VIDEO: Corzine signs predatory towing law that protects motorists from tow-truck operators who tow cars from private lots, charging excessive fees for their retrieval. Story by Stephanie Akin / The Record


VIDEO: Field hockey coach Eileen Allan & daughter Danielle
lead Pompton Lakes into the county finals.


"Living with our heads underground
Into the night we shine
Lighting the way we glide by
Catch me if I get too high
If I come down
I'll be coming home next year."
-Foo Fighters, "Next Year
On Saturday night, my bud Jim Anness and I were leaving NBC after shooting a wedding at The Rainbow Room (it was spectacular -congrats Vanessa &'s to a lifetime of happiness) when we saw Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters hanging in the lobby with some family and friends before going on SNL.

I of course thought maybe he was the janitor, not a big fan. Had no idea. But my man Jimmy spotted him right away and was like a school girl on prom night. So we hung back waiting for the right moment to ask him for pic. He couldn't have been nicer... not to mention how impressed he was at my vast skill in pulling off the one arm extended Hail-Mary.
The exchange went something like this:
Dude, wow you can do that?
Sure Dave...I'm a professional.
Now look at the camera and give me some attitude.
Read this about Grohl on Wikipedia:
"In May 2006, Grohl sent a note of support to the two trapped miners in the Beaconsfield mine collapse in Tasmania, Australia. In the initial days following the collapse, one of the men requested an iPod with Foo Fighters songs to be sent down to them through a small hole.

Grohl's note read, in part, "Though I'm halfway around the world right now, my heart is with you both, and I want you to know that when you come home, there's two tickets to any Foos show, anywhere, and two cold beers waiting for yous. Deal?" In October 2006, one of the miners took up his offer, joining Grohl for a drink after the Foo Fighters acoustic concert at the Sydney Opera House.

Grohl wrote an instrumental piece for the meeting, which Grohl pledged he would include on the band's next album. The song appears on the Foo Fighters' latest release Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, titled "The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners"."


Mea Culpa. n. (may-uh kul-puh)
An acknowledgment of a personal e
rror or fault.

Greg Mattura, a fine local sports writer I work with at The Record, who covers the high school volleyball beat -among other things. This week he wrote a feature piece about the Libero, whose top statistic is the "Dig." The libero is a player specialized in defensive skills: the libero must wear a contrasting jersey color from his or her teammates and cannot block or attack the ball when it is entirely above net height.

In other words, they do the hard grunt work for their teams.

So Greg set up a photo assignment for me to photograph four top Bergen County libero's at the construction site at Paramus High School. With permission from the school and the girls coaches, he was going to bring four shovels for the girls to "dig" volleyballs amongst the construction equipment. The photo was to accompany his story.

He thought it was a great idea. I thought it was over-the-top.

Although the idea was creative, I thought it corny. I called him... Greg, I love you man, but this is stupid... He calmly let me vent, then informed me that I was overly negative, and that I should just show up and produce a wonderful photo -as usual.

For those who don't know Greg -he is a mensch, and one of my all-time favorite colleagues to work with. He is a superb reporter; diligent, caring, extremely hard working, dedicated, and is a real good guy. He and I have collaborated countless times, usually while covering golf which his main beat, and a passion of mine. One of the nice things about covering golf with Greg is that we get to razz and needle each other on the course in between shots. Once we put our heads together to make a quirky portrait photo of a golfer who scored a hole in one -taken from "inside the cup." It won some award, I don't remember which.

I've covered a lot of local sports in my 20 years. I've seen how the intensity and pressure of youth sports has been increasingly ratcheted-up over the years. It's particularly evident in girls sports, where the level of play has improved by a great measure -in my estimation. I just think we in the local media sometimes try too hard to make these high school athletes into stars and local celebrities, I think it at times it borders on sensational and gratuitous.
What exactly are we saying to readers here with this photo?
What is the meaning?

As it turned out, the kids were great. IHA's Stephanie Cruz, Paramus' Vanessa Sullivan, RiverDell's Kiara Besonia, and Bogota's Ashley Ramirez. Greg's idea turned out better than I expected, much better, and I concede that I was overly negative. It was creative and a good attempt, on Greg's part and the part of the coaches here, to make something mundane into something good. I respect that and appreciate his effort. And the girls were great sports.

Perhaps I was being overly negative.
I liked the shot, I may put it in my portfolio.... Thanks Greg!



VIDEO: Volunteers give away free reading material to promote literacy in Paterson, despite opposition from the city. Column by Mike Kelly/ The Record