Sunday, March 29, 2009


Congratulations UCONN men's basketball team on winning the West Regional tournament yesterday (March 28th) and advancing to the Final Four next week to be held in Detroit Michigan.

Picture from Yahoo sports shows 7"3" UCONN center Hasheem Thabeet in a crowd of supporters with his Mom from Dar es Salaam,Tanzania.

UCONN defeated a tough Missouri Tigers team 82-75 in Glendale Arizona and now for the third time out of the West bracket moves on to play for a chance at the National Championship. In 1999, and 2004 UCONN won the West regional tournament both times held in the Phoenix, Arizona area and went on to win the National Championship. Five years later, they have won again the West Regional in Arizona.

Will UCONN win another Championship again this year? Time will tell. Stay tuned to see which team has the "Motown Magic" and cuts the nets down during their "shining moment".


I attended the 1987 NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball Tournament held that year in New Orleans. The final four teams that year were Providence, UNLV, Syracuse, and Indiana. The crowd at the New Orleans Superdome was the largest crowd ever to see a men's college basketball game at the time and I think that record may still stand. Indiana University coached by the legend Bob Knight won the national championship on a last second shot by Keith Smart over the Syracuse Orange. If only Syracuse could have made some free throws that game the result could have been different. I remember Syracuse had Derrick Coleman on that team who later played in the NBA.

There are a lot of events that go on at a Final Four Tournament. I attended a lot of pep rallies, parades, etc. There was a lot of media coverage from television and radio reporters throughout the tournament. I remember being in a room with ESPN personality Dick Vitale and he a discussion group session talking about the tournament. Dick was introducing and interviewing David "The Admiral" Robinson, a college basketball center from Navy. Later after this session was over Dick Vitale, my friend John Polak, and I were walking down the hallway together talking about basketball.

John and I also attended a Bob Costas live radio show in the Superdome with about thirty other people. What was interesting to me was that Bob was seated at a small desk and John and I were literally three feet away to his right. Bob Costas then proceeded to interview a series of college basketball coaches such as Dale Brown of Lousianna State University, Joey Meyer from Depaul University, and Gene Keady from Purdue University.

Yes, we were "up close and personal" at that radio show. Later in the show Bob Costas asked the audience,"Who is going to win the National Championship?" We yelled out,"SYRACUSE !!!". Bob was surprised by the choice and loud response. Myself being a UCONN graduate and John from Georgetown, both Big East Conference schools along with Syracuse; we wanted our conference to win.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

YouTube - Raper's delight (Sugarhill Gang)

YouTube - Raper's delight (Sugarhill Gang) Check out these Def "hip-hop rappin' gangstas". I remember roller skating a few times in back of the Kmart shopping center in Hyannis, Mass on the Cape in some large metal building roller skating hall. I had never had any roller skating lessons but was always a good ice skater. This was back in the early 1980's and remember roller skating and hearing this song(click the You Tube link) being played in the dark skating hall with mirror balls and flashing colored lights. This song also inspired my "Clambake rap" (see story below).

One of the rink employees told me to slow down which I took as a compliment as I hadn't had any lessons.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Back in the mid-1980's I worked for the Manning family in Dennis Port on Cape Cod at their local restaurants and motels. One of their properties was the Captain's Clambake Emporium located on Lower County Road in Dennis Port. The "Clambake Emporium" featured the traditional New England Clambake. I was director of Group Sales for their properties and we hosted many groups with a primary emphasis on senior citizen motor coach tours.

In a previous posting I described a potential song radio commercial (We are the clams) that I sang to Chris Manning, one of the owners. I also pitched him a "clambake rap" idea. Back then the "rap" concept wasn't that established as a musical art form. I remember that a group called the "Sugar Hill Gang" had a rap song called "Rapper's Delight" which came out in 1980 and was the first top 40 rap song.

My "Clambake rap" went something like this:

Hey everybody have you heard?
Captain's Clambake Emporium is the word.
Chowder,steak,steamers and lobster too
Served fresh daily just for you.
The salad bar just can't be beat
So help yourself its all you can eat.
Centrally located in Dennis Port town
So join the Captain and come on down.
Grab your car no need to run
See us tonight and have some fun.

In the background while the above "rap" was being said:
"Clambake rap, that's where its at" repeated over and over.

Until now, this "rap" has never been released to the public.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Guitar on mike"

YouTube - Richie Havens Freedom Woodstock 1969 Here's a "groovy" song from 1969 "Woodstock" with Ritchie Havens. (See You Tube link and story below). From the Woodstock movie, my friends and I would often repeat Ritchie when he says "Turn the guitar on mike please; guitar on mike."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Back in the fall of 1974 I was a sophomore at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. I was friends with a senior student named John Light who was concert chairman that year at Marietta. For the homecoming concert that year John booked Ritchie Havens to perform at the Ban Johnson Field House. The closest airport to Marietta is located in Parkersburg, West Virginia which is about seventeen miles away. John asked me if I would help him drive a car from a downtown Parkersburg hotel to Marietta with some of the Ritchie Havens band members as there were too many people to fit in one car. We didn't have a lot of extra time to drive from Marietta to Parkersburg and back as the concert was scheduled for that night. It was already dark outside when we arrived at the Parkersburg motel.

The plan was for me to drive a station wagon and follow John who would lead the way and transport Ritchie Havens. I didn't know the Parkersburg area that well being a Connecticut native and not having a car of my own on campus. Somehow John's car and the car I was driving got separated. I think I had to stop at a traffic light and John went through the light and didn't realize that I wasn't behind him.

Sitting next to me was one of the band members who had a portable tape player. He was playing his own music. Back then there weren't any CD players or MP3 players. I remember taking a left turn shortly after leaving the hotel on one of the dark brick paved streets there in Parkersburg. I ended up driving down a hilly dead end street that ended up at the Parkersburg train station. I was going too fast for this hilly dead end street so the station wagon literally left the street and we were airborne for a fraction of a second. We landed and I had to jam on the breaks to avoid running into the train station and do a quick turn around to go back up the hill.
I drove around a little after that trying to find the right entrance to the highway back to Marietta.

I finally found the highway but started to become more concerned about the time as I didn't want to be responsible for the concert being delayed. To make up some time I started to increase the car speed until I was going around 75-80 miles an hour. The band member next to me said, "Hey man, do you want me to drive?" They were getting concerned I guess after experiencing the lost and bumpy ride I had given them so far. I just said, "No, that's OK. We are on the right rode now so we will be all set."

So, we ended up alright as I made up some time on the highway. We drove by a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant near the Marietta campus. The women in the back seat of the car said that they wanted some fried chicken as they hadn't eaten any supper as yet. They said, "You better get us some chicken or I'll tell the band not to play until we get some." I told them we would get some chicken and bring the food to the field house after I dropped everyone off at the concert.

The concert went on as scheduled. Everyone in my car survived "rickshaw's wild ride."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I was the property manager of the Harborside Arms Condominium Association in Dennis Port on Cape Cod for eighteen years. Over that time span I came in contact with all sorts of owners and tenants. One lady, let's call her "Emily" (not her real name) was a confused and "lost soul". One could say that she had some marbles and lost some of them.

"Emily" would call me at my home and each time go through a long recitation of who she was, where she used to live, where her daughter lives, and how she used to be married, etc. Maybe she didn't remember that she told me most of her life story each time she called; or maybe she thought I had a very bad memory so she felt she had to tell me everything about her so I would remember who she was.

One winter evening she was found by the local police walking through the nearby downtown Dennis Port in freezing weather wearing just her nightgown. The police brought her back to her rental unit at the condo.

