest female pole valuter

Yelena Isinbayena – the greatest female pole vaulter

But wouldn’t it be great if instead, the Presidency of the ARAF went to the 34 year old pole vaulter from Volgograd?  If we had a vote, Yelena Isinbayeva would get ours.

Yulia Efimova is being unfairly treated

Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova has been treated very unkindly by Olympic fans and American athletes.  It is very hypocritical for American sports fans to act so pious when it comes to performance enhancing drugs. Ironically the same day that Yulia Efimova was being booed in Brazil , Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod) was being cheered in New York as he tearfully announced his retirement from baseball.

Lilly King winds 100 meter breaststroke and snubs second place Yulia Efimova

Lilly King wins 100 meter breaststroke and snubs second place Yulia Efimova

Yulia Efimova was banned from the sport for 16 months for using performance enhancing drugs. Lilly King has said Yulia should have been banned for life and that the entire Russian team should have been banned from the Olympics.

Yulia Efimova, Lilly King & Katie Meili show their medals

Yulia Efimova, Lilly King & Katie Meili show their medals

This seems completely inconsistent with the way Americans treat their own athletes. Was A-Rod banned for life? was the entire Yankee team suspended for an entire season?

Does Youla Efimova deserve the way she has been treated.

Does Yulia Efimova deserve the way she has been treated?

And what about American Football? Does anyone really believe that the players get that big naturally? And remember that the King of cheating in all international sport was the American;  Lance Armstrong.

Yulia Efimova on the beach in Brazil

Yulia Efimova on the beach in Brazil

Yes, Yulia Efimova did use Meldonium and was banned for 16 months because of it.  Did she take it again after that? She says  “no” and on appeal the Olympic Committee agreed with her. Traces showed up in her system 6 months after the initial ban, but experts say these traces can last as long as 6 months.

Maybe Yulia Efimova is not a horrible witch. Maybe she is just a 24 year old woman who made a mistake more than a year ago when she was under tremendous pressure from her coaches  to perform at any cost.

We don’t think Yulia Efimova is being fairly treated. We think she should be given the same respect and courtesy as the many American athletes who made exactly the same mistake and then were forgiven by the fans.

 

35 Year Wedding Anniversary – Susan Marasco & Gregory Farrell

On this day, 35 years ago, I married a beautiful young Italian-American woman named Susan Marasco. How I every convinced her to marry me is still a mystery. You see, despite what many believe, I do understand my own failings.

Susan & Greg August 8, 1981

Susan & Greg August 8, 1981

How she has put up with me  is also a mystery. She must be a Saint. At least that is what she has told me several times a week for 35 years. (Just kidding!)

The wedding was part of  a full Catholic Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ardsley New York. The elaborate reception was at a country club and the groups were basically split between the Italians and the Irish, and everyone brought gifts. The gifts from the Irish side were nice, but the Italians brought cash. Big wonderful envelopes stuffed with Cash.

Susan’s wedding gown had a special sort of cape with a very large pouch sewed into the inside. I did not understand what it was for until the Italians began giving her the cash envelopes, which Susan quickly secreted into the magic pouch.

Later than night, (yes, our wedding night) Susan spread out all the unopened envelopes on the bed and took out a pad of paper and a pen . She would not allow me to just open the envelopes and dump out the cash on the bed like I wanted. You see, along with the cash, each envelope had a note inside telling us who it was from.

Susan carefully wrote down exactly who had given how much cash. When we returned from our honeymoon, Susan wrote all the thank-you notes to every guest. Each note was different. The larger the gift in comparison to the guest’s income, the more elaborate the thank you note.

Thirty five years has gone by on the blink of an eye.  Two children, three States, one book,  many stories and many jobs, cats and bunnies later we are still together.

We don’t look at the wedding album very often. Unfortunately, many  of the people in it have passed away. Our parents and relatives  came from that World War II  generation of heavy smokers and drinkers,  and consequently they  did not live very long.  One of the reasons I started this website was to keep the memories and stories of many of these wonderful people  alive. Somehow, the stories of how they lived seem much more real than the old pictures.

Susan herself is the subject of many of the websites’ stories,  and is known as The Gentle Woman in all the Bunny Stories.  Susan is also  The Girl in The Terrycloth Shorts.

Cat and Bunny on a hot day

Cat and Bunny on a hot day

Susan continues to be the love of my life, even though she is a stubborn as the day I met her.

Whatever does come next for my beautiful Italian bride and me, the Colombian singer Shakira expressed it best when she sang,

“Whenever, Wherever we’re meant to be together,

I’ll be  there and you’ll be near, and that’s the deal my dear.”

Happy anniversary Susan. Thank you for 35 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did The CIA Plan Turkey’s Coup? – 5 Reasons Why that Theory Might Be True

Most Turks now believe that America’s CIA planned and helped stage the failed coup in Turkey. Americans, of course, think this theory is ridiculous. However, here are 5 reasons why the CIA might have planned the coup in Turkey.

  • The CIA has a long history of toppling foreign  leaders. Take a look at Vietnam,  South America, and Cuba’s Bay Of Pigs Invasion, and it is obvious that the United States is not shy about using the CIA to get rid of leaders it does not like.
Did the CIA plan the Turkish Coup?

Did the CIA plan the Turkish Coup?

  • President  Tayyip Erdogan has been working against U.S. efforts to fight ISIS. The United States has been very happy with the success the Kurds have been having against ISIS. The U.S. has been funding, training and supplying weapons to Kusdish groups to fight ISIS.  At the same time. President Erdogan has been ordering air strikes and military attacks against the same Kurdish groups the U.S. is funding. Erdogan considers them terrorists and does not want the Kurds to establish a Kurdish state on the Turkish border.
Female Kurdish fighters celebrate victory against ISIS

Female Kurdish fighters celebrate victory against ISIS

  • With only a few months left in office, Barack Obama needed to move now to get rid of Erdogan. Whoever the next U.S. president is, he or she might not agree with the idea of a coup against Erdogan. Since the CIA had Obama’s blessing, it needed to move now before the U.S. election.
Putin and Erdogan friends again. Is this why the CIA potted to remove Erdogan?

Putin and Erdogan friends again. Is this why the CIA potted to remove Erdogan?

  • The U.S. was nervous about an alliance between Erdogan and Putin. Having Turkey and Russia as enemies is the “natural order” as far as the United States is concerned. This helps U.S. interests and keeps Turkey in NATO. However, recently there has be a rapprochement between Putin and Erdogan. When we started seeing  pictures of Erdogan and Putin shaking hands and acting like buddies, the CIA decided to move ahead with coup plans.
  • If Fethulla Gulen was behind the coup, he would have needed CIA help to contact groups in Turkey. Fethulla Gulen lives on an estate in rural Pennsylvania which is constantly monitored by U.S. security agencies. There is no way he could have gotten any messages to Turkey without U.S.  help.

It may be years or even decades before we know what really happened in Turkey. Many believe that the entire coup was a fake staged by Erdogan. Certainly Erdogan went into the coup a weak leader and came out of it a dictator.  Maybe the world will never know what really happened  or who was behind it.  As United States Senator Hiram Johnson said in 1918, “the first casualty when war comes is truth.”

Hero Firefighter of Dubai – Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi

While 282 passengers and 18 crew ran from a burning Boeing 777 in Dubai, heroic firefighters ran the other way; towards the fireball. One of these heroic firefighters was Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi who died in the blaze while trying to save others. We at East Coast Stories would like to offer our condolences to his  family and say “Thank You for you service”.

Hero firefighter Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi

Hero firefighter Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi

All 282 passengers and 18 crew members got off the plane moments before it exploded. This by itself is a miracle. Video from inside the plane shows many passengers blocking the aisle while they selfishly opened the luggage  racks and pulled down  their suitcases.  Flight attendants can be heard screaming at people to leave the luggage and get off the plane.

Boeing 777 in flames in Dubai

Boeing 777 in flames in Dubai

Many passengers ignored the flight attendants and got their luggage anyway. In news  footage you can see many pulling their rolling luggage while they ran from the plane.  The contrast between their selfishness and the heroics of  Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi could not be more stark.

