Doping …Where You’d Least Expect It!

Have you been following the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea?

If you have, you should already know that — because of doping at the Sochi, Russia games four years ago — the Russian National Team was barred from competing at these games.  Russian athletes that were allowed to compete marched in under the name ‘Olympic Athletes from Russia’ (OAR) and under the Olympic flag.

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Photo credit: nationalpost.com

Well…what would the Olympics be without some kind of scandal.

The New York Times reported Sunday (2/18) that a Russian athlete may lose his bronze medal after failing a preliminary drug test.  The athlete –Alexander Krushelnytsky — competes not in skiing.  Not in speed skating.  Not even in ice hockey.   His sport:

Curling.

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Photo credit: curlingzone.com

Yes…curling.  The same sport a good friend of mine in the radio biz described (in jest) on Facebook as:

“The most fun you can have on ice with doorstops and a Swiffer while wearing bedroom shoes !”

To be fair…the drug that was found was meldonium — a heart medication that helps increase blood flow.   It’s not really known why the athlete was taking it…but that substance has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2016.  Testing is part of a review of that ruling to determine how long the drug stays in the system.

The Times article reports that the increase of blood flow, scientists say, could increase oxygen to muscles…meaning more endurance.   Curling is not cross-country skiing, but the vigorous ‘sweeping’ of curling could make more endurance a benefit.

The article says Krushelnytsky competed in mixed doubles…and did most of the sweeping.   Hmm.

In any case…because of this Russia will remain under scrutiny because these athletes competing under the Olympic flag were said to be put through a rigorous testing regimen to even be allowed to compete at these games.

Goes to prove the more things change…the more they stay the same.

But ‘juicing’ in curling??!!  Come on.

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That’s What He (Allegedly) Said.

Most of you have heard about it by now.

I was taking time off when it happened.  A good buddy of mine suggested putting some thoughts on it in this space.  (Thanks, Jim)

In discussions about immigration to the United State, President Donald Trump is reported by the Washington Post to have said this in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and several African countries:

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

One line.  One thought.  One question.  One HUGE topic of discussion.

For us in the media world…this proved to be a great dilemma.

We have always practiced this rule..whether written or unwritten:  NEVER edit comments that are directly attributable to the President of the United States.

That means every “um”, every “uh” every coughing fit and pregnant pause stays in if encased in an important presidential quote.  But does that..and should that..include foul language?

With I’m sure a great deal of thought given to potential Federal Communications Commission (FCC) fines, here’s how the networks handled it..according to the Washington Post which broke the story.

NBC and its cable outlet MSNBC used the word..spoken on the air (after a disclaimer) and in graphics.  CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta did as well..although many of that cable network’s anchors opted for the watered-down “S-hole”.  CNN also used the unedited word in its on-screen graphics.  ABC and CBS opted to use “blank” instead of the ‘S–t” part of the word.  Fox News used an asterisk to replace the first vowel in the expletive.  However..one Fox host on one of the network’s panel shows was quoted as interpreting it this way:

“If it’s true, this is how the forgotten men and women in America talk at the bar.   This is how Trump relates to people. If you’re at a bar, and you’re from Wisconsin, and you’re thinking, ‘They’re bringing in a bunch of Haiti people, or El Salvadorans, or people from Niger.’  This is how some people talk.”

That may be true…but the President of the United States is not at “a bar”.

The President of the United States is not one of “the forgotten men and women in America”.

The President is on the world stage, and should carry himself as being so.

This is all evidence that…one year into it…we are witnessing a presidency unlike no other.   You really didn’t need me to tell you that.

If it looks that way to us, imagine how wide the eyes of the world must be right now.

The President was also reported to have asked why can’t we have more people come here from places like Norway.

Maybe this episode…is why they’re staying home.

 

On A Scale Of 10: Eleven Clinton

Even though we live in New Jersey, my wife and I are Southerners through and through.

Shortly after we moved here, we discovered a restaurant just around the corner from us that whenever we needed a fix of ‘back home’ food, we could always count on them for it.