"Emily's" most memorable stunt had to do with the "power of television". She was watching television one afternoon in her second floor condominium apartment and there was a show dealing with a law enforcement team that went to a suspects house. The suspect in the show was busily ripping up and destroying incriminating evidence and lighting some of these documents on fire in the fireplace. For some reason "Emily" decided that it would be a good idea to destroy some of her papers. Lacking a fireplace, she proceeded to take some of her magazines and set them on fire in her bathroom tub in case someone came to her apartment looking for her.

The apartment unit became engulfed in smoke. The police and fire department came to put out the fire. "Emily" was taken to the Cape Cod Hospital for evaluation and never returned to her apartment. A sad but true situation caused by an unstable person and the "power of television".

Monday, March 23, 2009


I remember as a sophomore in at Simsbury high school in Simsbury, Connecticut attending a few home basketball games at the gym with a few of my friends. There was a group of about eight of us that would sit together in the bleachers a couple rows back from the gym floor level.

That year we all had kazoos and would perform songs and and cheers such as the Da da da da dada, CHARGE !!! on the kazoo. We would start the game by rising and playing a kazoo "The Star Spangled Banner" as there was no "real band" to play songs. We then would kazoo the school "fight song" as well as the various cheerleader cheers.

Our basketball team didn't seem to mind our antics. They won most of their games that year either because of or in spite of our kazoo symphonic octet.

YouTube - Taxi: Reverend Jim's driving test

YouTube - Taxi: Reverend Jim's driving test To me, one of the funniest television series comedic scenes ever; especially if you haven't seen this before. (click on the You Tube link and decide for yourself.)

YouTube - Andy Kaufman - Jambalaya

YouTube - Andy Kaufman - Jambalaya The comedic genius Andy Kaufman and "classy Fred Blassie" on David Letterman (click on the You Tube link). I don't know about you, but for some reason I found this "Jambalaya" song to be pretty,pretty funny.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I remember back when I was in kindergarten living in Carmel, New York that my Mom made me an elaborate Halloween costume. That year for Halloween I was "King Richard the Lionhearted". The costume had a hand woven coat of arms, a hand made medieval knights helmet, and a hand made sword and shield.

All of the kindergarten kids brought their Halloween costumes to class just before the big candy night. My costume was judged the best in class. We all put on our costumes that day and lined up in the class single file and marched down the hall to the cafeteria. I was chosen to be "King of the Parade" and lead our motley crew through the hallway and through the cafeteria where the second,third, fourth, and fifth graders (all the "big kids") were eating their lunch.

Leading the parade was quite an honor. In addition to being chosen to lead our little costumed caravan for having the best costume; I'm sure it helped that I had a sword in case the "big kids" tried to attack us. As "King Richard the Lionhearted", I would have defended our merry little band with every ounce and fibre of my being. With leadership comes responsibility.

Fortunately the "big kids" kept their distance and didn't attack us as I led our victorious march through the cafeteria without any casualties. Those "big kids" didn't mess with the "King of the Parade". Everyone survived to continue on that night in their quest for candy and greater glory.

Friday, March 20, 2009

YouTube - Pure Prairie League -Amie (High Quality)

YouTube - Pure Prairie League -Amie (High Quality) During the fall term of my sophomore year at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio in 1973; I had a roommate named Kelly Swink. I remember Kelly had a stereo system at that time that had a lot of clear tubes in it. Kelly was born in Columbus, Ohio. He told me that Craig Fuller, the lead guitar and lead singer for the group "Pure Prairie League" (click on above YouTube link for their most popular song "Aime" ) was his cousin and we used to play the "Bustin' Out" album quite a bit back then.

"Pure Prairie League" can be classified as a "country rock" band formed in the mid 1960's with Craig Fuller,Tom McGrail,Jim Caughlan and John David Call who knew each other since high school. There were several changes over the years with people joining and leaving the band. Vince Gill was a member of the band in the early 1980's. Craig Fuller, in the late 1980's was the lead singer for the band "Little Feat". After an almost twenty year gap the band released an album in 2006 called "All In Good Time" their fourteenth album.

To me, some of the background harmonies of "Pure Prairie League" remind me of "The Eagles". I think my favorite "Pure Prairie League" song is "Early Morning Riser." Check them out on record or live if they come through your area.

YouTube - Dolphin play bubble rings

YouTube - Dolphin play bubble rings Watch these dolphins have fun and amuse themselves. Dolphins don't smoke cigarettes as they know that cigarette smoking is bad for your health. Also, it is hard to light matches without arms and doubly hard if you spend your whole life in water. They do manipulate air though to put most smoke rings to shame.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Back in the spring semester of my sophomore year at the University of Connecticut in 1974 I lived in Belden hall of the Alumni Quad. My high school friend Bill DeMallie went to UCONN as well and lived in the North Campus area known as "Towers". "Towers" was named after the nearby water towers found at the start of the campus. Across the street from "Towers" are the rolling hills, cow pastures and dairy barns used for the School of Agriculture where the milk is produced for the campus use as well as the ice cream used for the UCONN dairy bar.

One evening Bill invited me up to his part of the campus to partake in a "pizza night". The "pizza night" was held at a nearby women's dormitory cafeteria in "Towers" which invited Bill's dorm over to meet their residents and eat some pizza. As I recall there must have been about forty large pizza boxes there to feed both dorms that night.

After all the pizza was consumed, some of the men from Bill's dorm went over to the large stack of empty pizza boxes and stated to remove the circular cardboard pizza disks. All of a sudden the cafeteria air was filled with "flying pizza plates" as the men started to wing these plates to and fro.

I guess these guys wanted to impress their hosts with their sophistication and class.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I have a nephew Matt Quinn who was born on March 15,1990 during a "March madness" basketball game in Hartford,Connecticut. Matt is my sister Leeanne's first child and she went into labor while the University of Connecticut "Dream Team" was playing at the Hartford Civic Center. UCONN was able to play in Hartford even though they played some home games at the Hartford Civic Center because they played more than half of their home games at the Storrs, Connecticut campus.

Prior to the game there was a parade of fans, the UCONN marching band and cheerleaders from the Old State House to the the Civic Center. There was a song that year that was based on the song by the "Romantics" "What I Like About You". This song was changed to say "What I Like About UCONN" and throughout the song most of the current UCONN Husky players names were mentioned in the song. The Civic Center was sold out when UCONN played Boston University. I was there with my brother Scott,my friend John, and my Dad.

At the start of each Connecticut game the home town fans stand en mass and clap their hands in unison from before the opening tip off until UCONN scores their first point. I have never heard such a loud crowd in my life at a basketball game. The clapping in rhythm was truly thunderous, CLAP,CLAP,CLAP, CLAP. The UCONN 1990 team was known for their relentless "steal curtain" defence as they would press the other team with intense full court pressure and create numerous turnovers.

As mentioned, during all this basketball "madness" my sister was in labor. She said that the doctors at the hospital were busy watching the basketball action on the television instead of paying attention to her while she was in labor. Connecticut is a college basketball crazy state and the doctors were caught up in the action. My Dad was going back and forth to the pay phone during the game to see if there was any update from the hospital.

Tomorrow starts another chapter in the annual men's and women's college basketball NCAA Basketball championships. Both the UCONN basketball teams have a #1 seeding in their respective tournaments. In 2004 both the UCONN teams won the national championship; a feat which has never been accomplished prior to that year. How will this year turn out? Who knows ?

Let the "madness" begin.