The Boeing 777 burst into flames and exploded after a crash landing in Dubai

The Boeing 777 burst into flames and exploded after a crash landing in Dubai

We would like to propose that plane manufacturers devise a system whereby pilots can flip a switch that automatically locks  the luggage racks in the event of an emergency landing.  This would save precious time during an emergency  evacuation where every second delayed can mean a life lost.

Next time you go on a flight take a look around the airport and notice, really notice the firefighters, rescue workers, security people, maintenance workers, flight attendants and pilots who are all working to make sure you get where you are going safely. In our fast paced world we tend to take these people and their work for granted.

Fortunately, they don’t take the passengers for granted. Goodbye Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi, and once again, “Thank You.”

 

Was Turkey’s Coup A Fake? 4 Reasons it looks like a fake.

Was there ever really a coup in Turkey, or was it a Wag The Dog scenario, in which President Tayyip Erdogan staged a fake coup for his own political purposes.  Here are 4 reasons it looks like a fake:

  • The Coup did not capture President Tayyip Erdogan. In fact, Erdogan he was on vacation in the seaside Turkish resort of Marmaris at the time of the coup.  Throughout the world, rule number 1 in any coup is to capture or kill the leader you are trying to dispose.  Security at Erdogan would have been lower than in Ankara, yet the coup was unable to get Erdogan.
Seaside villa in Marmaris Turkey where President Erdogan was during the coup

Seaside villa in Marmaris Turkey where President Erdogan was during the coup

  • Erdogan claims that Fethulla Gulen somehow orchestrated the coup from rural Pennsylvania. This is a ridiculous claim which no one believes. Although Fetulla Gulen is living a private life in the United States, there is no doubt that his communications are being monitored by the FBI and the NSA. There is no way he would have been able to coordinate with the Turkish military without the United States finding out abut it. Erdogan is using the failed coup as an attempt to extradite Fetulla Gulen to Turkey, where he no doubt would be imprisoned and possibly executed.
Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania September 24, 2013. Born in Erzurum, eastern Turkey, Gulen built up his reputation as a Muslim preacher with intense sermons that often moved him to tears. From his base in Izmir, he toured Turkey stressing the need to embrace scientific progress, shun radicalism and build bridges to the West and other faiths. The first Gulen school opened in 1982. In the following decades, the movement became a spectacular success, setting up hundreds of schools that turned out generations of capable graduates, who gravitated to influential jobs in the judiciary, police, media, state bureaucracy and private business. Picture taken September 24, 2013. To match Insight TURKEY-ERDOGAN/GULEN REUTERS/Selahattin Sevi/Zaman Daily via Cihan News Agency (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS RELIGION) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TURKEY OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN TURKEY - RTX188UQ

Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania

  • Only “Pawns” died in the coup. Brave civilians and some soldiers died in the coup, but there were no mass killings of top government officials. Rule number 2 of any coup is to capture or kill all the top officials who are loyal to the leader you are trying to dispose.
Turkish soldiers accused of participating in coup

Turkish soldiers accused of participating in coup

  • Erdogan immediately used the coup to make himself a dictator. The speed with which he rounded up and imprisoned 60,000 “supporters” of the coup made many in Turkey believe that these lists were already prepared.

 

Turkish soldier being beaten by civilians

Turkish soldier being beaten by civilians

So was the coup real or did Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan plan it all? Maybe he is just a strongman taking advantage of the coup to consolidate his power.  On the other hand, maybe Erdogan is a chess-master who sacrificed Turkish civilians and military conscripts to make the ultimate power grab.

Whatever the truth, the people in Turkey deserve better. They want real democracy and for a brief time they thought that is what they had from President Erdogan. Unfortunately he had other plans.

Freedom Dies in Turkey

The Turkish civilians have shown themselves to be among the bravest people on Earth. Unfortunately, the Turkish Parliament is full f cowards.  Unarmed civilians stood in front of tanks to guard their freedom from a military coup. Now the Turkish Parliament has voted that freedom away by giving President Erdogan almost unlimited dictatorial power.

Turkish civilian blocks tank.

Turkish civilian blocks tank.

President Erdogan has quickly used his new powers to imprison journalists, teachers, judges and government officials.  He is cracking down with a paranoid ruthlessness that would have made Joseph Stalin proud. No wonder Edrogan and Putin are getting along so well lately.

Erdogan and Putin. Is there really any difference between them?

Erdogan and Putin. Is there really any difference between them?

The United States and the European Union have expressed their concern. However, we all know that the U.S. and the E.U. will not actually do anything about it.

It is sad that the spark of freedom in Turkey was extinguished so quickly. It may be generations before it can be re-lit.

Roadies disrespects those who died at The Who concert in Cincinnati

On December 3, 1979,  The Who Played a concert at  Cincinnati with unassigned seating. Only 2 doors were opened and  18,348 people tried to rush inside to get good seats. Eleven people were trampled to death. In one episode, Roadies used the deaths of these 11 people as a cheap plot device.  In the show, someone utters the word “Cincinnati” and the roadies are worried about a curse.

To remove the “Cincinnati curse” the tour bus has to drive 100 miles and find 11 eggs and 11 balloons. The curse would be removed once the eggs were smashed and the balloons released.  The focus of the show was on the antics of the roadies as they searched for the eggs and balloons. This is extremely disrespectful to the families of the 11 people who died just trying to watch a concert.  Smashing 11 eggs and releasing balloons does not remove the hurt from these tragic and completely avoidable deaths.

Police remove bodies of the 11 people crushed in Cincinnati on Dec. 3, 1079

EMT workers remove bodies of the 11 people crushed in Cincinnati on Dec. 3, 1979

We at East Coast Stories would like to remind the writers of Roadies of the names of the people who died at The Who concert in Cincinnati on December 3, 1979.  They were crushed people, not eggs. Here is the list of names:

  • Teva Ladd
  • Walter Adams
  • James Warmoth
  • Phillip Snyder
  • David Heck
  • Stephen Preston
  • Peter Bowes
  • Connie Burns
  • Bryan Wagner
  • Karen Morrison
  • Jacqueline Eckerle
Police cover dead body at The Who Cincinnati concert

Police cover dead body at The Who Cincinnati concert

After this tragedy the Cincinnati town council outlawed open seating concerts to prevent another stampede from ever happening. However, after a few decades had passed and people began to forget, the law in Cincinnati was changed. Open seating at major concerts and events is once again legal in Cincinnati.

The Who Cincinnati concert pictures of the dead

The Who Cincinnati concert pictures of the dead

The city was afraid the law would reduce the number of concerts and therefore lower tax revenue.  Stadium owners say that “things have changed” and a deadly stampede at an open seating event could never happen again. Don’t believe it. It is just a matter of time until the tragedy is repeated.

Newspaper headline the day after The Who Cincinnati concert

Newspaper headline the day after The Who Cincinnati concert

Roadies on Showtime was  directed by Cameron Crowe, who made the wonderful film Almost Famous. Unfortunately Roadies just did not have the magic that made Almost Famous great.  The plots seemed forced and the characters came across as caricatures rather than  than real people.

