I’m a leg man. But not when it comes to public relations. Or more specifically, damage control. In the media, a story is said to “have legs” if it continues for a long time. If the press is talking about it every day. As a public relations person, the last thing you want to do with a negative story is to give it those “legs.” You probably grasp where I’m going with this. Donald Trump. What he’s done regarding the size of the crowd as his inauguration is the textbook version of giving a story legs. If he kept his… Continue Reading

Easy as pie? Not when it’s raisin

Monday was Pie Day. Not to be confused with Pi Day. Pi Day is celebrated on March 14 (3/14) to recognize the mathematical symbol “pi” or 3.14. I admit that’s kinda cool, but it can’t compare to Pie Day, which celebrates pie. National Pie Day has been observed on Jan. 23 since 1986. The holiday, I learned, actually was started in the mid-70s in Boulder, Colorado, by teacher Charlie Paparian. Why Jan. 23? It’s his birthday. I don’t know what Charlie’s favorite pie was but it’s clear it wasn’t humble. According to the American Pie Council’s website, apple pie, the… Continue Reading

Life is the fast lane

I tell students all the time the longest period of time in anyone’s life is between 18 and 21 years old. You’ve graduated high school, you can serve your country in the military, people tell you all the time “you’re not a kid anymore,” but still you are not quite an adult either. It seems 21 will never arrive. But it does. And that night you go out and get drunk. The next morning, you wake up and you’re hung over. The next morning, you wake up and you’re 30. The kids don’t fully grasp that, but anyone over 30… Continue Reading

Dad first, fan second

Sitting down to watch football Sunday afternoon I couldn’t lose. I couldn’t win either. The Green Bay Packers, my Packers, were playing the Dallas Cowboys, my son’s Cowboys. As much as I am a Packers fan, I really hoped the Cowboys would win. Only another father can identify with that. Sure, I was not all that upset with the Packers victory. But my heart genuinely aches for my boy. I can’t say exactly why I became a Packers fan but I cannot recall ever rooting for another team. I do know that when I was a tyke, I always said… Continue Reading

Why choose pessimism?

A couple of weeks before Christmas I became aware of two books via articles on the front page of the New York Times Book Review. One was “Thank You for Being Late” by Thomas L. Friedman. The other, “The Undoing Project” by Michael Lewis. After reading the reviews I ran right out and bought two copies of each. The former as a gift for my dear friend John Markarian, who will turn 100 on June 7. The latter as a gift for my son Michael, who turned 30 on Sept. 27. The second copies were for me. Before wrapping Michael’s… Continue Reading

Sharp dressed man

Did Ryan Gosling stop at Cohen Brothers before the Golden Globes? Of course not. Cohen Brothers no longer exists. And if it did, can you picture Ryan Gosling on North Main Street in Pittston? Still, his attire at the awards ceremony conjured up images of him standing in front of a mirror in the back of Cohen’s with one of the several haberdashers who worked there slipping a white dinner jacket on him for size. Just the way we did back in the ’60s. Gosling’s white dinner jacket and black formal trousers was the look all guys sported for our… Continue Reading

Don’t let the shirt fool you

I was walking into the gym one day last year when a big guy on his way out started yelling at me. Or so I thought. I soon realized he was yelling with me. Or so he thought. We didn’t do this, he barked. We need to do that. We? I thought. What’s the matter with the defense. What’s the matter with Ben? Ben? I thought. Oh. Ben. Yeah. I finally got it. It was my sweatshirt. I was wearing my black Pittsburgh Steelers sweatshirt. He sensed simpatico even though there was none. But I let him go. No point… Continue Reading

It’s still Christmas

We visited our niece and her family in Roanoke, Virginia, last weekend and were struck to see everyone’s Christmas tree lying on the curb on January 1. Christmas sure ended early there. It must be because there are few people in Roanoke with Eastern European roots, I reasoned, unable to come up with a better explanation for ending the holiday season so abruptly. We always kept our tree and decorations up until “Little Christmas” on January 6, and still do. I’m not sure we knew exactly why except that it seemed a good idea to extend the holiday as long… Continue Reading