Stephanie Abrams' Travel Blog
Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams Blog – Nationally Synidcated Radio Show Host
Are the People of Norway In Sync with the Platform of Conservatives in the US? What Would Norwegians Have to Give Up to Live in the US?
January 17th, 2018

I’ve been to Stockholm, Sweden. I was there for two days for an international meeting of the Amadeus  Advisory Board on which I represented not only my company but also represented the United States. Amadeus is a GDS, a Global Distribution Service: in English. .  .an airline reservations system that  was developed initially for  European travel agents to make bookings by computer for their clients. The system was developed and owned by Lufthansa German Airlines, Iberia Airlines of Spain, and Air France. The largest Amadeus user in each country served by Amadeus was represented as a delegate on this advisory board. I was Executive Vice President and second in command of a $1.5 billion travel company and we had the largest installation of Amadeus computers in America. Amadeus absorbed SystemOne, a system developed by Texas Instruments and owned by Eastern Airlines and later by Continental which wound up as a partner with the Amadeus’ founding airlines and that’s how I wound up on the SystemOne-Amadeus Unison Advisory Board and then on the Amadeus board even though I didn’t have one clue how to make a computerized airline reservation! But the purpose of the board was to discuss other issues and matters of interest to travel agents globally. At the Stockholm meeting, those present were referred to as, “The Delegate from Thailand/Germany/France/Italy/US. . . etc.” It was a very impressive group of the biggest travel agencies in each country. And that is the limits, at the moment of my Scandinavian experiences. (What a wonderful city Stockholm is! You have to go there just to feel the crisp sea breeze and smell the salty  freshness of the air!).

So knowing that I’ve never been there, let’s talk about Norway!  Through my travels, people I’ve m et who are from Norway and a bit of research, I can tell you that about  100,000 of the five million people who now live in Norway come from places like Morocco, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and other nations where the population is not Caucasian. Are they the Norwegians that are sought after by the White House?

Generally, when people move to a new country and seek to become citizens there, it is because they expect at least what was positive in their homeland PLUS the benefits offered by the new country. Let’s compare what Norwegian citizens and those from the EU and EAA who have lived and worked in Norway for at least a year, can count on from the Norwegian government:

1)      Abortion-on-Demand up to 12 weeks into the pregnancy. For the next  12 week period, abortion requires a permit which is granted for reasons of the mother’s mental or physical health or “social” reasons which may include the inability to support, maintain and care for a (another) child.

2)      A complete and comprehensive social services program which includes government paid-for public health services for ALL and a wide array of funded programs  that support  maternity AND paternity leave for  parents.

Logic would dictate that if Norwegians accepted the offer to immigrate to the US and become citizens, they would be the loudest voices supporting the Democratic Platform for social services support and growth and not be the conservative-minded backers of Republican Party issues.

One of the things one learns  especially from travel is that language people speak, the style of their houses and clothing, the color of their skin are not the tools ones needs to use to determine their ideology, their level of intelligence or their creativity quotient.  Clearly, the word “Norway,” for some, conjures up an image of bland white bread with a level of intelligence and education that would be of value to the US.  I think that an infusion of what I know to be strong-willed, feisty people with a strong social conscience and the ability to truly think logically and without the imposition of religious beliefs infused into social issue decisions such as would happen with a wave of Norwegians headed into the US would result in strong voices joining in to support the Democratic Party. Norway’s governmental programs, interest in ecology, conservation of earth’s resources, having simple things like clean air and clean water and food that is not genetically altered as well as internalized systems that focus on government services that protect and care for all of its citizens while doing its best to focus on the human investment in controlling global warming have educated Norway’s population to CARE: about each other and about the planet!  With Norway’s second largest city in the Arctic Circle, Bodo, where 47,000 Norwegians live, do you think those Republicans and Conservative who think Climate Change/Global Warming is a HOAX, ask the Norwegians who live there!

The reality is, most regrettably, that the US is dreadfully out of step with the rest of the world! Far too many have to give up far too much to bring their talent and their families to reside here!  It is ironic that our Executive Branch is unaware of what it means to be a Norwegian in terms of mind-set and features and benefits of living in their homeland. We’d have to make a much stronger case for what we could do for  Norwegians to get them to consider why they should consider such a move. Surely, just adding more white faces to our ethnic grid cannot be a supportable reason to pave the way for Scandinavian immigration and an analysis of what a wave of migration from that region would do for or TO the Republican Party would probably be a reason for withdrawing the invitation.  One has to applaud the people of Norway for caring about one another and recognizing the value of uplifting one another wherever and however possible without imposing the ideology of individuals and institutions on its population.


“Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams” Debuts on February 4, 2018 to About 40 Million Households Coast-to-Coast
January 16th, 2018

News Update:

The working title of Stephanie Abrams new travel television show, syndicated coast-to-coast by BizTV Network, has morphed into the title that will be launched on February 4, 2017.  The show enters the national scene as, “Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams.”  The one-hour show will broadcast weekly.  Stephanie Abrams will produce twenty-six episodes which will provide each show an opportunity to be seen twice during the year-long run.  Stephanie noted that when the 5-6pm Eastern Time Zone television show comes to an end each Sunday night, Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams, her nationally syndicated radio show, will be going on the air in the 6-9pm ET slot coast to coast.

“It just made sense to keep the branding balanced especially since my Sunday radio show is now on the air in its 16th year and we have massive following and strong branding associated with the program. I hope our TV viewers will continue with us on radio on BizTalkRadio Network stations across America after each television  broadcast. We are so excited to be available on TV in the major and marvelous markets we will be reaching nationwide!” Stephanie notes.