Roadies smash eggs to get rid of the Cincinnati Curse

Roadies smash eggs to get rid of the Cincinnati Curse

Roadies, of course, is the nickname for all the laborers and technicians that work behind the scenes to make a rock tour happen. A good show about them could be very interesting, and we were looking forward to Roadies. However, it has so many problems we actually need to list them:

  • The band is not interesting – It even has a boring name. (The “Staton-House Band”). The term “house band” is usually a derogatory term used for the third rate  bands that play background music  in bars. Sort of like the “house wine” that you should avoid drinking.  We know that Roadies is supposed to be about the back-up people, but for the audience to care about them they have to also care about the band they are working for.  We can’t imagine anyone wanting to go see a show by the Station House Band.
The WKRP In Cincinnati show tastefully discussed The Who Concert tragedy

The WKRP In Cincinnati show tastefully discussed The Who Concert tragedy

  • The Roadies are all pretentious jerks acting like they are cooler than anyone else. In Almost Famous the plot line was that  the the boy following the band was not cool and he knew it . He felt intoxicated just by being in the presence of the performers who were totally cool without even trying. The Roadies have the opposite problem. They think they are cool but are not even close to being so.
  • The show can’t decide on a character to follow – In going for multiple plot lines, Roadies has not given us enough backstory on any one of the characters for the audience to care about them.  Imogen Poots plays Kelly Ann, who has the opportunity to move on to better educational and job opportunities but decides instead to remain as a low level back stage worker. What the show never answers satisfactorily is “why”?
  • Very little music is played. We hear a few snippets of famous songs and nothing of what the Staton-House Band plays. Characters talk a lot about how much they love the music. And talk and talk and talk. It would be much better if Roadies actually let us hear the music and watch their expressions.
The Who

The Who

At least Roadies  did not resort to any more offensive tricks like trying to get ratings by bringing up the memory of the 11 people crushed at The Who concert. We were afraid they might stoop even lower by , having the tour bus cursed since someone mentions 9/11 or the World Trade Center.

Eyewitness account of the stampede at the Who Concert in Cincinnati

Eyewitness account of the stampede at the Who Concert in Cincinnati

The Roadies writers were never able to step up their game.  When the show was on the air, we wrote a number of posts with suggestions of plots that might have made Roadies a success. However, the show continued on its long dull trip and finally just fizzled out.

Luis Guzman as Gooch on Roadies, explains the Cincinnati Curse

Luis Guzman as Gooch on Roadies, explains the Cincinnati Curse

  • Editor’s Note –  Roadies was cancelled at the end of Season 1 after lackluster ratings. However, people continue to be interested in reading about The Who concert tragedy in Cincinnati.  This continues to be one of our most read most read posts. We get messages from people from  all over the world who  never knew about the tragedy and who feel for those killed and injured in the event. Thank you for your good wishes.
A security guard and an unidentified man look at an area where several people were killed

A security guard and an unidentified man look at an area where several people were killed as they were caught in a surging crowd entering Cincinnati’s Riverfront Coliseum for a Who concert on Monday. Shoes and clothes were strewn around the area where the people were killed and injured, shown Dec. 4, 1979. (AP Photo/Brian Horton)

Unlike Roadies, WKRP treated The Who Concert tragedy with respect

Unlike Roadies, WKRP treated The Who Concert tragedy with respect

Tijen Karas

Tijen Karas is the brave and beautiful Turkish anchorwoman of TRT who was forced at gunpoint to read the demands of the coup leaders.

Turkish news anchor who was forced at gunpoint to read the statement from the leaders of the coup

Tijen Karas is the Turkish news anchor who was forced at gunpoint to read the statement from the leaders of the coup

Outside the studio there was a running gun-battle and a fire raged in front of the building.  Still Tijen Karas maintained her composure throughout.

Tijen Karas at home

Tijen Karas at home

Later civilians and police stormed the TRT studio and took control back from the rebels. Tijen Karas could have then fled for home, but instead stayed on the air and reported the chaos as it took place around her.

Tijen Karas earlyon Turkish TV TRT

Tijen Karas onTurkish TV TRT

Tijen Karas proved herself to be more than “just a pretty face” as she interviewed the civilians who had risked their lives to fight the coup.

Tijen Karas

Tijen Karas

This was the last thing she had expected that morning. Being on the air at 2am means there is usually not much to report but the weather.

Tijen Karas

Tijen Karas

Most American news stations are so caught up in the Republican convention preparations that they have spent very little time on the failed Turkish Coup and have not even mentioned Tijen Karas. Even Euronews identified her only as “the blonde anchorwoman”.

Tijen Karas - news professional

Tijen Karas – news professional

Tijen Karas is a credit to news reporters everywhere. She reminds us that even in the most trying circumstances, some people can maintain their composure and professionalism.

 

 

 

 

By the end

Would Americans Be As Brave As The Turks?

Would American civilians stand up for democracy the way the Turks did? Hundreds of thousands of Turkish civilians blocked soldiers and tanks to prevent a military coup of the elected government. At least 265 people died fighting  the coup attempt.

The Turkish flag is now a symbol of freedom

The Turkish flag is now a symbol of freedom

Of course, as Americans, we like to think we would do the same. But would we really ? In the  last Presidential election only 58% of Americans eligible to vote even bothered  to show up to flip a lever. How many would go out and stand in front of a tank?

Turkish civilians blocking tank

Turkish civilians blocking tank

We Americans love to talk about how brave we are and how much we love freedom. But as they say,  “Talk is cheap”.

Turkish news anchor who was forced at gunpoint to read the statement from the leaders of the coup

Turkish news anchor Tijen Karas who was forced at gunpoint to read the statement from the leaders of the coup

At 2am, armed soldiers took over the television station TRT and the Turkish anchorwoman Tijen Karas was forced at gunpoint to read a statement given to her by the coup leaders. Later civilians and regular police took back the station and drove out the coup soldiers. Instead of fleeing for home, the young anchorwoman continued on the air and reported the events as they happened. Frightened and drenched in sweat, Tijen Karas stayed in crowded studio conducting live interviews with the civilians who had freed her.  So far, American most  news has not even mentioned the name of Tijen Karas..

Definitely Turkey deserves to call itself “the home of the brave”.  If it will ever  be the “land of the free” still remains to be seen. Unfortunately  President Erdogan is using  this opportunity to crack down and restrict freedom for all, instead of just going after those seeking violence.  Thousands have now been thrown in prison or forced out of their jobs as Erdogan “purges” the country of opposition.

What we do know for certain is that the average Turkish civilian loves freedom and democracy and is willing to fight for it at a moment’s notice. We have always thought of these as “American” values. Apparently they are Turkish ones as well.

Will the Turkish civilians ever  get the democracy and freedom they risked their lives for? So far it looks like they may just end up with a dictatorship disguised  as a democracy. These brave Turks deserve better than that.

 

Is Alicia von Rittberg Pregnant?

Is Alicia von Rittberg pregnant? Alicia von Rittberg is best known to U.S. audiences as Emma in the movie Fury, and Natasha in Our Kind of Traitor. How did these rumors start, and who is the suspected father?

Oct 5, 2015 Twitter post reading "sorry I didn't tell you any earlier!"

Oct 5, 2015 Twitter post reading “sorry I didn’t tell you any earlier!”

Well, the rumors began soon after the U.S. release of Our Kind of Traitor. In that film, Alicia von Rittberg plays Natasha, the daughter of a Russian crime boss. Natasha is secretly pregnant, and is petrified of telling her violent father. That is why Natasha wears baggy clothing instead of the form fitting outfits a beautiful young woman would normally wear.

Alicia and friends squinting in the Sun

Alicia and friends squinting in the Sun. Is one of these handsome guys the baby’s father?

After the release of the film rumors started that this was not in the original script and that the writers had to put it in because Alicia von Rittberg was pregnant.  Of course, anyone who read the book Our Kind of Traitor, knows this is nonsense.  Natasha’s pregnancy is a major sub-plot in the book.

However, once the rumors of Alicia’s pregnancy began, fans began searching for pictures of her on the internet. They soon found a Twitter picture of Alicia von Rittnerg 7 months pregnant. Once that picture began to circulate fans were convinced that Alicia von Rittberg is about to have a baby.

What people failed to notice is that the pregnant picture originated from a Twitter picture Alicia von Rittberg posted in October 2015. In it she said, “Sorry I didn’t tell you any earlier!” If you look closely at the picture, you will see that she is clearly on a movie set and  that this is part of a costume! Alicia was joking to the fans, but some of them just did not get it!

Fans in the United States Really want to see Alicia von Rittberg in more American films. She is doing a lot of work in Germany, but we want her here. Come on Germany! Stop keeping Alicia von Rittnerg all to yourself.

