All-Around Threat

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Here, at East Hampton Library Authors Night with: actress Lee Grant, author Holly Peterson, Poet Philip Schultz, Uber-user Josh Resnick, Restaurant Girl Danyelle Freeman, Entrepreneur and PR strategist Becky Wisdom, New York Times Food Genies Florence Fabricant and Eric Asimov and, finally, the copy of From Scratch which some guy showed me he asked Giada DeLaurentiis to sign.

My turn on Reality TV with Lisa Loeb for E!’s #1 Single

My turn on Reality TV with Lisa Loeb for E!’s #1 Single

Signing the Festivus book with Jerry Stiller sometime in the mid oughties at the now defunct BN on 6th ave and 22nd Street NYC

Signing the Festivus book with Jerry Stiller sometime in the mid oughties at the now defunct BN on 6th ave and 22nd Street NYC

Hunger for You

I just wrote this to someone:  You make me sigh. I don’t know why. It’s not your thigh. Nor your eye. It’s more along the lines of an apple pie.

Stories of the Type Newspapers Don’t Run Anymore



THE grass is green and lush, the infield dirt reddish and moist.

The players compete hard, run out every ground ball, play through injuries, celebrate line drive hits and diving catches.

There is no one in the stands.

Boston is a gentle town, maybe too gentle for success in big league baseball.

But here in St. Peter’s Park, on a softball diamond in a quiet part of Cambridge, a group of men, most long past the youths in which they learned this beautiful game, revel in the town’s gracefulness on an Indian-summer day – running, catching and throwing just like a bunch of kids.

Anyone is welcome – even a New Yorker in town following the Yankees.

Fall leaves have gathered on the field’s edge, but not in the hearts of the players.

A hard single shoots into the outfield and Jamie Aronson, 50, chugs around first base trying to score, sweat flying.

A play at the plate – Safe!

“I feel like I’m 9 years old,” the psychologist says as he accepts congratulations from his teammates.

This pickup game has been going on every warm Sunday since 1975.

The players range from carpenters to chemical engineers and, like the Yankees, they hail from just about everywhere – from Japan to The Bronx.

A Harvard medical researcher Shoichi Fukayama, born in Tokyo, found this game seven years ago when he was in the park, waiting for a tennis date that never showed.

“Softball is very popular in Japan,” he said “Every college student plays.”

Like the proceedings a few miles away at Fenway Park, the players from New York are the best ones on the field here.

Eran Caspi, wearing a Mets hat, became a fan of that team when, as a 6-year-old, his family moved from Israel to New York a year before the Miracle Mets of 1969.

He learned to field grounders on asphalt in the borough’s parks.

“You learn quick reflexes there for those ground balls” the sharp third baseman said.

He and the visitor from New York were on the same team.

The visitor hit the hardest ball of the day, a shot that smacked the left field fence after one bounce. It couldn’t clear the fence because they use a “limited flight” ball here.

It is a friendly game.

Composer Arthur Levering, 46, chatted amicably with lute player Bob Asprinio.

There was plenty of talk about the Sox-Yankees series.

“When the Sox lose, I can’t sleep – you live these things over and over,” said Paul Shannon, 52, who is part of the group opposing tearing down Fenway Park to build a new stadium.

“Both those first two games showed the Yankees can be beaten,” he said.

But the big game is later. For now, there is only the timeless diamond, this timeless game.

In the early years women came out to play, but no longer.

“We’ve had four marriages from here,” said Steven Adelman, who’s been playing here for 30 seasons.

Still, it is not a game without some grittiness.

Trying to stretch a double into a triple, Levering is pegged in the back by a long throw from the right fielder.

“He’ll always have the marks of the ball on his back,” one teammate joked.

Levering, his wire-rimmed glasses perched on his nose, stepped out for a pinch runner while he iced his back – but he returned to play a few minutes later.

He said it wasn’t his worst injury here. That involved an extremely sensitive male area and two ultrasounds.