The stations on which “Travel TV WITH Stephanie Abrams” will debut include:

Call Letters DMA State
WBCF – TV 10.3 Florence AL
WBXM – TV 41.1 Montgomery AL
WBXA – TV 24.1 Birmingham AL
KFLA – TV 8.4 LA CA
SWCOTV 31.1 Cortez CO
WBXJ – TV 43.1 Jacksonville FL
WPMF – 17 Miami FL
WSPF – TV 35.4 Tampa FL
WSWF TV 10 Orlando FL
WANN – 32.1 Atlanta GA
WBPI TV 49 Augusta GA
KITM – TV 2 Honalulu HI
WBXF – TV 28.1 Des Moines IA
KBAX -TV 27 Twin Falls ID
WBXC – TV 46.2 Champaign IL
KGPT – TV 26.9 Wichita KS
KBXS – TV 14.1 Shreveport LA
WFXZ – TV 24.1 Boston MA
K16CG – TV 16.5 Godahl MN
K23FO – TV 16.5 Jackson MN
K27FI – TV 16.5 Frost MN
TV 41.1 Granite Falls MN
TV 51.5 Alexandria MN
WOBV – TV 5 Starkville MS
W24EC – 24.2 Nags Head NC
WUBX – TV 31.2 Raliegh/Durham NC
KHMP – TV 2.2 Las Vegas NV
KRMF – TV 7.3 Reno NV
WMBQ – TV 13.1 New York NY
WCSN – TV 32.6 Columbus OH
SLTV – TV 28 Eugene OR
WLLC – 42.1 Nashville TN
KVQT 21.1 Houston TX
KAZD 55.6 Dallas TX
WYAT 40.1 Martinsville VA
Channel Master National US

Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams’ TV Show, JetSet411, Will Debut February 4, 2018 Weekly Syndicated by BizTV to 46 Million Households in US Coast-to-Coast!
December 25th, 2017

Isn’t this just the best Christmas gift yet!

Boston, MA-December 25, 2017- Texas-based BizTV, whose radio division, BizTalkRadio Network, syndicates the three-hour weekly radio show “Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams” coast-to-coast in the US, has signed an agreement with the radio show travel expert host-presenter and executive producer, Stephanie Abrams,  to syndicate her travel television show, JetSet411,  a weekly one-hour show broadcasting on Sundays starting February  4, 2018.  JetSet411 will be available to over 46 million households reaching major US television markets including New York City, Boston, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Reno, Nashville, Honolulu, Fresno and Los Angeles.  JetSet411 will also reach homes in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. A complete listing of stations broadcasting JetSet411 is available at sAbrams.com/blog.

Kelly Kantz, Vice President of Programming for BizTV, explains that expansion into television with Stephanie Abrams’ JetSet411 is a, “natural next step in our relationship. Travel WITH Stephanie, syndicated by our radio division, BizTalkRadio Network, is now in its 16th year and her radio shows have achieved 3500 broadcast hours since she went on the air in 2002. Her shows consistently reach high satisfaction levels among listeners, radio affiliates, and sponsors.  We anticipate that her loyal following on radio will check local listings to find the television stations where they can see JetSet411, scheduled to be simulcast across America on Sundays in the 5-6pm ET time slot beginning February 4, 2018. On Sundays, as JetSet411 goes off the air across America, Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams goes on the air for a smooth transition! The entire executive team at BizTV is delighted that we are syndicating JetSet411 and Stephanie Abrams into this important media space. We are among her greatest fans!”

JetSet411 will conform to Abrams’ mission to present destinations that she’d expect travelers to return from “enriched, enhanced, inspired and uplifted whether traveling for business or pleasure,” Abrams explains.  “We broadcast JetSet411 a decade ago and went on hiatus as my radio shows grew to six hours weekly. Past shows are archived at sAbrams.com. The folks at BTR and BizTV have been great supporters cheerleading our growth and encouraging us to reintroduce the JetSet411.  They’re such an important part of our professional team!”  ­­

JetSet411 will be available in the following cities throughout the US beginning February 4, 2018. While the show will broadcast at 5pmET, 4pm CT. 3pmMT, and 2pmPT on Sundays, please check local listings as individual television stations my choose to broadcast JetSet411 at other times in their programming schedules:

Call Letters DMA State
WBCF – TV 10.3 Florence AL
WBXM – TV 41.1 Montgomery AL
WBXA – TV 24.1 Birmingham AL
KFLA – TV 8.4 LA CA
SWCOTV 31.1 Cortez CO
WBXJ – TV 43.1 Jacksonville FL
WPMF – 17 Miami FL
WSPF – TV 35.4 Tampa FL
WSWF TV 10 Orlando FL
WANN – 32.1 Atlanta GA
WBPI TV 49 Augusta GA
KITM – TV 2 Honalulu HI
WBXF – TV 28.1 Des Moines IA
KBAX -TV 27 Twin Falls ID
WBXC – TV 46.2 Champaign IL
KGPT – TV 26.9 Wichita KS
KBXS – TV 14.1 Shreveport LA
WFXZ – TV 24.1 Boston MA
K16CG – TV 16.5 Godahl MN
K23FO – TV 16.5 Jackson MN
K27FI – TV 16.5 Frost MN
TV 41.1 Granite Falls MN
TV 51.5 Alexandria MN
WOBV – TV 5 Starkville MS
W24EC – 24.2 Nags Head NC
WUBX – TV 31.2 Raliegh/Durham NC
KHMP – TV 2.2 Las Vegas NV
KRMF – TV 7.3 Reno NV
WMBQ – TV 13.1 New York NY
WCSN – TV 32.6 Columbus OH
SLTV – TV 28 Eugene OR
WLLC – 42.1 Nashville TN
KVQT 21.1 Houston TX
KAZD 55.6 Dallas TX
WYAT 40.1 Martinsville VA
Channel Master National US