Cool Cat and Bunny On A Hot day

There is an old Arab expression that, “The heat of the day can be told by the length of the cat.”  In Winter, cats curl up into tight heat-saving balls. However, now that sweltering Summer is here, cats stretch to their full Length.

IMG_1317

This is Lubby, a 14 year-old Ragdoll stretched out in the couch. In the background you can make out his bunny friend, Sunshine, also stretched out.

On a hot day Sunshine relaxes on the cool slate by the fireplace.

On a hot day Sunshine relaxes on the cool slate by the fireplace.

About two years ago Sunshine the Bunny was tossed out of a car window at a busy intersection in New Jersey.  He was rescued and now lives happily with the Gentle Woman.  Like his friend the cat, he has learned to stretch out on a hot day.

Lubby the ragdoll cat relaxes on a warm day

Lubby the ragdoll cat relaxes on a warm day

Sunshine who was found abandoned, has been in his new how now for 2 years

Sunshine who was found abandoned, has been in his new how now for 2 years

 

 

 

6 Asperger Facts to Remember

If your child has just been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder , here are 6 important facts to remember.

  • You Did Not Do Anything Wrong.  Asperger’s Syndrome is a neurological condition that a certain percentage of children are born with. It is usually not noticed for a few years since the primary characteristic of the condition is fact that people with Aspergers have trouble in social interactions especially with strangers . It is NOT caused by something you did.  It was NOT caused by a vaccine your child got.  The vaccine  theory has been totally disproved numerous times by neurological researchers.  However, the lie that vaccines cause autism just will not die on the internet. Be prepared that there will be idiots accusing you of having “damaged” your child.
Hans Asperger

Hans Asperger

  • Your Kid Is Not A Genius – There are many successful people with Aspergers’ Syndrome.  People theorize that Albert Einstein probably  had Aspergers, and possibly so did Steve Jobs. However,  having Asperger’s Syndrome does not make someone a genius. People with Asperger’s Syndrome are on the Autistic Spectrum. Their high intelligence helps them to find mechanisms to cope with their autism. Their autism is not what gives them the intelligence
  • Other problems like Anger and Depression often accompany Asperger’s Syndrome. People with Asperger’s Syndrome have the same social desires as everyone else. They want to be well liked and popular. They want to have friends and they want to be loved. However, their condition makes it much more difficult for them to achieve these basic human needs. Constant social rejection can often lead to depression and anger.
Hans Asperger was doing his studies at the same time the Nazis controlled Europe

Hans Asperger was doing his studies at the same time the Nazis controlled Europe

  • It Does Not Go Away – Your child is not going to outgrow Aspergers. It is not a childhood disease, and you need to help your child to prepare to be an adult with Aspergers. A sad statistic is that 80% of adults with Apergers are unemployed. There are special programs and some companies that work on hiring people with Apergers.  You should find out about these before your child enters the work force.
  • The Internet is the best and worst thing to ever happen to people with Asperger’s Syndrome. The internet can be good since it can allow someone with Aspergers to interact with people they would normally be too awkward to meet.  However, the internet can very easily become a crutch used to avoid any real interactions with real people. Despite the terminology internet “friends” are not the same as real friends.  It can lead to someone becoming completely isolated from the real world. People with Aspergers need to force themselves to experience real life and real social situations.

 

Hans Asperger working with children considered "different"

Hans Asperger working with children considered “different”

  • You Are Not Alone –Estimates are that 1 in 500 people have Aspergers. Extrapolating that means that over 647,000 people in the United States have Asperger’s Syndrome. And Aspergers is just one part of the Autistic Spectrum.  There is much more awareness and many more programs available than there were a few generations ago. It should be remembered that when Doctor Hans Asperger himself was practicing medicine in Vienna Adolf Hitler was still in control of much of Europe. Imagine how brave a man  Hans Asperger must have been to care about children who were considered “different”, at a time when Nazis were trying to kill everyone considered “inferior”.

 

Remembering Doctor Jean Farrell

My aunt, Doctor Jean Farrell of Stamford Connecticut died on July 3, 1984. She was a well known Pediatrician at Stamford Hospital. Those of you who were her patients will now have children (perhaps even grandchildren) of your own and realize how important a good pediatrician is in your life.

Doctor Jean Farrell, 1947 Vassar College 1952 Georgetown Medical School

Doctor Jean Farrell,  Vassar College
1952 Georgetown Medical School

Jean was a big woman. She was big physically. She had a loud booming voice and a hearty laugh. If you were her friend she would do anything for you, and if you were her enemy, then God help you because nothing else would be able to.

Jean Farrell was also a a pioneering woman for her time. She went to Georgetown Medical School at a time when female doctors were still very unusual. She became a Board Certified Pediatrician and spearheaded  many new techniques that saved children’s lives.

She was only 56 when she died and since she was unmarried my father (Dr. John Farrell)  and I had to review the death certificate. If you have never seen a death certificate they are very cold and terse documents to sum up a person’s life.  I still remember the wording. It read:

“Occupation – Doctor, Unmarried, No Children”

It struck me how wrong that document was. Jean Farrell had hundreds of children. All of her patients were her children. If any of you read this, I would like you to know that despite her rough exterior Doctor Jean Farrell cared for each of you very much and as individuals. She knew all your names. You were her life.

When Jean died there were many large floral bouquets, but one tribute stood out from the rest. It was from a friend of Jean’s named Iris, who like, Jean was a devout Catholic.  There was a simple cut glass vase with a single red rose in it. (Jean’s hobby outside of work was growing roses.) Beside the rose was a card with the handwritten note:

“Until we meet again”

 

10 Facts About Afib You Need To Know by Gregory Farrell

If you  periodically get Afib (Atrial Fibrillation) you soon discover that you are in many respects on your own in developing the best  treatment. Here are 10 facts you need to know.

  • Doctors don’t really know what causes your  Afib. This is because Afib is a symptom and is not an actual disease. There is no single cause and many different things can trigger it. The cause is different in different people. T hat is why a cardiologist may put you through a battery of tests.
  • Very often the tests will show there is nothing “wrong” with your heart. Of course, you know that something is wrong. You felt like you were having a heart attack and were about to die and then all the tests show that your heart is strong and healthy. It’s like when your car has a problem, but runs perfectly whenever you bring it to the mechanic. The doctor will probably advise you to take home a portable heart monitor to record the symptoms when you are having them. This is a great idea and with miniaturization the device is not at all cumbersome. You can even electronically send the results to your doctor over the phone.
Warfarin causes 58,000 emergency room visits per year - some fatal

Wafarin causes 58,000 emergency room visits per year – some fatal

  • Some doctors will try to over-medicate you with very dangerous drugs. A large number of doctors have a knee-jerk reaction to immediately prescribe blood thinners as soon as they hear about any issue with the heart. This is completely unnecessary in most people who periodically get Afib symptoms, and is very dangerous. If you have had an Afib episode, you have NOT had a heart attack and don’t need to go on blood thinners.
  • The blood Thinner Wafarin (brand name Coumadin) is the number 1 drug cause of emergency room visits for Seniors, with more that 58,000 visits per year.
Blood thinners can cause a person to actually bleed to death

Blood thinners can cause a person to actually bleed to death

  • Blood Thinners can kill you. They can make your blood so thin that you bleed to death internally with your blood going through the walls of your veins and arteries into your organs. You can find yourself urinating pure blood until you die.
  • Diet and environmental factors are more of an Afib trigger than stress. When you tell  friends about your Afib they will immediately assume it is caused by stress and start giving you advice about how to calm down or meditate or try Yoga, etc.. However, caffeine, high salt diets and alcohol are much more likely to trigger Afib than stress. Other items, like exposure to strong fumes of cleaning fluids, can also trigger an episode
  • Exercise is Good for your Afib, not bad. Your blood pressure actually decreases when you walk or do cardiovascular exercise. The worst thing is just sitting in a desk chair all day.
  • Afib often strikes when you are just going to sleep, or are sleeping. Most people assume that if your heart made it through another stressful day then you are “safe” when you go to bed. However, the shifting of gears from waking to sleeping is when many people report their worst Afib episodes. It can even happen when you are sleeping. A lot of people assume that they are unique in this problem and that it can’t possibly be normal. However, it is very common. Your heart may be great during an afternoon run and then start racing uncontrollably when you try to sleep.

