Friday, August 30, 2013


By Bob Golon
Special Contributor

        I’m not talking about the insurance company people that we hear about in television commercials. Instead, I’m referencing some real-life heroes in whose “good hands” I found myself yesterday morning.
        My wife and I were riding on a subway in New York City, on our way out to Citi Field, for a nice day at the ballpark that we had planned for quite a while. Suddenly our train took an unexpected, violent turn. People were straining to keep themselves seated or hanging on to the balance poles trying not to fall, myself among them. When I instinctively “dug in” to keep my balance, my left hip dislocated with a distinct pop. Thankfully it popped right back in again, but the sharp pain told me that the damage had been done.
        The train stopped at the next station shortly thereafter, and with the help of my concerned wife, I managed to drag myself to a bench on the platform. She then went to get help. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, she returned and told me that she had walked in to a firehouse ---Engine 8, st Street, and asked for their assistance.
Ladder 2, Battalion 8 on East 51
        So, here they came, four young, smartly dressed, uniformed public servants. A couple of them had 9/11 patches on their uniforms, and I immediately realized the caliber of help that had come to me. I could not have felt better or more confident. These were truly the “good hands people” and I trusted them comp;letely.
        I apologized to one of them for disrupting his morning, and he said, smiling, “Hey, we’re here for you.” I totally believed his sincerity. They put me into a special chair, tied me in, and the four of them lifted me up the two banks of stairs necessary to get outside to an ambulance waiting on the street. I thanked them profusely, but I could tell that for them, it was all in a day’s work.
        Every clockwork!
        As for me, I was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital. X-rays were negative for fractures, and I am now awaiting an appointment with my orthopedist to make sure there was no other damage to ligaments or cartilages. Hopefully, I’ll be better in a few days, but for the rest of my life I will never forget being in the hands of the “good hands people,” the FDNY. These public servants deserve our gratitude for all that they do, and I personally cannot thank them enough.
95 FDNY Paramedics and EMTs  are been sworn in at their graduation from the EMS Academy today.
        By the way, the Mets won the ballgame without me, 11-3!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


        Why can't those who sing our National Anthem at sporting events and on other occasions sing it the way it was written? I get so tired of hearing those who are given the honor of singing The Star Spangled Banner at the start of a World Series game or the Super Bowl or some college football or basketball game massacre the inspiring melody of the song for which we Americans are supposed to rise to our feet in solemn respect.
Artist's rendering of  the flag over Fort Mchenry
        Instead of being inspired I am more often than not infuriated by the end of the song. What a difference between the stirring strains of the military band arrangements I saluted to when I was in the Navy and the vocal meandering of most of the soloists who perform the National Anthem these days. One wonders how they dare to desecrate the beautiful poem written by Francis Scott Key during the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British in 1814. What an appropriate twist of irony that it should come to be associated with the stirring song by British composer John Stafford Smith. Thus the words of our National Anthem celebrate one of our legendary victories over Great Britain in the War of 1812, while the music symbolizes the strong alliance that since then has existed between our two nations.
        We traditionally sing only the first stanza of the song, but my favorite stanza is the fourth and last, which reads as follows:
                 O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
                 Between their loved home and the war's desolation.
                 Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the Heav'n rescued land
                 Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
                 Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
                 And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
                 And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
                 O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.  
        The melody is admittedly difficult to sing, with an octave-and-a-half range that challenges many soloists. That may explain why some of them sing their own tune ---to avoid having to hit and to hold the high notes! When it is sung right, audiences invariably express their appreciation by cheering and applauding vigorously.
        Their celebrity status might earn some vocalists a polite response from their fans, but not a very enthusiastic one from those who love and appreciate our National Anthem, and who expect it to be sung the way it is written.
Marnie and Gray have two very cute little 
boys, Gabey (3) and Julian (3 months).
        My granddaughter-in-law, Marnie Kanarek, who has a lovely voice and had planned on a career in music before switching to medicine, was invited to sing the National Anthem at the start of the last home game of the regular season of the Philadelphia Soul arena football team last month. They were playing the Utah Blaze. Her husband Gray (our grandson) video-taped Marnie's a cappella performance, and if you listen closely you can hear her Mom say excitedly at the very end of the video, "My daughter!"
        If you want to hear the National Anthem sung as it should be sung, click HERE. Note the reaction of the fans and that of the players, as Marnie hits her high note at the end of the song, her one thrilling departure from the written melody. That dramatic note, that sopranos often insert, represents a two octave range. It does not detract from but adds to the inspiring impact of The Star Spangled Banner

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


        Right after posting the brief item about the easy battery test, my mouse battery went dead! I immediately got a new battery and tried the test. It worked!
        The two batteries performed exactly as the video said they would. Don't ask me how it works, but it does! I wish I had known about this years ago.
        Here's the link again: battery test.
        PS It would make a nice parlor trick to show those who don't know it. Eg., "I have three identical AA batteries in my hand. One of theme is dead, and two are good. I bet you I can pick out the dead one without using a tester or inserting them in any kind of gadget."    

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


        A friend sent me this link that suggests an easy way to test a battery. I haven't checked it out with a dead battery yet, but if it works it is a very useful bit of information.
        Click on battery test to see the video.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


By Special Contributor Bob Golon

        I hope everyone is having an enjoyable and safe summer. I’m sorry I haven’t written in the past few weeks, and I will readily explain why. I have found myself to be in a “bad place” recently concerning the topics that I normally write about. Every motivation that I’ve had to write has been the result of anger; anger at the way money and greed is ruining the game(s) that I love, anger at the ongoing steroids saga in Major League Baseball, anger at the boorish behavior of some of today’s athletes, and so on. Quite frankly, I’d rather withhold my anger and not burden you, the reader, with it.
        Oh, there have been some bright spots. Seeing “the Franchise,” Tom Seaver, throw out the first pitch at the All-Star game at Citi Field was a treat and a wonderful trip down memory lane. Seeing “the Captain,” Derek Jeter, hit a home run on the first pitch he saw on returning from the disabled list this past Sunday is a reminder of just how much we’re going to miss him when he finally hangs up the spikes. And, he certainly trumps some of the recent actions of his more inglorious teammate, Alex Rodriguez.
Vin Scully
        Last night, a reason why I’ve found joy in baseball was there for all to see, and I’d like to share it with you. Log on to the YES Network web site at, and watch Michael Kay’s interview with the legendary baseball broadcaster, Vin Scully. Kay describes Scully as “the Gold Standard” in the baseball broadcasting industry, and Kay is absolutely correct. 
        A native of the Bronx, Scully joined the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcast team as a mere 23-year-old in 1950, at the invitation of the great announcer Red Barber, and has been spreading the joy of baseball to his audiences for 63 years since. Scully is credited for the success of the Dodgers in Los Angeles after their move from Brooklyn in 1958, as the early LA fans used to bring transistor radios in to the