The Blog You've Been Missing

CWAA: Can We All Agree™ – 1/6/18 edition

January 6, 2018

Can we all agree, anyone who needs to tell the world they are “a very stable genius” is not?

Can we all agree, Democrats think they will finally have a smoking gun to impeach Mr. Trump, if they just adopt the Watergate era mantra and ‘follow the money?’

Can we all agree, $18 billion for a wall no one wants will be tough pill for  Congress to swallow while trying to avoid a government shutdown and allowing “Dreamers” to stay in the country?

The Northeast digs out. (Boston Globe photo)

The Northeast digs out. (Boston Globe photo)

Can we all agree, The GOP is trying to distract the public’s attention from the Mueller investigation by reviving an investigation of the Clinton Foundation and seeking an indictment against the folks who collected the Russian dossier on the President? I doubt it will work.

Can we all agree, residents in the Northeast are more concerned about the snow and cold, than anything going on in Washington?

Can we all agree, Michael Wolf’f’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” is just the first of many ‘tell-all’ books about the current administration– given the way they have burned through staffers in their first year?

Can we all agree, Mr. Wolff was quite magnanimous in thanking Mr. Trump for the extra press, but we wonder if his ‘box of chocolates’ comment was a reference to Forrest Gump?

Can we all agree, Mr. Bannon might make up with Mr. Trump, but he may have permanently  lost the support of his right-wing base?

Can we all agree, Attorney General Jeff Sessions badly underestimated the support the marijuana industry has in many states?

Can we all agree, the chances of increased oil drilling off the US coast is slim and none, given the reaction of GOP governors and congressmen?

Can we all agree, Trump has no use for s state’s rights unless they suit his purposes?

Can we all agree, with Silicon Valley aligned against the FCC, it could be a while before ‘net neutrality’ actually ends – if ever?

Can we all agree, despite adding 148,000 new jobs, and Dow Jones closing above 25,000 most Americans have not seen much improvement in their standard of living?

Can we all agree, Intel may face a raft of lawsuits because of the flaw in their computer chips, but most Americans have no idea what they need to do?

Can we all agree,  replacing the  artificial coloring in Dunkin Donuts will not make them healthy?

Can we all agree, Mr. Trump thinks that weilding US assistance as a lever to force countries to do what we want is the only way to conduct foreign policy?

Can we all agree, North Korea has won the latest round of verbal sparring by separating the US from South Korea?

Can we all agree, trying to figure out what’s going on in Iran is just impossible?

Can we all agree, the cynical actions taken by the administration and the EPA, while most Americans were celebrating the holidays, are the hallmark of an administration which has no moral compass?

Can we all agree, Orin Hatch’s departure from the Senate might add another Trump critic to the Senate, but it’s doubtful it will change the vote totals? But Doug Jones’ election will force changes.

Can we all agree, Judge Roy Moore’s supporters have taken politics to a new low by setting fire to the home of a woman who accused him of impropriety?

Can we all agree, the more Mr. Trump tweets the more trouble he creates for himself?

Can we all agree, this administration  cannot even organize our annual census without creating controversy?

Can we all agree, the voter fraud panel should never have been created and referring their responsibilities to Homeland Security is absurd?

Can we all agree, appointing the wife of a powerful Congressman to a government job is a bribe? The same could be said by foreign government’s treatment of Trump’s projects around the world.

Can we all agree, talk of controversy with the New England Patriots football organization, may cheer the haters around the country, but it won’t prevent the team from another trip to the Superbowl

and finally:

If you really want an explanation of what might happen in the Mueller investigation, listen to this segment 0f Fresh Air on NPR.


If you’re heading to NYC in the Spring to visit the Metropolitan Museum, be aware that it might cost you $25 per person unless you can prove you live in New York.


Post to Twitter

A Remembrance – Mark Merenda

March 14, 2017

“He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

In many ways “Catch-22” was the cornerstone of my relationship with Mark Merenda. When we met in 1972 he embarked on a literary exercise to make me memorize sections of the novel’s dialogue, so we could recite them back and forth to each other. He was much better at it than I was, but eventually I became Orr to his Yossarian.

He was much more literate than I, and had the kind of memory  I could never hope to achieve. He was also brilliant, well read, opinionated, stubborn and a cad of the highest order – all of which made him my idol.

Mark Merenda circa 1972

Mark Merenda circa 1972

We met at our first jobs, at a small newspaper in Massachusetts where he was the sports editor and I covered one mid-size town. We became instant friends since we were among the only staffers who were not members of the  clan that ran the business. Like Heller’s Yossarian, it was us against them, and we were determined to keep our sanity by taking advantage of everything we could.