“The doctor said I’d have a permanent scar on my testicle – but it doesn’t impair my function,” he said.

Yes, like the Red Sox, the team of endless tragedy, the players here takes some licks and continue to fight hard, but in the end, you know how this turns out.

The team with the Mets fan and the visitor from New York won, 16-11.

Talkin’ #FromScratch at #techmunch! 

Web sites and Apps mentioned at #techmunch conference

Productivity, etc sites from smart food media people:

+ MacFreedom  shut off the internet for specified periods.

+ Asana, a task based web and mobile app. Can help you get organized. Create projects. Create all tasks on that list and you can see priorities. Has tried many apps (perillo). can invite others you work with to be part of the project. Takes a moment to teach yourself but worth it.

+ “If this than that” website — a recipe that if I like something on instagram, it goes to tumblr… others use it to track things that are going viral on social media networks… another use: gets notices if something is getting a lot of comments… if this is getting a lot of comments, then send me an email… IFTTT

+ BUFFER app to manage your social media etc

+ for music: Pond Five — royalty free distribution licenses…dig for the good stuff / DeWolf music, a bit more expensive. 

+ oDesk — people who will do freelance projects for you cost effective. 

Full piece here. 

Full piece here. 

Monocles Continued

This week, two new pieces about my New York Times monocle trend story appeared:  NY Times Monocle Trend Story Becomes Self-Fulfilling Prophecy by Ben Yakas on Gothamist, and How The New York Times Actually Made Monocles A Thing on Refinery29. 

Or is it possible I wrote about a trend just as it was starting to happen? 

Nowhere in the key interview cited by Gothamist and Refinery29 does the Warby Parker researcher say sales have GONE UP, let alone that the already rising trend recently hit a more severe upward curve. The quote is: “Warby Parker sells a monocle and it has an extremely high conversion rate. Most people who order this in their Home Try-On boxes end up purchasing it.”

The writer for Refinery29, Leeann Duggan makes the leap from that quote that MORE people are buying the Warby monocle now than at some earlier time. This is not what was said. Here is what the WRITER who quotes another interviewer’s work wrote, not what the source said: “In an interview with Data Science Weekly, Warby’s Director of Data Science Carl Anderson reports that more people are ordering the Colonel Mustard in their at-home try-on boxes.”

In other words, all that was actually said by the primary source was that when people are given an opportunity to buy a monocle they are likely to buy it. It does not say that MORE people have started buying it. First one blogger and then another made the leap without evidence.

In addition, the other link here (and on Refinery29) regarding the monocle being Warby’s poorest selling item is a link to an article in which a Warby executive defends how effective the monocle is as a branding device, no matter what the sales. In other words, the monocle has been carrying a certain useful cultural cachet — which is what I noted in my original Times piece.  No matter to the bloggers. That article is used on Gothamist as a springboard to write: “But here’s the scary thing: sometime between last summer and now, the monocles starting selling.”

The writer is implying that sales went from nothing to something, and further implying that my Times piece had something to do with it. In fact, Warby was always selling some monocles, not no monocles. They did not START selling after the piece. Actually Warby’s monocle sales about doubled from 2012 to 2013, a spokesperson told me.

I am grateful these blogs and others have kept the issue of the monocle in play. I am enjoying all of this. It may be that the Times article spurred sales, or that sales have continued to go up as part of the “mini-trend” the article noted. Step one to determine that might be finding out if Warby’s sales have gone up in the past month faster than they have been going up over the past two years. This wouldn’t prove the Times piece did it, but a reporter could also ask if any recent buyers mentioned the Times piece as what sparked their interest. Folks, you might have to leave your computer and go to the store to interview sales people. Instead of relying on third-hand sources, you could telephone the public relations representative for Warby Parker to ask for sales statistics. She can be reached at Derris & Company. If you’d like me to provide the phone number, you can find my email at my website