The Week: What Caught Our Eye

May 8, 2021

View from under a flower looking toward the sun and skyChildren grow, as daisies do, toward a radiant source of warmth and light – their moms. (John Bulmer)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

One day is not enough. We need a full weekend to celebrate all moms – married moms and single moms, grandmothers, foster moms, den moms, women without children who serve as moms, and the coaches, teachers, neighbors, group leaders and colleagues who wear the mom hat. Where would we be without you? Moms, we love you and know that sometimes we don’t make it easy.

As mother and columnist Erma Bombeck once observed: “When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.’’

MADISON KOHUT was just looking for a comfortable place to live in her new hometown, Piggot, Ark. She had just arrived from Norman, Ok. A friend on TikTok had suggested Piggot. She found her new neighbors warm and welcoming, full of stories. They invited her to dinner, even left snacks at her door. That’s when 19-year-old Madison discovered she had moved in to a senior living facility. TikTok is loving this.

EYE ON THE BALL: On April 16, 2020, Drew Robinson shot himself in the head. He underwent four operations and lost his right eye. Miraculously, he survived that awful moment, and months of therapy and rehab later, he’s playing for the San Francisco Giants’ Triple A affiliate, one step away from the team with the best record in the National League.

TURNS OUT, your squabbles with your neighbor over property lines are pretty petty stuff.  A Belgian farmer, annoyed by a large stone that made plowing his field difficult, moved it, thereby changing the border between Belgium and France

IF FINE ART seems a little too fine to you, perhaps it’s time for a trip to the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio where an enormous Lego-built replica of the city will once again be on display. “For too long, a lot of people have thought about museums as places where expensive paintings hang,” said Josh Wilke, president of the Ohio Lego Users Group, makers of the brick-built city.  “But there can be a different approach to art. LEGOs are an accessible art form. They’re an art medium.”

MEANWHILE, LEGOLAND RESORT is preparing to open this summer in Goshen, Orange County, N.Y., the first theme park to open in the Northeast in 40 years and the largest LegoLand ever. It’s a world of Legos, full of castles, dragons and pirates, a driving school for kids, a roller coaster and water feature, and a Legotropolis of New York City landmarks.

A RETURN TO LAUGHTER: The acclaimed Adirondack Theatre Festival returns this summer with both indoor and outdoor productions, including a comedy "Slow Food" about the world's worst waiter, a play about a TV star’s unorthodox drug rehab, and a concert tribute to the founder of Fountains of Wayne who died of COVID-19. But the star of the season may well be the interim director, Martha Banta, who co-founded the festival in 1993 before going on to Broadway success with “Rent” and “Mamma Mia!’’

CHIP CHANGES EVERYTHING: At its SUNY Polytechnic Institute lab in Albany, IBM has created the world’s most advanced computer chip which, at 2 nanometers, is capable of holding 50 billion transistors compared to roughly 20 billion on the existing 7-nanometer chip. The game-changing chip could quadruple cell phone life or save enough power at data centers to power 43 million homes. It’s distinguishing New York’s Capital Region again as a major hub for high-tech innovation.

A BEACON’S GOODBYE: Abdul Dremali is a photographer with a passion for capturing the disappearing beauty of the stars in the night sky. He’s loved living and working in Boston, but now the stars are calling him to darker skies out west. And, so, Abdul bid a fond and memorable farewell to the city that made him feel most welcome.

WINGS TAKE FLIGHT: Don’t sweat the global microchip shortage. The real worry is chicken wings. Demand surged during the pandemic as we hunkered down at home with comfort foods. COVID-19 shut down some production plants. Then a major winter storm hit chicken-stocked Texas. We’re talking nationwide crisis.Sunset over a farm field with a silhouette of a grain siloA silo stands watch at sunset over the pastoral beauty of Washington County (Bill Richmond)

FIND YOUR INNER SPARTACUS: Fancy yourself a fighter? Dust off your gladiator sandals and start planning a trip to Rome for 2023.  That’s when the Colosseum’s new 32,300 square foot floor will be completed, allowing visitors to stand where the gladiators once plied their trade. That’s a view that hasn’t been available to the public since the 19th century.