I lacked his self confidence, and  was never sure what he saw in me, but I accepted my role because he was everything I wanted to be. It worked out well for both of us, I got an education and he got a wing man. I could never really describe our relationship until many years later when the movie “Sideways” came out. We were a buddy movie before I knew what buddy movies were.

We had no business covering Boston’s professional sports teams, but as long as the Red Sox , Patriots, Bruins or Celtics would give us press passes and we did our jobs at the paper, we played the part of big-time sports media types. Mark was the writer, and I was the photographer, and we were both pretty good at our roles. He got to meet his idols and I got to get trampled by Dave Cowens, John Hannah, and almost beaned by Willie Randolf.  That’s the chance you take when you sit under the Celtics basket, along the sidelines of the New England Patriots, or in foul territory at Fenway Park.

Even Mark knew that his stories had more readers if there was great art alongside.

He was warm, dry and safe while I was often soaked and had a bad back from carrying camera equipment all over whatever field we had chosen to cover.

But I would not have traded the experience for anything, because it was really the post-event education that was the best part. After the game, we’d head over to  Cambridge where Mark and I set up shop in the bar, at either the Hyatt Regency or later the Charles Hotel. Both were target-rich environments for a young stud and his wing man. I was not very good at meeting women, but Mark was a pro and more often than not an hour or so after we arrived, he would glance in my direction and throw me the car keys so I could drive myself home in his MG.

I never asked how he got back home but I just marveled at  the show. The fact that he lived with a very nice young woman who had to put up with his behavior just made him seem more dangerous. I’m sure she knew, but was willing to put up with his behavior for the same reason I did. Every discussion with Mark was an education and just being in his presence made you feel better.

Mark could pretty much talk me into anything.. He would take me shopping in Boston, to Louis, the most expensive store in the city, and convince me that I ‘needed’ a $700 cashmere overcoat. It was a great coat, and I loved it, but I was almost afraid to wear it.

His brother, Guy, was trying to start a leather business so I ‘needed’ to buy a new briefcase. It’s still here in my office next to my desk.

No matter, it was just part of my role. The flip side was, what I have since learned, is what drew Mark to me: I could tell him what an ass-hole he was being. He knew, that I knew, that sometimes he was simply full of crap, and I would be brutally honest without messing up our friendship.

We grew to respect each other, covering news, and sports together learning skills that they don’t teach in journalism school.

We even started a magazine. It was mostly about sports and we were sure it was going to be our ticket to stardom, or at least untold riches. At least until our bosses at the newspaper decided it was a little too much like competition. Forty years later I still have a few copies and I know Mark did too, even though we only produced two editions.

The beginning of the end was like a scene from “Good Will Hunting,” when Robin Williams’s character misses what was, until 2004, the most famous event in Boston baseball history, because he “had to see about a girl.”

When my future wife,  had the audacity to claim Zelda Fitzgerald really deserved major credit for F. Scott’s work he refused to even debate the topic accusing her of “getting her facts from People Magazine.” To this day, she relishes the fact that history and research have proven her correct.

We got married three years later, after I had moved to Maine to manage a newsroom. I always thought Mark never forgave her for taking up the time he wanted. He never came to the wedding and I never expected that he would. I have no idea what he thought when he found out we divorced 5 years later.

I lost touch with him and his career and it wasn’t until 30 years later when I decided to become personal coach that we reconnected. Somehow I found out he was now in marketing, so I called to ask for help. He refused to accept any payment for developing my web pages and freely offered marketing advice.

We had both matured, and the youthful arrogance was tempered by life, and now he had hundreds of friends, clients and employee who depended on his wisdom  I never made it to Florida, as I had promised,  and we missed connecting on his trip to San Francisco where I now live.

We chatted off and on, and he even allowed me to do some freelance writing, when I restarted my writing career. I would send him sporadic texts when I visited my parents near Boston. Always making sure I stopped by our old haunts, so I could bore my new wife with stories from the good old days and text Mark a photo or two.

He would text back quotes from ‘Catch-22.’


Post to Twitter

An NFL Photographer’s Tale

December 24, 2015

Filed under: Photos,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 5:08 am
Scientists who study the human brain like to point out that memories are the unique feature that sets humans apart from other creatures.

Mack Herron (42) and John Hanna (73)

Mack Herron (42) and John Hanna (73)

For  my radio show’s end of the year celebration I was asked to go through the list of folks who had passed away in 2015.
Among the famous and infamous on Wikipedia I found:
December 6, Mack Herron- American football player.
While his later life was apparently filled with drugs and tragedy, my singular memory of the diminutive running back for the New England Patriots, was him following blockers around left end, holding on to the jersey of Half of Fame guard John Hannah before they were both swarmed by the defense and rolled out of bounds into me and my cameras.
Some place in a collection of old negatives I have the photo, snapped just before the collision, but the memory – and fear – is as clear as day.

Post to Twitter