I raved about Duke’s Southern Table in this very blog after we ate there.  Here’s a reminder.

Since then Duke’s closed its doors..and we longed for someone to come in and take up the mantle.  We got our wish.  And guess what?  It’s in the very same restaurant space that Duke’s was.

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Courtesy: Eleven Clinton

Eleven Clinton opened late in 2017 and gave us back our taste of the South.
My bride..the lovely Karen.. ordered the Fried Catfish Platter with a side of collard greens.  She was quite pleased.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

As for me..it’s become somewhat of a tradition that if I go to a new restaurant and they have Shrimp and Grits on the menu…I will order it.  After all..when you are a native Charlestonian..there is a standard all bowls of Shrimp and Grits must meet.  I must say this one measures up.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

We topped it off with a Red Velvet Souffle.  It’s baked to order..so we had to wait a bit.  It was indeed worth it.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

The evenings are also filled with live jazz and blues.  After all..if the phrase ‘smothered blues’ is under your name on the awning, you have to live up to it.

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Courtesy: KReative Works

We are so pleased that Eleven Clinton is finally open..and adding to the ever-evolving Newark, NJ restaurant landscape.   You can see the website and menu by clicking here.  If you pass through Newark..plug 11 Clinton Street into your GPS and you will not be disappointed.

No More ‘Men Behaving Badly’!

Bill Cosby.  Roger Ailes.  Bill O’Reilly.  Harvey Weinstein.  Kevin Spacey.  Senator Al Franken.  Representative  John Conyers.  Charlie Rose.  Matt Lauer.

The list is long (likely even beyond even what we know)…and the allegations know no bounds.

We are in the midst of a substantive transformation in the relationship between men and women in the professional environment.  What we’ve seen come out over the last year or so in the sexual harassment allegations is..not a sign…not a signal..but an out-and-out pronouncement that this behavior will no longer be tolerated..and women will no longer be silent.

There IS a line, and it’s not okay to cross it.

As a career journalist, a number of these cases hit close to home.  It is at the same time shocking…but (quite honestly) not completely unexpected.  Journalism…for the longest time…was a ‘boys’ club’.  A segment of the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy made light of it…but it wasn’t far-fetched at all.   That environment is no longer acceptable with more diverse newsrooms in every medium…and at every level.

We…as men…must understand that it’s all about respect.   If we don’t understand this, we will be swept out with the trash.  This is not to say that there aren’t people out there who may try to take advantage of what I’ve heard called this “age of empowerment” to simply get people who aren’t liked out of the picture.   I hope that doesn’t happen…because it will diminish that quest for respect that is so richly deserved.

Actress Angela Lansbury of Murder, She Wrote fame recently commented…controversially…on this in a Radio Times interview saying:

“There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us — and this is where we are today.  We must sometimes take blame, women.  I really do think that. Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.”

I can’t say I agree.   Women being attractive and taking pride in making themselves so is NOT an ‘invitation’ for disrespect.

Again…there IS a line, and it’s not okay to cross it.

We as men should be paying very close attention right now.   The lifting of women’s voices that started just a day after this year’s presidential inauguration will not die down.

And when it comes to sexual misconduct or harassment…or bad behavior of any kind, there is no more hoping that no one speaks out…and that the truth will be hidden — even up to the highest office in the land.

That will be a story for another day.

 

 

Two Days in Birmingham

Ten months after the presidential election, it’s time to start talking politics again. It’s on a much less grand scale. However, some will argue it may be of equal political importance.

That‘s what took me to Birmingham, Alabama.

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When Jeff Sessions became the U.S. attorney general, he vacated his Alabama senate seat. That state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, was appointed to fill it – albeit temporarily. This was his chance to campaign to keep it. He wound up in a Republican runoff with the state’s former Supreme Court chief justice Roy Moore – infamous for his battles over the public displays of the Ten Commandments.