Back around the late 1980's I participated in the Cranberry Harvest Outdoor Volleyball Tournament held at Red River Beach as part of the Harwich Cranberry Harvest Festival held each year on Cape Cod in September shortly after Labor Day.
They stopped hosting a volleyball tournament so I ended up with the trophy after being on the team that won the final tournament.
I used to play outdoor volleyball during the summer at Phil & Jane Abbott's house in Brewster as they installed an outdoor sand volleyball court in their back yard. The court was surrounded by trees and blueberry bushes. A lot of my friends from Brewster volleyball would meet there and play on this court if the weather was good. Some of the players there decided to form a team to play in the Harwich Cranberry Festival tournament. I wasn't asked to be on that team so I decided to form a team of my own.
My team consisted of my brother Scott Shaw, Brian Keyes, Jill Clark, Doreen Cahill, and me. We five were ready to do battle against the other team from Brewster as well as all of the other teams that entered the tournament. I was determined to win this tournament and had a dream the night before that I would be on the winning team.
The Brewster team had seven players including Peter Abel, Phil & Jane Abbott, Tom & Faye Wingard,George Jepsen, and Glen Higgins. This team and my team ended up in the final match which was determined by selecting the two teams with the best record after each team had played everyone else. Peter Abel was injured as he stepped on a piece of glass in the sand and cut his foot.
The Brewster team had the best record through the round robin play before the final match. Bill McShane, a local volleyball coach, was the referee and I remember him saying prior to the championship match; "Should I just give the trophy to the Brewster team now?" to some people near his referee post. That comment added further inspiration to my team.
The championship game was to fifteen points. For this game you can only score points when you are serving the ball. You have to "side-out" against the other team to get to serve once the other team had the serve. You have to win the game by two points.
I remember that my team was losing 14 to 10 in the championship game. I thought to myself my dream of winning this tournament was turning into a nightmare as we were one point away from losing the tournament. We didn't give up though, somehow we came back from the brink of defeat through focused and inspired play and ended up winning the game and championship 16 to 14.
In addition to winning the trophy we also won some gift certificates for dinner to a local restaurant. We had an extra gift certificate as we were given six gift certificates and there were only five of us on the team so we gave a certificate to the injured Peter Abel.
At the end of the tournament I remember that I had cramps in both my right and left calf muscles so I had to get out of my car and try to walk them off. All the jumping in the sand throughout the course of the tournament caught up to me but luckily this didn't happen until after we had won the tournament.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

YouTube - Captain Kangaroo with Mr. Moose

YouTube - Captain Kangaroo with Mr. Moose Ping pong balls galore in store for the Captain.

YouTube - Captain Kangaroo-Dancing Bear

YouTube - Captain Kangaroo-Dancing Bear Dancing Bear on television (The Captain Kangaroo Show see youtube link.) Did you like Dancing Bear?

I know some couples who have a television in their bedroom. They like Dancing Bear in their bedroom. Other people have tv sets in their living room. They like Dancing Bear in their living room. Some people even have portable televisions that they bring outdoors. They like Dancing Bear outside.

Where do you like Dancing Bear?

YouTube - Captain Kangaroo-The Banana Man

YouTube - Captain Kangaroo-The Banana Man The famous banana man. WOW HA HA. One the Captain Kangaroo's characters. (click the youtube link above.) Also previous post about MR. Kangaroo and friends.


YouTube - we are the world Back in 1985 Pop Stars Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie composed a song entitled "WE ARE THE WORLD" orchestrated by producer Quincy Jones with an all-star cast of singers including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Diana Ross, Ray Charles, Kenny Rodgers, Willie Nelson, Tina Turner and many more. (Click on the youtube link for this famous song). This song was for USA for Africa (United Support of Artists for Africa).

At that time, I was working for the Manning family in Dennis Port, Mass on Cape Cod. I was associated with their clambake restaurant known as The Captain's Clambake Emporium. The Captain's Clambake Emporium featured the traditional New England Clambake. We had many group tours as the primary source of business and each group was offered a choice of lobster or steak for the main entree. If you chose steak, you were given a small ticket so that people couldn't change their minds at the last minute from lobster to steak. No ticket no steak.

I decided to compose a potential radio advertisement for the "Clambake Emporium" and wrote a short song called "We Are The Clams". This little ditty inspired by "We Are The World", went something like this:


There comes a time when we all must eat some clams. And the Clambake sure is fun. There is food a cookin' and its time to sing some songs and enjoy the greatest clambake of all.

(Chorus) We are the clams. We are the lobsters. We are the ones who make a better steak so lets start cookin'. There's a choice your making between lobster and a steak. You know you need a ticket if you want a steak.

I sang this song to Chris Manning, one of the owners, one day back then. He just smiled, chuckled and said "Oh, Rick".

Monday, March 16, 2009


I play coed volleyball quite often on Thursday nights at the Harwich Community Center gym on Cape Cod. We generally get a pretty good crowd of people to play and set up two nets with a floor to ceiling divider in place between the two courts. We have teams of anywhere from four to six people per side depending on how many people show up each week. These games are open to the public and over the years the quality of play has improved.

The rules for volleyball have changed over the years. It is now permissible to have the ball hit the net while serving as long as the ball stays inbounds and reaches the other side of the net. In past years serving the ball and having the ball touch the net was a violation.

Another recent rule change was enacted to allow the volleyball players to use their feet and kick the volleyball before the ball hit the ground. We followed these rule changes until the famous "last kick".

A couple of winters ago I was playing volleyball one Thursday night. I was playing in the left corner of the back row. A fellow named Brian was in front of me at the net. He was wearing his glasses that night. The volleyball was hit over the net from the other side near me but low and near my left side. I didn't have enough time to reach the ball by diving for it so I decided to try to kick this ball with my left foot. As the ball was low to the ground I tried to elevate the ball so that the ball would have a chance to clear the approximately eight foot high net and land on the other side.

Brian in the front row was about ten feet away from me and turned around toward me with his hands at his side. I kicked the ball with some pretty good force and the ball struck Brian flush in his face. His glasses flew off and he went down to the ground as if he had been shot. All the playing stopped and everyone grew quite quiet.

Brian woozily got up. From then on there was no more kicking allowed at our volleyball nights. For weeks and months after this everyone who played volleyball would tell this story to people who weren't present the night of the "last kick".

I still get a kick out of playing volleyball. However after the "last kick" my kicks are now figurative and not literal..

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Back in 1972 as a freshman at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio while living in suite 301 at Parsons Hall; Jim Byrne, Chris Grover, and I made a tape recording which has been "lost" over time but lives on in my memory.The tape recording went something like this:

Jim Byrne: "Rickshaw what are you doing with you your foot in the toilet?"
Rickshaw: "Well, You know how I usually flush the toilet by using my foot to push the lever? This time I missed and my foot landed in the toilet and it is stuck. Can you help me?"
Jim Byrne: "I don't know what to do. Maybe Chris Grover can help you".
Chris Grover:" I see your foot is stuck in the toilet, Rickshaw; Why don't we just flush the toilet again and maybe your foot will come unstuck and you'll be all set."
Rickshaw: "I don't know if that is a good idea. I might end up being flushed down the toilet."
Chris Grover: "Come on Rickshaw. Let's just try it."
Rickshaw" No, please don't flush the toilet. I'll get flushed down the toilet and drown."
Chris Grover: "No, I don't think you'll drown. Jim and I think it is best to just try to flush to toilet and free your foot."

Sound of toilet flushing.
Rickshaw: "Oh no! I'm being flushed down the toilet. Help, Help me, HELP,HELP! (at this point I start drinking some water and gargling) Hegglllppp, heggllppp, Heggllppp."
Jim Byrne & Chris Grover: "Poor Rickshaw, he went right down the toilet. Oh well, at least his foot isn't stuck anymore and now everyone can use the toilet."

And thus ended the "Lost" Marietta 301 Parsons Tape.


As a youngster I can remember watching many an episode of the "Captain Kangaroo" show during the morning on black and white television. This show was one of the longest aired children's shows of all time running on the CBS network from 1955-1984; perhaps you have seen it. This show then ran on public television from 1986-1993.

