The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 5, 2020

NorthToNarrows.jpgWe hope your Labor Weekend is off to a relaxing start and that you will emerge from it refreshed and energized. (Kevin Kelly/Crown Focus Media)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

Incredibly, he did not make the varsity on his high school baseball team until his senior year. Even then, he was mediocre. After high school, he went to work for his father’s packing company and then enlisted in the Marines. In that time, he grew two inches, stg090420_color.jpgadded 30 pounds and developed the power that became his trademark.  Tom Seaver was an icon of New York sports and the beloved bulldog ace of the 1969 Miracle Mets pitching staff.

Seaver was idolized by a generation of Mets fans, credited with establishing a winning mentality for a franchise that was consistently awful before his arrival in 1967. He cemented his legacy by hurling an almost unthinkable eight consecutive complete-game wins late in the 1969 season as the Mets stormed past the Chicago Cubs to win the division and then their first World Series, where they beat the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in five games.

National Sports Media Hall of Fame columnist Mike Lupica wrote that no Met will ever matter more. To Time’s Sean Gregory, the 1969 Mets were a reminder that, in sports, anything can happen. After his playing days, he and his wife, Nancy, opened a successful winery back home in California He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 98.84% of the vote in 1992, his first year of eligibility, a record percentage that stood until 2016. We remember Tom Seaver with SNY’s lovely video tribute.

RIP, Tom Terrific.

PRAYERS ANSWERED ON LAKE GEORGE: Jimmy MacDonald is an Albany drug counselor who has been clean for seven years and credits God with his recovery. He was enjoying an afternoon with his family on Lake George when his kayak flipped. Facing death, he prayed for help. Who showed up but seven seminarians and priests onboard a floating tiki bar. Gordon Woodworth of Glens Falls Living broke the story, and WNYT’s Mark Mulholland got the interviews.

ROOM AND BORED: Maureen Cross went to college in Vermont but spent most of her life on the Upper West Side of New York, living and working in her rent-stabilized studio apartment. When the pandemic hit, she took a three-bedroom apartment in Vermont with a big backyard and a driveway for the same price she had been paying in the city. It didn’t take long for her to realize she had made a big mistake. A month, to be exact.

MIDNIGHT SNACK: Ok, who left the refrigerator door open again? In Indian Lake, a homeowner’s video laid bare the guilty party.

SWIMMING SENSATIONS: There’s nothing sports fans love quite as much as arguing about superlatives — the best this, the worst that. Don’t even get started on LeBron vs. Michael. But when it comes to the greatest team of all-time in any sport, there’s a very compelling case to be made in favor of the Indiana University men’s swim team on the late 1960s and early 1970s. “If Indiana swam against an all-star team from the rest of the world,” Sports Illustrated’s William F. Reed wrote in 1971, “the Hoosiers very likely would win.”

DOH, CANADA: The world celebrated the 75th anniversary of VJ Day on Sept. 2, the date Japan formally surrendered, ending World War II. Turns out the signing ceremony had a bit of a hiccup.

Sunset.jpgThe sun sets on what has been a spectacular summer, at least when it comes to the
weather. (Bob Joy photo)

BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING: Paxton Burns wanted to help his neighbors in need, so with his mother’s help he filled a crimson box in front of their home with $38 worth of prepackaged foods and put up a sign that read, “Take a blessing when you need one. Leave a blessing when you can.” Four years later, Paxton’s Blessing Box is at 75 locations in Kansas. Did we mention he’s 10?

WILD CARDS: Sports trading cards have long occupied a special place in the hearts of young fans — and the attics of their childhood homes — but since the start of the pandemic, they’ve exploded in both popularity and value. In just the past month, auctions for various cards have fetched nearly $7.5 million, including a record $3.9 million for a Mike Trout rookie card.

MISINFORMATION OVERLOAD: With the pandemic still going and the election upcoming, AARP and the Poynter Institute, a media nonprofit, are among the organizations to launch initiatives aimed at helping older people detect misinformation on the Internet.

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jimmy Curcuru will be the first to admit his house in Gloucester, Mass., is in rough shape. He didn’t need the anonymous note left his mailbox to tell him. What the author apparently didn’t know, or bother to find out, is that both Jimmy and his wife, Marilyn, are disabled. Their daughter posted the note on Facebook, and the aftermath will reinforce your belief in the fundamental goodness of people.

