All The News…That’s FAKE!


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.


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.


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.



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.”


Viva ‘Dia Portugal’

I guess it’s just like American ‘Happy Hour’…it’s never just ONE hour.


There is a rather vibrant Portuguese community in Newark, New Jersey.  So much so that the annual Portugal Day celebration here lasts THREE days.  It’s chock full of glimpses into the culture.  From the traditional drum ensemble..


to the native dancing.


And no matter the festival…the food is always a draw.   Nothing makes you smile like a wheel of barbecued meat.


The lovely Karen and I had a good time browsing, people (and dog) watching and taking in the sights.  By the way..even though we’re standing in front of the beer stand, we did not partake.   We saw what the excess imbibing could do to some folks out there.


It was a good time.   If you ever get to Newark and can find your way to the ‘Ironbound’ section…there are plenty of Portuguese, Spanish and Iberian stops to make and dishes to sample.  We’re just getting started.

Viva Portugal!

Who Says You Can’t Find Love…Through Politics!

And so it begins.

If you were wondering what the first effect of a possible Donald Trump presidency would be…look no further than the dating world.



A co-worker of mine pointed me to the website…which I understand started out as a joke, but quickly earned legitimacy.  Under the (fairly obvious) tagline of “Make Dating Great Again”,  the site has a very specific mission statement:

“Maple Match makes it easy for Americans to find the ideal Canadian partner to save them from the unfathomable horror of a Trump presidency.”


The Washington Post article about the site reports — as of Monday (5/9) — the site registered more than 35,000 hits and 4,500 sign ups in just FOUR DAYS!     That’s some hard-core paranoia.

I’ve often said I hope there’s someone tracking any spikes in U.S. passport applications ahead of a possible Trump victory in the general election.   It will be interesting to see if an exodus — of any kind– could really happen.   As for opinions on what nations around the world think of a Trump White House, the Discovery Channel offering Test Tube gives us a decent overview.

We are just two months (at this writing) out from the conventions.   With the still-raging dogfight on the Democratic side and the GOP drama,  the national political gatherings in Philadelphia and Cleveland respectively will truly be (with apologies to NBC) Must See TV.


Hooray for Harriet!!!


The U.S. Treasury took a while, didn’t it? least the ball is rolling.

Sometime around 2020 it will unveil a new design for the $20 bill…with abolitionist Harriet Tubman front and center..literally.   An historic move to say the least.  It has been a mere century since a woman (Martha Washington) appeared on American paper  money.  Tubman’s appearance is the first for an African American on currency.

Our nation’s 7th president Andrew Jackson is not going away.   His image will move to the rear of the bill.  That will create an interesting dichotomy.  On the front of the 20, a woman who led slaves to freedom.   On the back, a man who owned them.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and thank you if you are), you may remember a while back that I posted a piece about the final options to appear of the $20 note.   If you don’t remember it, you can read it by clicking here.

That wasn’t all the news from the Treasury.  Alexander Hamilton will remain the face on the $10 bill.  I wonder how much the popularity of the Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’ actually played in that decision.   If you’ve been under a rock and haven’t heard the back story of this musical, CBS Sunday Morning’s Mo Rocca pulled back the curtain before the show hit Broadway.

On the back of the 10 will be a tribute to the key women who led the suffragist movement securing women the right to vote.

The rear of the $5 bill will also change..from just a static shot of the Lincoln Memorial to also commemorating some key historic events there.  Most notably are Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech and black opera singer Marian Andersen’s performance.

The takeaway is this.   America is inclusive.  America is diverse.  But, one of the last places where that diversity was not reflected was on U.S. paper currency.

It’s about time.



Isn’t 108 Years Enough?


As much as I would love to…I can’t bring myself to pick my favorite baseball team to win the 2016 World Series.  It would be the first title since 1908.

That’s right.  I am a Chicago Cubs fan!

I know what you’re thinking.  How does a guy from South Carolina (whose only experience with the Windy City are delays at Midway Airport) get to love the Cubbies?

The answer is simple.   I like baseball..but in Charleston..the only teams you would regularly see on cable were the Atlanta Braves (on Superstation WTBS) and The Cubs (on Superstation WGN).  The late Harry Caray called Cubs games.  Harry’s son, the late Skip Caray, called Braves games.  Quite honestly, I liked Harry more than I liked Skip.  In my eyes, who wouldn’t have?

So I became a Cubs fan.  I like a Bud every once in a while, too.

Before last season…when the Cubs hired former Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon to lead the team, I said..if he sticks will be about four or five years before they contend. But they won…and kept winning.  They finished with the third best record in baseball.

Surely..that was a good enough first season for Maddon.

It wasn’t.  And don’t call me Shirley.