Bob Keeshan played "Captain Kangaroo", named for his big coat pockets. The "Captain would tells stories and converse with the regular characters and guests on the show. While attending Marietta College in 1972 I was told that Bob was an alumnus of the college. I have since learned that Bob Keeshan attended Fordham University in New York.

"Mr. Green Jeans" played by Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum, was "Captain Kangaroo's" main sidekick. Other characters on the show included "Bunny Rabbit", a puppet who always tricked the Captain into giving him some carrots. "Mr. Moose", a puppet, who would tell "knock knock" jokes and then the Captain would be showered from above by a bunch of ping pong balls. These puppet characters were played by Cosmo "Gus" Agretti who also portrayed "Grandfather Clock","Dancing Bear" and a few others.

Another character was the somewhat unusual "Banana Man" played by Sam Levine. The "Banana Man" would perform a tune that sounded something like this, "leeeee laalaalaalaalaalaa leeelooo" then he would produce a huge bunch of bananas or watermelons from his pocket and say "WOW HA HA" in a high voice.

Yes, "The Captain Kangaroo Show' had many memorable characters. Which character or characters did or do you like? Do you like "Bunny Rabbit?". Do you like "Mr. Green Jeans?". Do you like "Mr. Moose?". Do you like "Grandfather Clock?". Do you like "The Banana Man?"

Do you like "Dancing Bear?".

Saturday, March 14, 2009


In the recent past I have attended quite a few "Big East Basketball" tournaments held each March at Madison Square Garden in New York City. My friend John and I are big "college hoops" fans. John attended Georgetown and I graduated from the University of Connecticut; both teams are in the "Big East Conference".

We rent a different hotel room each trip. One hotel in particular was very memorable. I remember this room as the New York City "dark room". This hotel was located about four or five blocks from Madison Square Garden so we had a short walk each day for the basketball tournament. Being a moderate sized hotel, the building was surrounded by taller buildings on both sides as well as the back of the hotel. We checked into the motel after taking the train from Providence, Rhode Island down to Penn Station which is located underneath Madison Square Garden.

The front desk attendant handed us our keys. We were assigned a room on the first floor in the back of the motel. The first floor location was convenient as we didn't have to wait for the elevator when coming and going to our room. However, when we opened the door for the first time, we were greeted with an overwhelming smell of musty, mildew laden air. The room had a double bed and a sofa bed, a small black and white television and a bathroom. John took the double bed and I slept in the sofa bed. We didn't bother to ask the front desk for a room change as we figured that we wouldn't be in the room that much as each of the first two days of the basketball tournament featured two sets of double header basketball games. After a while our noses almost got used to the overpowering room smell.

After settling into the room we went out to dinner and returned to get ready the first games of the tournament. The first game featured Georgetown at noon and John wanted to make sure we got there on time as John is an alumnus and fan. We didn't bother to ask for a wake-up from the front desk as we figured the light from the window would wake is up.

We turned off the room lights and went to sleep. After quite a long time sleeping it seemed like a very long night as the room was still pitch black after spending hours and hours in our beds. We both were wondering when the morning was going to come and lighten up the room. I finally got out of bed and went over to my wrist watch and said "Hey John, You won't believe what time it is. It is 11:30."

We both took quick showers and jogged over to Madison Square Garden in time to see the last few minutes of the first half. Due to the lack of light ever reaching this moldy, mildew smelling room, John missed quite a bit of seeing his favorite team. This "dark room" of perpetual night would have been better used for growing mushrooms.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I remember when I was four years old attending kindergarten in Carmel, New York back in 1959. One memorable event at that time was practicing what to do in case of a nuclear attack.

In Carmel kindergarten, we didn't "duck and cover" by crouching underneath our desks with our hands cradling our head. Upon hearing the wailing air raid siren, we were instructed to walk single file out of our classroom out into the hallway and then stand with our backs to the hallway lockers. Once we were all stationed out in the hall, all of the lights were turned off throughout the school. So, we are all standing out in the hall in the pitch black darkness listening to the air raid siren.

The teacher stressed that it was very important to be quiet during this nuclear preparedness drill. Why it was so important to be quiet at this time I wasn't sure. Perhaps the teachers wanted to make sure we learned what the nuclear bomb sounded like so that we would remember in case we survived this nuclear attack and would know the signs of a future attack.

We sure wouldn't have seen much of the nuclear attack with the lights off although that probably reduced our chances of being electrocuted if a bomb exploded. I understand that a nuclear explosion generates a brief flash of light on impact so maybe the school just wanted to save electricity as the exploded nuclear bomb would have given us a brief glimpse of light so that we would have been able to see this cataclysmic event.


Last night at approximately 9:30 pm., The Big East Tournament crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York City witnessed an instant classic game as the Syracuse Orangemen defeated the University of Connecticut Huskies 127-117 in an epic six overtime thriller. Seventy minutes of basketball were played with the game ending at about 1:30 am.It was a war of attrition as both teams had many of their key players foul out and had to resort to seldom used players to put a team of five players on the floor. Syracuse battled back in each of the first five overtimes to force a Big East record sixth overtime. This game was the second longest collegiate game ever played with the longest game occurring in 1981 with a seven overtime game involving Cincinnati.After the game Connecticut Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun said that he could recall at least six instances where Connecticut had a chance to close out the game with a shot or a stop but his team was unable to accomplish that. Give both teams credit for a hard fought contest.It is easy to look back and analyze a game and say "If only this or that happened. If he made that free throw, if he hadn't fouled, etc..." In the final result both teams played hard and the fans sure got their money's worth.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

YouTube - Rocky Horror Picture Show Trailer

YouTube - Rocky Horror Picture Show Trailer I remember one summer night during the 1980's going to see "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at the Cape Cinema located just off of Route 6A in Dennis, Mass. on the Cape.My friend Jim Byrne was visiting me one weekend from the Boston, Mass area. (click on the link to see a trailer of this cinematic cult classic)

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show" was released in 1975 as an adaptation of a British theatrical production "The Rocky Horror Show". Starring Tim Curry as "Frank N. Furter", Susan Sarandon as "Janet Weiss" and Barry Bostwick as "Brad Majors"; this film is narrated by Charles Gray the "criminologist." This comedy musical picture makes fun of the science fiction and horror movie genre. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is the longest running film release in history and still plays today in limited release particularly in "midnight madness" late shows.

Many people attend this movie dressed as movie characters and/or bring props such as newspapers, toast, spraying water bottles along with shouting at the movie screen at appropriate times as frequent viewers pretty much know the movie lines by memory. There is a dance number known as the "Time Warp" and some people from the audience dance in the aisles along in time to movie dancers.

The night Jim and I were at the movie there was a man dressed in his military uniform a couple rows ahead of where we were seated. This fellow was at the movie with his wife or girlfriend and apparently was attending the movie for the first time. He wasn't aware of the audience participation aspects of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" experience. There is a scene in the movie where "Brad & Janet" are out in the rain in front of the "Transsexual Transylvanian Castle" of "Frank N. Furter". People in the audience at this point were spraying water throughout the theatre from spray bottles and squirt guns and covering their heads with newspaper to mimic the action of the movie. The unaware military audience member yelled out, "HEY, CUT THAT OUT!!" as he started to get sprayed with water along with everyone else. Later in the movie, "Frank N. Furter" says "a toast" to welcome "Brad & Janet" to the transsexual convention party going on at the castle. At this point in the movie, audience members started to wing toast and bread throughout the theatre and the flying toast kind of looked like mini flying saucers.

Actor Charles Gray, "the narrative criminologist" says many lines that let the viewing audience interact with the movie. This narrator didn't appear to have a neck. The audience would call out,"where's your neck?" everytime the narrator appeared on the screen. One memorable line from the narrator is "and so we see Brad & Janet, lost in time(pause) the audience then yells during this pause"what's your favorite TV show?"; the narrator in the movie continues,"lost in space." The military man in the audience yells out "HEY, BE QUIET, I'M TRYING TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!"