Strange’s quest to continue to serve beyond the end of the year was denied by Moore.  Alabamans gave Moore a 10-percentage-point victory – even as President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence backed Strange. Below is a shot of Strange delivering his concession speech.

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Judge Moore moves on now to face Democrat – and former U.S. attorney Doug Jones who is known for the civil rights prosecution of the people behind a deadly Alabama church bombing. Early handicapping has Moore with a slight lead.

Look for a lot of money to be spent on this race – from inside and outside Alabama. Remember…the the U.S. Senate is majority Republican – but only by a 52-48 margin. If Democrats can steal this seat…a shift in chamber control is well within reach.

As I do at every stop, I try to find some time to look around. Birmingham is a sprawling city with a noticeable commercial, government and university presence. It’s also steeped in civil rights history (e.g. MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail). But all that is modern does surround some gems like this theater downtown.

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Needless to say — wherever you go — there is some trace of ‘Bama…or…Auburn…or even the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Thank goodness I didn’t wear any Clemson orange. That would NOT have gone over well.

Needless to say, this race garnering national attention is a signal that the first political dominoes of the 2018 mid-term election season are teetering.

Will they stand or fall?  Stay tuned.

All The News…That’s FAKE!

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My colleagues at the Associated Press have started doing something pretty cool that our President has made a name for.

They have started a feature called ‘NOT REAL NEWS’ that highlights stories — actually published and reported — that aren’t true.  Not at all.  It’s actually interesting to see what falsehoods make it through the ‘truth filter’.

Here are some of the ‘fake news’ stories that crossed the wires this week:

NOT REAL: Florida Governor Rick Scott Now Listed As ‘Critical’ After Bizarre Hurricane Cleanup Accident

THE FACTS: The Last Line of Defense, a well-known producer of hoax stories, has claimed in a series of articles that Scott was severely hurt when a ceramic roof tile hit him in the head Monday during the cleanup following Hurricane Irma. Scott has been crisscrossing Florida surveying damage and checking in on relief efforts in the days since the storm hit and was not injured.

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NOT REAL: Vladimir Putin donates $5 million dollars to Houston Hurricane Harvey victims

THE FACTS: While many well-known figures opened their wallets to make sizable contributions to relief efforts in Texas, the Russian president wasn’t one of them. A site made up to look like a news outlet claims Putin also called on “other individuals, organizations and also countries” to follow his lead in donating money. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells the AP he’s not aware of the leader making any such donation.

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NOT REAL: Tony Romo OUT 4-6 Weeks After Suffering Sore Throat In Broadcasting Debut

THE FACTS: The former Cowboys quarterback is scheduled to be in the CBS broadcast booth Sunday in New Orleans when the New England Patriots take on the Saints. A prank story from Daily Snark claimed Romo would be replaced by a young broadcaster named Pak Brescott. The site appears to be ribbing Romo, who lost his job to rookie Dak Prescott last year after getting injured in the preseason.

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NOT REAL: World’s most popular candy to be removed from shelves by October 2017!

THE FACTS: Fans of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups shouldn’t be concerned about the sweet and salty snack disappearing just before Halloween despite a story from Breaking News 365 that claims the candy is being discontinued. Hershey’s, which owns the Reese’s brand, tells the AP that people can rest assured that “the only people removing Reese’s products from shelves are consumers, who are taking them home to eat.”

Eclipse 2017

Another gem of a post from my dear wife, Karen. Well done, babe!

The KReative Corner

The solar eclipse of 2017 provided a moment for many of us to step away from the “craziness” of life and stand in awe of its wonder. However, I knew there would be those that would seize the opportunity to capitalize on this historic day.

During a discussion with my daughter, I said I wouldn’t be surprised if solar glasses used to view the eclipse would make its way to the online market, and I wasn’t disappointed !

Here’s a pair I found right here.   As of this posting, they are still available. C’mon Man!!

Eclipse 2017

I know of at least one person that may have been interested,  because after all who doesn’t love a great deal?

duh.png photo courtesy of Tim Mann of WSJ

No words needed!

until next time . . .

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