 

Burning the heart for Ablation

Burning the heart for Ablation

  • Surgery to try to fix  Afib is still in the Dark Ages. You cardiologist may recommend the “simple” procedure of Ablation. This is where a tube is fed into a vein and pushed all the way up until it reaches your heart. Then the surgeon will  stimulate different parts of the heart to discover exactly where the errant electronic signals that cause Afiib originate from. Once located, the surgeon will then burn that part of the heart to destroy the nerves sending those signals.  You read that correctly. The surgeon wants to burn a part of your heart. Sometimes the surgeon does not get the right part of the heart, and sometime the burning causes unintended damage. There is no such thing as “minor” heart surgery. It should be used only as a last option.
  • YOU have to take charge of your treatment. Don’t just sit passively and have the doctor make all decisions for you. Each Afib case is different and each patient is different. All drugs have side effects and the effects vary tremendously from person to person.  Make sure you ask about all side effects of all proposed treatment options. If one drug is not working or you feel it is impacting you badly speak up and have your doctor try an alternative.  If that makes you that pain in the ass patient who asks a lot of questions to doctors and nurses, that’s fine. Your goal is not to be the most popular patient. Your goal is to get the best treatment.

 

Chris Christie Disrespects Orlando victims

While other States showed compassion for the victims of the Orlando massacre by lowering their flags to half staff,  Chris Christie left flags at the New Jersey State offices flying high. Chris Christie was either too political, too insensitive, too out-of touch, or just too stupid to order the flags lowered.

Finally after almost a week, Christie ordered the flags lowered, and even then only after NYC’s public radio station repeatedly questioned the Governor’s office at to  why the flags were not lowered.

Flags lowered - But not in New Jersey

Flags lowered – But not in New Jersey

Christie has not said why there was such a delay.  Some people believe that now that Christie has become Trump’s stooge, Christie was pandering to the extreme Right by refusing to acknowledge violence against Gay people. Others have suggested that Christie was just too stupid to realize flags were supposed to be lowered in times of national tragedy.

Chris Christie bows to his master

Chris Christie bows to his master

The actual  reason, of course, is that Chris Christie is not really the Governor of New Jersey any more. He gave up that position when he decided to run for President. He is almost never in the State and is completely out of touch with anything being done here. When he dropped out of the Presidential race himself, he then switched full force to campaigning for Donald Trump, and continues to ignore New Jersey.

Chris Christie had no idea that the flags in New Jersey were still at full staff, just as he is not aware of anything else going on in the State of New Jersey. It took a New York City radio station to tell him of the situation.

Chrisite relaxes while being paid for a job he is not doing

Christie relaxes while being paid for a job he is not doing

If Chris Christie wants to spend his time campaigning for Donald Trump instead of being governor of New Jersey that is his right.  However, we New Jersey tax payers should not be paying Christie for a job he no longer does.

Chris Christie should resign  as governor. He is stealing from the people of New Jersey by taking money for a job he is not doing. Resignation would be the honorable thing to do.  Of course, Christie will not resign. The words honor and Chris Christie are never seen in the same sentence.

5 Reasons Why New Jersey is The Rodney Dangerfield State

I love New Jersey, but let’s face it, we are the Rodney Dangerfield of states. New Jersey gets no respect. Here are some examples of what we mean.

  • People can’t even get the name “New Jersey” correct. It is amazing how many out-of staters refer to New Jersey as simply “Jersey” . Nobody calls New York “York”, or New Hampshire “Hampshire”, so why do they call New Jersey “Jersey“? The actual Jersey is an island in the English Channel. Even the beautiful Taylor Swift says, “hello Jersey!” whenever she performs here.
Rodney Dangerfield. (not from New Jersey)

Rodney Dangerfield. (not from New Jersey)

  • We don’t even get to keep the name of our professional football teams. New Jersey has 2 very successful professional football teams.  The world calls them The New York Giants and the New York Jets.
The Jets who play in New Jersey, but call themselves the "New York" Jets

The Jets who play in New Jersey, but call themselves the “New York” Jets

  • Our Presidential Primaries don’t count. The New Jersey Presidential primaries are dead last in the nation. The candidates for both parties were  decided long before New Jersey gets a chance to vote. Consequently, during the primaries the candidates don’t bother to come here. This is especially annoying when they appear in New York City and don’t even come across the GW Bridge for an afternoon visit.
Stolen from New Jersey by New York lawyers

Stolen from New Jersey by New York lawyers

  • New York Stole the Statue of Liberty from Us. Even though the Statue of Liberty is clearly within the state borders of New Jersey the United States Supreme Court awarded it to New York. The attorneys for New York were able to get the Supreme Court to accept a ridiculously drawn  and gerrymandered dividing  line that was manufactured for the sole purpose of stealing the Statue of Liberty from New Jersey.
Meryl Streep from Bernardsville New Jersey

Meryl Streep from Bernardsville New Jersey

  • New Jersey gets no credit for having produced some of the world’s best actors. Most people don’t realize that some of the best know American actors grew up  right here in The Garden State.  These include, Meryl Streep (Bernardsville), Peter Dinklage (Morristown), Zach Braff (Orange) Even Jon Stuart, who loves poking fun at New Jersey actually grew up in Mercer and went to high school there (as Jonathan Leibowitz).

New Jersey is not what most people think, but that’s just fine with us. One of the best features of New Jersey is that we take all the jokes in stride and even enjoy  poking fun at ourselves. But please try to get our name straight.

4 Surprises About The People Behind “Game of Thrones”

Here are 4 Surprising facts about the poeple who make Game Of Thrones great.

  • On Game of Thrones Cersei and Tyrion Lanister hate each other. One of the main goals on Cersei Lanister’s  life is to find a way to killer her brother Tyrion. However, off the set, Cersei (Lena Headey) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) are the best of friends. In fact, when they are shooting in Europe,  Peter Dinklage lives with Lena Headey and her husband.
Lena Headey & Peter Dinklage

Lena Headey & Peter Dinklage

  • Emilia Clarke has famously appeared nude many times as the Mother Of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen. But when offered the lead role in  Fifty Shades of Grey Emilia Clarke turned it down stating that it contained, “too much nudity”
Emilia Clarke

Emilia Clarke

  • Jack Gleeson is one of the best bad guys ever with his portrayal of the nasty selfish King Joffrey Baratheon. On real life Jack Gleeson is finishing up his philosophy degree at Ireland’s prestigious Trinity College. Instead of more acting roles, his goal is to focus his life oh philanthropic work. The other actors on Game of Thrones all say he is one of the most intelligent, caring  and nicest person they have ever met.
Jack Gleeson

Jack Gleeson

George R.R. Martin

George R.R. Martin

  • None of Game of Thrones is filmed in the United States, and the almost none of the actors are American. Despite this, the creator of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin and major star Peter Dinklage both were born and grew up in New Jersey. In fact Peter Dinklage was in Basking Ridge NJ (where East Coast Stories is based) just a few weeks ago appearing with the Somerset Hills chorus. The movie The Station Agent, which showed the world the depth of Peter Dinklage’s acting skill all takes place in New Jersey.
The Station Agent

The Station Agent

 

Brittni’s Notebook

Brittni’s Notebook is an eclectic mix of stories, book, movie & T.V. reviews, and even includes a cooking and recipe section. It is written by Brittni Kayne, a young woman in a small rural Wyoming town.

Brittni Kayne

Brittni Kayne

Brittni describes herself a “not so modern woman” as she has a love of William Shakespeare and Old English literature.  Brittni also notes that she is an “English major and not afraid to use it”. However, she does have a sense of humor about the hurdles English majors face in today’s world. In one post she says,

“During my last semester as an English major, I was required to take Senior Seminar: a horrific class in which students were pelted with literature spanning 3,000 years along with theory from the last 300 years in a last-ditch attempt to make sure we knew everything English majors ought to know before going out in the world to have long theoretical discussions with our coworkers (because that’s what people at insurance companies and restaurants like to talk about, right?).”

