Adapting With Alex Garrett

Adapt With Alex!

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How Adapting With Alex Began: Part 1

Over the years , many have paved a path in my life for me to follow along right up to this blog post. That is where the backstory of ‘Adapting With Alex ‘ starts. Because of all the kindness, love and opportunities from all around, I can say God has me here writing you tonight and looking to pay it forward through this network!

That kindness, love and opportunity for life was firstly created by my mom and dad and entire family! They believed in that NICU fight that we would get through it, 77 days later we did and we DO nearly 30 years after the inaugural January release from the NICU.

My family wasn’t alone in that belief, the NICU unit and the amazing Doctors and nurses at then- St. Luke’s Roosevelt cared and made sure round the clock care was there for those in the NICU. We as a family are very blessed to have that connection, which we maintain ever year by visiting the remaining nurses on 10/20, my birthday.

Physical adaptations were provided over the years from the encouragement to walk to a walker to the uniqueness of the rollerblade. In between those years and beyond, our family has been provided numerous crutches thanks to WalkEasy each year. WalkEasy has even helped us when the crutches would break down due to active use! We were provided multiple tries at a prosthetic leg by Charlie our orthotics maker through the Henry Viscardi School. Eneslow has helped us with adaptive shoe insoles over the years as well.

The brainpower of my father, the approval and support of mom and my stepdad Vic as well as my family paved the way to rollerblade, that to me is the most natural adaptation ever made starting at the age of eight. Not only has it saved my foot YEARS, it’s also brought me to different experiences which I’m sure our tiny cluster never thought imaginable.

The social adaptations were made available to us through the love and care of so many and ramped up soon after the wheels took off in 1999. Adaptive sports has been my true love! I want to thank my dad for installing running into my life at the age of 2.5 at NYRR Pee Wee Races. The New York Road Runners also helped us and many in other groups like Achilles make running adaptable!

I want to thank the Henry Viscardi School for giving us all a chance to be adapting in baseball, football, hockey and wheelchair basketball! Our gym coach, Mike Sweeney is awesome and wheelchair basketball lead Joe Slaninka as well as Joy Krebs have inspired us to stay adaptive and active for all these years!! Anthony Fitzgerald, HVS associate, runs adaptive football at Eisenhower Park, for those interested!

I want to thank the likes of Susan Maxwell, Nassau CountyGames for the Physically Challenged founder the last 30+ years at Eisenhower Park and Mitchel Field. Volunteer Dominic introduced my dad and I to the competition at the age of 4 and 5. The Games family has grown, and I highly recommend you check us out if you have friends or family that might find it time to get out there, compete and enjoy a late May, early June competitive weekend! (https://nassaucountypcgames.com/#:~:text=With%20the%20safety%20of%20our,join%20us%20again%20in%202021.)

The thanking doesn’t stop there, but I’ll make this a series because I want to hone in on the adaptive sports for now. Having been born with just the one leg, seeing amputees overcome having an ENTIRE limb removed and kick ass in life, is what has inspired me to start ‘Adapting With Alex’. I’m ready to pay the adaptation opportunities forward to those who are still unsure how to adapt, or afraid to!

It takes a network, and I’d LOVE you to join this journey whether you are a company that helps people adapt and want to share your story OR have a story of your own of adapting, I’m all ears !

So let’s ADAPT TOGETHER!

STATEMENT FROM ADAPTIVE WITH ALEX GARRETT On Election of Joe Biden

As the streets are celebratory , I’m feeling reflective and cautious. I pray that there was no interference at all. If there was all the celebrations will be like a false start. Litigation is a big role in this , and once that is completed, I pray a peaceful transition of power does happen. America over politics every day and I think the most American thing to do every four years is accept the results and know that God has us on a path that is on the up and up. I did vote my conscience this year and am proud of that! But you will not see me celebrate just yet until I see America on the right course and it starts in the White House, if the results for President- elect Biden stands. Or if by some wild way, President Trump gets a chance at fixing this !

Adapting With Alex Interview Transcript One: Able News

As I continue to launch ‘Adapting With Alex’, I look forward to bringing you the transcript of each conversation that has taken place and that will be my blogpost content! We first kick this off with Angela Mellady, publish for Able Newspaper, a prominent paper which helps the disabled community adapt! 

Interview Aired 11/2/20 on ‘Adapting With Alex Garrett’ 

Alex Garrett (00:00): 

We’re going to talk about the adaptations to the election process for those with disabilities. And I couldn’t think of a better paper, a better organization to talk to then Able News. That’s right. If you’ve ever been to the games for the physically challenged, or have you ever been to Henry Viscardi school? You see Able News right there and I’ve got the publisher, Angela Mellady on. It’s so nice to have you on. And finally, I get involved with Able. Thanks for joining me today. 

Angela Mellady (01:29): 

Thank you, Alex. 

