Friday, March 21, 2014

Ten top POSITIVE news stories you might have missed these last few weeks

With the world's attention focused on the major ongoing stories of the Crimea special vote to rejoin Russia and the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian Flight 370,  you might have missed some of these other POSITIVE stories in the news.

1. CVS STORES WITH OVER 7,600 CVS/CAREMARK OUTLETS WILL STOP SELLING CIGARETTES AND OTHER TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN ALL ITS STORES AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2014. It is estimated that CVS will lose close to $2 billion in annual sales. This must have been a difficult decision; however, with over 800 Minute-Clinics in these store and its great majority of business coming from promoting health wellness and clean living, this was the right decision.
     Perhaps, the Rhode Island based company can do more in the way of promoting online as well as live seminars on prevention and other  health related issues such as the importance of colon cancer screening that I will cover shortly. So, stay tuned!

2. HATS OFF TO DANIEL P. MALLOY  of Connecticut for PROPOSING THE SALE OF E-CIGS TO MINORS BE BANNED.  This device involves heating  a flavored nicotine liquid to produce a vapor that is like smoke.Though touted as a means of beating the  nicotine habit, these devices make smoking more attractive to the underage because mainly because  celebrities are seen with the devices.

3. COLON CANCER IN OUR COUNTRY IS DOWN 30% IN THE LAST DECADE.  This is despite that only 50% of those who should be screened are in fact going for the test. So wake up America and those adults who are 50 years of age and up, go visit your local primary care doctor.

Mae Keane
Hartford Courant 


5. KUDOS TO THE CITY OF STAMFORD AND MAYOR MARTIN FOR "POT HOLE WEEK"  whereby the public is invited to contact the city to report potholes that needed filling. Streets such as Upland Avenue in Belltown have been repaved to cover the numerous and dangerous pot holes.


7. FORBES MAGAZINE, ONCE THE VERY SYMBOL OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM (CAPITALIST TOOL) AND LAVISH CORPORATE CONSUMPTION IS ON  THE BUYER'S BLOCK. Click here to read.   Malcolm Forbes rode motorcycles and entertained the capitalist elite on his yacht as he courted Elizabeth Taylor. Son Steve spent $140 million on two failed presidential bids. Malcolm had a fabulous collection of military art depicting in miniature famous world battles, which he opened for public viewing at his company building on Fifth Ave. just south of 14th Street.


9. A BRONX CHARTER SCHOOL PRESENTS ITS CASE TO OPEN AN ELEMENTARY BRANCH HERE IN STAMFORD CAUSING CONTROVERSY.To access the many articles recently published in the Stamford Advocate, click here. 


Friday, March 14, 2014

David Russell's American Hustle knocked it out of the park--so why did the Academy stiff it?

Kudos to David Russell for his magnum opus, American Hustle.

The movie  left such a strong impression on me that I went back a second time to catch what I missed the first time and what a delight it was.

Christian Bale and Amy Adams
star in  David Russell's American Hustle

Russell is a master of depicting his characters in various stages of transformation as he entertains us with a cast of accomplished actors, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence all of whom, chameleon- like, exude a non-stop flow of energy.

The film was inspired by and based loosely on the Abscam sting operation that took place out of the FBI office in Hauppage, New York in the late 1970's.

In going back the second time, I realized there is so much more to this film than just the telling of a story with a fantastic assembly of over- the- top actors.

This real life Atlantic City scam featuring a phony Arab sheikh posing as financier is just the stage for each scammer to exhibit and betray the tension and ambiguity of living a morally deprived life.

At the same time that Irving Rosenfeld (Bale) and his accomplice Sydney Prosser from Albuquerque (the ravishing Adams) posing as Lady Edith Greensly a British Aristocrat, are pulling off scams with fake artwork and phony loans, they are also exhibiting strong signs of moral rectitude.

Their scams are uncovered by FBI agent  Richie Demaso and in return for immunity from prosecution,the pair agree to participate in his plot to implicate Camden Mayor Carmine Polito (played by Jeremy Renner) a a plot in which the latter and his congressional associates will take kickbacks to secure for the sheikh the necessary licenses, permits and approvals to build casinos.

Robert De Niro stars as Victor Tellegio,
second in command to Meyer Lansky who insists 
on a $10 million wire to prove the sheikh's legitimacy

Irving, while unfaithful to his young wife Rosalyn, harbors strong paternal feelings for his little son and is reluctant to divorce her; she ultimately has a relationship with a mobster, Pete Musane.