Despite poking  fun at  herself  Brittni does put her English degree and study of history to good use,  by providing historical context for her excellent  reviews. In commenting on the modern viewers of Game of Thrones, Brittni notes:

” If there’s one thing I learned from this season of Game of Thrones, it’s that HBO’s modern television audience isn’t so different from the audience that sat in the theaters of Ancient Greece. Today’s business executives, fast food workers, college students, and stay-at-home moms love bread and circuses as much as the Roman people who cheered on gladiators or the French peasants who attended guillotine executions during the 1700s. Perhaps witnessing a man get stabbed several times by his so-called brothers and watching his blood leak out onto the snow reminds us that traffic jams, missed appointments, or late papers aren’t the end of the world after all.”

Brittni’s Notebook also has a number of incredibly beautiful photographs of Wyoming.

Brittni Kayne in Wyoming

Brittni Kayne in Wyoming

The posts describe the  simple pleasures of a road trip or a hike, while being surrounded by beauty.

rural Wyoming

rural Wyoming

While calling herself  “not so modern”, Brittni Kayne is, in fact , a true Renaissance Woman. She is using the modern technology to produce a truly professional blog.  She has not limited herself to one theme and wants to explore all the aspects of life, from music to food and entertainment and photography.

View from a Wyoming road

View from a Wyoming road

We look forward to reading more of Brittni’s Notebook in the future, and wish Brittni success on all her future writing.

 

5 Signs of Computerized Age Discrimination

The advent of the computerized hiring process has made age discrimination  easier and more prevalent.  While technically illegal, age discrimination is practiced much more openly than other types of job discrimination.  Here are some signs of it.

1. Immediately asking the Graduation Date – In the U.S. you can’t ask a job applicant “how old are you?” However, on most computerized job submissions, the first question asks for your graduation date. Companies will say this is so that they can check to make sure you have the degree. This is nonsense. Degree verification is never done in the first round of the selection process. It would be too time-consuming and too costly for companies to verity the degrees of every online applicant

The online applications ask the graduation date as the  first question so that the company can eliminate from contention applicants above a certain age. They never even get called in for an interview.  You are naive if you think that is not happening.

Age 3

2. Putting an upper limit on experience desired –  It is common to see  a job posting that says something like  “10-15 years of experience required”. Why is there an upper limit? Why not just say “10 years minimum experience required”?  It is because consciously or not the people doing the hiring do not want someone with 20 years experience, because they think that person is too old.

3. Stressing the “Young Management Team” as a benefit of the company. This phrase is used on many job postings.  What that posting is really saying is,  “we are a young company and  we want young employees.”

age 2

4. Using words like “aggressive”, “motivated” or “driven” as substitutes for  “young”. Again, these are phrases used all the time in job postings. African-American and Hispanic-Americans have long been aware of how destructive code words can be used by companies to hide prejudices. In fact, the term “older workers” itself  is a type of slur. Older than what? What is the ideal work age after which you are suddenly considered “older”?

5. Assuming that older applicants are not tech-savvy. The fact that a particular technology did not exist when someone graduated, does not mean an individual never learned it in their career. Many older workers are more tech-savvy than their younger counterparts simply because they have been exposed to  more systems.

6. Assuming that an older worker will resent working for a younger boss. This idea still exists, despite many studies to the contrary.

age 1

 

The biggest problem with these discriminatory practices is that they are hidden and self-perpetuating. Hiring managers are often not even aware that they are sub-consciously eliminating from consideration all applicants above a certain age. They are self-perpetuating since the older workers don’t even get a chance to be interviewed. Their backgrounds never make it through the computerized selection process, so a human never actually sees the “older” candidate.

The more experienced job candidates (notice how I did not say “older”) just want the same chance as the other candidates. They want hiring managers to get their eyes off the graduation date and start looking at the experience, training and qualifications these candidates  have for the job.

 

 

5 Reasons the Bob Newhart Show Was Revolutionary

Watching re-runs today, you may not realize that The Bob Newhart Show was revolutionary when it made its debut in 1972. Here are the 5 reasons why.

1. The characters all live in a city – The standard T.V. sitcom took place in the suburbs. Father Knows Best, The  Adventures of Ozzie & Harriett , and Leave It To Beaver all took place in the suburbs.  However, the characters in The New Hart show all lived in an apartment building in Chicago.

Cast of The Bob Newhart Show

Cast of The Bob Newhart Show

2. The female lead of the show had a job – Emily Hathaway (played by Suzanne Pleshette) was a full time public school teacher, and she was good it in. Up until then, almost 100% of T.V. shown portrayed women as stay at home moms.

The beautiful Suzanne Pleshette

The beautiful Suzanne Pleshette

3. Suzanne Pleshette was sexual. – It is hard to even image  Ozzie & Harriett Nelson or June & Ward Cleaver having sex. In fact, it is even disturbing to think about. In The Bob Newart Show, however, the beautiful Suzanne Pleshette was shown in a low cut nightgown sharing a king sized bed with her husband.

The Hartleys in Bed

The Hartleys in Bed

4. The married couple had no kids and did not plan to have any – The Newharts had a full life without children, and their friends were also all professional people with no kids.

Jack Riley as "Mr. Carlin"

Jack Riley as “Mr. Carlin”

5. The subject of mental illness was portrayed without hysteria.  Dr. Robert Hathaway (Bob Newhart) was a psychologist, and a large part of the show focused on his patients. They were not crazy or dangerous people, but likeable individuals who were struggling to face the pressures of everyday life. Of course, being a comedy the situations were portrayed with humor. The most memorable patient was “Mr. Carlin” (brilliantly played by Jack Riley). Mr. Carlin was a successful real estate developer who just cannot seem to be able to connect with people personally.  Actually broaching the taboo subject of mental illness is probably the biggest contribution of  The Bob Newhart Show .

So, if you happen to to be flipping through the channels and come across an old rerun of The Bob Newhart Show, you may want to view it with some respect. In its own way, it began to breakdown the T.V. stereotypes of what Americans were supposed to be and how we were supposed to act.

 

 

Ric Flair -“To Be The Man”

Ric Flair’s 2004 book, To Be The Man is a fascinating glimpse into the old days of professional wrestling. Even if you are not a professional wrestling fan it is an enjoyable nostalgic read.

Of course, professional wrestling is not a real athletic contest, but the people in it are superb athletes. Professional wrestling is basically a traveling circus. Like circuses, many of the performers are part of families that have been in the business for generations.

Young Ric Flair in his fancy robe

Young Ric Flair in his fancy robe

It is also a very nomadic life, especially for the lower level wrestlers. They perform in one city, then right after the show get in cars to drive to the next city to perform the following night. Unless you are one of the stars you probably  have to do  double duty by helping set up the ring and chairs in the arena.

But how do you get to be a professional wrestling champ in something that is not a real sport? Who actually decides the winners and losers? Ric Flair’s book shows how it is the fans that ultimately decide who will become great. The key to becoming a professional wrestling champion is to get the fans excited about you. You want the fans to love you or hate you, as long as they don’t ignore you.

Ric Flair uses models to promote himself

Ric Flair uses models to promote himself

Ric Flair made himself a wrestling star by inventing innovative ways to promote himself and get the fans and press to notice him. He used his own money to get publicity and start acting like a star long before the fans had ever heard of him. It is sort of what the Kardashians do today. He made himself famous by simply acting like he already was famous.

Ric Flair would get to a city the day before a wrestling match and go to a modeling agency. He would hire 3 or 4 beautiful models for the night of the match.  When it was his turn to wrestle, he would  walk down the ramp to the ring, with these beautiful women hanging on his arms and pretending to be his girlfriends.  He also spent a fortune on his wrestling costumes, with robes and boots costing thousands of dollars. The fans got a real show just seeing Ric Flair walk into the ring, before the match even started.  The fans loved his antics and  soon demanded to see more of “The Nature Boy”.