New Speaker (01:31): 

You guys are iconic. You’re seen everywhere, but you are focused on this election. So let me first ask about the adaptations that you guys have noticed at the election booth has been easy for people with disabilities to vote this year. Have you had any problems, have you heard of any problems or help people? Even 

Angela Mellady (01:51): 

We, we usually hear about it after the fact, but I know that there were many adaptations. I’ve been on an adapt voting Zoom every week where they have been preparing and they were able to get online applications and mail-in ballots and voting online. So this, there were plenty of ways to do it. I’m just not sure how, if there were any glitches and we won’t know that until after the election, after tomorrow, probably 

Alex Garrett (02:26): 

So it’s easier to maneuver around the city and the voting booth, but I will say New York City has this fast pass for people with disabilities. We didn’t know how they knew, but they gave us a fast pass. And I’m sure you’ll hear some of that too. In New York city, that they were able to do that for people with disabilities, they gave you a fast, they did, it was kind of like a ticket. And I would able to go to the front of the line. I’m not sure how many others got it, but I know that I had been able to use that. So I’m great. 

Angela Mellady (03:00): 

You know, my son, my son lives in Brooklyn and he had some kind of card also. He’s not disabled, but he waited online actually for two hours. But, but I didn’t know what that card was. Cause I’m on long Island. I’ve never seen that before. We don’t need any ID here to vote. So I wonder if everyone got a pass and, and you’re the ones for people with disabilities we’re special. 

Alex Garrett (03:24): 

Now, Angela, I gotta ask it made the front page of able on the newspaper. Why is this election front page material for the disabled community? 

Angela Mellady (03:38): 

Well, the presidential election is always an issue. It’s always on our front cover in this month. We actually featured it in October and November. We compare the two presidential candidates and their policies and the November one is just kind of reminding people to vote and to look back at the November issue to see what, what the policies are. 

Alex Garrett (04:10): 

And what did you guys find? 

Angela Mellady (04:13): 

Well, this healthcare is important. Healthcare is very important to people with disabilities. I think normally Democrats are a little bit more sensitive or a lot more sensitive to people with disabilities. All of the issues that people with disabilities have, the discrimination factor and the affordable care act of course is important. Economic security; paid leave for caregivers; disability programs, SSD and keeping people in their homes rather than putting them in nursing homes. It’s always a big issue trying to keep people out of facilities. 

Alex Garrett (05:56): 

It’s a little nerving when you find out that your caregivers are on the COVID floor and then come to you and you pray. 

Angela Mellady (06:23): 

Yeah, that would be pretty unnerving, even, even just people going from one home to another is a little scary people with disabilities, many are so vulnerable and in poor health to begin with. Having attendants go from one place to another or coming back and forth on the subways or buses, public transportation really has to be very, very careful. 

Alex Garrett (07:05): 

We are talking with Angela Mellady, she’s the publisher of Able News. Now you guys have always been sort of seen as an advocate for the community. What have you been advocating for, especially during this time election aside during COVID alone? 

Angela Mellady (07:21): 

Well, we like to think of ourselves as, uh, an independent news organization rather than advocates, but we actually started the paper in 1991. As time went on, I think, I think we’ve turned into more advocacy settings than just plain news. We try to be even handed. We try to supply the news without bias, but much news about people with disabilities is biased towards helping people with disabilities. 

Alex Garrett (08:00): 

How do you hope to shape the message for people who aren’t in the community, how do you try and get it Able News to the able-bodied community? 

Angela Mellady (08:22): 

We have two editions, a New York City edition and a Long Island edition. And we, we also, we don’t know, we, we put the paper in all the libraries. So it used to be in New York when the New York edition is now only online, but when it was a print edition, it would be in all libraries. So that’s how we get to the able-bodied community. They pick it up in library sometimes, you know, when you go to a diner or something or some or grocery store, sometimes there are papers out there. So we try to distribute to able-bodied people as much as possible because people just don’t understand that unless it’s happening to them, it is getting into a restaurant. One step is like a mountain to a person in a wheelchair. Most people who are able-bodied don’t understand. So we try, we try to get the word out that way. 

Alex Garrett (09:39): 

Angela, I have been trying to focus this podcast back to adapting and really making sure people know there are resources for adaptation and you guys deal with that. Like you partner with people who have adaptive leanings and can help people adapt. Do you want to weigh in on that? Like, cause I see all the ads and all the people that you have in there. How do you guys help the community adapt? 

Angela Mellady (10:10): 

How do we help the community adapt? I guess just, just getting the word out and, and telling people how to adapt. I mean we have ads like TracFone, which is available to people with disabilities ramps. We even have dating ads, um, and all kinds of different, different, um, kinds of, uh, adaptations. Actually, most of our ads in the paper and in our stories are geared toward people, making their homes or their businesses more accessible. 

Alex Garrett (11:01): 

What goes into the process of choosing what story is fit to print in Able News? 

