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The comedy of Abbott & Castello lives on in a new children’s book
Maybe you at too young to remember the comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. Or maybe you weren’t even born yet. They were a popular duo during the 40s and the 50s. But I am sure that if even if you haven’t seen Abbot and Costello you are familiar with their comedy routines.
Do you remember the sketch of “Who’s on First?” If not, here’s the beginning of my version:
- Guy one: I would like you to meet some of my baseball players.
WHO’S on first
WHAT’S on second
I DON’T KNOW’S on third
- Guy two: That’s what I want to find out…the guy’s names
- Guy one: I told you.
WHO’S on first
WHAT’S on second
I DON’T KNOW’S on third
At this point I am sure you get the rest. My staff had a blast reading the book based on the Abbott & Costello baseball comedy skit. John Martz, a cartoonist and illustrator from Toronto, presents delightful illustrations that just “pop off” the page.
Who’s On First? is published by Quirk Books and will be available February 19, 2013.
When tragedy hits I turn to “The Fourth Estate”….the news media. That’s what I have always relied on to find out the “real” story. I get my local daily newspaper delivered every day. I go online to check news sources such as National Public Radio (NPR), The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CBS news online and more.
I love watching the 1976 movie “All the President’s Men” where Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein forced President Richard Nixon to resign through dogged research and fact checking. That is the strength of the news media. Good investigative reporting keeps our society honest.
But as the internet changes the way we gather information, the news media seems to be changing the rules of good reporting. The media cries out that we should pay for their online services in order for them to maintain a high reporting standard. They keep telling us that they should be our reliable source for news information. They assure us that they hire reporters who get the “true” facts that keep our system honest.
With the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy reporting “The Fourth Estate” certainly did not live up to any journalism standards. In their rush to get online first, all the biggest names in the media business, including The New York Times, National Public Radio and CBS News, faltered in the rush.
Wrong facts. Wrong names. It’s all wrong. If the big guys get it wrong on these emerging stories, how can we believe anything they print?
Last night at 6pm I traveled through Newtown to attend my grandson’s winter concert at the Trumbull middle school. I saw police cars and media vans travelling the roads in and around Newtown as people tried to deal with the hand they were dealt. At 9pm, as we made our way back home through Newtown, the media vans were still there “reporting” from the front lawn of town hall.
What is the story they are going after? State police told the media that all information will be posted on the state police website and that there will only be one spokesperson for the team. The rules have been laid out but the media continues to get quotes from less than reliable sources like a former babysitter living in California.
Has the media become less reliable because we want the breaking news as it happens? Are we demanding “play-by-play” reporting regardless of whether it is accurate?
Is the media giving us what we want because they need the ratings and the numbers in order to stay in business?
Whatever the answers, we need to be more discerning in what we consider “truth” in reporting. “The fourth Estate” is just another business not necessarily worthy of our trust.
When talking about kids and psychology Hudson Valley Parent turns to its expert, Dr. Paul Schwartz, professor of psychology and education at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
He started off by saying, “There is not really a lot to tell. The reality of the situation for kids is not the same as it is for adults.”
Kids are more concerned with their immediate world
According to Dr. Schwartz, most kids are more involved with their world and the world immediately around them, especially during this time of year. “Kids are busy making their Christmas lists and thinking about what they may get this holiday season,” he says.
So, although we adults are trying to understand the senseless school shooting in Newtown, CT., kids are more involved with their day-to-day activities, whether it’s birthday parties or shopping or just playing outside.
“My grandkids live several towns over from Newtown,” says Hudson Valley Parent publisher Terrie Goldstein. “I was really concerned about my grandkids reaction to hearing about the shooting since they are less than 10 minutes away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And they have friends who live in that school district.” Her grandkids are seven and ten years old.
“My son told them about the incident when he picked them up from school on Friday afternoon. According to my son Paul, Robert didn’t say much, but my seven-year-old granddaughter, Lia, said ‘He was probably on drugs.’” Her granddaughter came up with a solution that satisfied her.
“I spoke to my grandkids early Saturday morning, to see how they were processing what was going on around them, says Terrie. “My grandson had a birthday party that afternoon and that’s all we talked about. You can’t beat a Laser Tag Birthday Party. “
Keep the explanation simple
Although we adults try to review every piece of information about the incident, most kids are interested in the simplest explanation. Start there and then see their reaction. Wait until they ask questions so that you will understand their concerns. “Respond to how your kids are processing the information,” advises Dr. Schwartz.