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is always an experience. So, practice your "time warp" dance steps for an upcoming show of this classic cult,campy, comedic,musical,horror,science-fiction,audience participatory spoof.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This sketch by renowned artist Norman Rockwell entitled "First Haircut" was inspired by Norman Rockwell's barber Archille "Scotty" Cibelli. "Scotty" although of Italian descent, speaks with a Scottish accent and used to cut Norman Rockwell's hair at his barber shop in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Scotty decided to expand and he purchased "Cal's" barber shop located on Main Street in downtown Dennis Port on Cape Cod. I found a condominium unit for Scotty and his wife Jessie to live in which was located a few hundred yards away from the barber shop. Scotty was able to walk to his shop.
I used to have my hair cuts at Cal's, and continued to have my hair cuts with Scotty. This original Norman Rockwell sketch was displayed at the barber shop. Scotty's son Mike took over this barber shop but Scotty would still cut hair at the shop from time to time. Mike and his wife decided to sell the shop to another barber named Jeremy Pina who used to work with Mike. Jeremy is now the current owner of this barber shop.
So, Norman Rockwell and I had the same barber, Archille "Scotty" Cibelli.


On Halloween evening in 1963, I was in third grade at the time and lived with my parents and sisters Janet, Leeanne and baby brother Scott in North Granby, Connecticut. We lived on Bradley Brook Road. My Mom had made crepe paper costumes for us. I was the Jolly Green Giant, my sisters were orange crepe paper pumpkins. My baby brother Scott was in a stroller. His costume was being a baby.

We all started out on the neighborhood trick or treat route and arrived at the first house. After this house we walked away from their front steps when all of a sudden the sky let loose with a tremendous rainy downpour. Our crepe costumes disintegrated. I was streaked in green crepe paper ink and my sisters were covered in "orange rain" from this deluge. They said "we can't see".

We all were soaking wet with our destroyed colored crepe costumes. My Mom had to improvise new costumes after spending hours constructing the crepe costumes which were inspired from an article in the "Ladies Home Journal". She started constructing these costumes in September as these costumes were complicated; only to be destroyed in five minutes.

I ended up being a table. My Mom had a previously constructed a table with a tablecloth and place setting for four sewn on to the top of the table cloth. My sisters became "princesses"; kind of like Cinderella except that they were "pumpkins" first whereas Cinderella's coach would turn into a pumpkin if she didn't get home on time.

So, through our soggy transformation; we succeeded in our quest for our bags of candy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


During the winter of 1984 I went out to Hawaii with Scott Manison. Scott and I both worked for the Manning family back then and Scott was a frequent visitor to Hawaii. We took advantage of a package deal of airplane and hotel for a week in Oahu for about $600.

We stayed in the Westin on Waikiki Beach which is right in front of the harbor where the Skipper, Gilligan, Mr. & Mrs. Thurston Howell III, the professor, the movie star and Maryanne boarded the SS Minnow for their ill fated three hour tour. Apparently there were camera men with unlimited film and the ability to process the film as we viewed the adventures of Gillian's Island through the years of the television show. It is possible I guess that different members of the SS Minnow could have taken turns filming each other but I don't know how they could cut the episodes in the various segments; especially when sometimes all the people from the boat were in the same shot. I guess that show wasn't a documentary and we had to suspend reality and just enjoy the show.

Anyway, one of the side trips we took was to "Garden of the Gods". Garden of the Gods was set near the side of a small mountain range. There were temples there from the different world religions. I was especially impressed with the Buddhist temple and the large Buddha figure there. Most memorable was a Buddhist monk there whom I saw standing near a small stream. There were fish in this small stream and he would call them and they would swim over to him. This monk then flicked his hand slightly and two birds flew into view and landed one on each arm of the monk. These events occurred without the aid of food of any sort. He just called these creatures to him and they responded. I guess they were used to him and knew that he wouldn't harm them. Maybe they knew this monk from a former incarnation.

I feed birds at my house outside at my bird feeder near my front door. The birds always fly away when I leave my house out the front door. Maybe if I had shaved my head and wore the robes of a monk the birds would flock to me and land on my arms as well. I don't know. It is hard to figure out birds and fish. They always seem to look at you sideways.

UFOs and Aliens

UFOs and Aliens Back in 1975 as a junior at the University of Connecticut I was co-chairman of the Media-Film and Lecture committee of the Student Union Board of Governors at the Storrs, Connecticut campus. One evening we had a lecture by John W. White who spoke about the presence of extra terrestrial beings throughout the universe and all sorts of mind bending concepts.

Through this lecture I came in contact with Dr. Kenneth Ring who was in the psychology department at UCONN. Dr. Ring later became known as an authority on NDE (Near Death Experiences) and has written many books on his experiments and experiences of people who have been pronounced "dead" and later were revived.

The link above deals with a compilation of UFO terms and definitions. Who really knows what is out there in the vast reaches of the universe. To me it is hard to believe that planet earth is the only place where life exists. Who knows? What does it all mean? The universe and life is a mystery. We are a part of the puzzle.
But probably not the only part. It makes you wonder.

YouTube - Jimi Hendrix - Fire

YouTube - Jimi Hendrix - Fire On October 17, 2008 I went to the Providence Performing Arts Center in downtown Providence, Rhode Island to see "Experience Hendrix" a tribute to the life and music of Jimi Hendrix. I went there with my brother Scott and his wife Leslie. We parked in the lower level of a nearby parking garage before this show and had a meal of grinders and beer from "Sam's Deli" made by our friend Michelle (Shell) Kimmey.

"Experience Hendrix" had quite an all star lineup of musicians. The 2008 tour had 19 stops across the country starting on October 15th in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire and ending on November 7th in Portland, Oregon. The October 17th Providence show was the third stop on tour and featured performances by Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox,Bernard Allison,Eric Gales,Buddy Guy, Eric Johnson,Jonny Lang,Chris Layton,Mato Nanji,Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Hubert Sumlin, and Brad Whitford.

The show started with a welcome by Mitch Mitchell, the original drummer, who along with Noel Redding and Jimi Hendrix comprised the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. (click the You Tube link above to see Jimi and the Experience playing "Fire" at Woodstock). Mitch Mitchell as the sole surviving member of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience trio gave a happy hearty appreciative welcome to the audience. Over the years this diminutive drummer with the fast and big sounding drum rhythms of the original "Hendrix Experience" seemed to have lost his speed drumming style. Mitch played on a few of the songs along with some of the other drummers as a second drummer but he was a shadow of his distinctive former self.

I was particularly impressed with three of the performers that evening. Eric Johnson on guitar gave a good rendition of the Jimi Hendrix style of feedback and guitar note distortion as his guitar wailed and screamed through I believe the song "I Don't Live Today" from the "Are You Experienced?" album. Johnny Lang had a rapid fire aggressive guitar style as he played a few Hendrix tunes. Kenny Wayne Shepherd to me gave the finest performance that evening particularly with the song "Voodoo Chile" and wailed away on his guitar even playing guitar over his head behind his back and also a few chords with his teeth as Jimi Hendrix was known to do.

All in all this was a great performance by everyone involved and brought back memories of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitch Mitchell thanked everyone and said that he hoped to see everyone again on future tours.

Unfortunately, Mitch Mitchell passed away on November 12, 2008 in his hotel room in Portland, Oregon at the age of 61 just shortly after this 2008 Experience Hendrix tour ended. He now joins Jimi Hendrix who died in 1970 and Noel Redding who died in 2003. The Jimi Hendrix Experience is now reunited in the after world. As they say, "If there is a rock and roll heaven, there's sure to be a hell of a band." Play on Mitch, keep up your eternal beat. You left your mark in this world, now on to the next "Experience".