Angela Mellady (11:13): 

We get a tremendous amount of, emails and we searched through that and, um, we have people pitching stories to us. Whatever’s relevant to the community is what we use. We try not to do any stories that are general stories. Like if, if there’s not an actual disability content or link, we don’t use the story. 

New Speaker (11:45): 

Focused on that mission to narrow in on that helps you guys expand in the community. 

Angela Mellady (12:07): 

I would, I would think. Yeah. Yeah. 

Alex Garrett (12:10): 

How many people would you say look to Able News for their stories, for things that maybe even can uplift them during this time? 

Angela Mellady (12:20): 

We put out 8,000 print copies every month and we have about, uh, 5,000, I think readers online. 

Alex Garrett (12:33): 

That’s a, that’s a great number. And again, it’s sort of like a hidden gem because to me, I find that the, the adaptation world, the good news from the disabled community is kind of like not on the mainstream. And that’s, that’s why I want to bring you guys into the light and tell people, yes, there is an outlet. And also for people who let’s say are afraid to adapt, would you say there’s that too? Like, we want to inspire people to adapt. And, and because there is a number of people that don’t know how to adapt a certain situation. Wouldn’t you agree? 

Angela Mellady (13:03): 

Are you talking about people with disabilities that are afraid to adapt or organizations or businesses? 

Alex Garrett (13:11): 

Well, I think all three, but certainly people who may have had an amputation or who became disabled or families. I mean, it’s not an easy thing to adapt. So how do you guys help them ease into that process? 

Angela Mellady (13:24): 

Well, we were through the different stories we run. I know that people who, who have a new disability are always, always very frightened. They don’t want to accept it. Um, and it takes time. It’s like a mourning process even, uh, sometimes. And, um, they, their families have to help them and work with them and, and try to understand what’s happening. It’s, it’s a lot to learn and a lot to, to go through to figure out everything that needs to be done and what everything that’s available to them. 

Alex Garrett (14:02): 

And again, the powerful stories in addition to the people that you work with to help the powerful stories, I think give a uplifting feeling as well. Wouldn’t you say? 

Angela Mellady (14:11): 

I would hope I would hope that’s really, our goal is to help people and to have them, uh, uplifted and, and just to really just get good information. 

Alex Garrett (14:24): 

Well, any favorite stories that you’ve printed election aside, any favorite stories that you’ve printed over the last couple of months that, that people should really keep their eyes on for some uplift during this time? 

Angela Mellady (14:37): 

Well, I personally love our tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the things that she’s done for disability community, the decisions, that she’s made as far the Olmstead decision she did, she did, uh, she wrote the decision instead and, um, she was an advocate. Um, a lot of our stories are about legislation and what’s happening for people with disabilities. We have back to school tips. And since COVID hit, we’ve been doing a lot. I mean, at the beginning, we, had almost halted issues about COVID and how to make your way through and how to get what you need. Um, there’s one, one story we did in the October issue where families who, um, were concerned about losingtheir home care, uh, and possibly having their loved ones put back into institutions,. We did a story of an automobile rally that I think started in Montauk and went all the way up to Albany. They referenced Willowbrook as, as a horrible, horrible situation that they don’t want to go back to. 

Alex Garrett (16:12): 

Sure. Well, let’s talk about the drive by, because I know that’s uplifted the community a lot because, you know, some people were, a lot of people with disabilities were afraid to go and because of the immune system and everything, but the drive-by’s really uplifted people. And I’m sure you wrote about that enable 

Angela Mellady (16:35): 

We did zooms more than drive-bys actually, we did do a drive by for Angela’s house. Um, I don’t know if you know, Angela’s house, uh, I know organizations, Suffolk County where, um, their children who are so medically fragile that they can’t stay in their own homes. Bob Policastro, uh, started the organization and they buy homes and they retrofit them so that these children can stay in these homes with aides and help. They did a zoom thanking their caretakers, and that was on our front page one month. 

Alex Garrett (17:23): 

That’s so, that’s so cool. 

Angela Mellady (17:26): 

Yeah, then also Angela’s house. They do drive by birthdays. Um, they put out big signs all over the front lawn, if it’s one of the children’s birthdays and the families come and, um, I’d spend time with them, 

Alex Garrett (17:41): 

You know, Viscardi, my, my Alma mater my home, my roots, they actually tried to get the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or however it was mixed schedule and, and have the kids back to school a little bit. I mean, that was quite an effort. 

Angela Mellady (18:08): 

I haven’t seen that Viscardi did that. Were they successful? 

Alex Garrett (18:13): 

They had a couple of cases, but it sounds like they had it under control. 

Angela Mellady (18:22): 

I’m very concerned about, about the schools. I know children with disabilities need to that, that one-on-one, they need the in-person attention. It’s just so hard with, with the zoom, uh, trying to, trying to teach them that way. 

Alex Garrett (18:42): 

I, yeah, I can only imagine it’s, it’s gotta be frustrating for the parents as well, but you said you did a lot of COVID coverage. Did you find a lot of people coming to Able for, uh, for something during this to, to hold onto to say, yes, we can get through this. 