“I remember when my son was seven-years-old he asked me where babies came from,” comments Hudson Valley Parent’s publisher. “I was all set with this very involved description of sex and mommies and daddies. And I started by saying that babies grow in a mommy’s belly. ‘Great’, he says as he walked away. “
When talking with children use the old advertising adage KISS…Keep It Simple Stupid.
Children sense your tension
Be careful about showing your own anxiety because kids sense your tension and react accordingly. “Children model adult reactions,” says Dr. Schwartz. “So if you show anxiety, your children will pick up on that.”
Remember there are not easy answers to why this incident occurred. According to Dr. Schwartz we are all looking for answers but there is no pat solution. He feels it is all about easy access to firearms. He says bullies don’t bring guns into schools. And if we are looking at kids who remain alone remember that creative kids are loners and inherent in their creative energies is their desire to be alone and aloof.
When I first moved to Orange County many years ago, (45 to be exact) one day a week I would put Paul in his car seat and travel new roads just to see where they led. (That was before Google Maps and GPS systems.) From Monroe I went to Lloyds Supermarket in Newburgh (Which is where Home Deport is located) and then we went to Downing Park to play and feed the ducks. Or we’d go to Pine Island to see the onion fields. (That was great fun for a girl who was born and brought up in Brooklyn.)
But now with gas prices rising, I think twice about traveling just to wonder.
This past Saturday the roads led to Columbia Costumes on North Front Street. (I later learned they call this section the Uptown Stockade. The first treat was my visit to Columbia Costumes. Not sure I’d suggest bringing the kids because the two floors of this store are jam packed with “stuff.” Every costume you can imagine, in all sizes. The wigs, and make-up. Hats and boas. You dream up a new image for yourself and they can help you create it. I am not a dress-up person, but the staff made decision making easy. I walked out with a bat girl costume as well as wonder woman for one of my staff.
As I walked back to my car to leave I realized that before me was North Front Street, with interesting stores on both sides of the street. And North Front Street leads to Wall Street with even more opportunities to shop and enjoy some great coffee.
The three shops I found most fascinating don’t have web sites so you’ll have to take a drive and enjoy the day. Full Circle at 42 North Street, was the smallest of the shops I visited but offered everything from handmade jewelry to gorgeous umbrellas. Bop to Tottom (Say that fast three times. ) at 299 Wall Street caught my eye because I am a pocketbook collector. The colors were great, prices reasonable and every size you can possibly want. You can’t imagine what this double store front packs on its shelves. Then I stopped in at Theresa & Co. They are known for their wonderful collection of women’s and children’s clothing. Small with a smart looking outfits
Dominick’s Café at the corner of North Front and Wall Streets offered a friendly time-out for a delicious iced coffee and comfortable seating. I resisted the cakes and cookies.
So if you are looking for a fun afternoon where you can get away from it all I suggest a drive to North Front and Wall Streets in Kingston. Plenty of free parking to make shopping real easy.
When I saw this headline to an upcoming conference it made me stop and think.
When my son sulked because he didn’t get the new fishing rod, how did it make me feel? Did I feel badly enough to negotiate with him? “I understand that you really want that new rod. How about you clean up your room for the next week and we’ll go to Dicks?”
Probably not a good resolution. I just taught him that sulking brings positive results. But sometimes I just hate to see the sulking. And you can be sure that he makes certain that I see him.
So the real question is, ‘What’s the best way to deal with this?”
I called Suzanne Tremper, MS. Ed., the director of programs for Independent Living, Inc. to ask for her advice. Here are her four tips
- Identify the difference between mistaken and misbehavior and teach your child the information he needs to know.
- Punishment has negative consequences and does not change the behavior.
- Positive guidance helps your child learn to make good choices.
- Many behavior problems can be stopped by altering the environment.
If you are dealing with similar issues you may be interested in attending one of the upcoming conferences sponsored The Early Childhood Direction Center. They are sponsoring two conferences called Who’s In Charge at Your House? They are part of a free workshop series for parents and early childhood professionals who want to learn management techniques to address children’s behaviors.
Wednesday, Sept 5 from 10am til noon
615 Rte 32, Highland Mills
Thursday, Sept 13 from 10am til noon
Orange County Dept of Mental Healt
30 Harriman Drive; Goshen
Interested in attending, call 845-565-1162 ext 240 or sign up at Independent Living. Tell them Terrie sent you!
