The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 19, 2022

The moon over a lake with trees in the backgroundThere are billions of stars in the sky. There are trillions of lamps on earth. None glows like the beautiful moon – Babatunde Aremo. (Nancie Battaglia)

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Today we’re all about beauty.

The Irish philosopher John O’Donohue saw beauty as an invitation to growth. Recognize it, accept it with an open heart, and you will experience deeper understanding and perhaps connection to the inner rhythms of the universe. Go toward beauty, he advised, with watchful reverence. You will be amazed at what it will reveal.

 “We will be surprised to discover beauty in unexpected places where the ungraceful eye would never linger,’’ he wrote. “The graced eye can glimpse beauty anywhere, for beauty does not reserve itself for special elite moments or instances; it does not wait for perfection but is present already secretly in everything. When we beautify our gaze, the grace of hidden beauty becomes our joy and our sanctuary.”

AS A FACING OUT REGULAR, you’re familiar, of course, with the beauty of Nancie Battaglia’s spectacular photography. Not only is her stellar work proudly featured here, it’s graced the pages of The New York Times, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. She and our other fine photographers, John Bulmer and Skip Dickstein, bring us beauty in abundance each week.

This week, Nancie was the subject of an Olympic season feature story.  “It was January of 1978, and I was at home actually, my sister was getting married, and I got a phone call that the Olympic Committee in Lake Placid was looking to hire a Chief Still Photographer, and they wanted someone who could shoot sports and winter sports,” she told interviewer Emily Russell of North Country Public Radio. Nancie had just graduated from Syracuse University. This was her big break; she went on to shoot every Winter Olympics between 1980 and 2018, while also building a stunning portfolio of the Adirondacks in every season. Nancie and Emily Russell discussed some favorite Olympic memories and what it’s like to be a part of the Olympic atmosphere. Of course, the NCPR piece features a generous selection of Nancie’s photos, which make it worth a click even if you don’t read a word.

TAKE FLIGHT: Put the Washington County Birdlands on your spring bucket list. No, it’s not a jazz club. It’s 478 acres of former farm land in Fort Edward where you might spot a snowy owl or an endangered short-eared owl, a red-tailed hawk, an Upland sandpiper, a Henslow's sparrow or an eastern meadowlark. The area is managed by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation to provide nesting, feeding, and wintering habitat to a variety of bird species, including at-risk species. The National Audubon Society has identified a large part of the area as an Important Bird Area, specifically for grassland birds, whose numbers are in sharp decline. This week, Thrillist – the online web site that says it gets 25 million unique visitors a month – named the Washington County Wildlife Management Area among the most beautiful places in Upstate New York, a “year-round birder’s paradise … (and) a riveting experience for expert and amateur ornithologists.”

LET’S DANCE: Kids need to move — their brains and bodies demand it — but during the pandemic many spent a lot more time sitting. Now, a Skidmore College program has college students showing younger kids why dance is fun and rewarding, and it’s going national.

SAFE HARBOR: A 5.5-foot boat launched by New Hampshire middle school students in 2020 successfully crossed the Atlantic and was retrieved last week from an uninhabited Norwegian island. The boat was outfitted with a GPS, so when it grounded, word went out on social media and a Norwegian family headed out and picked it up. The opening of the vessel made national news in Norway.

MEANWHILE, small but mighty Norway, a nation with about 3 million fewer people than New York City and an Olympic contingent less than half that of the U.S., is dominating the medals count in Beijing. Freestyle skier Ferdinand Dahl said the explanation isn’t that complicated — winter sports are an important part of Norwegian culture. “We have this term, that we're born with skis on our feet,” Dahl said. “Fun is the fundamental drive. A lot of hard work, I think and a lot of fun and dedication — and skiing.”

AN AMAZING COMEBACK: Flash back to June 12, 2021. Denmark and Finland were battling in the Euro 2020 soccer tournament when Christian Eriksen, a Danish midfielder, dropped to the ground in cardiac arrest. Quick action by medical personnel saved his life, and this week, eight months after his heart stopped, he returned to competition.

(VERY) GRAND THEFT: State Police in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are on the lookout for 12-foot-by-28-foot cabin that apparently was stolen from its lot sometime late in 2021. “You don't see this happen too often,” the investigating trooper told the Detroit Free Press.

HARROWING ESCAPE: There was an avalanche in the Adirondacks last weekend. Two backcountry skiers survived when one self-rescued and then used a locator beacon to find and rescue his companion, who was buried beneath four to five feet of snow and had lost consciousness.

DIGITAL JAIL: In December 2021, the website of the award-winning regional magazine Adirondack Life was hacked. The website was quickly fixed, but one major problem lingered — Facebook had identified its URL as spam and since then has blocked readers from posting Adirondack Life content. Easy problem to fix? No. Adirondack Life can’t even get somebody to answer the phone.  