Angela Mellady (19:03): 

You know, we don’t get a lot of feedback like that. I mean, we send the papers out and we, we, we get compliments very often, but we don’t usually get specific, um, back that kind of specific, uh, Oh, this helped me, or that helped me, but we did, we did. I’m sure. I’m sure. I mean, we have, we have, every month we have a letter from the commissioner of the mayor’s office for people with disabilities, (Victor Calise), talking about what what’s new. It started. He started to, yeah. He started writing when COVID started and he’s been doing it every month on our page in our New York edition. And he gives a lot of information. 

Alex Garrett (19:47): 

If people do want a story to give to Able, how can they do that? How can they be part of this, uh, mission and journey you guys are on and maybe, you know, get their word out through you guys, like, Hey, things are going to be okay. 

Angela Mellady (20:06): 

Whatever they have of interest to people with disabilities, they certainly can send it to ablenews@aol.com. That’s where our editorial comes in. 

Alex Garrett (20:19): 

And do you find that I’m sure you find a lot, especially during this time people writing to you? 

Angela Mellady (20:26): 

Yup. Yup. Hundreds, hundreds of emails we get every month 

Alex Garrett (20:31): 

How do you make the cut for Able news? 

Angela Mellady (20:42): 

I actually go through all the emails and, um, I just pick out the, the ones that, that are important, the ones that have good information. Um, it’s, I don’t know. It’s just, uh, there are a lot that come in and a lot to get discarded it. Again, some things don’t have a direct, um, uh, direct disability hook, so we don’t use, um, but the there’s a lot of good, good information, and it does come in that way. 

Alex Garrett (21:25): 

Obviously, you guys are very in tune with the Games for the Physically Challenged and I always love seeing your, your paper out there. What’s that mean to write that up on the keynote speaker every year, like you do really good work, great work on that. I’ve always wanted to know about the behind the scenes of that. 

Angela Mellady (21:47): 

We also have the athletes writing little pieces, um, about their experiences at the games. I don’t know if you ever saw that we do the keynote speaker on the cover. And then inside, we have the actual athletes doing, uh, we’ve used their picture and their school name and their age and how they feel about the games, which they, they enjoy that. The Games are really special to me. I was with the games before we started Able Newspaper, which started in 1985. And I I’ve been a volunteer ever since. And again, the games are really a very special program. I don’t know if you know, but there, there were 30, I think 30 committee heads that actually run the games. They’re all volunteers. They’re a one, two, three people at the top that are, that are not volunteers that are paid, but every aspect of the games has, has a committee head. So, uh, there’s a water committee. There’s a food committee. 

New Speaker (23:08): 

There’s the awards committee. There’s track and field basketball. All of them really. And they all put it together, you know? 

Angela Mellady (23:18): 

Yeah. And that, those, those, those committee heads are the same people that started in 1985. They keep coming back year after year after year, because they love it so much. 

Alex Garrett (23:31): 

And so you’re still obviously going to the games even at Able. You still come through and that it’s always special. I used to do that from five to 21 and I love coming back to volunteer and, uh, it was pretty cool. That’s the community we’re in. It’s a very tight knit. 

Angela Mellady (23:52): 

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Every year. I mean, people it’s like a family. It’s, it’s just, we all come back and just enjoy seeing each other again. After, after a whole year, we kind of missed it this year. Cause we had to cancel them. 

Alex Garrett (24:07): 

Well, I ended up calling a lot of, uh, a lot of our friends there just to catch up with my dad and I, we were all sitting together. We were sitting together calling all these different people like Susan Maxwell and it was just so cool to just hear their voice. At least, even though it couldn’t happen this year. Uh, but I would say the tight knit community overall is what gets us through these kinds of crises. Wouldn’t you say? And actually helps us with that. 

Angela Mellady (24:30): 

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Even, even enabled by the community. People, your friends, your, your associates, everybody coming together keeps it, keeps us going. 

Alex Garrett (24:46): 

From Able News, Angela Mellady, I always like to ask all my guests this, what is one thing? You’re the community and your friends and family may not know about you that you’ve never shared, but are willing to like, what’s one thing people don’t know about the publisher of able news. 

Angela Mellady (25:04): 

Wow. I’d love to have someone else take over the paper so that I could retire, but I don’t think I’ve told anyone that, but, uh, 

Alex Garrett (25:26): 

Breaking News! We have a retirement announcement. Not yet, not yet, but I guess soon enough, 

Angela Mellady (25:32): 

Right. Hopefully I hate to just have to walk away from it and not keep it going. I know a lot of people do get a lot of information from it. So I would hate to have to just stop. So I’m about to start looking for ways to keep it going. 

Alex Garrett (25:54): 

Well, anything that Adapting with Alex Garrett could do, what can we do to help you in that process? 