Ric Flair with Hulk Hogan. Flair thought Hogan was a terrible athlete since Hogan can wrestle for no more than 15 minutes without getting tired.

Ric Flair with Hulk Hogan. Flair thought Hogan was a terrible athlete since Hogan can wrestle for no more than 15 minutes without getting tired.

However, all of the promotion is just what got Ric Flair noticed. It was his athletic ability that made him great. The stamina and strength to be a professional wrestler is incredible.   Whenever they are  not in a match, wrestlers are working out. Ric Flair’s warm up routine before even starting his regular exercises was to do 300 sit-ups, 300 pushups and 300 squat thrusts.

Ric Flair showing that he still has the muscles

Ric Flair showing that he still has the muscles

If you can find a copy of To Be The Man, we recommend it as a fun summer read.

Alicia von Rittberg off Game of Thrones

Rumors are that  Alicia von Rittberg  pulled out of Game of Thrones after repeated tensions between her and Emilia Clarke.  Alicia von Rittberg had been scheduled to play a recurring role as a witch with the ability to become invisible.  This role would have required nude scenes for Alicia von Rittberg, which would have been her first.

Alicia von Rittberg

Alicia von Rittberg

Apparently, Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys Targaryen was not at all happy with the idea of a competing naked magical beauty on the set. Unconfirmed reports are that a screaming match between Emilia Clarke and the writers resulted in Alicia von Ritterg’s role being eliminated.

Emilia Clarke upset on Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke upset on Game of Thrones

We do not know if these rumors are true However, we are sure that fans of Alicia von Rittberg will not be seeing her on Game of Thrones this season.

 

 

6 Keys To Success In Union Negotiation

If you are representing Management in negotiating a union contract, here are the 6 most important points to make it a success.

Know What You Want – It is amazing how many management teams enter a union negotiation not having worked out ahead of time what they are trying to accomplish. You need to have a detailed plan before you start of exactly what you want each point of the final contract to look like.  Write it down, and make sure the union never sees that document.

 Prepare for  a Strike – Of course you don’t want a strike, but you have to realize that  sometimes a company  needs to weather a strike rather than accept a particular demand. If you decide ahead of time that you can never afford a strike then the union can get anything it wants by simply threatening to strike. Decide ahead of time what items the company will compromise on and which items you will never accept even at the cost of a strike.

Union On Strike!

Union On Strike!

Don’t Get Emotional – The laws and customs  regarding labor negotiations are not the same for the union and management. Labor is allowed to behave with “focused enthusiasm” , while management is always expected to “bargain in good faith.” The term “focused enthusiasm” means that periodically the Labor representatives may scream, use profanity  and possibly even jump up and down at the negotiating table. I was in one negotiation where the Union representative did all 3 simultaneously.  The important thing to remember is that while the company is a business, the union is a political organization. In order to get re-elected, the union reps have to convince their members that they are really fighting for the workers. Sometimes that means putting on a big show of yelling at management.

Know The Labor Law – If you are not sure, then bring a labor attorney with you to the bargaining table.  Otherwise, a minor slip of the tongue can spell disaster. For example if the union wants a high raise, a management person might want to say, “the company can’t afford that”. If you ever say  “the company can’t afford that”, then according to labor law the company is “pleading poverty.” Once a company pleads poverty during a negotiation, then the union has the right to completely examine the all the confidential books of the company to see if that statement is true.

Let The Union Think It Won – Once a tentative contract is reached, the union reps have to sell it to their members for ratification.  You need labor to feel it got a good deal.  Don’t go around making press releases of how you “beat” the union. In fact, don’t say anything at all. Let the union do all the talking about what a great contract they got. Remember, you are just interested in the monetary results. The union needs to get the political win.

Respect the Union and the Workers – This is perhaps the most important point of all. When the contract is signed and ratified, you all have to go back to work together to make the company a success. The management team needs to treat the union and the workers with respect throughout the negotiations, no matter how hostile the union gets.  As elitist as it sounds, management needs to operate on a higher level. A year or two after the contract is signed the workers and union reps may not even remember the exact wording of different clauses in the contract. But they will remember if you personally insulted them.

I have represented Management in numerous successful  union negotiations, and I hope these guidelines help you in yours.

 

 

Never Say “Whatever It Takes”

“Whatever It Takesare the 3 most dangerous words any business leader can utter, and yet you hear the phrase all the time. The problem is that the leaders think they are saying one thing, but the rank and file employees hear something else entirely.

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When the boss says Whatever It Takes the employees hear “Nothing Else Matters” . Employees think they are being told to ignore any rules that will interfere with the target the boss has set. If you tell employees that they must hit a particular target like Sales or Profit or Production Units you are also threatening them that bad things will happen to them personally if that target is not met.

People do respond dramatically to the phrase “Whatever It Takes” . They do everything to hit the goal. They ignore safety rules. They ship product that has not passed quality inspection. The give credit lines to customers who will never be able to pay for the goods. They  circumvent government regulations. They over-ship customers.

Sometimes, despite all these shortcuts, employees still find that they have not reached the target the boss has set. Afraid of losing their jobs, people take the final step to meet the target.

They change the numbers.

When all else fails people will report what the bosses want to hear even if it is not true. They report sales were higher than they actually were. They stop reporting accidents or quality problems. They don’t write off bad debts. They falsify government reports. The employees don’t think of themselves as cheating. They think of themselves as doing “Whatever It Takes”.

They next time you see in the news that the government is investigating a company, or that there has been a major industrial accident, or that a firm’s stock suddenly plummets because its figures cannot  be trusted; you can be sure of one thing. Somewhere in the recent past a high level executive gave a rousing speech to the employees demanding that they all do “Whatever It Takes”.

Tavi Gevinson deserves a Tony

Tavi Gevinson deserves a Tony award for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mary Warren in The Crucible. It would  be a nice belated birthday present for Tavi, who just  tuned 20 on April 21. As we mentioned in our review of The Crucible, the stage performance of Tavi Gevinson was amazing.

Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson

Tavi Gevinson is not well know as a stage actor, but she is well know as an expert on the pressures of teenage life. At the age of 12, she started the blog Style Rookie, which immediately became a huge success.

It may seem like a giant leap from writing about teenage life to performing on Broadway, but The Crucible is the perfect play for that transition. In The Crucible, Mary Warren is a tormented teenage girl whose life is being ripped apart by the conflicting pressures of giving in to peer pressure or doing what she knows is right.

In The Crucible Mary has accused numerous adults of witchcraft, and later tries to recant her testimony when she finally realizes the horrible consequences of her actions.  However, a recantation will mean being permanently ostracized by all her friends.

Tavi  Gevinson plays the tortured soul of Mary Warren to perfection. The conflicting emotions has her being torn apart to the point where it seems as if the tension will physically kill her. It never appeared that Tavi Gevinson was acting the part of Mary Warren – She was Mary Warren.

Tavi Gevinson is a talented actor and writer who is only just beginning to show the World her full talent. We look forward to seeing her career progress in the years ahead.

Bike For The Buns Charity Event

Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue’s  annual Bike For The Buns will be held on Saturday June 18th at the Bulls Island Recreation Area in Stockton, NJ.

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This is a fun, family event with all proceeds going to charity. Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue provides shelter for abandoned, abused and neglected domestic rabbits. It also has educational seminars and events to teach people how to properly care for these misunderstood little creatures.

Right now is the most dangerous time of the year for domestic business.  Lots of people get rabbits at Easter, thinking they will be a simple pet to take care of. Once they discover that bunnies are more work than they thought, some people simply” throw out” the rabbits.

The little rabbit pictured above (named Sunshine) had been tossed out of a car window at a stop light. Luckily, a passing motorist found him wandering in the street and brought him to Safe Haven Rabbit Rescue.

The Bike For the Buns is a non-competitive bicycle ride along the beautiful river towpaths of the Bulls Island Recreational Area.