Monday, March 9, 2009


Working the late afternoon and evening front desk shift at the Soundings, a seasonal oceanfront motel, in Dennis Port on Cape Cod I would often notice the various wildlife animals that would frequent the grassy lawn areas. Next to the Soundings is an undeveloped parcel of land that is a town beach. I imagine this is a good habitat for the local animals with the beach grass,trees, and small sand dunes.

Around sunset and early evening there would be quite a few brown rabbits that would graze on the Soundings grounds. There are grass areas in front of the Soundings as well as in back of the lobby and along the oceanfront where many of the guests play soccer, football, frisbee or whiffle ball.

Last season there was a rabbit that was smarter and braver than the average rabbit. This rabbit would hop through the motel lobby from the front of the motel to through the open front door and out the back door. We at the front desk would watch this rabbit and say "Hey, rabbit no pets allowed!". A few hours later this same rabbit would hop through the lobby from the back of the lobby and out to the delicious grass of the front lawn. Yes, this rabbit knew how to take a short cut.

During the later part of the summer and early fall, skunks would sometimes come out from the empty lot next door and walk around the grounds searching for grubs. Sometimes the guests would report that a skunk would be near their room door. They would ask "what are you going to do about the skunk outside my room?" We would say "best to stay away, the skunk will move and no one wants to get sprayed. We will contact a pest control company in the morning and have them re-locate the skunks".

The pest control company would trap the skunks and relocate them. However, each season there would be skunk sitings. We don't know if these are the same skunks from previous years or a new batch of skunks. I guess the skunks and rabbits enjoy the oceanfront location and verdant green lawn areas as much as our "paying" guests.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Back in the early '80's I was involved with the Captain's Clambake Emporium Restaurant as Director of Group Sales. This restaurant featured the traditional New England Clambake and primarily catered to senior citizen motor coach groups that would join us for a day trip lunch time clambake or as part of their Cape Cod/New England multi-night tour.

For entertainment we had a player piano with piano rolls of various songs which magically played by themselves once the piano roll was loaded into the piano. I had seen a restaurant in Kentucky that handed out songbooks of old time songs to their guests while attending a national tour convention; we decided to incorporate this idea at the Captain's Clambake Emporium.

So, I became the "player piano player" and would change the piano rolls after each song while the guests were ordering cocktails and waiting for the clambake meal. We had all the old time greats such as "Heart of My Heart, When the Red,Red Robbin Goes Bob,Bob, Bobbin' Along, and Let Me Call You Sweetheart." Some of these groups would really get into singing the songs and enjoyed the songbooks.

We also had some longer medley piano rolls such as a Bing Crosby Medley including "White Christmas' where on certain nights I would take the microphone near the player piano and do my best Bing Crosby singing impression. Other piano rolls included a "Fiddler on the Roof"medley and Scott Joplin's "The Sting" song.

I spent many hours over the course of working as the "player piano player". The music was quite loud as I would wait for the current song to end. They say that loud music over time may lead to hearing loss. Many people who listen to loud rock and roll music may be subject to hearing loss in later years. I enjoy listening to loud rock music myself. However, if later in life my hearing starts to fade; I'll wonder how much being a "player piano player" was a factor.

Friday, March 6, 2009


In 1966 as a sixth grader at the Horace Belden school in Simsbury, Connecticut I was in my first motion picture role. Steve Szedlak was the teacher in this class and that year was his first year as a teacher. Steve had a long teaching career and eventually was a principal in the Simsbury school system. I met Steve's father as he was a frequent guest at the Soundings motel in Dennis Port on Cape Cod where I have had a long association.

Mr. Szedlak (Steve) had a film based movie camera back then; the type of camera that you needed a movie projector to watch the film after the film was developed. Steve had our class re-enact the famous story of "The Blind Men and the Elephant".

I can remember being dressed in a big white bed sheet with a cane and walking across the Belden stage where this movie was filmed and being led to the large picture of an elephant that our class had made for this film. My part in the movie was to feel the elephant's leg and say "I see, said the blind man, an elephant is like a tree."

Ohter fellow classmate "blind men" actors touched the elephant's trunk which is like a snake, ear which is like a fan, tusk is like a spear,side is like a wall,tail is like a rope, etc. At the end of the movie we all pushed and argued with each other while claiming that we were "right" and all the other blind men were wrong.

"The Blind Men and the Elephant" has a long history with one of the most popular versions being a 19th century poem by John Godfrey Saxe. This story is said to originate in India and there are versions of this tale in Buddhism, Jainism, Sufism, and Hinduism.

Although none of the blind men could "see"; they each developed an opinion on their limited exposure to the elephant and all the blind men thought that their experience was the correct description of an elephant. Although in a sense all of the blind men were correct; none of them could see the whole elephant so all the blind men were in fact wrong in experiencing the total elephant.

Each of us in this world are bound by our perceptions and life experiences. Like the blind men and the elephant, many of us are blind to the true and complete nature of reality due to our unique and limited perceptions and opinions.


Back in 1972 and 1973 while attending Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio; I used to lace up my running shoes and jog the brick lined street of Marietta. As part of my run I used to go to the Mound Cemetery and do laps around the historic site.
The Mound Cemetery has and large ceremonial pre-historic Indian mound or "Conus" which was constructed by the" Moundbuilders "approximately 800 BC to 700 AD as they settled the Ohio Valley. These mounds were burial places for chieftains.
It must have taken a while to constructed these mounds without the modern conveniences of bulldozers and other modern tools. I imagine the Indians used woven baskets and maybe their hands to construct these almost pyramid-like shrines to their deceased tribal leaders.
The Mound Cemetery is also the final resting place for 37 Revolutionary War officers and soldiers. Among the soldiers buried here are General Rufus Putnam, General Benjamin Tupper, and Colonel William Stacy. Marietta was the first town settled in the "Northwest Territory" and many Revolutionary War soldiers received land grants for their service.
After running round and round the Mound Cemetery, I used to climb the steps to the top of the Mound and rest on the bench there to recover. This historic and sacred site is registered in the National Register of Historic Places.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The end of a blue and white era? - Sports

The end of a blue and white era? - Sports UCONN's "Blue and White" guy is considering retirement.


My brother Scott is a windsurfer and lives in Harwich, Mass. on Cape Cod. One September during the 90's Scott entered a windsurfer race known as "The Monomoy Challenge" held at Red River Beach in South Harwich in September as part of the Cranberry Harvest Festival.

The Cranberry Harvest Festival is a well known small town festival held in Harwich, Mass. This festival features a large craft fair, fireworks, food, musical entertainment, a parade, amusement rides, road race, and all sorts of fun activities. The festival is held in September generally about a week after Labor Day.

I went down to the "Monomoy Challenge" windsurfer race to watch Scott compete and see all the other windsurfers as well. There were approximately eighty to one hundred windsurfers in the race. Prior to the race, the race officials described the course to all the race participants and the location of the different buoys set in the water to define the course.

The Monomoy Challenge is named after Monomoy Island which is off the coast of Chatham, Mass on the Cape and is currently an uninhabited bird and wildlife sanctuary owned by the US Government. Monomoy was inhabited as early as 1710 by settlers with their own harbor, homes, stores, etc but a hurricane in 1860 destroyed the harbor and this settlement was abandoned. There is currently an abandoned light house and owners quarters on this eight mile island.

After everyone was given the race instructions the windsurfers all got into the water and waited for the starting gun for the race to begin. The race course was described as a straight run from shore out to the first buoy, then a left turn around the buoy continuing left parallel to the shore line to the next buoy, around that buoy and then heading back to the starting point.

As the starting gun fired, all of the windsurfers starting sailing in an extreme right direction. All of the windsurfers that is except Scott. It was interesting to see one windsurfer heading out straight from the shoreline towards the first buoy and everyone else heading away from shore to the right. Either that one windsurfer,(Scott), was way off course; or everyone else was off course but Scott.