Angela Mellady (26:01): 

I guess, find someone who’s interested in, in publishing a newspaper either. I think it would have to be an organization that’s involved with people with disabilities or a group of newspapers that would add it to their, to their collection of newspapers that they publish. 

Alex Garrett (26:24): 

Well, I will definitely keep an ear out and an eye out and I can, uh, I can put some feelers out if you want, but for now, you’re still there, your soul at the helm. I guess it’s really to figure out what December is going to be, but I’m guessing it’s going to be an election result, recap type of thing. And what what’s next. 

Angela Mellady (26:45): 

Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah, depending on who wins, uh, it’ll, it’ll either be really good for the disabled community or maybe status quo. Um, that’ll, that’ll probably be December and looking forward to the next year and, and how we can start. I don’t even know if we’ll be able to start getting back to normal. I mean, Dr. Fauci doesn’t think we’ll be able to do that for almost another year, which is a little disheartening, but, um, it’s a very hard time we’re going through an especially hard for people with disabilities. 

Alex Garrett (27:30): 

Well, and that’s why I think talking about things that could be that, that are uplifting like you guys are doing and it’ll distract us from, from the reality of things. That’s, that’s what my hope is to just yes, face reality, but also what can we do to just say, Hey, there is some light here in this very dark tunnel and we seem to be in, and, you know, as the clock turns every year, it’s very tough with the sun. It just sets at like four o’clock and you’re like, what do I do now? Because it’s so dark out right now, you got a pandemic that this is happening. And I can’t imagine, um, what what’s going through people’s minds, but I guess the hope is to ease their mind. Right? 

Angela Mellady (28:11): 

Yeah. Yep. 

Alex Garrett (28:14): 

And so I would say Able Newspaper does that. They give you the, the real news and they also give you some, you know, positivity and uplifting. They say the newspaper positively for, by and about the disabled community. Ablenews.com. Are you guys on Twitter at all? Or 

Angela Mellady (28:32): 

We are, we are. We’re on both 

Alex Garrett (28:35): 

At Able News. I’m guessing. All right, well, we’ll find you there and we’ll tag it here and I’m Alex Garrett, Angela Mellady. Thank you so much for joining and giving us an insight into this beautiful paper that you guys are and, and please stay in touch. 

Angela Mellady (28:51): 

Thank you so much, Alex. 

Alex Garrett (28:53): 

This has been Adapting with Alex and remember to adapt with us each and every episode. 

Make America Attentive Again

Firstly, to be attentive in today’s world is an achievement. According to studies, the attention span is eight seconds as of 2018. According to Microsoft, that is a DROP from 12 seconds in 2000. (https://www.cision.com/us/2018/01/declining-attention-killing-content-marketing-strategy/) So here we are , less attentive in 2020. I thought as we grow and the years go on we are supposed to be sharper. What do I know?

This decline of attention is tied to many factors, but the biggest one certainly is the cell phone. In my new podcast series, ‘Adapting With Alex’, I’m trying to help get people adapting to new habits and ideas that can prolong their productivity, and yes life. By adapting to putting the phone away more, we can rebuild our attention span! We can talk about Vice President Biden’s cognizance all day long, but why can’t we also address the fact that texting and driving has killed ? NHTSA noted that in 2018 alone, 2,841 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. (https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving#:~:text=Using%20a%20cell%20phone%20while,vehicle%20crashes%20involving%20distracted%20drivers.) The NHTSA does include texting and talking on the phone as a distraction. That number is ALARMING! If you must text while driving, further research shows that the NYS DMV has developed ‘Texting Zone’ locations! (https://data.ny.gov/Transportation/Texting-Zone-Locations-Map/ib24-wmv8)

Lack of attention doesn’t stop there. Drivers do sometimes get all the blame, when really texting while walking is also problematic. According to a 2017 report by Reader’s Digest, walking and texting has caused over 11,000 injuries! From the article, ‘in fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian deaths numbered 5,376 — and were the only group of road users whose fatality numbers increased.’ The more worrying stat is only 29% owned up to texting and walking! (https://www.rd.com/article/texting-and-walking-injuries)/ Adapting is also meaning to own up to being distracted, because once the issue is recognized, an adaptation to behavior can be made!

My point in this piece today for both walkers and drivers is STOP BURYING YOUR HEAD IN YOUR PHONE. It does drive me a bit crazy when in NYC, home to so many iconic places, I see someone’s phone take precedent over the environment around them. Being that I’m on crutches and need to balance and see the road ahead, I have a need to look up at all times . Yet, seeing the Empire State Building, seeing busy-ness while scooting on my one rollerblade makes me psychologically and physically happy to be a New Yorker. I would implore others to explore and experience that happiness too just by looking up and taking eyes off the phone!

Cognizance and communication do go hand in hand. Are you scrolling aimlessly or scrolling your phone with a purpose to find stories to help you be productive? Are you simply writing on a timeline happy birthday to a friend, or are you making the conscious effort to stay connected through voice either by voice note or phone call? I ask these questions because I feel that aimless scroll syndrome hit me a lot and it does get me frustrated. So I adapt by doing crosswords or other things that involve handwriting to keep my mind sharp and not on scroll auto-pilot. When I am on the phone, I’m working on finding meaningful conversation to have OR valuable research to make the podcasting and the blogging content soar.