IT'S THE ECONOMY …: As you know if you eat, drive a car, or buy diapers, inflation is running rampant. Consumer prices have risen 7.5 percent in just the last year, the fastest rate in 40 years. Republicans have seized on it as the defining issue of the mid-term elections, and The New York Times credits Congresswoman Elise Stefanik with seeing the opportunity first in the diaper aisle.

A WORD TO THE WISE: Regrets? Matthew Fray has a few. He spilled them in a 2016 blog post in which he confessed that daily acts of thoughtlessness had compounded to the point that his wife no longer could tolerate it, or him, resulting in the end of his marriage. The post caught fire, and now he’s using the painful lessons he learned to help others, specifically men, avoid a similar fate.  

WHO’S NEXT: The legendary rockers The Who are headed back on tour. The band — featuring original members Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend — will perform at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on Saturday, May 28, their only stop in upstate New York and a return to the site of Woodstock, where they played in 1969.

A foal and its mother in a snow-covered pastureA Mother and Child Reunion: A foal sired by Thousand Words under the watchful eye of mom at Saratoga Glen Farm in Schuylerville. (Skip Dickstein)

HIDDEN WORLD: In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, part of the classic C.S. Lewis series The Chronicles of Narnia, characters Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie discover a wardrobe that opens to the magical land of Narnia. In New York City, a Brooklyn Heights rowhouse also is not what it seems from the outside, though the world it opens to is a lot less magical than Narnia — it’s a secret entrance to the subway and a shaft ventilation house, which blends almost perfectly with its surroundings, except for the all-black windows.

HELPING THE HELPERS: Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus of The Este Lauder Companies and a University of Pennsylvania graduate, donated $125 million to the nursing school at his alma mater for a tuition-free, two-year graduate program that will recruit, train, and deploy nurse practitioners to work in underserved communities across the country. Students selected for the new program will finish debt free. “Now more than ever, the country needs greater and more equitable access to quality primary care — and highly skilled nurse practitioners are the key to making that happen,” Lauder said. “The program will ensure that more Americans receive the essential health care services that everyone deserves.”

HISTORIC LOSS: A fire this week destroyed the historic clubhouse at Michigan’s Oakland Hills Country Club, site of more than a dozen major championships and a Ryder Cup. The building held memorabilia from those majors, as well as historic art and other tributes to the game’s heritage. Firefighters worked to remove memorabilia, handing it off to club members outside, as flames ravaged the historic building.

WORDS MATTER: Most of us are imprecise with our words from time to time. Who hasn’t used flaunt when flout was right? But sometimes, precision is mandatory, as a now former priest in Arizona and thousands of improperly baptized people have learned. Though off by just one word in his baptisms, the Diocese of Phoenix determined that “If you were baptized using the wrong words, that means your baptism is invalid, and you are not baptized.”

GREENLIGHTED: Massachusetts discovered this week that 2,100 drivers were given passing scores on road tests without ever having taken them. “All of the impacted individuals have been contacted and will be required to take and pass a road test within 10 days,” the state said. Four employees have been fired.

LIVES

P.J. O’ROURKE was a conservative political satirist who was an equal-opportunity critic, never shy about turning his considerable wit on whomever or whatever he thought had earned it. In addition to authoring 20 books, he wrote regularly for various magazines, was part of a point-counterpoint segment on “60 Minutes” in the 1990s and was a frequent talk show guest. Asked by The New York Times in 2010 to define Democrat and Republican, he offered: “The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer and remove the crab grass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it.” He died at 74 of lung cancer.

HERBERT BENSON was an eminent Harvard-trained cardiologist, steeped in strait-laced traditional medicine, when he noticed a pattern of significantly lower blood pressure among residents of Puerto Rico. He pursued his hunch with animal experiments and then followers of Transcendental Meditation who he insisted come to the lab after hours, and through a side door. “I wasn’t so shocked as I was wary because I knew what was ahead of me because the negative mind-body bias was so strong,” he said. “I remained a cardiologist and also being head of cardiovascular teaching at Harvard Medical School, but I sustained two professional lives. I kept respectability within cardiology while I also did work in the mind-body field.” He died of heart disease and kidney failure at 86.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” 
- Ansel Adams

THE SIGNOFF

ICE VICE: The mayor of a town in Northeast Ohio unleashed a torrent of ridicule and mockery — some of it quite creative — when he expressed concerns during a public meeting that ice fishing could lead to prostitution. He has since resigned.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.  www.behancommunications.com

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback.  

Let’s make it a conversationmark.behan@behancom.com

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