It becomes obvious that FBI agent Demaso ( a family man who is engaged to be married -while still living at home with his solid, grass roots first generation Italian family) wants to make a big name for himself with the Bureau-- and THAT, in itself, would be enough on his plate.

But agent Demaso and, seemingly, the ravishingly alluring British accented Lady Edith begin falling for each other. In a scene, when they are just about ready to strip off each other's clothing and consummate the relationship, the Lady resists and tells Demaso that she is not who he thinks she is

 "I'm Sydney Prosser, an American," she blurts out. She herself is a fake! A big con artist!

 Naturally, Demaso is crushed and we assume that his inflated ego, by degrees, will transform himself back into the respectable engaged first generation Italian son, the role his parents expect him to play.

What is the fate of Irving and Sydney?

Well, first off,  they avoid prosecution.

The film ends with Irving telling us that they were able to secure a loan and take their art business legit..

Transformations are in it for all.

 Even Rosalyn, Irving's wife  knows how to take care of herself and her kid.

 Without a doubt and with undue respect to the Academy, this film wins BEST ACTOR for Christian Bale, Best SUPPORTING ACTRESS for Amy Adams,  BEST PICTURE  and, above all, BEST DIRECTOR for David Russell.

Stamford native son Hal Douglas, voice over star of movie trailers, dies

Hal Douglas (1924-2014)

He was born in Stamford, CT on September 1, 1924, the son of Samuel and Miriam Levenson Cohen.

After his mom died when he was nine, both he and his brother were raised by their grandparents, Tevya and Sarah Levenson. His father, who remarried, worked in the Cohen family haberdashery in Stamford.

Hal Cone spent three years in the Navy during World War II where he was trained as a pilot.

In his spare time he wrote fiction and  then studied acting at the University of Miami under the GI Bill.

He was considered one of the top voice over artists of his generation along with Don LaFontaine, the most prolific with over 5,000 film trailers (1940-2008)  and Don Morrow (1927-)

His credits include "Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia," and "Meet the Parents."

Click here to see a movie clip from the documentary Comedian where Douglas parodies himslelf. The movie also features Jerry Seinfeld

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

March 11, 1948: Dr. Reginald Weir of New York City becomes the first black tennis player to compete in a US Lawn Tennis Association tournament

Serena (on left) and Venus Williams Grand Slam Champs
in Ladies Doubles at Wimbledon, Sumner of 2012
photo from

The tennis world takes it for granted that for the past decade women's tennis has been dominated by the Williams sisters.

Between the two of them they have  24 Grand Slam singles titles (Serena has 17  and Venus 7) and an amazing 54 total GS titles including women's doubles and mixed doubles.

66 years ago, the Williams sisters would have been excluded from achieving such formidable success because of the color of their skin.

Dr. Reginald Weir serving on the wood slatted courts at the
Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan's Harlem, March, 1948
Images by Ralph Morse of Life Magazine

On March 11, 1948, all that changed!

 One man opened the door to the successes of Althea Gibson,  Arthur Ashe, Sloane Stephens and, of course, the Williams sisters.

That man was Dr. Reginald Weir who I had the privilege of witnessing and watching  play--  in his prime-- on these very courts.

To learn more about this black tennis legend, a man of sterling character,  click here

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bronx resurgence with City Council Approval to transform Kingsbridge Armory into mammoth ice sports center

Artists' rendering of  Kingsbridge Armory National Ice Center
from Bloomberg News

Watch out Bronx natives and icons, the Yankee Stadium, Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens will soon have competition.

Here's why.

The Kingsbridge Armory has sat vacant for  the last 17 years.

However, this icon is slated to open in 2017 as a National Ice Center with nine skating rinks and a 5,000 seat hockey arena.

The City Council authorized $320 million to get the project underway.

In addition to bringing hundreds of permanent jobs and close to a 1,000 constructions jobs to the Bronx, the project is sure to attract millions of tourists to the new complex.

Let's give a booming Bronx cheer for all those responsible for the project.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February 2014: a month of discoveries with spotlight on Wikipedia's Daily featured Article on John F. Bolt Flying Ace

February  2014.

 What a fabulous month of discoveries for me.