Mount Greylock Regional High School Rocks Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA with “Much Ado About Nothing!”
November 19th, 2017

One of the joys of living in Massachusetts is that there is a commitment to support of cultural institutions and of grass-roots cultural projects and programs. These programs result in wonderful exhibits, exhibitions, events, performances and activities that create learning experiences and enriching experiences for residents and visitors to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These activities are overseen by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) which is the umbrella organization that oversees individual Local Cultural Councils (LCC) across Massachusetts. The MCC’s official website states,”Administered by 2,400 municipally appointed volunteers, the LCC network consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $3 million in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide.

I am now in my fifth year serving on the Cultural Council Northern Berkshire (CCNB) which represents the 11 towns in the Northern Berkshires of Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. I have done my best, over the last four years, to attend events and performances that are funded by CCNB which have included programs at Centers for the Aging, summer events at local libraries aimed at entertaining while educating children, magicians, singers and dancers, art gallery exhibits, storytellers and dramatic productions performed at schools, churches, social halls, auditoriums, museums and other venues in the Northern Berkshires, all funded, in full or in part, by the Cultural Council Northern Berkshires.

On Friday evening, November 17, 2017, I attended the performance of, “Much Ado About Nothing,” performed by students of Mount Greylock Regional High School, the local high school serving students from Lanesborough and Williamstown, Massachusetts. This culminating activity was the result of the students studying this Shakespearean work, learning and understanding the language of Shakespeare’s time and the story and its nuances and, ultimately, participating in the set design, creating the costumes, learning and performing the parts, performing the play for the school’s student population and another for family and friends before Friday night’s highlight of performing on the same stage where Screen Actors’ Guild and Shakespearean actors of renown have performed.

The play, with a 21st century twist at every turn, was clearly well understood by the students who attended this performance by the bus loads! The theater, which holds almost 400 attendees, rocked with the laughter, applause, and encouragement of the schoolmates of those who were performing and it was clear they understood the story line, the plot, the nuances and subtle meanings as they reacted to the salient spots of the story in all the right places!

I was seated just to the left of Tina Packer, for whom the theater that we were in, the Tina Packer Playhouse, was named. Her beaming face reflected the joy in the production and her enthusiastic support of the relationship between Lenox, Massachusetts’ Shakespeare & Company. Tina Packer was more than pleased! And well she should be as the experience of  the student spectators and the student actors, costumers and others who worked on the play but were not among the performers, created one of those life-altering and lifetime memories of what effort, work, and enthusiasm can produce. That alone is a great life-lesson.

Official information about Tina Packer states that, “Tina Packer is the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. She has directed most of Shakespeare s plays, acted in seven, and taught the entire canon at multiple colleges and universities, among them Harvard, MIT, and Columbia.” How lucky we are to have such talent in this county and talent that is so interested in this particular program that she would be at the performance to see the product of the investment of time and resources by Shakes & Co! Note that this is the second performance by Mount Greylock Regional High School which performed, “Romeo & Juliet” earlier Friday evening at the Tina Packer Playhouse following the same educational scheme outlined above.

The Cultural Council Northern Berkshire takes pride in supporting the efforts of all who bring their talents to share with the eleven communities we serve. This event is just one of so many worthy projects that CCNB supports. Have a look at the photos below to get a sense of the production and go to my facebook page at facebook.com/stephanie.abrams.94 to see the video I shot from my seat!

Special congratulations to all of the students who performed, acted as stage hands, scenery design, and costume design, and to all who had a hand in making this an outstanding production! Also kudos to the faculty members involved in this enriching experience for the students and all who were privileged to see the production at Mount Greylock Regional High School and at Shakespeare & Co. And huge thanks to all of the staff associated with Shakes & Co. (the loving local knickname for Shakespeare & Co.) for investing their time and talent yearly to bring Shakespeare to life for the students and adults in this county who are constantly reminded of the universal and ongoing relevance of Shakespeare’s work.

Enjoy the photos and remember to go to my facebook page to join the play in progress with a short video depicting  a reason to rejoice in the story line!

BRAVO TO ONE AND ALL!

BRAVO! YOU ALL ROCK!


Walk Thru the Facts About Bowe Bergdahl’s AWOL Story Before You Jump to Conclusions!
November 14th, 2017

I wrote this blog in response to an email I received about Bowe Bergdahl and his unique travels that wound up with him being captured by the Taliban resulting in his spending five years incarcerated on the other side of the world under torturous conditions. The email was critical of Bergdahl being in line to receive back pay amounting to $300,000usd. Think before you rush to judgment!

From a travel point of view, can you imagine being anywhere worse and experiencing what came next which includes his unit’s anger and harsh comments about how they feel about his defection in light of the effort of his unit to find him and some being injured and killed in that process? Maybe they don’t know what could be the whole story which had to be played out as if the story is what exactly what you see on the surface. But, just maybe there is a lot more to this story that is classified and we won’t know for  decades or in our lifetime!

