Archive for April, 2009

a Yankee fan’s plea

Posted in personal on April 9, 2009 by barryshapiro

To the editor

NY Times

4.9.09

 

Three years ago my wife and I moved from New York City to a lonely outpost of civilization called Sebastian, Florida. An exercise in culture shock to be sure. Sebastian is a small riverside town practically devoid of anything resembling culture, outside of sports fishing and Harley Davidson riding, and we have clung to a few personal citified habits and rituals which keep us rooted to our past lives and socially-politically “involved.” One thing I brought along with me is my love of baseball and my passion for the Yankees. Growing up in the Bronx and living almost my entire adult life in Manhattan, I have been a devoted Yankee fan since the age of 6 when my dad gave me my first bubble gum playing card (to my eternal disappointment it was a Richie Ashburn – not a Mickey Mantle – but it was only the first of thousands). To be able to watch Yankee games I got a dish. It costs me but I can get my Derek Jeter fix all season long.

 

Another ritual was Sunday breakfast with the New York Times. For me that means sports page and crossword puzzle. In fact, we get the Times delivered everyday so that we can be as in touch with our spiritual home as possible.

 

What’s the point? Well, it’s simply that my newspaper of choice and my interest in my beloved Yankees don’t seem to go together in the Florida edition of the Times. Everyday I pick up the paper and I expect to be able to read something about my team. After all, it is the New York Times and not the Boston Globe. But, alas, I am so often thwarted by your sports editors that I am seriously considering a switch to one of the tabloids for my baseball fix. There are simply too many articles about other teams and other players and other sports. I’m not negating the importance or the appropriateness of these stories but it’s baseball season and the Yankees are the team from New York so how about more coverage of the hometown team! By the way, the same could be said about your coverage of the Mets.

 

A perfect example is yesterdays and today’s editions. Wednesday, the 8th had a feature article on Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox (the Sox for crying out loud!), an article on Met’s ticket prices and a small 8 paragraph article about Hideki Matsui and Koji Uehara of the Orioles. Today we get a cover story on Rocco Baldelli (Red Sox alert!!!!) and not one article about either the Yankees or Mets. Unacceptable I say! If I want to read about the Red Sox stars I’ll buy the Boston Globe. It seems that when there is an feature article on the Yankees it is usually about the cost of the new Stadium (relevant) or A-Rod’s psyche (enough already).

 

I am aware of a certain disdain for the deep-pocketed patrician team from the Bronx by those who are not Yankee fans, including several of the writers on your staff. I don’t care how you cover them, I only ask that in your out of town editions you cover them more so that the disenfranchised New Yorkers who depend on your paper for a little daily taste of home can come away feeling like they just had a bagel and coffee at their favorite Village diner with a morning dose of local baseball color.

 

I’m begging you!

 

Sincerely,

Barry Shapiro

Sebastian, FL

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Hey Moe!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 3, 2009 by barryshapiro

The 3 Stooges Movie with Sean Penn as Larry, Jim Carrey as Curley and Benicio Del Toro as Moe. Why do I think this is a bad idea?
Am I alone in this?

The Scent of Spring

Posted in personal on April 3, 2009 by barryshapiro

One of the best things about living in Florida – in fact, maybe THE best thing – is the sweet smell of orange blossoms in the spring. It’s 11:29 PM and I am at my desk with the window open. A slight breeze is coming in from the west and with it the aroma is blowing in from the orchards.

When I run in the morning I can breathe deeply of this wonderful scent. It’s like someone flung a gigantic bottle of orange blossom honey everywhere. It really has a mellowing effect on your psyche. How can you be tense when the world smells so good?

Lately, I’ve felt the world spinning around me in turmoil. I read the headlines everyday and nothing makes much sense. A guy takes his 8 year old daughter into a convenience store to rob a bank cause he can’t afford someone to watch her. Bernie Madoff rips off thousands but doesn’t think he should get serious jail time. there is war everywhere and Rush Limbaugh is on the radio. The world is a crazy place. But the scent of orange blossoms can make me stop, relax and realize that we all must stop and appreciate the little joys that the world provides us. It really is worth it.