FILET FINI: Eleven Madison Park in New York, called the best restaurant in the world, is reopening after a pandemic year, but with a major menu change. No meat. No more suckling pig. No more lavender-glazed duck. It’ a signal of how much menus may shift as restaurants reopen and chefs reimagine cuisine. And to feed the hungry there’s the new Eleven Madison Park food truck.

LIVES

TAMARA PRESS set 11 world records and won three Olympic Gold Medals in the late ’50s and ’60s. Her reward was to be taunted about her size, shape and strength. Sportswriters speculated that she was actually a man. At the European Athletics Championships in 1966, she was offered the opportunity to quiet her critics once and for all if she agreed to endure an Olympic insult: Strolling naked past a panel of medical experts. She was 83.

DAVID SWENSEN took an 80 percent cut in pay when he left Wall Street to go to work managing investments at Yale. He pioneered a radical diversification approach, investing in hedge funds, timber, real estate and other alternative investments, growing Yale’s endowment from $1 billion $31.2 billion and ultimately providing a third of its operating budget. He was, said former Yale President Richard Levin, Yale’s biggest donor. He was 67.

DUANE HAGADONE opened a lavish 18-story lakeside resort in depressed Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 1986. Forbes called it a “study in excess” in “the middle of nowhere.” Then, just for fun, he built a floating green on a lake. Then he bought a boat to shuttle golfers 100 yards to the floating 14th green. Turns out a lot of wealthy people like the idea playing golf at a lavish resort in the middle of nowhere: Coeur d’Alene today is one of the hottest U.S. housing markets. He was 88.

ELI BROAD (rhymes with road) was born in New York to a housepainter dad and a seamstress mom. As a child, he collected stamps, then sold them all for pocket money.  After college, he sold garbage disposals door to door. After marriage, he sold his wedding china to buy land. He founded KB homes, made billions, endowed art museums and left a major cultural mark on his adopted home of Los Angeles. He was 87.

BASEBALL GOES BANANAS: Is minor league baseball in decline? Not in Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia where fans are pouring through the gates to see wood-bat games featuring college stars. It’s all about giving the fans a great experience. And when the Savannah Bananas take the field in their dandy yellow kilts, well, you can’t even find a seat.

MYSTERY OF HEALING: Since the 1950s, the conventional wisdom has been that giving a sugar pill to patients who believe mistakenly they are taking actual medicine will make some feel better.  But a Harvard researcher has found that the placebo effect works equally well even when patients know they are taking only a sugar pill. On a sustained basis, open-label placebos have been shown to relieve chronic pain, hot flashes, fatigue, allergies, arthritis, anxiety and depression. The theater of medicine itself may be a healer.

HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT A NICE CAB: Sure, a nice bottle of wine can be transporting. But this is out of the world. A bottle of Petrus 2000 recently returned from a 14-month spin on the International Space Station is expected to fetch as much as $1 million. The wine was one of a dozen bottles launched in 2019 to see how differences in gravity and radiation would affect the aging of grapes and wine. Scientists cracked open a bottle when it splashed down and 12 connoisseurs liked what they tasted.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“A mom forgives us all our faults, not to mention one or two we don’t even have.” 
Robert Brault

THE SIGNOFF

NO DEATH BUT TAXES: The property taxes on 94-year-old Ann Mazze’s Long Island home suddenly spiked – up more than $5,000 a year. When she inquired of Nassau County authorities, she found out that her veterans’ exemption had been canceled, her enhanced senior citizen exemption had been canceled, and she was dead.

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Matt Behan, Claire P. Tuttle, Lisa Fenwick, Tara Hutchins, Kelly Donahue, Katie Alessi and John Brodt.

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

Recent Posts

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 25, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 18, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 11, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 4, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 27, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 20, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 13, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 19, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 12, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 21, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

November 14, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

October 17, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

October 10, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 26, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 19, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 12, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 5, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 29, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 22, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 15, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 28, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 21, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 14, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 30, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 23, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 16, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 28, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 21, 2019

The Week: What caught our eye

September 14, 2019

The Week: What caught our eye

September 7, 2019

Old West Adirondacks

July 19, 2019

A Glens Falls Night

November 20, 2018

A moment for our home city

October 9, 2018