SIGNING STARS: Two sign language interpreters for South African president Cyril Ramaphosa have become unlikely stars of the pandemic in a country where, during Apartheid, sign language was equated with weakness and inferiority.


KEN GREEN was the cheerful, funny, insightful human dynamo largely responsible for making Saratoga County one of the fastest growing and most prosperous in New York State. He led the successful effort to bring State Farm Insurance, Quad Graphics, Ball Metal, Target, Ace Hardware and AMD, now GlobalFoundries, to the county, and his remarkable record made Saratoga County the envy of economic development organizations across the state. In a very public way, he also battled horrible demons that cost him his health, his career and his family.

JOE RUBY was one of the creative minds behind “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” It was a hit right from the start and has grown into one of the most lucrative franchises in the history of animation. He and the show’s co-creator, Ken Spears, generated characters that have endured more than half a century.

JOHN THOMPSON, a name still cursed in Syracuse, was a physically imposing man who coached his Georgetown basketball teams to play hard and never back down. That’s how he lived off the court, as well, challenging his predominantly Black players to carry themselves with pride and never failing to take action when the situation demanded it. “Other coaches have hung more banners,” Sean Gregory wrote in an appreciation for Time. “But no coach of his generation, in any sport, was more influential.”

CHADWICK BOSEMAN will live forever through his cinematic portrayal of iconic heroes, both real and imagined. So young, so great. Such a loss.

THE LAST LAUGH: Tyler Perry, raised in poverty, started writing scripts while selling cars and serving as a bill collector. He toured relentlessly and built a strong following among Black audiences, even as Hollywood executives dismissed him as an oddity. Today, he’s paid $150 million a year to create content for ViacomCBS, is estimated to have a net worth of $1 billion, and has changed the entertainment world.

DISCONNECT: Sometimes the headline really does summarize the story: Herman Cain Tweets Coronavirus Not That Deadly — Despite Having Died From It.

PERSISTENT PIONEER: Myriam P. Sarachik this year received the Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research, a top honor of the American Physical Society. It took all the willpower and persistence she had just to break into the field.

TRUE GRIT: At 19, Shannon Huffman Polson became the youngest woman to ascend Denali, North America’s highest peak. She later became one of the first women to pilot the Apache attack helicopter for the U.S. Army. She’s written a book, The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization, and discusses her definition of grit and how to develop it.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE: When a juvenile humpback whale was spotted near the entrance to New York Harbor, observers cheered it as a sign of improving water quality. But recreational boaters noticed something was wrong, and the ensuing rescue effort was, said Robert DiGiovanni Jr., a chief scientist at the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, “inspiring, to say the least.”

LIFE SAVERS: A national investment research firm has published an analysis concluding that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the Tarrytown-based drug-maker whose main manufacturing operations are in East Greenbush, has a 60% chance for government approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which the firm estimated could result in $6 billion in additional revenue in 2021.

FAIR FARE: You may not be able to attend state fairs this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t load up on their famous calorie bombs.

IRON SHORTAGE: We saw the headline on this and thought, since when is it hard to find dumbbells in the U.S.? … Oh. THOSE dumbbells.

COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTION: Offices in New York City and elsewhere were emptied by the pandemic. The questions now are, will the sector bounce back, and at what level?

MONET ON YOUR MONITOR: The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is closed, but it's celebrating its 150th anniversary online with a collection of Monet’s works in the exhibition "Monet and Boston: Lasting Impression." The MFA owns 35 Monets, which the museum says is one of the largest collections outside France.

HIGH FLYERS: Two airline pilots approaching LAX reported seeing a man in a jetpack about 3,000 feet off the ground. Forgive magician David Blaine if his first thought was, that’s it?

BOUNCING BUNS: Don’t look at us! That’s what they call the race — the Bouncing Buns Clothing Optional 5K. And it’s just what Jen A. Miller needed to bust the pandemic blues, if only for a day. 

YES, PLEASE: Comedian and TV host John Oliver issued a challenge to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton: Follow through on your promise to name the sewage treatment plant after me and I’ll donate $55,000 to charities in the community. He even offered to pay for the sign. The mayor promised a response on Thursday, but alas, we must wait.


Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.

—    Abraham Lincoln


That we should all enjoy life as much as this guy.

Happy Labor Day, everybody.

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Troy Burns, Matt Behan, Bill Richmond, Bob Joy, Kevin Kelly, Kelly Donahue, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, Tina Suhocki, Tara Hutchins, and Claire P. Tuttle.

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.

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value or interest 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. 

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