Are The Russians The New Nazis?

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Photo by Michal Zacharzewski from FreeImagesHave you noticed this?

It seems like I can’t turn to a movie, TV show, or just about anything else produced by Hollywood without seeing the same thing over and over again.

No, I’m not talking about the plot. (That’s not a Hollywood thing, there are only three basic conflicts in all dramatic literature and that means a lot of repeated plots going all the way back to ancient Greece.)

And I’m not talking about the protagonists. (Yes, this superhero thing has gotten out of hand, but, hey, can you blame Hollywood? The more it sells the more they’ll make, at least until it stops selling.)

What I’m talking about is fast becoming a stereotypical prototype for the antagonist, the enemy of the protagonist, otherwise known as “the bad guy.” It’s not that they aren’t Continue Reading “Are The Russians The New Nazis?”

What (And Why) Is Greater Western New York?

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1779 map of Sullivan Campaign 6.18.1779-9.15.1779

1779 map of Sullivan Campaign

Believe it or not, we’re fast approaching a seminal anniversary in the history of Greater Western New York. At some point in the final days of August 1779, the first scouts of the Sullivan Expedition represented the first citizens of the new nation to step foot into what would become Greater Western New York.

They weren’t the first people in Greater Western New York. They weren’t even the first of European descent to enter the region.

They were, however, the first Americans to do so. And that is why Greater Western New York is often referred to as “America’s First Frontier.”

For those who were absent from school when they taught this, the Sullivan Expedition, Continue Reading “What (And Why) Is Greater Western New York?”

What Do You Think An Independent Greater Western New York Should Look Like?

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Last week’s Commentary received an inordinate amount of positive feedback (see “It’s Time For Greater Western New York To Declare Its Own Independence,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, July 1, 2021). Since these came from a variety of sources on a plethora of platforms, it’s likely you haven’t had the opportunity to see them all.

Allow me to summarize.

It starts with a simple question:

“What do you think an independent Greater Western New York should look like?

OK, it turns out it’s not so simple as you might think. But at least it sounds straight-forward. While the answer to this question yields a spectrum of solutions, at least most Continue Reading “What Do You Think An Independent Greater Western New York Should Look Like?”

It’s Time For Greater Western New York To Declare Our Own Independence!

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One of the perks of serving as a national reporter includes access to a coast-to-coast network of sources. I usually stick to my standard beat (finance and retirement) when sourcing questions. Every once in a while, however, I stray from that path and have a little fun.

As a life-long booster of the Greater Western New York region, I’m always searching for ways, no matter how small, to help promote the region.

Now, combine these two facts together and you can understand how I discovered this Continue Reading “It’s Time For Greater Western New York To Declare Our Own Independence!”

Juneteenth Reveals Another Hidden Gem of Greater Western New York

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Gordon GrangerThe Civil War offers many heroes from Abraham Lincoln to Ulysses S. Grant to William Tecumseh Sherman. (In fairness, the War Between the States provide quite a few villains, too – on both sides – but no need to belabor the half-empty glass.)

We know quite a few of these heroes, like Rochester’s Colonel Patrick H. O’Rorke, who was killed at Gettysburg while leading his men into action on Little Round Top, gave their ultimate in the fight to free the slaves.

Some heroes, whose significance fades with the passage of time, are occasionally rediscovered as changing perspective once again shines light on their distinguished acts of bravery, perseverance, and devotion that sets them apart from their fellow soldiers.

Today’s news has elevated the stature of Gordon Granger, a man who might have single handedly changed the outcome of the Civil War.

If you travel just south of the Village of Sodus in Wayne County, you’ll find County Road Continue Reading “Juneteenth Reveals Another Hidden Gem of Greater Western New York”

Ode To The Son Of A Bricklayer

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You, like everyone else, entered this world naked and exposed. You had nothing more than basic instincts, your very essence still tethered to your mother.

From that moment, however, upon that very solid foundation, a life was built. It blossomed into a life beyond compare, beyond the dreams of your parents, perhaps even beyond what you could imagine once you were able to imagine.

And it was all because you were the son of a bricklayer.

A man erecting the foundation for a new building recently said, “There aren’t many Continue Reading “Ode To The Son Of A Bricklayer”

Did You Know About This Sizzling Greater Western New York Hidden Gem?

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How many times have you heard the phrase “Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle?” or some similar variation? It’s almost a universal axiom in marketing and sales. But did you know its connection to the Greater Western New York Region (and Rochester in particular)?

I actually came upon this hidden gem quite by accident. I often binge read old books on favorite subject areas. My theory behind this is simple: “What’s old is new again.” Of course, this idea isn’t new.

In 1858, George Eliot wrote in Scenes of Clerical Life, “History, we know, is apt to repeat itself, and to foist very old incidents upon us with only a slight change in costume.”

With that in mind, I used to binge on old movies. That same principle held there, too.

If you’re familiar with the reason I wrote The Macaroni Kid, (performed by the Monsignor Schnacky Players in 2009), you’ll recognize how this idea can be used in real life.

At the time, I wanted to test the hypothesis that good humor is eternal. So I wrote a Continue Reading “Did You Know About This Sizzling Greater Western New York Hidden Gem?”

Here’s Why You Always Ask The Obvious Question

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Photo by Troy Sherk from FreeImagesHow many times does this happen to you?

Someone asks you for help in dealing with another person. It could be a negotiation, it could be to convince them, it might even be to ask them for a favor. You judiciously listen to their plight, absorbing where each party stands and what exactly the person seeking your help wants.

In your mind, you construct a verbal argument carefully built to nudge the other party towards the position sought by your friend. You start by suggesting your associate ask the Continue Reading “Here’s Why You Always Ask The Obvious Question”

Confessions of a Hamburger Historian

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Have you ever eaten something so delicious you just can’t wait to get your hands on the recipe? You know how the next question is always, “I wonder who was the first person to make this delicious dish?”

Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, I show hungry hamburger enthusiasts the answer to who sold the first hamburger in my book Hamburger Dreams. Indeed, for the past three years, every May (National Beef Month) and, in particular, every May 28th (National Hamburger Day), I’m invited to appear in media across the country to explain how I used classic crime solving techniques to crack the case of America’s greatest culinary mystery.

Do you want to know what I’m asked most often?Continue Reading “Confessions of a Hamburger Historian”

Don’t Let Them Divide and Conquer Us

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Mattes, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia CommonsA while back I ran across a reporter’s query. It seemed this journalist wanted to know if the “right-wing” is decentralizing the Internet. That struck me as an odd thing to ask given most feel it is the “left-wing” that kicked the “right-wing” out of the clubhouse.

But, hey, if you want to sow division, this is the way to do it.

In 1894, five years before he became governor of New York State, Theodore Roosevelt wrote ever so eloquently of the need to come together as one nation and avoided the divide and conquer strategy that serves America’s enemies well:Continue Reading “Don’t Let Them Divide and Conquer Us”