Tag Archives: The Review

A trip back to UD to talk about college journalism leaves me inspired. Joe Biden, for the love of God, just decide already. And “Gilmore Girls” is coming back!

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I’ve said this before on here, but I’ll say it again: My experience at the University of Delaware’s student newspaper was the best experience of my life.

The three years I spent on the paper, staying up all night to make deadline, eating crap food, having wonderful memories with like-minded crazies like me who lived, ate and breathed journalism, still makes me smile every time I think of it.

It’s been almost 20 years now since my byline last appeared in The Review, but the darn thing still holds a grip on me. It’s where I first learned everything about how to be a reporter, how to write good stories, how to write bad stories, how to screw up so bad and then face the music the next day, and truly, how much bloody fun it is to be a journalist.

Anyway, back in June I wrote about how, but due to financial troubles, a bunch of UD alumni who worked at The Review were trying to raise money to help save it, and one of the things we’ve done is form an alumni association. Last Saturday I ventured down to UD for our first event, a workshop featuring current Review editors and us old geezer alumni.

We had a great turnout, with alums from places like the Philadelphia Daily News and Baltimore Sun coming back to lead sessions about writing, reporting and editing.

I led sessions on interviewing techniques and longform writing, and what I’ll remember most about the day was the passion of the current staff.

They told us stories about frustration with current administration, coaches who wouldn’t let them talk to players, and general, unbridled enthusiasm about their journalistic futures.

These people were me two decades ago, and despite the challenges facing journalism today, were full of passion and love for it. I felt fortunate to be passing along what wisdom I’ve gleaned to these 19 and 20-year-old kids, newbies in the field.

I loved talking to them and seeing their hope, and how much they still cared about my old student newspaper.

I hope their passion never fades.

(By the way, this is totally random, but when I did a Google search for photos of The Review,” that one above came up. And the guy on the right in the photo? Ray West. Kanye West’s father. How bizarre.)

biden.

**Next up today, Joe Biden made some remarks at George Washington University on Tuesday, and he made a few remarks that seemed to be digs at Hillary Clinton, and a few barbs that seemed to be digs at Bernie Sanders, and he looks like a Presidential candidate, smells like a Presidential candidate … but refuses to say he is one.

A quick open letter to Joe from Delaware: Seriously, with all due respect Mr. Vice President, I’m getting Mario Cuomo flashbacks here. Either you’re running or you’re not. Poop or get off the pot (trying to be respectful here, he is, after all, the VPOTUS).

It’s late-October, the debates have started, nearly all the Democratic millionaires and billionaires have chosen their candidate, and all this waffling is pretty unbecoming of someone of your stature.

You’ve run for President twice before, and failed badly. Apparently, though, instead of going out of public office on a high note, as a terrific vice-president to a two-term Democratic President, you want to run again, where you’ll likely lose.

There’s no clamor for you to run, no void for you to fill. I don’t think you can beat Hillary, but it seems against your own better judgement, you’re going to run (just watch that Colbert interview from a few weeks ago again, that’s not a man who wants to do this).

Anyway, whatever you do, just make up your mind already. Please. Thank you.

**Finally today, this really could wait until Good News Friday but news this exciting just can’t wait: “Gilmore Girls” is coming back! Yes, one of my all-time favorites, a show with more words per minute than anything this side of “The West Wing,” is coming back.

Sorta. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and Netflix have announced that the inhabitants of Stars Hollow are returning for four 90-minute episodes, or mini-movies, or whatever.

Apparently they’ve already got a large part of the cast returning, with Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson (Luke) and Kelly Bishop (Emily) agreeing to come back.

I really hope they don’t ruin the show and make bad comeback episodes. I mean, they have to set it in the present day and not try to go back eight years to when the show ended, right?

Anyway, I’m thrilled. I loved “Gilmore Girls” for its wit, wisdom, heart, and downright quirkiness. The scene above is one of my all-time faves, but really, there were 50 I could’ve picked from.

We’ve missed you, Stars Hollow. If there’s any justice in the world, Kirk will be mayor by now.

A weekend in Philly and a return to my alma mater was wonderful. And quickie thoughts on a huge sports weekend

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Lots of people romanticize their college years, mythologizing them beyond all actual truth because their memories (often drug-affected) get worse over the years, or because in college, everything seems possible.

I’m one of those people who had an incredibly wonderful college experience; as I’ve written about on here before, attending the University of Delaware (above) was the best decision I made in my life, professionally and personally.

It was the launching pad for so many wonderful things, and the best part of it was The Review, the completely student-run newspaper where I spent the better part of three years learning, screwing up, getting better, having an insane amount of fun and losing an insane amount of sleep while learning to be a journalist.