Think about this:

The US Military doesn’t take lightly to people who abandon their post.

In general, court martials are swift and soldiers await their hearings in while incarcerated.

Bowe Bergdahl was brought home, given a desk job under his own recognizance for more than three years now.

He was given no sentence, dishonorable discharge and is scheduled to receive back pay.

Those are the facts.

What’s missing in this story?

I predicted that he’d get off with a tap on the hand. Why?

How about just maybe he was on one of those mission impossible missions to infiltrate the enemy where, if captured, the US would deny any  knowledge of what he was up to.

What if he’s a hero taking it on the chin to keep the secrecy of the mission he was sent out on and now has the nation’s opinions dumping further insult to his injury for which he is soldiering up to continue the mystery of why he was out  there in the first place.

How about you see the film “ARGO,” the true story of how the Canadians were given credit for saving our US Embassy personnel in Iran when, in fact, it was an undercover US mission but we just couldn’t take credit for it at the time. Once declassified, the facts of the case were made public and then made into a film which I hope you see.

Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions. The US Military is tougher and US Military courts are tougher than the public sector of law in the US so if he’s getting the treatment you are now seeing, just maybe the people making the decisions are on the inside track to information that can’t and won’t, anytime soon, be made public.

My father’s words to me when I was barely 4  years old ring in my ears: “Believe half of what you see and a quarter of what you hear and you’ll be all right!”

Do some re-evaluating of this story, step by step, of the special treatment offered to Bergdahl before you jump to any conclusions. I saw the handwriting on the wall for this dismissal from the military way back when they gave him a desk job instead of keeping him in jail until his trial. Who would do that for  a deserter?? No deserter stories I’ve ever heard were treated with such kid gloves which makes me think of  all of those “Mission Impossible” stories.

Give it another thought before you dump more on this guy who, more than likely, is quite a hero! Hard to accept that thought but  those in a position to punish him properly up and down the line have given this GI careful treatment. That’s not the temperament of US Military officers who take abandoning one’s post very seriously.

Think about it carefully and don’t just jump to what seems like should be the “logical” conclusion that everybody in the military is just ’soft’ and ’soft-hearted’ ’cause it ain’t necessarily so!’


Crab Cakes and Amazing Rolls at the Plaza Athenee Hotel in NYC & the Recipes Too!
November 12th, 2017

Staying at the Plaza Athenee in New York City is a marvelous experience! But even if you’re not going to stay at the hotel located in so close to Central Park . . .

. . . you’ll still experience the elegant reception as you enter the hotel’s public areas and you’ll be greeted by lovely fresh flowers and sparkling marble floors.

Now, if you’re a guest in residence, stop in your room or suite to relax a bit in the elegance of your accommodation, and refresh in the glorious bath room. . .

. . . and then pop into their lounge for a drink or their lovely restaurant, a place where I had  a wonderful lunch that made me feel like I had just flown to France for lunch!

I did something my cousin Jerry Sachs tells me never to do outside of the region of the Chesapeake Bay! I ordered Crab Cakes. And I can tell you that even a Marylander would overwhelmingly approve of these crab cakes. . .lump crab meat. . .all crab meat. . . not that “stuff” that many restaurants refer to as crab cakes that contain anything but 100% crab meat and are overwhelmed by  mashed potatoes or bread stuffing! No, this was the real deal!

Also served were amazing rolls with whipped butter. . .rolls so amazing that I had to ask the executive sous-chef for the recipe for the crab cakes and the rolls which I share with you in hopes you’ll get busy in your kitchen and think of me as you dine on these generously shared recipe.

ENJOY!

Generously Shared by the Plaza Athenee Executive Sous-Chef Alfred Thomas

Recipe I: Crab Cakes

1 pound-jumbo Lump blue crab meat, picked over the shells

1/3 cup Mayonnaise

½ cup panko bread crumbs

1 large egg, beaten

2tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

3 dashes Tabasco

¼ small dice sweet bell pepper

½ teaspoon paprika

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoon vegetable oil/unsalted butter

-In a large mixing bowl, combine half of the crabmeat, panko, eggs mustard, Worcestershire, tabasco and paprika. Season with salt and pepper and stir until thoroughly combined.

-Gently fold in the remaining half of crabmeat and sweet red pepper, try not to break apart the lumps of meat as you stir, gently coat in bread crumbs and shape into 2oz patties and arrange on parchment-lined sheet pan.

-In a medium cast iron nonstick skillet, heat oil/or butter over medium-high heat. Add 2oz patties and cook and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown and finish in oven

Alfred Thomas

Executive Sous Chef

Recipe II: Nut and Raisin Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup white sugar

1tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

1 cup applesauce

3 tablespoon butter, melted

1 cup raisin

½ cup chopped walnuts

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F ( 175 degree C ). Lightly grease muffin pan

- in a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar and cinnamon and the rest of dry ingredients

-in a separate bowl, beat together egg, applesauce and butter

-mix applesauce mixture into flour mixture until combined

-fold in raisin and chopped walnuts into prepared muffin pan

-bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean, allow to cool and serve warm

With special thanks to Alfred Thomas Executive Sous Chef at the Plaza Athenee in NYC for sharing!


Sexual Harassment Injusticed & Under-Secure Facilites Aren’t Confined to Hollywood & Churches!
November 12th, 2017

Advice to New York State Tourism Folks: Upgrade Security, Turn Down the Sex and Give Some Business Practices Training to Staff!