The major story has been the ascendancy of President Vladimir Putin to near Godlike status as master politician especially  in an around the Crimea and  Ukraine and, secondly, his major grand opus,  the $52 Billion over- the- top investment in the Sochi Winter Olympics

Coming Soon : More on this late- breaking and continuing saga of Mr. Putin's global aspirations and his containment by the west.
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
from Wikipedia

Another  major discovery has been an  amazing posting by Wikipedia on its daily featured article page for February 26, 2014.

John Bolt in the cockpit of his F-86 Sabre in July, 1953
Courtesy of Wikipedia

The featured article which suddenly appeared on my laptop  (perhaps emailed  to me) was on John F. Bolt (1921-2004), a US military pilot who was the only US Marine to achieve ace status in two wars  (World War II and the Korean War)  and was also the only Marine jet fighter ace.  A flying ace is a pilot who is credited with shooting down a number of enemy craft during aerial combat and this number has varied.

In the case of Bolt,  he is is credited with six victories in the Pacific Theater of Operations, during  World War II.  In the Korean War in 1953, he flew  F-86 Sabres into "MIG Alley" an area along the northern border of North Korea. Here, he scored another  six victories.

What fascinates me is how Wiki knew about my interest in aviation, or put another way, how did we connect via  John Bolt!?!

I have posted dozens of blogs on aviation including many articles on earning my wings and aviating my own plane and it is possible that Wiki mined my blog for information.

On the day I took title to Piper Cherokee 1029H 
 Oroville Airport, Oroville, California

Secondly, six days earlier, I had just blogged about ice-skater Victor Ahn who took the gold medal for Russia in the short track. Indeed, he was the first athlete to win two gold medals representing two different countries. This double feat is indeed reminiscent of  Bolt's status as double ace.

A third possible reason for Wiki's reaching out to me is that I make frequent donations to this wonderful resource.

There are currently 4,463,066 articles in the English Wikipedia. Yes, I repeat over 4 million articles on every conceivable subject. 

To place me in the company of John Bolt is a mismatch. My low- time flying experience as a civilian pilot with less than 500 hours cannot compare to this ace who has accumulated hundreds of hours of training and actual combat experience.

 I was born too late to realize my persistent dream of defending my country as a World War II naval combat pilot.

All of the above leads to a fourth reason for wiki's friendly visit. Perhaps they had discovered my blog on Aerobatics over Portland, Oregon, which followed, tucked away as it were, an article I posted thanking my many flight instructors over the past 30 years. (click to read).

Well, Wiki did find me and I believe we are all the richer in knowledge......

To find this month's  queue (lineup of featured personages day by day),  click here and then click on this Month's Queue on the right side of the page under Featured Article Tools.

I hope you have as much fun navigating and then discovering the many, many other resources of  this website.

Kudos to Wikipedia!

Keep on flying Wikipedia
and may your online encyclopedia
(and daily featured article)
encircle our humble globe
with treasured info for us to probe!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Does Woody Allen's blockbuster Blue Jasmine movie dialogue play truer than life?

In this scene Hal (played by Alec Baldwin), a convicted Wall Street fraud, and notorious womanizer tells his spoiled wife Jasmine (played by Kate Blanchett)  that he has fallen for another woman. Here is a dialogue clip from this scene which takes place in their library.

Jasmine confronts her husband Hal
about reports he has been having an affair
 with Lycette Boudreau an au pair

Hal:  Lycette and I are in love.

Jasmine:  What?  Are you crazy?

H:  I'm sorry, but I need you to hear what I'm saying to you. Lycette and I are in love.

J: What does that mean, what does that stupidity even mean?

H: It means that we are making plans for the future together.

J: I'm sorry I'm...I'm  having trouble understanding.

H: I know this comes as a shock,  but I have to be honest with you.

J: You want to be honest!!!  That's the biggest joke of all. (clearly upset, she pours herself a drink.)

H: I've had casual flirtations in the past, but they didn't mean anything to me, until now. This is different!

J: Are you out of your mind?  She is a a teenager for christ sake (she turns around from the bar and exclaims) She's an au pair. I mean are you crazy? (wringing her hair)

H:  Jesus Christ This is hard for me to to tell you.

J: This is hard for you. What about me? This is so humiliating for me. It's bad enough that everyone knows you have been unfaithful, but to just  throw me away for this stupid looking  little French______ (garbled expletive).