So when word got out a few months back that the paper was in financial trouble, many of us alumni, who used The Review as a springboard to fantastic and successful journalism careers, started raising money, spreading the word, and doing what we could.

Saturday night there was a fundraising dinner for newspaper alumni at UD, and I was thrilled to be there. We didn’t get as many old scribes as I would’ve hoped, but the atmosphere was terrific, and it was great seeing how many care. In talking to the current editors, it turns out that the fundraising has made a difference, and the paper is in better financial shape than it had been (Truth be told, all independent college papers seem to be struggling; ad dollars are down, and kids just don’t read their school paper anymore.)

It was great to be back. UD will always hold a place in my heart.

Some other thoughts from a fun weekend, where the family and I stayed in Philadelphia and I drove down to UD on Saturday:

— The cheesesteaks in Philly are all people talk about and rightfully so, I had two this weekend and they’re awesome. But for my money, the best gastronomical delight in the city are the hand-rolled cannolis from Termini Bros., three of which came home with us in the car (I won’t tell you how many made it all the way back to NYC). I mean, they are sinfully good.

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— Went to the Franklin Institute Saturday morning; what a wonderful museum. Saw a fabulous exhibit by Nathan Sawaya, a guy who builds incredible sculptures painting re-creations (like the one above of Edward Munch’s “The Scream” using only LEGO. Blew my mind. Check it out if you’re in Philly the next few months.

— Stayed in a lovely Center City hotel in Philly, except for the 12:15 a.m. Saturday night fire alarm going off, followed by five consecutive obscenely loud announcements telling us an emergency had been reported, please stand by, followed five minutes later by five more obscenely loud announcements piped into our room as well, telling us the fire dept. said all was clear, we can relax.

Shockingly, all that woke our 9-month-old.

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**Finally today, there was so much great stuff in sports this past weekend that I could write several hundred words about each one. But neither you nor I have time for all that, so some quick-hit thoughts on a sports-gasm that lasted for two days:

— Gotta start, of course since it’s my passion, with the tennis. Serena Williams continues to show why she’s now, at worst, one of the two or three best players of all time. As much as I dislike Serena for her histrionics and poor sportsmanship, she continues to blow away all criticism by continuing to win, so deep into her career. I think she’s erasing all argument about the G.O.A.T. debate, and after winning a few more Slam titles and passing Steffi Graf’s record of 22, she’ll be acknowledged No. 1 of all time.

And of course, on the men’s side at the French Open, Stan Wawrinka shocked the hell out of everyone, including himself, with an incredible win Sunday over Novak Djokovic. Everyone, including me, thought that after Nole beat Rafa Nadal in the quarterfinals, he’d find a way to win the one Slam crown that has eluded him. But Wawrinka and that postcard-perfect one-handed backhand were just too good.

I love Djokovic and felt terrible for him, still not able to win the one title that he doesn’t have. He’ll get one one day, but he’ll never have a better chance than this.

— So American Pharoah shut up all those people who said there’d never be another Triple Crown winner, huh? Tremendous horse. Happy the drought is finally over after 37 years. Amazing that after all those horses before him had failed, American Pharoah simply led wire-to-wire and made winning the Belmont look so easy.

— These first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals have been wild. Blackhawks definitely seem like the better team to me, but Tampa’s offense is explosive. And the goalie musical-chairs thing Tampa pulled in the 3rd period of Game 2? Bizarre.

— LeBron James. What more can you say about this man? Single-handedly carrying the Cavaliers on his back, and got zero help from his teammates down the stretch in Game 2, saw the referees do their damnedest to help Golden State win the game, and still the Cavs pulled it out. What a fantastic first two games of the NBA Finals, though honestly, that was the worst-officiated fourth quarter of an NBA game I’ve seen, maybe ever.

I don’t care if the Cavs win this series or not. LBJ has, in my mind and that of many others I’ve read in the past week, reached that rarefied air inhabited only by Michael Jordan.

I’m not saying LeBron’s better. I’m saying he’s Jordan’s equal. And I never in a million years thought I’d write that sentence in my lifetime.

Are we the same people we were in college? A brave young woman from Pakistan speaks out. And the man who forgot his fiancee on their honeymoon

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So October, 2013 has turned out to be nostalgia month in my life, as I’ve got reunions with people from my past on back-to-back weekends.

This Saturday night I’m going to my 20-year high school reunion, which wasn’t organized by the school and will only be attended by about 50 of the 420 kids I graduated with at Commack High School in 1993, but still, it should be interesting. Lots of people I didn’t really like in high school will be there, and I’m curious to see how they turned out.

Last weekend was a reunion I eagerly awaited; my smart and funny friend April from my old college newspaper at Delaware arranged a gathering of about 25 former staffers of The Review, our kick-ass school paper.(that’s a staff photo, above, circa 1995).