This bulletin board is located next to the entry door to an office at the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, NY, overseen by ORDA, in the office where the First Aid Kit hangs prominently on the wall for all to use and see. . .along with this material and the postings of important contacts of people and a list of where fire extinguishers are available for  those who care for the complex!

Here’s a good place to look in the Olympic Jumping Complex if you need a fire extinguisher or a dirty joke!

The First Aid Kit hangs prominently on the wall across from the bulletin board shown above with the unique offerings unrelated to operation of the Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, NY!

The story in short:

  1. If lunatics can walk into a church in the US and maim and kill and if people in the biggest tourism center in America, Las Vegas, are at risk simply by attending a music event, you’d think that would be the signal to every agency that oversees safety at tourism destinations to take a closer look at security and shut the barn door before the rogue horse thieves get in! So this is my message to the folks at ORDA, the Olympic Regional Development Authority headquartered in Lake Placid, NY, to get some security mechanisms (like lock your doors) . . . both exterior and offices. . . and security people over at the Olympic Jumping Complex. Because I went in search of my “lunch date,” an executive of ORDA who scheduled an appointment with me for which she chose the date, time and location of that luncheon which meant a 350 mile round-trip drive over 7 hours for me to be at the appointment that she never changed nor cancelled, I wound up, not at ORDA’s headquarters but, at the administrative offices of the Olympic Jumping Complex down-the-road-a-piece. (How I got there is a whole story for another day!) That building was wide open, the warehousing area of dozens of ski suits , boots and skis was wide open;  the offices in that building, except for one with a locked door, was wide open and NOT ONE PERSON was in that building or anywhere near it. I walked in and out of every office hoping to find my lunch date executive who never showed up  at the darling restaurant right on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid that she suggested I make a reservation at but never showed up, was nowhere to be found and  had not yet returned any of my at least four (4) calls to her office and cell phone lines.

But what I did discover is that this whole area was open to whatever mischief some loony-bird might want to perpetrate!

The view of Mirror Lake from the Mirror Lake Inn

Right beside that building is this iconic tower with an elevator to the top for skiers and, at this time of year, for the many visitors who were milling about the grounds with intentions of having a look at the foliage from the top of this tower used for ski jumping in winter. WHERE WAS SECURITY??? There just wasn’t any! I entered the administration building of the Olympic Jumping Complex with only the best intentions of finding either my lunch date or someone who could tell me where I could find her. Were I a person with mischief on my mind, who knows what kind of story would have been on the front pages of every newspaper and on newscasts! But I fell into so much more!

The Olympic Jumping Complex in Lake Placid located off of Ski Jump Road/Ski Jump Lane and just outside of the Administrative Building

  1. At least one employee in that building is a woman. Her office is lovely; the only neat and nice office in what is otherwise a bunch of pig-pen offices made that way by those that use those offices. This woman, whose office I walked around freely because it was open and available to any visitor, regrettably, was not my errant lunch date as the name of the inhabitant of that office was clearly discernible from all of the memos on her desk addressed to her so my joy in seeing a lovely office that I might wait in for my appointment was crushed learning it was some other woman’s office.

I feel sorry for that woman, and any other woman who works in that building at the site of the Olympic Jumping Complex in NYS because the men who work there seem to think that at least one of those office is their private club and in this room, where there are desks for 2 people, probably men, lockers for staff, bulletin boards boasting lists of telephone contacts for key ORDA staff and maintenance crew, next to and across from the First Aid kit hanging on the wall for all who need a bandage or have an emergency, you’ll find the kind of pin-ups you might expect from a magazine that panders to those interested in viewing salacious materials. Note that I have no problem with what people want to look at in the privacy of their homes but do remember this is an office whose physical plant and employees are supported with funds from New York State which is supplied by tax payers. Additionally, there’s a copy of a  “joke” attached to the bulletin board and posted just beside lists of important phone numbers that a staff member might need so at some point, everyone who works in that office, between needs to see the lists, use the First Aid equipment or use a locker provided therein, just might have to have their faces shoved into this clearly inappropriate materials and is a clear indication of the lack of respect for the women, or woman, who works there and women in general. . . all supported by tax payer funding.

I asked a business man for whom I have great respect what would happen if the material shown in the photos here were posted in the office or jointly-used space anywhere on his company’s premises. His answer was that the material would have been removed at once, the staff given a reminder orientation of what is appropriate in the work place and an update on what is included in the term “sexual harassment.” Somehow, all of the above has been overlooked at the office building on the site of this iconic NYS monument to Olympics in NYS!