I don't know why all the other windsurfers took off to the right. Perhaps the wind currents were blowing stronger in that direction. Perhaps one windsurfer wanted to get "clean air" and decided to start on the right hand side and try to avoid the other windsurfers and then another person followed that windsurfer, and then another followed that one, etc. until they all like a pack of lemmings started following the other windsurfers.

It turned out that Scott was the only one that followed the proper race course. He had a tremendous lead by following the described course on his own and resisting the temptation of following everybody else in the race who were going in the wrong direction. Yes, Scott Shaw "marched to a different drum" so to speak and trusted his own judgement resisting the lure of the "crowd" of misguided windsurfing competitors. Scott followed that less traveled path and that made all the difference.

Scott won a commemorative trophy plate and a custom green fleece jacket monogrammed in gold "Monomoy Challenge Champion". He was also rewarded for trusting his own beliefs and not just following the herd. Staying true to your own course was the real "Monomoy Challenge."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


They say that everyone has a "double" in this life. I ran into mine in 1976 while attending the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut.

I lived in Crandall D dormitory in South Campus. My sister Janet also went to UCONN and lived in a nearby dorm also in South Campus. One day my other sister Leeanne was visiting Janet and they were in a car riding through the South Campus parking lot and they see someone and said to each other "Hey, there's Rick." That wasn't me however.

I saw my "double" one time at "Kathy John's." Kathy John's is an off-campus casual restaurant that has ice cream sundaes, hamburgers and fries, hot dogs, etc.. This restaurant is similar to the Friendly's restaurant chain.

I was with my friends, Jack Ardini, Tony Aloisio, Lew Geswauldi, and Joh DeStefano at Kathy John's when in walks my "double". My friends all said to me,"Rick is that you?" I replied "No, I think I'm right here." My "double" was in the "take out" line waiting to get some ice cream. I walked up near my "double" without speaking to him and started to mimic his posture and gestures. My friends enjoyed my antics and had a good laugh.

I'm not a twin,but I did meet my "double".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My Mom hooked this rug back in 1972 when I was a "301 Tiger". (see article below).


My friend and fellow Realtor Phyllis Gustafson had a small power boat moored in Bass River, Mass when she was a member of the Bass River Yacht Club. She would offer to take me out on her boat for a ride up Bass River and Nantucket Sound along the West Dennis beach waterway areas on a few summer afternoons to enjoy the sea,sunshine,salt spray, and scenery.

One memorable trip we were cruising up Bass River on our way up to the ocean. We get out in the ocean waters and Phyllis put her motor boat into idle so that we could enjoy the day and talk a while. For some reason, I have no problem with being on a boat as long as the diesel engine boat is moving; but a stationary motor boat with the up and down motion of the waves and the smell of the diesel engine fumes makes me kind of queasy and suffer from "seasickness or motion sickness."

I tried my best to get through the rocking motion of the stationary boat and the diesel fumes but sometimes "your body has a mind of its own" and my body told me it was time to "puke" or give the fish some " fish food". So, I started "upchucking or blowing chunks" over the side of her boat.

Phyllis, of course, saw me doing this and asked if I was OK. I told her that I guess the diesel fumes got to me. She then took the boat out of idle and commenced to go back to the Bass River Yacht Club clubhouse. After the boat was anchored in the middle of the river and we were given a boat taxi ride over to the clubhouse dock; Phyllis offered to buy me a hot dog and coke for lunch. I said that sounded good to me. I guess donating some previous food to the fishes had given me an appetite.


In August of 1972 I entered college as a freshman at Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio. I lived in a suite of four rooms with a bathroom at the end of the hall. There were eight people in this suite 301 at Parsons Hall dormitory. Jim Byrne, Kelly Brezger,Hassan Al Utabi,Hussein Bondaji, Kurt Pritz, Rickey D. Irvin, Christopher Grover, and Rick Shaw (that's me), comprised the students that lived in 301 Parsons.

Jim Byrne, Chris Grover, and I decided that it would be fun to establish a "brand name" for ourselves so we decided to call ourselves "The 301 Tigers" thus giving ourselves an identity. We noted as new students that there was a free college newspaper called "The Marcolian" which was distributed daily at the cafeteria. The Marcolian had a letters to the editor column and seemed to print about anything that was sent in so we "Tigers" thought it would be fun to send in a series of letters and sign them as the "301 Tigers" and then put all eight names of the suite 301 residents so that we would start to create a little exposure for ourselves.

One letter was about Barbara Billingsley, the mother of "Wally and the Beave" on the Leave it to Beaver" television show. Another letter I believe was about Annette Funicello of the Beach movies that she was in with Frankie Avalon.

One letter was called "Take a Tiger to Lunch Week" where we encouraged other students to invite and take us out for some free food and get to know the "Tigers" and our "sparkling" personalities.

An additional letter involved a "Jackie and Peter" joke which I will now attempt to recreate:

Jackie and Peter were walking down the street one day. Their friend was David. It was a sunny afternoon and the weather report said that there was a very slight chance of rain. Jackie noticed a couple of birds playing in the bird bath in Mr. Smith's yard as it had rained a couple of days ago and the bird bath was full of water. There was a red bike in Mr. Smith's driveway.

As they continued their walk, Jackie noticed a small stub of a pencil lying by the side of the road. Jackie said to Peter, "look Peter, there is a small pencil here, I'm going to pick it up." Peter replied, "that's a good idea Jackie, you never know when we might need a pencil to wrote a note to someone, perhaps our friend David."

Jackie then said,"this little pencil reminds me of something. Peter, what's the biggest pencil in the world?" Peter had paused and bent down to tie his sneakers as the laces had come untied. Peter replied to Jackie, "Gee Jackie, I don't know. What is the biggest pencil in the world?" Jackie adjusted her sunhat and swatted away with her right hand at a pesky horsefly that was bothering her. Jackie replied to Peter, " the biggest pencil in the world is Pennsylvania!!" Peter laughed real hard and said, "that's a good one Jackie, we'll have to tell that one to David."

We told this "Jackie and Peter joke" to another student, Brad Nance, and he didn't think it was too funny. He said, "That's stupid, I don't think that's funny. Who's this David?"

After the above set of letters, our next letter that we wrote to the Marcolian newspaper went something like this:

What's with all these letters from the "301 Tigers" I've been seeing in the Marcolian recently. Who are these guys? I find their letters to be stupid and not funny at all. Who cares about Barbara Billingsley and Annette Funicello. I'm not taking these guys to lunch. Why don't they just grow up.

We then signed that letter "Brad Nance". When this letter was published in the student newspaper the next afternoon people were coming up to Brad Nance and saying "Brad, how could you write that letter? Those 301 Tiger letters were funny." Brad would then deny that he wrote the critical letter about the 301 Tigers.

So, we accomplished our mission of creating a little "buzz" around the Marietta College with our letters to the editor and then our own self-critical "sting" letter which we signed Brad Nance and left poor Brad trying to explain that he hadn't written the critical letter even though his name was printed below that letter.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Back in 1975-76 I was a senior at the University of Connecticut and lived in Crandall D, a coed dormitory in South Campus. From time to time we would have dorm meeting called by our resident assistant Jim to discuss the dormitory issues of the day.

One issue discussed was what to do about a picture window that was accidentally broken by Greg Sinay, a dorm resident who was a kicker on the UCONN football team. One viewpoint is that all the residents should offer to agree to split the replacement cost of this window equally with their college breakage fee. I argued that everyone should be responsible for their own actions and that Greg should pay for this window as he was responsible for the window damage. A vote was taken and the dorm voted to assess the cost equally among all the residents.