I hadn’t seen most of these people in 16 years or so, and what struck me most when I looked around the picnic tables while we all ate was not just how different almost everyone looked (except my old friend Pete, who looked exactly at 38 how he looked at 18, and damn did that tick me off :), but how so many of us were still somewhat living the dream, and how happy most of them seem.

We all wanted to grow up to be famous journalists, and while none of my old crew is really well-known (my boy Pearlman wasn’t there, and let’s face it, he’s probably semi-famous at best), many of them are still in the journalism biz. Some of us have been laid off, some of us found greener pastures elsewhere (we’ve got a few professors, a few PR people among us now, and even a medical health professional), but just about all of them seemed content with their life. It was heartwarming to see.

When we’re 19, we have no idea what our life will be like. We dream of happiness and success, but who knows if it’ll ever be achieved. We grow up, become adults with kids and spouses and responsibilities, and we change.

But I was really pleased to see that for a lot of my old chums, that dream of happiness and contentment has been realized.
And it’s never to late to get famous, right?

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Malala Yousafzai

Next up, a brief but remarkable interview from “The Daily Show” last week, where Jon Stewart had on one of his bravest guests yet. Her name is Malala Yousafzai, and maybe you’re familiar with her story: She’s a 16-year-old Pakistani woman who was targeted for assassination by the Taliban after campaigning for women’s rights and education in her native Pakistan.

She’s written a new book, and here she tells about why she feels education is so important for women, why she stood up to the Taliban, and more. She left Jon Stewart speechless, which is hard to.

What a courageous, heroic young woman.

**Finally today, I love this story so much. It seems a man on his honeymoon with his new bride made a bit of a faux pas the other day: He left her at a gas station and didn’t realize it for 2 1/2 hours while driving.

The German fellow took off in the car without his bride because he knew she had been sleeping in the backseat of their mini-van on the trip.

She had gone to use the restroom when he filled up for gas, and she came out to find herself stranded with no phone or way to reach him, as her new husband had gotten back in the car and driven away.

OK, I’ll give the guy a break, he thought she was sleeping.
But it took him 125 miles to realize she wasn’t in the car anymore!

“I’m not angry with my husband,” the bride said. “He didn’t mean it.”

OK, maybe not, but he’s going to be hearing about this for the rest of his natural-born life.

We tied England in soccer. Yay! And Oklahoma prisoners suffer a funny indignity

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I love soccer.
But I don’t hate it nearly as much as I used to.

I loathed soccer as a teenager and young adult. Maybe it’s because I was cut from my seventh grade team at Burr Junior High School (Tommy Briel made it over me. Not that I’ve been carrying that around for a while or anything).
Or maybe because soccer is long stretches of boredom where nothing happens, broken occasionally by an exciting play. I used to really hate soccer, and wrote about my hatred one time in my gig at the University of Delaware’s student newspaper, The Review. I got my first experience with hate mail on a large scale after writing a piece in, I think it was 1996, saying soccer was stupid, it will never catch on in this country, and the new Major League Soccer organization would fail miserably.

Turns out a guy from Kansas City somehow read my article, posted it on a soccer list-serve (remember those?) on the Internet, and I got all kinds of angry emails from places I’d never heard of telling me soccer rules and I should shut up.

Anyway, I learned to like and appreciate soccer when I covered a minor league team in North Carolina for a few years. I became friendly with the players, they explained a lot of the strategy and technical aspects of the sport to me, and I learned to truly understand why things happen they way they do.

Still, like millions of Americans Saturday, I hadn’t sat through a full soccer game on TV since the last World Cup. But I love any competition where nations go at it, so I was riveted by the U.S.-England game.

Great to see America forge a 1-1 tie, even if the goal we scored, by Clint Dempsey, was softer than a Sumo wrestler’s midsection. That poor English goalie; if the Brits somehow miss making the second round because they tied America, he’ll never live in peace. Still, the U.S. played a great second half, and could’ve won if Jozy Altidore’s shot wasn’t stopped by English keeper Robert Green and ticked off the post.

Only thing that ticked me off watching the game was those horribly offensive and annoying vuzuvela noisemakers. It sounds like a swarm of 50,000 bees coming through your TV.

But go USA! I think we’ll make the second round, but after that, who knows.

**So I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a while but keep forgetting. The Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections in Cleveland County, Okla. has taken a drastic step to identify prisoners.

And make them look funny. Inmates there now have to wear hot pink shirts, striped yellow pants, and jelly shoes while walking around in the jail.

The state says it’s to make it easier to spot inmates if they escape. Me, I think it’s a desperate ploy by the warden to get attention from Joan and Melissa Rivers.