  1. The process of that led to this missed appointment opened up a series of events I could not have expected! While calling to leave messages for my lunch date in hopes of tracking her down before I made the 175mile/3.5 hour drive home without meeting with her, I went online again to see if there was another location in Lake Placid for ORDA and, having left voicemails for a superior in that office I thought I should try again to reach him to see if he could direct me to my missing lunch date. In doing a generic search for the name of the “boss” and the name of the organization hoping to find a cell phone or other way to reach this fellow before sunset in hopes of getting some input on my missing lunch date, I fell upon a Google result of a pdf of the court decree that declined the defendants’ counter-suit to dismiss the action which came up in the first 10 results on the first page of results for that search that I clicked on that I hope you take the time to read so you, too, will know what I know related to the fish rotting  from the head down.  Apparently, a sexually harassed three+ years female employee with only good review evaluations complained to her female superior about sexual harassment she experienced from a particular male employee and her superior essentially told her to try to get along so she complained to the “boss,” who told her to “get used to it.” (The judge was clear in his distaste for that remark and lack of action to protect this women immediately!). Through spectacularly clever maneuverings, the harassed woman wound up with no job and out the door. She’s just gone. But the “boss” who told her to get used to it was promoted this May, 2017 to ‘top dawg’ of the organization that oversees the place that the harassment took place as well as the greater reach of the organization overall! And to add icing to this awful cake,ehile the harasser was fired, to soften the blow of letting him go he was given ski passes for the winter as a ‘goodbye severance gift,’ which gave him access to come back with some frequency to where he used to work to continue to focus on what he saw as the relationship between his genitals and verbal abuse and the woman who complained about him and ultimately lost her position.  Finding this public information truly sidetracked the intention of my visit to Lake Placid! I hope you read what the District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe decreed when the Defendants requested that the court dismiss the case against the harasser, the superior who did not fight for relief for the complainant, and the top executive whose attitude and advice to the abused employee was, “Get used to it!” I loved reading the judges remarks. Read the whole decree. . .it’s fascinating and not a difficult read! Then you’ll be accurately informed, too.

Ski suits hanging in an unlocked warehousing room on the first level of the administrative building of the Olympic Jumping Complex with not      one staff person nor one security person anywhere around. What’s with that?

If you look at the material on the bulletin board currently available at the Olympic Jumping Complex in NYS and you factor in what appears to be a long-standing attitudes toward women internally in that organization as is evidenced by the District  Court’s public statements, how does indifference to respect for women in the workplace result in heaping more praise, more responsibility, and more rewards upon those in charge who do nothing to better the situation for the victim while the victim is sent off to disappear from a job for which, over her more than three-year longevity, she received only praise-worthy evaluations according to the court records which anyone can access online and which prominently appear for search only for the new head fellow’s name and the organization’s acronym?

By the way: I finally got a call from my errant lunch date at 3:45pm that day who, with a great chuckle on her part giggling about how this could have happened, told me that she was, at that moment, on her way to Albany, NY while I was still in Lake Placid looking for her! Pity she didn’t call me earlier to tell me her plans were taking her to Albany to deliver some posters by 6pm as Albany is a one-hour drive and 29 miles each way from where I live which could have been accomplished in a 2-hour drive and 58 mile trip  as opposed to the 350 miles and 7 hour drive to which I was subjected. (And when I suggested we’d get to Albany by 6m as we were leaving Lake Placid now and perhaps we could have a snack or dinner or whatever fit into her schedule, regrettably, I was told that she thought she might be meeting a friend for dinner and that was that! Just as well!)

But maybe it was Divinely Planned that I go in search of this woman so that I was confronted with the nature of what I was about to step into. You may recall my story recently on Generali Global Assistance, a company I thought would be a great fit as a sponsor for my nationally syndicated radio shows, only to find out that our standards hold a higher bar than their history as a company could meet. This is a similar story, i believe. Clearly, there are issues here from staff whose business practices make working with them more than difficult to ‘ol’ boys club’ attitudes that reward those who allow men to abuse women. I’m glad I didn’t have lunch that day or I would have risked losing that lunch on the way home.

In the new era of focus on the garbage that women are subject to in the entertainment industry, let it be known that the entertainment industry does not have the market cornered on sleazy men who exhibit horrendous behavior because they have “issues” and because they have power in the workplace and believe they can get away with just about anything. Tragically, when such things emerge that demonstrate that those who do not stand up for what is right, who are in supervisory capacities, whose advice is not to rectify the situation immediately but to advise the victim of such actions to, “Get used to it,” and the result is that the victim is maneuvered out of her job but the  supervisor is honored, lauded, praised and promoted to the Big Cheese with press stories announcing why this choice is not only the best choice but the only logical choice for ‘leader of the pack,’ one wonders if there is any justice anywhere.  The Harvey Weinstein story should be an eye-opener for all people and a reminder of something I have learned from business and personal experience:

When someone behaves bizarrely with me, it’s neither the first nor the last time that person is going to behave that way.

In the case of the woman who worked for ORDA  at Gore Mountain and was harassed and got no protection from her superiors, both female and male) in that regard which ended in a law suit she justifiably filed to seek relief, it would be no surprise to me that other women are out there who have stories to tell but, like this victim, were afraid of losing their jobs. When you live in a remote mountainous place and you lose your job, the choices for re-employment are not as vast as one will find in a big city and the gossip that surrounds a ‘whistle-blower’ is enough to ruin what might have been a career path. All of this is the stuff that sad films are made of but this isn’t fictional drama. This is all real. And it’s something I want no parts of under the circumstances I have uncovered in doing something as innocent as wanting to help an organization that should be of interest to tourists and travelers to meet and exceed its goals. Not so much any longer, thank you!

And as a reminder to all people in business, and even those of you who make a date for lunch with a friend:

If your plans change, be sure you let your lunch companion know as soon as you do and don’t play Hide & Seek at the appointed time. Worst of all, this character was in her office the whole time I was leaving her messages on her office and cell phone numbers telling her I was at the restaurant waiting for her! UGH! When I train the world maybe we can get everyone on the same page! Watch for the fictionalized version of all of this in my  next novel, SECRET, which I hope will be out next year. . . so go read RUMORS now!