Please join us to have fun and help this worthy cause.

 

The Top 5 Wide-Eyed Women In The Movies

For some reason Hollywood loves actresses with giant eyes that are set far apart.  It must have to do with how they look during close up camera shots. However, sometimes when you start to notice their giant eyes, it is so distracting it becomes difficult to actually concentrate on their acting. Here is East Coast Stories list of the top 5 Wide-Eyed Women on the big screen;

  • # 5 Karen Allen, who was in Star Man with Jeff Bridges and who had Indiana Jones’ child. Karen Allen was also a main character in Animal House.

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  • #4 Mary Elizabeth Weinstead who recently gave an exciting  and dramatic performance in 10 Cloverfield Lane.   Mary Elizabeth Weinstead is not only beautiful, she is also an incredibly talented actor. In 10 Cloverfield Lane she gets the chance to demonstrate her full range of talents.

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  • # 3 Uma Thurman the deadly woman with a samurai sword in the Kill Bill films. Her eyes are set so far apart in her face, that some people believe that every picture has been Photo-shopped.

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  • # 2 Zooey Deschanel whose giant bangs cannot cover up her giant eyes.

Zooey Deschanel 07-07-2009Zooey Deschanel 2009-07-07

Wide 2

It isn’t just that the eyes of these actresses are huge. The eyes are actually further apart than they are in most people. How is this possible? The skulls of these women are not any larger than those of other people. How can their eyes be bigger and set further apart than those of other people? Every one of these women are excellent actors. It was their ayes that first got them noticed, but it was their talent which made them stars.

Deadly Beautiful Spring

In ancient times, the weeks just before Spring were considered the deadliest time of year. The food stored for the Winter was gone, but the ground was still too cold to grow anything new.

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Still, there is a stark beauty to the bare woods, knowing that in just a few short weeks this cold World will once again be alive and colorful.

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Perhaps in our urban environment we have gotten too far removed from the cycles of life to appreciate just how beautiful, short and tenuous Life really is.

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When Spring returns, revel in its beauty and look forward to the bountiful days of Summer.

But don’t forget the cold and lifeless days that came just before. They are Nature’s reminder to us all that the gift of life is but a temporary one.

 

 

 

 

Rosalee Thomass in Greetings From Fukushima (Grub Aus Fukushima)

Rosalee Thomass is a German actress who we predict will eventually be a big star in the United States.  While her work is critically acclaimed in Europe she is still virtually unknown to most Americas.

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Rosalee Thomass’ new film is Greetings from Fukushima, (in German Grub Aus Fukushima). She plays a woman who befriends an elderly Japanese woman while touring the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster.  Reviewers and audiances praise the film and Rosalee Thomass’ performance.

Greetings From Fukushima brings up issues the Japanese government would like the world to forget. Basically the government lied to thousands of people about the amount of radiation and the risk to their health. But this story is not trying to be a political statement. It is more about the personal lives individuals and how people cope with an unexpected distruction of everything they knew.

Taxi

Rosalee Thomass has also worked with Peter Dinklage in Taxi., which we also urge our readers to see.  We saw Peter Dinklage just last week in our home town of Basking Ridge New Jersey.

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Rosalee Thomass, like Alicia von Rittberg is building her career and reputation as an actor in Europe instead of immediately trying to jump to Hollywood for the big bucks.

We wish Rosalee Thomass the best and look forward to seeing all her future work.

  • We give Greetings From Fukushima 5 Stars *****

 

Peter Dinklage in Basking Ridge New Jersey

Peter Dinklage was in Basking Ridge New Jersey on March 13th to perform at Ridge High and to pay tribute to his mother Diane and his brother Jonathan. East Coast Stories was at the show and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

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While world wide fans know Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones, many do not realize that he grew up in New Jersey and went to school in Delbarton School in Morristown. Below is a photo of Peter Dinklage from high school

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The Sunday March 13 live show was entitled “Music of the Movies” and featured  the Somerset  Hills Community Chorus, of which Diane Dinklage has been a long time member. Peter Dinklage was the narrator, and introduced the musical pieces with interesting and funny tidbits about Hollywood.  For example, the seldom played second verse of Hooray for Hollywood,  says, “Hooray for Hollywood, where you’re a Star if you’re only half good!”

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This  was a real Dinklage family event. In addition to Peter;  Jonathan Dinklage was the Concertmaster/Music Coordinator. Peter Dinklage’s sister-in-law, Ta’Rea Campbell was the featured vocalist in a lively  rendition of Joyful, Joyful from Sister Act II.

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Despite all this star  power, the concert was a truly local event. Instead of national advertising, people found out about it from fliers in the Basking Ridge library. There were no Hollywood reporters or T.V. cameras. Peter Dinklage went out of his way to make sure the event was about the Somerset Hills Chorus and the musicians, rather than about him.

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Stephen Sands was the Conductor and Musical Director and did a fantastic job, which was not easy considering the number of different types of music and songs presented.

This was a one time event so if you missed it we can only relate to you how great it was. However, the Somerset Hills Chorus performs throughout the year, and is always worth seeing.

Please support your local singers, musicians and artists even if they are not celebrities – Yet.

The Girl From Burnley and Her BMW Mini

Sharon is a petite, beautiful  28 year old, who lives in the Northern English town of Burnley. She is soft spoken and sort of shy. That is, until she gets behind the wheel of her BMW Mini, when she turns into the Burnley Road Warrior.

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Despite her young age Sharon has a high level position with Akcros Chemicals in Eccles. Every day she makes the dive from Burnley to Eccles, and God help anyone in her way, as she weaves in an out of the massive lorries at top speed with her foot on the accelerator and her hand on the horn.

Sharon hates to waste any part of her day, so she has a speaker phone hooked up in the mini, and conducts business call while she drives.

I have been on the other end of those calls on multiple occasions, and it is an event you will never forget.

On one such occasion, the Board of Directors was meeting in the U.S. They were in a big conference room and Sharon was joining them via speaker phone. She was on the road between Eccles and Burnley calling in from her BMW Mini.

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The Chairman of the Board was giving a very dull lecture about economic trends, when suddenly Sharon’s voice came through the speaker shouting, “You Stupid Sod! Speed it Up!”

A stunned silence fell on the Board Room and the Chairman of the Board said, “Excuse me?”

Sharon’s sweet soft voice came through the speaker saying, “Oh I’m sorry. Did people hear that? Someone just cut me off in traffic and I guess I over-reacted”

The Boards members, including  the Charmian all laughed, and the meeting continued.

About 6 months later I was in Eccles meeting with Sharon, and asked her about the time she yelled at the Chairman of the Board by mistake.

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She looked at me with her blue eyes and said with a smile, “What’d you mean mistake? Haven’t you ever once wanted to to scream at the Chairman when he was giving one of his dull lectures? I had the opportunity and I just couldn’t pass it up. I bet that really got his Y-Fronts in a twist!”

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Then Sharon kissed me sweetly on the cheek and headed off to her Mini for the drive home. I hope no one got in her way.

 

Is Jannik Schumann Alicia von Rittberg’s Boyfriend?

Alicia von Rittberg fans are always upset that she has been very secretive about exactly who her boyfriend is.  Lately, Alicia von Rittberg has been linked with the incredibly handsome German actor Jannik Schumann.

Jannik 1ÜÜ

Alicia von Rittberg and Jannik Schumann worked together on the film Barbara, where it was obvious to all that they were more than just friends. By the way, notice that in the publicity picture above, Alicia is wearing a lovely pants suit, while Jannik decided a sweatshirt and sneakers were good enough. Despite Jannik Schumann wearing clothing that looks like he slept in them, he still comes across and one of the best looking young men on the planet.

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When reporters asked Alicia if she was once again back with Jannik, she did not say yes or no. She simple smiled and went back to the ski slopes.

In the past, Alicia von Rittberg has been linked to Samuel Schneider and Elyas M’Barek. Has she dumped them to move back to to her old pal Jannik Schumann? Alicia will never tell.