Talking to people and not just texting can also keep us sharp and interpersonal skills honed, a vital trait to keep us sane and connected past Election Day 2020. It also can keep the friendship going because the other person will see the efforts made to stay connected beyond just a text!

Technology is important, and needed. Yet, I say let the phone die if need be or put it away at intervals and explore the world around you like the old days. I say utilize the phone to stay cognizant, not let it make you lose your attention and sharpness!

Saying Hi After Election Day

As you take in the final Presidential Debate of 2020, a bigger thought ALL week long has crossed my mind. I figured, releasing this thought during the debate might bring a ground-level approach amidst a big-stage event that has seemed much more, yes Presidential.

I’m calling this the ‘Say Hi 2020’ campaign ! It is UP TO US, the every day America to make sure whatever forces are trying to continually sew discord and discourse into our culture, do not win! From where I sit, they have been pretty successful as families have been ripped up by politics, friendships no longer exists, even marriages are done if someone seemingly supports a political candidate. That’s why I not only urge you to go vote on 11/3/20, but I also add that you say hi to your family and friends the day after Election Day, 11/4/20. Yes, November 4th is the pivotal day to stand together, no matter who you pulled the lever for.

For many , many, many decades people have been able to co-exist despite the political differences. Yet, even during the Obama years, discourse started to be inserted into our culture that go BEYOND the Red or the Blue identification. Unfortunately, the gap widened and the hate materialized , on both sides. If you go after right-wing and white supremacy, it’s not fair to then ignore the left-wing extremism we have seen in America, the Left extremism DID and CONTINUES to materialize.

My warning in this blog is that extremism WILL widen if sane, every day, hard working Americans on the Republican or Liberal side continue to be feisty among each other. Especially after 11/3/20. WAKE UP! This is what extremists on either side want, people! Not President Trump, not Joe Biden, but extremists separate from them. The dark forces. The darkest forces inside this country that riot and loot out there can’t wait for the day WE THE PEOPLE never talk to each other again. It’s the plot take us over and control us, we must not let it happen.

Our external enemies like Russia and Iran and China also can’t wait for us to be divided even more. We already are hearing that Russia and Iran are trying to meddle in the election. For God’s sake, think about foreign interference within New York City. A Chinese government-run entity has really just trashed the beloved Waldorf-Astoria with ongoing construction. It’s horrible to see, and they bought the Waldorf at a time where Americans didn’t care that China was interfering in our lives. Back then, they took advantage and bought out one of NYC’s landmarks! (https://qz.com/1214009/new-yorks-waldorf-astoria-is-now-controlled-by-the-chinese-government/).

Now, it seems they’d love to see President Trump out of office and hid the COVID numbers purposefully to make him look bad, and our country weaker. The mask debate has also made us weaker. Instead of aligning with each other to find solutions, we continue to let this virus permeate by just arguing all the time! That is helping the enemy win over our country.

So stand strong against the Coronavirus. Stand strong and convicted with how you vote on Election Night 2020. Most importantly , stand strong against our enemies both internal and external by saying ‘Hi’ no matter the political leaning of thy neighbor or family member.

Raising Taxes WON’T Kill the Debt!

In 2016, I was against the 33,000 deleted e-mails because I believe Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal in fact dealt with impact of four American soldiers’ lives and their families killed by terrorists in Benghazi. The e-mail scandal of Hunter Biden isn’t my focus this time around. I am feeling the policy research more-so four years later, maybe a sign of maturity?

We now have PROOF Biden would like to tax the hell out of Americans. According to the Washington Examiner, the Tax Policy Center has concluded that Joe Biden’s tax plan would be added up to two trillion dollars in taxes. (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/biden-plan-would-hike-taxes-2-4-trillion-over-a-decade-socking-it-to-corporations-and-the-wealthy-analysis-finds) Paul Bedard, also of the DC Examiner , notes the James Madison Institute found Biden’s plan to cost $36 TRILLION, 3 trillion alone by eliminating President Trump’s tax cuts! (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/bidens-agenda-to-cost-36-trillion-up-to-49-000-per-family-study)

While that is a BIG jump, my first question about these proposal studies deal with debt. We have a climbing debt that is between 22 and 23 trillion dollars. Does Joe Biden ‘s plan mean he wants to lower the debt by taxing us or simply use the Office of the President to tax us as much as possible? I don’t believe you can kill the debt by taxing Americans, especially amidst a business-killing pandemic!

I believe paying taxes is essential to the American way, but not collectively paying trillions of dollars to the government if it comes off as the government just wanting our money to fund programs the average American may not want to support. Secondly, to try and impose this plan on hard-working business owners would outright SINK the small businesses barely surviving and kill the entrepreneurial spirit DESPERATELY needed to combat the unemployment, business closures and even depression/suicide rates that are riddling America right now.