Ah,Diners! A Great Part of a Great Roadtrip!
November 11th, 2017

Decades ago, a Greek immigrant came to America and opened a diner. There are places called “Diner” all across American and some or great and others are quite average but if you live in the northeast of the US down the coastline to the Middle-Atlantic states, or grew up in that region, you have been spoiled by diners owned by Greeks! Newcomers from Greece, seeing their countrymen doing nicely owning and operating diners, jumped into that business sector. Apparently, early on, the owner of a Greek diner created a daily list of specials and special soups. If, like me, you love pea soup, then you need to find a Greek diner on Thursdays as that’s the day pea soup is the ’special’ soup on the menu and the ONLY day of the week you’re going to find it on the menu! When I lived in NY and NJ, Thursday night was “Diner Night” at our house because I needed to get my weekly dose of pea soup!

For the traveler, you’ve left your favorite restaurants behind at home, wherever in the world home is, and you may be yearning for food types you miss,  the joy of stopping at a diner is that you can get something to please every member in your party with a diversity of items that include a variety of ethnic styles. You’ll find full meals, hot and cold, sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads, breakfast all day and, in many cases, through the night at 24-hour diner locations. Literally, it’s like being at home where you can get exactly what you want only it’s better since you don’t have to make and you don’t have to clear up afterwards!

When you enter the diner, you can count on a refrigerated case filled with huge, gorgeous, tempting pastries and cakes that will probably make you decide on the spot to have a salad so you’ll have room for some of those dessert items! That’s what happened to us when we stopped  at the I-84 Diner in on Interstate 84 on my way back from two events that I’ll share with you soon. So I ordered something not on the menu but clearly able to be put together and that was a Greek salad with grilled chicken on top. My husband ordered a Cobb salad. The salads were delivered in creative dinnerware  that reminded me of a theater in Albany, NY called The Egg. Have a look:

Another thing you’ll generally find in a Greek diner, generally not advertised or marketed as a “Greek”diner but just as a “Diner,” is that if you were with another person, if you each ordered a side salad or a cup or soup, you could order one meal and split and both of you will be quite satisfied as food is generally more plentiful than any one person needs, especially if you’re planning to order dessert which is something two can easily split as well!

This is Tony, the owner of the I-84 Diner in Fishkill, NY, a warm, friendly, hospitable and jovial fellow who, like most owners of diners, is hands-on and there to make diners feel like they are with members of their family. I asked to meet him and he sat down next to me in our book as I did my best to convince him to open a diner in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts! He asked me, “Where were you 40 years ago?” The I-84 Diner just celebrated its 40th birthday on November 10, 2017, just yesterday, and you can see that Tony has reinvested in keeping the I-84 Diner on the cutting edge! And let me tell you that the chicken in my marvelous Greek salad was succulent and deliciously spiced! Yum!

But Tony, please get your friends and relatives together and come to the Berkshires! We need you! And special thanks for the yummy dessert you sent our way. . . and the recipe for it that I’ve posted below! Thanks for sharing!

Custard Pastry

GALACTOBOUREKO

1 quart milk                      8 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar                    1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup cream of wheat            3/4 lb. fila dough (by in market refrigerated case)

4 TBSP. butter                             1 cup butter

In deep saucepan, heat milk with sugar. Add cream of wheat and butter. Simmer, uncovered, until thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat, and set saucepan in cold water to cool mixture slightly. Beat egg yolks until light, and combine with milk mixture, blending thoroughly. Add vanilla flavoring.

Grease an 11″ x 14″ baking pan with melted butter. Arrange half the fila in a pan, brushing each with melted butter.

Pour custard mixture, and top with remaining fila, brushing each with melted butter.

Fold edges to retain mixture.

Brush with melted butter.

With sharp knife, cut through top layers of fila in lengthwise strips, about 2 inches wide.

Bake in over pre-heated to 350 degrees until lightly browned and pastry shakes loose from pan, about 45 minutes.

If pastry browns too quickly, place brown paper over pan and continue baking until done.

Pour syrup (see instructions below) over warm pastry and let stand 15 minutes before cutting into diamond-shaped/pie-shaped servings.

Makes 45 servings.

To make Syrup:

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

Juice from one lemon

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until a medium-thick syrup is formed. Cool before pouring over warm pastry.

YUM! Try not to eat all 45 servings!!

Enjoy!


TO OUR VETERANS PRESENT AND PAST: I SALUTE YOU!
November 11th, 2017

TO OUR VETERANS PRESENT AND PAST: I SALUTE YOU. . . EVERY ONE OF YOU!

And with special thanks, appreciation and pride, I salute:

My grandfather, Adolph Statter, born in Austria and brought to the US by his family in the early 1870’s, joined the US Army, Maryland Company F Unit, 1 Maryland Infantry to fight in Teddy Roosevelt’s Spanish American War in 1898. God Bless the Immigrants!

My grandfather, Adolph Statter, right, with my grandfather, Philip Beber standing in front of his furniture store named for himself!

My father, Jacob Leonard Beber, US Army Infantry, was a highly decorated WWII hero having received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Distinguished Service Medal, Sharp Shooters Medal, French Fougere for his service in France, and a case full of other medals that I need a list to discern! Here’s a photo. See if you know what all the medals are for! The ribbon and medallion came with a big book about his army division and its mission in Europe.

And I salute my mother, Bertha, “Bootsie” to family and “Betty to more distant friends” Statter Beber Danzinger for her service as “Rosie the Riveter” who built bomber planes during WWII at Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore and checked serial numbers in the news each time a US fighter plane went down to make sure it wasn’t one she worked on building! Happily, none of the ones with her fingerprints were brought down!