They vanquished the Pittsburgh Pirates (who had the Majors’ 2nd best record) in the Wild Card Game.  Then polished off arch nemesis St. Louis in the divisional series.  The Cardinals finished the season with the best record in the bigs.

Hector Rondon
Chicago Cubs players celebrate after winning Game 4 in baseball’s National League Division Series, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Chicago. The Cubs won 4-6. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Only a New York Mets buzz saw stopped the Cubbies from reaching the Series.

Turn the page to 2016…and expectations are high.  Names like (Cy Young winner) Jake Arrieta, (Rookie of the Year) Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Jon Lester and new additions Ben Zobrist (from the World Champion Royals) and Jason Heyward (formerly of the Cardinals) give hope that this will be the year.

Already this year…some adversity.  Schwarber has been lost for the season injuring his ACL and LCL in an outfield collision.  Ouch!

But the usual early-season joke — about the Cubs already being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs — isn’t being heard.   Hope is running rampant in Chicago.

But I still can’t pick them to win it all.

Oh but if they do!   One of these flags that fly after Cobs victories at home..and sometimes away..will find a spot in my office.


I can dream…can’t I?


Tracking The Storm: What Is Your Condition?

My wife and I have lived in the Northeastern U.S. for a bit more than a year.   Wherever we’ve lived has had its own weather issues: hurricanes, heat, humidity, etc.   But here, it’s snow — and lots of it at times.

Through my three decades in media, I have watched meteorologists at work.  I’ve noticed that you can usually tell how dire the forecast will be without them saying a word — all you need is the setup.

You’ve heard of the Armed Forces’ “DefCon (Defense Readiness Condition) Scale?  Well, I call this the WxCon (Weather Condition) Scale.

WXCON 5 (Normal Weather):


Usually the forecaster is dressed normally..looking quite dapper.  I use my friend, and WCSC Charleston Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh (@BILLWALSHTV) as my example.   He’s one of the very best.  All is usually pretty calm weather wise.

WXCON 4: (Elevated Risk)


Usually an indication that there’s “something” out there..but we’re not quite sure.   The weather forecaster has shed the jacket…but has maintained a neat appearance.   That allows for some flailing of the arms..but still there’s not a whole lot to worry about…yet.

WXCON 3:  (Severe Weather Coming)


Things are getting serious now.   Usually a “watch” or “warning” has been issued by this time.   The weather forecaster still has no jacket…but now the sleeves are rolled up.  Time to get the hands dirty.  The model here is CBS 2 New York Chief Meteorologist Lonnie Quinn (@LonnieQuinnTV) — among the best in the business when it comes to weather.  Time to go out and get the bread and milk.

For the ladies who run the weather department, this is about the time the “bling” and the heels go away and we settle in for the long haul.

WXCON 2:  (Time to pay attention!)


By now..the  severe weather is about at your doorstep.  The situation is so serious that your favorite channel’s programming has now been hijacked (with good reason I might add) and it usually takes more than one meteorologist to explain the situation.   We refer to this in the business as “Wall-to-Wall Coverage”.  This is about as serious as it gets…until we reach…

WXCON 1:  (Aw Hell!)


This is the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore — arguably the best severe weather reporter going today.   Should he show up in your city or town, you may want to consider leaving. Quite honestly — you should already be gone.  He is always either in the eye of the storm or the teeth of the blizzard.  This is when you know it can’t get much worse.

So…there you have it.  All of this is a bit tongue in cheek, but many will tell you — it bears out more often than not.














You Can Always Go Home Again For A Moment..Or Longer

My wife posed a question to me recently during a trip home to South Carolina.

“Where would you want to retire?” she asked.

All of a sudden the idea light went on above my head.  When you’re from the historic city of Charleston, that light tends to look a little like this:


Why not end where it began?  I often tell people who visit Charleston to be careful.  That’s because once they get there, they may find themselves not wanting to leave.  The sights from the Battery can entice you for hours on end.


Heck..even the driveways have a touch of style.


A small friend can even walk up to you on a local pier to say “Hello.”


I left there in 2002.  People have always asked me, “If Charleston is so great, then why did you leave?”  The answer is simple.  Even those who live in great cities want to know what else is out there.  It’s true that the Charleston I knew in 2002 is not the same city of 2015.  Explosions of hotels, restaurants and tourist-oriented business are among the changes.   In January…even the Mayor will change after 40 years (Thanks, Joe Riley for what you’ve done for the city).

But when you go back…as Karen and I did…it still feels like home.


My wife continually tells me that where we are now is not our last stop.  I’m convinced she’s right.

I don’t normally quote Swiss writers and philosophers but Pascal Mercier once wrote these words:

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”

We shall see.