I only wished they held them at night so I could attend. So if you go share what you learned with us.
Fall is coming up fast. For many the change of seasons is a time for a change in our lives. For the past several weeks my husband and I have been walking right after work. (So if you call the office after 5pm and don’t get us, we are probably walking around the Downing Park with the geese.)
But how kickboxing to get in shape? Not something I even considered before speaking to Paul Melella of the United Martial Arts Center in Fishkill. I called him for the center’s monthly ad and we began talking about the programs he offers.
“What do you know about kickboxing?” Paul asked.
“Kickboxing for women like me?” I asked, almost incredulously, because I always think that any form of boxing is for the young people with their quick feet and sure hands.
I gave him all the standard objections: I am not in great shape; I know nothing about kickboxing; I have no experience with kickboxing. I am sure you have some of your own objections.
Paul’s set me straight:
- This is good for those just starting out
- You are only competing with yourself
- It is an all-around body fitness program which includes fitness drills, calisthenics and stretches
- Since the classes are predominately women I shouldn’t feel out of place.
- ‘Even his mom who is in her 60s participates’ was Paul’s final punch line.
But for me the kicker was: IT’S A GREAT WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT!
“Everyone is different,” says Paul when I asked how much weight I could expect to lose and how fast. (I admit, there is a part of me that is real lazy. I would like the best results in the shortest time. ) According to Paul I could see results within a month, whether it’s losing weight or gaining muscle.
So here I go…As a beginner Paul suggests 1 to 2 times a week and some practice at home.
Attention Moms: you can take your class after your kid’s karate. UMAC has a fun room in the back for the kids to wait for you while you’re getting in shape with kickboxing.
If you try it, let me know how it’s going. Ask for the Hudson Valley Parent special. Interested call 845-897-8622
Don’t get me wrong, I am not the best shopper. I go on binges. Sometimes I think Macy’s has the greatest selection and I can’t get enough. Then it’s Marshalls with their unpredictable selection, but undeniable bargains.
Bargains! Who can resist the Salvation Army or the Good Will stores? (Check out my $7.99 winter coat.)
I am a fickle shopper and that drives mall management crazy. So they are trying a different tactic.
Look for a store that even a fickle shopper like me can’t resist. Our local library. Technically, they don’t have competition, unless you consider Barnes and Noble. But even the last remaining national bookstore chain has difficulty in holding on to its customer base. And since there is only one library per region and they are all linked within the region they don’t have competition.
Also the local library has many fans. (Okay so 716 is not a lot) But besides Facebook they are on Pinterest and Twitter. They have books, DVDs, magazines, online databases, online books for you and your kids…and that just scratches the surface.
According to Newburgh Library Director Muriel Verdibello with just a couple of months planning they were able to open their new mall branch with the support of their entire staff. “This is a pilot project,” says Verdibello. “It gives our voters a chance to see what is available before they have to vote on a new budget next year.”
The two families I met while at the Mall Branch said they love the convenience of the new location. l Hanna Johnston of Newburgh held an armful of books. She came to get her kids glasses before school and dropped in to see what the library offered.
Inez Foreman of Newburgh said that her three year old Valeria loves getting books. In fact, this is the second time this week they came back to the mall.
Great traffic for the mall. Convenience for book readers. And there is plenty more to come. Bring your own cup of coffee and enjoy free WiFi.
When you think of Newburgh what comes to mind?
For many of you who live outside the City lines you think of a place you wouldn’t think of visiting…at least not too often. For me, Newburgh has been my home for the past 25 years. When I use to give directions to my home, I would say, “When you are in a place you don’t think you belong you have reached your destination.” But, believe it or not, things are changing.
Down my street you see moms sitting on their stoops while their kids play on the sidewalks. When I come out to get my morning paper I enjoy wonderful chalk designs on the sidewalk left by the kids from the previous evening’s play.
I am a book nut and the Newburgh Library is the place to be. Except for their summer hours, they are open 7 days a week and weekdays til 9. Many times after dinner, my husband and I end up at the library browsing the shelves, me for mysteries and Clay for art books.
Many of you know about our wonderful waterfront, with its great restaurants, a promenade somewhat reminiscent of my young years of walking the boardwalk in Coney Island, and tucked in a tiny corner is our own Newburgh art theater, the Downing Film Center.