Entering the age of GREEN

Posted in personal on April 3, 2009 by barryshapiro

Well, the lease was up on the Mazda Miata and as much as we hated giving up that fun little sportscar,  the buy-back was ridiculous. And we figured that we are going to need a car with more space in the future. Patricia’s job is changing and she may be doing more travelling with boxes to schlep and miles to cover. So for the last couple of months we went on a car hunt. We started with the new hardtop Miata, which P fell in love with and was a bit more practical than our ragtop but from the start I knew it wasn’t happening. She was not as in love with the other offerings from Mazda so we moved on to Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai (a big surprise – we almost bought the new Touring), Ford and Saturn. I purposely skipped Chevy, Saab (Chevy) – in fact we skipped GMC all together, Audi and anything that I knew was going to be an arm and a leg like BMW, Lexus or Mercedes.

We wanted economy – cause we’re more broke than we used to be – fuel efficiency, some style – because Patricia demands it – and we knew we wanted another lease. It came down to the Prius (so green, so nice), the Jetta (too small) and the aforementioned Hyundai. Patricia was leaning to the Prius but the lease wasn’t great and I was really pushing for a Passat, which was more than I wanted to spend but really a sweet ride.

In the end we got a little help from our friend Dan Romance (great name for a pulp fiction character). Dan is setting up a car buyers concierge service. Instead of the headache of finding the right car, Dan will do all the leg work for his customers, make the best deal (because he has a better relationship with the dealership owners than you do) and all you have to do is pick up the car and drive away. Since we had already narrowed down our choices, Dan’s job was relatively easy.

Patricia picked up the Prius yesterday and I am happy to say that she is still happy with her decision. That says a lot because buyers remorse is a disease she caught at about age 16. The GPS with a sweet woman’s voice makes her feel secure , as she has zero sense of direction, and the keyless entry and starter is great in Florida where it’s always raining and she always has her hands full. And 50 miles to the gallon, in a time when every penny counts and gas prices are going up (again), probably to $4 a gallon and maybe more, well, that just makes a lot of sense.

I like the fact that we’ve gone green. It actually is a very satisfying feeling to ride with the best and I am glad that our technologically advanced auto is everything it’s cracked up to be. I guess the next question is what am I going to do about my 12 year old Explorer!

When the rain comes…

Posted in personal, Uncategorized on April 3, 2009 by barryshapiro

I recall my first trip to Seattle. I had always heard about the rain and the high suicide rate but didn’t think too much about it until I arrived. I was there to shoot a big TV commercial package for Pitney Bowes and would be in town for a couple of weeks. When I arrived at SEATAC airport it was raining. Not a downpour or drizzle – rather a constant light stream of wetness that seemed to soak through your clothes and skin and into your muscles and bones.

I was met at the airport by a local assistant who drove me to the hotel downtown. It took about an hour to get to Seattle (the airport is between Seattle and Tacoma, hence the name) and it rained the entire time. It was raining when I checked in and it was raining when I left the hotel a few hours later to go to dinner. It rained that night the entire time and was raining when I went to sleep. When I awoke at 5 AM it was still raining and on and on and on like that for days. Never any big downpours or letup. Just this steady misty rain that never changed. After a few days I began to get it. I was getting really grumpy and feeling sad.
And my clothes were always damp and my hair looked like Larry of the 3 Stooges. I started to see where Grunge came from. I just wanted to warm up. We were working with John Ratzenberger (Cliff the mailman from Cheers) and he and I went out to lunch. He had a home nearby and I asked him how he stood all the rain. He said he spent a lot of time in LA.
On the morning of the 7th day (I swear) I woke up, went to the bathroom and did those things that I do in the bathroom upon waking and then slowly walked over to open the curtains. The morning light hit me like a thunderbolt. I was stunned and frozen in disbelief as the rays of sunshine hit my skin.

I quickly threw on some shorts, a t-shirt and sneakers and hit the streets. I ran up the hill to Pike Street Market, through the market, crossed to the downtown area and to the shopping district, down the hill to the waterfront through Old Town and finally back to the  hotel. I must have run 10 miles (I was in pretty good shape back in those days) and I could have kept going I was so happy. People I saw on the street also seemed to blossom like flowers. They shed their hats and slickers and suddenly sprouted colors! It was glorious.

It lasted till the next morning.

A few days later we had to make fake snow in the rain. It was a nighmare but somehow we made it work. I mention all this because my friends Lynn and Rich are experiencing Noah’s Ark type rain at their home on Big Island, HI. Lynn’s emails always crack me up. She is so funny, I suspect even when she does not intend to be so. It does rain alot on that island paradise but usually on the other side – the Hilo side of the island so I think they were caught unprepared. They are trying to move to a new home and the rain is making life miserable. But how miserable can you be when you live in paradise?

Don’t worry Lynn, it will all work out!