This four-generational  photo of  my mother, Rosie the Riveter Bootsie Statter Beber Danzinger, left, on her 88th birthday with me, right, and her granddaughter, Tara Jacqueline Abrams Jacobs, and great-granddaughter Piper Lily Grace Jacobs when she was almost 3 months old! Can you imagine her with her welding tool building airplanes to contribute to the war effort during WWII?

My cousin Jerome “Jerry” Sachs served in Korea in the Air Force and so many uncles and cousins served our country well.He looked very sharp in his Air Force uniform! I wish I had that photo which my aunt, Hannah, cherished. But this is Jerry today:

Jerome “Jerry” Sachs, Air Force

I salute those here and long since gone, always remembered every day but especially today.


New Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Talk About Travel When Thou Knowest Not of What One Speaks!
November 1st, 2017

Broadcaster Travel Expert Stephanie Abrams aboard a 777 Flight Simulator at British Airways Flight Training Center at Heathrow Airport with Senior Flight Officer Amit Sani about to “take off” with Stephanie as co-pilot!

Every time. .  EVERY TIME. . . newscasters speak about “all things travel,” I want to jump through the TV or radio and grab them by the neck! The current news about Paul Manafort is already fraught with drama and if the news folks stayed focus on the relevant facts, that would be quite welcomed. But today’s big story is that, according to the MSNBC report I just heard, “Paul Manafort has three (3) passports with different numbers!” Can you imagine!

People, let me be the first to inform you that YOU TOO CAN EASILY HAVE TWO (2) PASSPORTS, EACH WITH A DIFFERENT NUMBER AS THAT’S HOW PASSPORTS ARE ISSUED! And if you travel extensively and needed to have a third passport, I suspect, never having done it, that the Passport Service would accommodate that special need!

Now, why, you ask, would anybody need two. . . or maybe three. . . passports?

Firstly, every passport is individually issued and if you lose or misplace your US Passport, the replacement, like a replaced credit card, will have a different number so having two, or three, passports, each with a different number is how it works and has no special value to be a story UNLESS the passports are counterfeit, black market, manufactured by some underground organization, are bogus and/or exist for the purpose of fraud.

But yes, you can have more than one passport and extremely well-traveled people often have two passports and it seems logical that the need for a third would result in an additional passport being . So why is this not news?

There are countries in the world that won’t let you in if you if you have a stamp of entry on your passport from a country they view as an enemy or with whom they have an adversarial relationship. Such is the case in the Middle East where, if you have a stamp on your passport that displays you have visited Israel, you will be denied entry into Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya. Chances are good that you will also be denied entry into Kuwait, Algeria, and  Iraq.

If you have a reason to visit any of the countries in BOLD letters above, and you also need to visit Israel on the same trip, the trick is to go to Israel LAST and then you beat the system! But once that trip is over and you need to make another trip to the Middle East, that stamp from Passport Control when you entered/exited Israel will be a barrier to your visiting any of the aforementioned countries. The US State Department, which governs US Passport services, recognizes the nuances of international travel and understands the need of US travelers to be able to travel where they need to go to without barriers to their progress and, therefore, it is legal. . . and recommended. . . that anyone who wants to go to Israel or any other country that would impede the ability to then go to other countries may apply for a second passport with the intention of using one  of their two passports for all travels to Israel or any other country that some other destinations might use as a reason to deny entry to the travel.

For whatever crimes Paul Manafort may be accused of, it probably would be best to focus on those and not blow up a tale about the number of passports he has, something that, on the surface, appears to be perfectly legal and something that so many people who travel extensively for business or pleasure possess. If these passports are using different names in an effort to pretend to be someone else, as you’d see in an episode of “Jason Bourne” where he has a backpack filled with passports from multiple countries and each bears his photo with another name and identity, that would clearly be illegal.  But having two US Passports to expedite  your travels is something you can apply for today! And, given that the US Passport Service is sensitive to the needs of passengers, my guess is that if you explained that you now have a stamp on both passports from a country that won’t be acceptable to another place you need to visit, the likelihood is good that you’d be issued a third passport but I’m going to defer to the wisdom and knowledge of Brenda Sprague, a frequent guest on my radio shows, Travel WITH Stephanie Abrams and Travelers411, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services, a division of the US State Department and get her opinion on the subject of multiple passports. If things go right, we’ll get her back on the air with me very soon, in her very busy schedule, to bring us all up to date! You can hear interviews with Brenda Sprague archived if you click on this link.

Also note that there are people with dual citizenship so if  you have roots in Ireland, for instance, or if you were born in another country and have become a US citizen, you can carry a passport from your “motherland” and you could have two US Passports if you indicate you need that second one because of political differences between a country you visited and the next place you want to go so,  you, too, could have three passports. . . all with different numbers!

If you want to nail Paul Manafort for misdeeds, go after him for something that makes sense and don’t dilute the story with how many passports he has unless there’s some illegality about the passports such as that they are forgeries or some other meaningful arguments. If the Department of Justice wants to be sure that he doesn’t take off for parts unknown, it would, of course, be important to know how many passports he has and confiscate all of them. I suspect if you traveled as much as he does you’d need three passports too so there’s not really a story in today’s news story! Don’t waste air time with a non-story and leave the impression that there’s something nefarious in having more than one passport. One day, I suspect, I’ll have the need for a second passport too! I can’t imagine that becoming national news!


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