But when you think of the Newburgh Renaissance the name of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh might not come to mind. They are changing Newburgh one house at a time.
Recently I watched an entire volunteer crew create two homes where once stood two dilapidated, boarded up houses. Habitat takes homes in key areas that become the building blocks for new neighborhoods. The families that will live in these houses form the nucleolus of the NEW Newburgh. A place where working families can enjoy great schools for their children and neighborhoods where it is safe for children to go out and play.
Feel free to come and visit me. I am here to share the wonderful city of Newburgh.
My birthday is June 25th. I’m telling you this not because I expect your to send me a present, but, as you can imagine, this is the month when my credit card companies, my insurance agent and all the other sign-ups that requested my birthday will send me a present.
Some send those automatic greetings. Aren’t they pathetic? It’s not like they know me personally. For me it just reinforces the idea that computer programs have taken over for the personal phone call or cards that were sent. I am sure Hallmark Cards is crying in its soup.
But today’s present really set me back. Bon-Tons, the department store in the Newburgh Mall, send me a very sweet card with a bold graphic and a simple, HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the cover.
All well and good until I opened the card. There were two gift certificates. Great, I thought! It gives me an excuse to go shopping… then I read the small print. One certificate requires me to spend at least $50 (And I get 20% discount) and the other suggests no minimum purchase but I have to shop online.
First, I don’t like receiving a present that just encourages me to spend more than I really want to. And second, don’t push me to shop on the web if what I really want is an in-store experience.
But the thing that irked me the most is that I could probably get as good a deal in one of their newspaper inserts or online.
So “shame on you” Bon-Tons. You didn’t really want to wish me a happy birthday; you just wanted to created another “hurry in a shop” discount. Fire the person who came up with this awful idea.
UPDATE: Just heard from Gina, from the marketing department at Bon-Ton’s Department Store. Apparently she works for the boss who suggested their current birthday program. The same one I suggested they fire. According to Gina they welcomed my comments because they are in the middle of revamping their promotional programs and should launch new programs as soon as August.
According to marketing studies, Bon-Tons did everything right…almost.
- 1. They actually read the comments. Ever leave a comment for a store and never hear back from them?
- 2. They responded quickly with a personal phone call.
- 3. They acknowledged the problem I addressed.
- 4. And said thank-you and encouraged me to keep in contact with any other thoughts.
According to marketing studies, if a business follows the four above steps, they limit the damage and will most probably keep the complainer as a client. The one step they could have taken is to give a “gift” to say thank you. That assures that you not only keep the customer but will encourage the customer to tell others. Word of mouth compliments are the “bread-and-butter ” for business growth.
What customer service stories do you have to share?
I must admit it. I am an NPR junkie. They review a book. I buy it. Two days ago, there was an interview with a financial columnist who discussed long term health insurance. For those of you who are not aware of this outrageous product, it helps us finance our healthcare when we no longer can take care of ourselves. I am sure, that for most of you young parents, this is not of great concern right now. And anyway, I wasn’t ready to buy her book.
Then last night I heard Terry Gross on Fresh Air. (It’s a radio show. Not TV…this is for the TV junkies in our audience.) She talked to New York Times Phys Ed columnist Gretchen Reynolds. In her new book, The First 20 Minutes, Reynolds breaks some exercise myths that I have lived with for a long time.
Don’t do those stretches at the beginning of your exercise workout. She suggests doing some simple warm-ups makes your body more limber.
Chocolate milk is the great after exercise meal. Be careful, she warns. This advice is for those who are exercising for a least an hour. It’s all about those calories.
You don’t need eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Apparently our bodies are good barometers for telling us when we need more water.
What does this exercise book have to do with long term health insurance? For me it’s everything!
According to Reynolds, when we keep fit we increase our lifespan by 17% (or maybe it’s 20%). I am sure there are diminishing returns as we age. For example, for those of you in your 30’s that only increases your lifespan by five or six years, but for me it could increase my life span by fifteen years. And the best part is that exercising helps not only our bodies but our minds as well. Read her blog “How working the muscles may boost brainpower.”
So this is my idea. If I exercise at least a half hour every day I probably won’t need long term health insurance. And isn’t that the best money-saving idea you have heard yet!! Besides, think how smart I am going to be.