I find it incredible the Dems’ always obsess about taxing its own people, but never want to ask allies to pay their fair share. As I am writing this, it hits me. Other countries are so much more important to be allies with than be allies with the American people! I’m also not advocating let’s completely ruin our relationships we need to have across the world. However, that is the way we kill the debt, by not taking on OTHER people’s paychecks just because we are America.

I do find it amazing, the same people that say tax the one percent and take money from wealthy Americans are the ones forgiving fraudulent medicaid, social security, and even welfare transactions. They also applaud giving out stimulus after stimulus, because they also lick their chops ready to take it back through exorbitant taxes. We MUST not let the Government make us independent on them for income the rest of our lives!

Yes we are a gateway for everyone, at home and globally. We must start by asking our politicians to remember the best gateway to keep America strong is through American towns and cities that are the lifeblood of the country, that allow us to hand out money to our allies in need. The minute you ask for more to deplete the lifeblood is the minute we truly are weakened from the inside!

Why The Opener in MLB is Imperfect

We all want to see a pitcher throw a perfect game. Kids become pitchers and they can only dream of doing what Don Larsen, David Wells and Cone achieved ! I don’t believe Don Larsen would have had a perfect game in this era of baseball.

On October 8th, 1956, Don Larsen threw a perfect game for the first and only time ever in the World Series. The Fall Classic kind of afternoon in the Bronx featured game five between the Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers . The funny thing is , Larsen got pulled after starting just 1 2/3 innings in game 2, by the great Casey Stengel. He walked four batters and allowed four runs and oddly enough gave up just one hit in a 13–8 game two loss.

If that game five decision was made with today’s analytics department, I truly believe Stengel would have been told to start an opener in a World Series game and then hand the reins over to Larsen! We all saw how amazing the opener worked for the 2020 Yankees in ALDS game two, right? I hope the Pinstripes never throw away a playoff game with a literal opener again .

Yet, I find it fascinating to think how much of a trajectory the Yankees franchise and baseball would have been on if they followed the ‘opener’ logic from the beginning. In our generation , we would have seen Mariano Rivera be an opener , not a closer for starters .

If you threw guys like Andy Pettitte or Roger Clemens or David Cone after an opener, they would shake their head at what the organization was trying to do in crucial postseason games!

Imagine if Whitey Ford was told he had to wait until the second or third inning because of an opening act of a start ? The Chairman would not be too pleased and would definitely be rattled . Imagine the late Tom Terrific being told he could not start against the Orioles in the 1969 World Series? It’s laughable ! Would Cardinal great Bob Gibson have been a HOFer if an opener started instead?

Our beloved baseball pitchers we praise and then mourn when they pass on became beloved because they’d gut it out game in and game out, not sit around waiting for someone else to start their start !

I’m not sure what the benefit of the opener is, it’s quite confusing ! When they adopted it in the regular season , I thought it was ridiculous . Now, it’s just malpractice to the game of postseason baseball , especially when your team is up 1–0 in the ALDS! Here are some recent stats on openers! While in 2019, Yankee baseball won 11 times with Chad Green, the playoff atmosphere is not the time to play tricks! ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opener_(baseball))

A few years ago, Billy Beane’s ‘Beane Ball’ was immortalized in ‘Money Ball’. For him, stats, not watching a guy play in person totally, mattered more ! It brought success in the regular season, but the A’s never moved passed the ALDS against the dominant Yankees.

Personally, I don’t believe it’s all about the stats to save arms . By not starting a starter and throwing them in in the 2nd or 3rd inning,you throw them off their rhythm. By limiting a pitch count on them, it does something psychologically I have to believe while on the mound.

If we could get back to regular ball that would be fantastic and it starts with getting rid of the opener!

Grow Up, We Are Under Attack!

It’s not two planes crashing and destroying our Twin Towers and 3,000 American lives. It’s not violence and terror in the form of a school shooting . It is something that has been expected for a while and we must call it what it is. A biological warfare attack.

An attack on this beautiful country known as America ! Unfortunately, we have all become used to this term ‘coronavirus’ for way too long. To the point where sickness is overshadowing the bigger point we are under attack. Yes, it’s accurate to call it COVID, but no one has yet to call it biological warfare !

For those laughing at our President getting sick, grow up! This is a serious matter, the President of the United States is sickened by an unleashed virus from a Chinese lab and therefore is under attack! It’s stunning and appalling people are cackling like Hilary.

How come it is we can’t be funny about anybody on the Liberal side over stupid things Biden has said, but y’all are allowed to laugh at the Leader of the Free World under attack? Don’t tell me it’s a free world , because you aren’t making it free for those with opposing views!