A few days later at the end of the spring semester; I was playing ping pong with Tony Aloisio in the dorm basement. Tony and I were playing away. I held the ping pong paddle "Chinese style" with the paddle down and handle up. I was putting a spin on the ball and the paddle slipped out of my hand and went sailing across the basement and right through a small basement window. Tony found this to be somewhat funny and ironic.

As I was an advocate of personal responsibility as mentioned above; I paid for this basement window myself as well as being assessed a share of the picture window.

YouTube - The Faces - I'm Losing You

YouTube - The Faces - I'm Losing You "Rockin' Rod Stewart" with the "Faces". The Faces had Ron Wood on guitar who later joined The Rolling Stones and drummer Kenny Jones who replaced Keith Moon of The Who when Keith died. Below is the "Mellow Mod Rod" singing "What A Wonderful World". Which Stewart do YOU like; the "Rocker?" or the "Mellow Crooner"? I 'm in the "rock" camp. What say you?

YouTube - What a Wonderful World - Rod Stewart

YouTube - What a Wonderful World - Rod Stewart "Mellow Rod". See above for "Rockin' Rod" with the "Faces" in his early days. Which do you like better? Me, I like the "Rock Star".


During the '90's my friend John and I went to Las Vegas at stayed at "Circus,Circus" on the Las Vegas strip. John went out a day earlier than me and told me the following story:

Being John's first trip to Las Vegas, he decided that night to play some blackjack in the Circus Circus casino. This casino features circus performers who perform stunts such as the trapeze act high above the casino floor for the casino patron's entertainment.

John found a blackjack table on the crowded casino floor and commenced to play. At the table all of the players were winning big as the dealer ran into a streak of cards that made him draw over 21 and "bust" thereby paying off all of the players at the table. After playing for a few hours, John had a good profit from this table and wanted to reward the dealer by giving him a tip before heading up to his room to recover from the plane trip out to Las Vegas and the long night.

John pushed the casino chips for the dealer tip toward the dealer and said "this is for you."
The dealer said "bet it." John thought with this answer from the dealer that the dealer was offended by the amount of the tip and didn't want this tip. So, John put the tip money down and bet the amount of his dealer tip. John won that hand and scooped up the chips and started to walk away. The dealer and everyone at the table started giving John funny looks and saying "Hey, what are you doing?" John replied, "the dealer said to bet it" and then walked away towards the elevator to his room.

The next day when I arrived in Las Vegas from my plane ride John told me this story about his blackjack experiences and how the dealer didn't want his tip and said to bet it. John sensed that he might have done something improper and was perplexed at the reaction of the dealer and the other blackjack players. I told John that the dealer wanted you to bet his tip for him so that if he won that hand the dealer would have received a larger amount of money than the amount of his tip. The dealer wanted to gamble on that blackjack hand and was willing to lose that gratuity if he lost that hand. The dealer can't bet for himself but the player can place a bet for him if the player offers a tip and then the dealer says to play that tip.

So, John learned a lesson in proper blackjack etiquette.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


While working at The Captain's Clambake Emporium in Dennis Port on Cape Cod as Director of Group Sales during the early 1980's; I would meet and greet the groups at the restaurant as they enjoyed their New England Clambake.

The clambake included a choice of lobster or steak, steamed clams, clam chowder, baked potato, coleslaw, corn on the cob,knockwurst, barbecued half chicken, a glass of wine or beer,rolls, and a slice of watermelon. For some reason some people didn't eat all of these food items so that there would usually be some extra food left after the group had been served.

One of my "duties" was quality control. I would sample the various parts of the meal such as the clam chowder and the watermelon. We used to call the watermelon "watermemon" as watermelon was misspelled on our printed restaurant menus.

Our clam chowder was chock full of baby clams, diced potato, onions, and was a thin chowder not a thick creamy type of chowder. I personally like the clambake type of chowder as some thick chowder is similar in texture to wallpaper paste. Rich Coutu, the Burrell brothers, and the other clambake chefs used to call my evaluation of the " watermemon and chowdah" the "Ricker scale" as a take off on the Richter scale which is used to evaluate the strength of earthquakes.

So, I would evaluate the chowder for taste, temperature, etc.. and usually say;" that's a mighty fine chowder," and then usually give a rating of between 8 and 10 for the chowder with 10 being the ultimate score in chowder perfection.

I would rate the watermelon ("watermemon") as well based on color of the watermelon, coldness, consistency, and how many seeds in the slice on the "Ricker" scale.

Rating "watermemon and chowdah" was a tough job but someone had to do it. Quality control is important as we needed consistantly high marks on the "Ricker" scale to insure a memorable meal for our clambake guests.


From 1976 to 1986 I worked for the Manning family in Dennis Port, Mass on Cape Cod as Director of Group Sales for their two motels and two restaurants; The Soundings Motel,The Colonial Village Motel, The Captain's Clambake Emporium, and The Captain William's House Restaurant. We hosted a lot of motorcoach tours at the motels, primarily senior citizen groups. Bill Manning was one of the first motel owners to tap the motorcoach tour market while hosting senior groups at The Colonial Village.

In addition to providing rooms for the senior groups we would also have a cocktail party for each group. Some of the groups would also enjoy playing bingo. We had a bingo set with a metal barrel like container filled with ping pong balls with the letters and numbers on them. This see through container had a small crank handle on the side so you could mix up the ping pong balls after each number was called.

I was often asked to host the bingo games. One game in particular comes to mind. The infamous "Ralph Bingo". At the oceanfront motel, The Soundings, we had a conference/party room where we had the cocktail parties and bingo nights. The Vernon Seniors, lead by Don Berger and his assistant Joan, would bring up almost a hundred seniors on two buses from Vernon, Connecticut to stay at the Soundings each year for a four night visit to the Cape. Don would say to me,"Rick, can we have you do the bingo on one of the nights?." I said,"sure".

We used to charge a dollar a card for the bingo night. With this money we would take some of the items from the lobby gift shop for prizes such as salt water taffy, souvenir glasses and mugs. The rest of the collected money was used for prizes and I would also add an extra free bingo card or two to the prize packages.

During the "Ralph Bingo" episode, Mike Crossen was assisting me as we had almost one hundred people in the party room and I needed somebody to keep track of the bingo numbers called. Bingo is a game where really it is the number on the card that is important not the letters B-I-N-G-O per Se. A lot of the group were serious bingo players but I personally didn't find the game that interesting. I decided to "spice up" the game and make it a little more interesting.

I started out calling this bingo game the regular way with a loud enough voice so that everyone could hear the selected ping pong balls such as I 25, B11, N44, etc... for the first game. Then, I said"for the next game we are going to play "Ralph" as well as bingo at the same time. The "B" will equal "R", the "I" will equal "A", the "N"will equal "L", the "G" will equal "P", and the "O" will equal "H". So for this game for example, I would call out R2B2, A25I25, L44N44, and so forth until a winner would yell out "Ralph Bingo" and we would check to make sure we had a winner.

For the third game I continued with the "Ralph Bingo" manner as described above in a loud clear voice so everyone could hear. I then started to call a few numbers out in a normal conversational voice tone and some of the people in the group would say; "what?, we can't heard you." I then stopped the game and said, "apparently some of you couldn't hear me calling those last few numbers. In order to help you I will provide some visual and other assistance. On even numbers called Mike will stand and I will sit. On odd numbers I will stand and Mike will sit. On multiples of five Mike and I will clap our hands, one multiples of three we will both salute, one multiples of ten we will both sit. And, with each number called we will do all of these applicable things in combination to further help you know which number was just called."

I had some of these bingo players belly laughing as Mike and I would be going up and down, clapping and saluting, as the different numbers were called during our "Ralph Bingo" games. I understand Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's sidekick on the tonight show, got his start as a bingo caller. I bet he never called "Ralph Bingo".