When did it hit me President Trump was under attack? I’ll be upfront and say he did not look as well fighting through this virus, I believe he will pull through! However, it was COVID , unleashed from a Wuhan lab, that put him there. It all leads to the fact that the Chinese government purposefully covered up so as to secretly hope it got to POTUS, and perhaps we could call this an assassination attempt by a foreign enemy! I’ve not seen President Xi apologize to America or to President Trump for Trump getting it, have you?

There’s more to this, however , POLITICO is reporting all our enemies are basically licking chops as our President works to recover at Walter Reed. They are salivating at the idea we are down for the count right now . According to Politico, they were told “There is always the possibility that adversaries will seek to exploit the information space and talk propaganda,” said one defense official. “We are definitely monitoring and keeping aware.”(https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.politico.com/amp/news/2020/10/02/trump-team-watch-adversaries-exploit-presidents-illness-425098)

I believe it’s more than just the election process our enemies would hope to exploit (again). They want physical harm done to us as evidenced by this virus, and they want even more. During this pandemic we have had to monitor Iranian ships (https://news.usni.org/2020/04/15/video-iranian-attack-boats-harass-u-s-navy-coast-guard-vessels-in-persian-gulf); we have had to head off Russia warships (https://www.newsweek.com/russian-warships-fishing-fleet-alaska-1528520?amp=1) ; and of course had to deal with China concealing information on the most deadliest disease known to date .

We have enemies and if you want to laugh and not confront the enemies, I suggest quitting whatever position in America you hold today . I’m not happy or laughing or partying in the streets that our POTUS has been stricken , and oddly enough we’ve been here before as a country during a pandemic . Yet , there was no laughing .

Sarah Fling and Tevi Troy have documented when President Woodrow Wilson got ‘violently sick’ during the 1918 pandemic . He actually got sick in 1919 and according to research , they found a Washington Post article noting, “The country will be anxious regarding President Wilson until he is again at work … It is a time when an hour lost means the loss of millions of hours to these individuals who are awaiting to begin reconstruction … the allied world hopes for the sake of its material interests that his illness will be light and brief.” (https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/3607579001)

It appears Woodrow Wilson also in some way or another downplayed a deadly pandemic. However , Troy notes in his book (https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/shall-we-wake-the-president_how-america-has-has-not-and-must-deal-with-disasters/ ), “The federal response to the influenza outbreak in 1918 can best be described as neglectful. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died without President Wilson saying anything or mobilizing nonmilitary components of the U.S. government to help the civilian population,” Troy writes in “Shall We Wake the President: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office.”

POTUS Trump foolishly makes fun of the masks and the fact Biden wears one for safety , but let’s not forget the resources he sent to NYC alone to fight this virus! He had and has mobilization efforts to fight this contagion constantly !

Today we have people admittedly laughing, not showing any anxiety that our President has fallen ill, oh how the times are changed ! We all need to confront these realities together. Even if Trump has been boisterous , I am glad people like Rachel Maddow, Chris Cuomo and Joe Biden and other media and Dem leaders have wished this President well, the every day Liberals that seem to find it funny must take their lead and wishing him well!

We must stop this attack !

Teacher Tik Tok Is On Fire!

It used to be a joke. It used to be ‘for teen girls only’. Yet, TikTok’s prominence has taken on a different role now that school is back and Teacher Tik Tok is on fire!

Personally, I know a teacher named Shannon (_mrs.shannon) who utilized her platform to help stock her classroom through supportive followers that chipped in for school supplies! She’s also excited to always use her Tik Tok to, as she puts it, “be able to show my kiddos that I’m human. I hold them to a high standard but I can have fun with them too.”

I’m glad Shannon mentioned fun! The Tik Tok space has given so many other teachers a way to connect with their students and with each other. From what I’ve seen , the teacher’s lounge isn’t the only way our educators are bonding , they now do Tik Toks together which I find quite unifying and fun to see!

For our teachers, it is stressful right now! So honestly thank God this app has been there as a place for all of us to blow off steam ! To move the classroom into a new generation of connection through actually doing Tik Tok projects and even a Tik Tok to break the ice with the kids before class is something to keep an eye on for sure!

A shout out also to my cousin Kristina Micalizzi who teaches in New Hampshire and shares her stories and ideas as well as how she balances mom life with her wife and my cousin Rebecca. Follow Kristina at @kmicalizzi!

I’ve also noticed how the teachers are inspiring each other through putting out creative ideas that work in their classroom! I used to have this idea that lesson plans were coveted and protected since teaching is still quite competitive to get into .

To see these plans be shared to the teachers across the nation is certain special to see!

Don’t sleep on Teacher Tik Tok, it’s a special space and I love seeing educators showing their creative side!

Here Is A New Award Category

How many times do we want to throw a dart at the employee of the month plaque because it was not us?

How many times have we all been on edge wondering who would take home the coveted Best Picture or Best Album Award?

In school, those award ceremonies always had a sentimental and accomplished feeling to it, and now they like the rest of the planet should add a new category!

‘And the winner for most COVID-negative tests go to….’