A Challenge for the Ice Bucket Challenge.

If you have been scrolling your Facebook feed, chances are you have witnessed the very popular Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). In case you have been living under a rock, people are challenged by others to pour ice water over their head and then nominate three people to do the same, or else make a donation to ALS.

I was challenged by a co-worker and chose to make the $100 donation rather than get doused. The results of this viral campaign don’t lie. The ALS Foundation has exceeded expected donations by millions as opposed to other time periods with just traditional donation solicitations. This is all very important, and it’s good news.

I do not wish to damper these efforts or the money it has made for the charity. I just worry that it took a slapstick comedy action like dumping water on someone’s head to get the country motivated to take action. I know it is the end result that matters, and the end result has been positive, but I would like to issue a challenge myself. I challenge everyone who has participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to take a few minutes in the next few months to do some research. Break out the laptop, Google and find a cause or charity that you can educate yourself on and have direct effect on.

Different things strike different chords with each individual. Have you lost someone to cancer? Do you know a child with autism? Do mistreatment of animals touch a nerve with you? If you cannot offer up money, you can always give the gift of time. Volunteer opportunities at a soup kitchen, food bank, local library or school are all options.

Make a difference in a way you see fit. It doesn’t have to go viral. If it does, great. If not, you know that you are doing your part. You are always going to be better at something that you are emotionally invested in as opposed to blindly putting your support behind the latest fad. I respect the Ice bucket Challenge, I applaud the Ice Bucket Challenge, but I challenge YOU to continue the giving and conversations once the Facebook news feeds and Vine videos stop and we as a society move on to the next newsworthy thing. Do you accept my challenge? Tweet me and tell me what you are doing @skyskymedia

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Comedy and Tragedy

I purposely waited a few days after the death of comedian and actor Robin Williams to jot down my thoughts as I needed to let it all settle. Williams has always been on my short list of pure genius. I would watch him in awe and with my respect as he could run the gamete of entertainment from stand up, movies, television or even the basic interview. My favorite Williams moments were those interviews where the reporter or morning TV anchor would simply say “Hello” and from their they were taken on a 7 minute ride inside the mind of  a master. The particular interview I will always remember was from the television show “Inside the Actors Studio”. Williams was on fire for 2 full hours. The highlight for me when he took a woman’s scarf out of the audience and went from character to character of improvisation turning a simple cloth into comedy gold. After Williams has a heart attack in 2009 he went on a stand up comedy tour. It was on my bucket list to see him live and in person and he did not disappoint. His topics ranged from politics, to entertainment, drugs, sex and rock and roll. His spin and commentary on things in life was unique, funny and most importantly thought provoking. That is the inner workings of the mind of a genius. His brain worked unlike no other.

There is a reason why comedy is paired with tragedy. The two go hand in hand in history and in life. Many comedians, people that make you laugh have another side to them. Some call it a dark side others say that comedians often suffer from a sadness and depression when off stage and are other people entirely when not performing. The media and pundits have been out in full force covering Williams suicide and among the positive remembrances has been a smattering of something very opposite. There have been some criticizing the celebration of Williams because his action of suicide was selfish. This is not an uncommon sentiment among the family and friends left behind after someone commits such an act. As far as we have come in terms of mental health however I am not sure we have come far enough. Depression is real. Depression is present. Depression is dangerous. There is still a stigma attached to this mental health issue and I think the thing people would be surprised at is the number of people who you NEVER WOULD EXPECT to suffer from it deal with it everyday. I am not a doctor, mental health expert nor anyone qualified to speak on medical issues but I would advise the all to treat each other with kindness and understanding. Creating a environment for loved ones to speak openly and honestly without judgment is key in  helping those who may be in  dark period in their life. Even if not visible you don’t know what someone else is dealing with. If you are the one suffering from depression, find someone to talk to. Even if it is an anonymous person, religious leader, hotline or whatever. An understanding ear goes a long way. Know that people care. Lean on the right people to get through it. Let their me more comedy in your life than tragedy. If you need help one option for resources is http://www.mhaorangeny.com/


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Green with……appreciation

I am sitting in my 600 square foot studio apartment, wearing my Old Navy shirt and shorts drinking the store brand coffee. And it is the perfect quiet morning. I am fulfilled and satisfied. Sure I love nicer things, sure i splurge in certain areas of my life and of course I dream of that big mansion with a boat in my backyard (because of course the mansion is a waterfront mansion).  Even with all these thoughts and dreams I am cognoscente  and fully appreciative of what I have. That is the brain of a 30 something year old I would hope. However I am concerned about the general tone of the messages put out into the media glamorizing glamour so much that it would make people, even those who think they aren’t impressionable feel “less then” or strive for the unattainable and suffer disappointment when its not reached. Even depression when they don’t “keep up with the Jones’s” .

Channel surfing the television shows I pass by are “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills”, “Million Dollar Listing”, “The A List”, “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”.  There is a natural voyeuristic interest in a lifestyle that seems to be a dream and seems to be something you wish you were a part of. But with the sheer number of these shows on television makes me believe that as a whole Americans are unhappy with their lives and in order to be entertained they need to be shown a different lifestyle. It is the season premier of “The Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” this weekend. Last season, 95% of the show was over the top exploits but in order to have some sense of civic morality about 18 minutes of an episode was dedicated to a fund raiser benefit the “kids” held. Clearly not wanting to leave their comfort zone the benefit of course was held in Beverly Hills, god forbid they went to “The Valley”. The “REAL” Housewives franchise is a huge success for Bravo television. I am not sure I would consider any of the woman housewives. Yes they don’t go to a specific  place of employment everyday (most of them) but also they don’t take care of the home and children as housewives do. The real “socialites” of Beverly Hills would be a more appropriate title.

Even social media site Facebook has been linked to “depression” due to envy. While Facebook has many different uses, when truly broken  down it is more of a “brag book” to let your friends know your professional accomplishments, personal accomplishments, if your in love, if you look good, if your completed home improvements, or if you “checked in” from the a remote island resort. Intentions are often harmless but it does evoke certain emotions.

The key to navigating all of these messages being thrown at you is to stop and take moments to reflect on what truly matters and what makes you happy. It is OK to dream, wish and fantasize but remain grounded in whats real. A private jet to an island for a weekend is not real in most peoples lives. The unsolicited hug from your child at night is. Those are the moments to focus on.

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Im losing it…literally..

Why oh why wallet must you forsaken me? Everyone has their own quirks in their personality. Some people are fast drivers, some people are cheap, some people are good looking. Me? I lose wallets. The amount I have lost over the years is probably not believable. The ways in which I have lost them is even less so. I remember “my first time”. My parents had gone on vacation to Florida and left us kids home with spending money and me in charge. I went to the movie theater with the money we were given for the week in my wallet. The movie was great. The theater was dark. Before I knew it (well when I got home) I realized the wallet was gone. Upon returning to the movie theater, and on hands and knees it was gone. I was in charge of my younger brother and sisters well being for a week and now I had no money, credit cards, identification or anything else. It was a call to the neighbors and a quick loan that got us through the week.

I have twice left my wallet on top of the roof of my car. I have twice been on Route 9W in Newburgh trying to find my possessions roadside with the hope of retrieving as much as possible. I was recently on Long Island visiting family. I had to rush back to the Hudson Valley to work an event. I had just reached the Whitestone bridge when I hear the Facebook messenger on my phone alert me. It was a message from Tyrone. I don’t know anyone names Tyrone but I read it. “I have your wallet”. What? How? Now? I had left it on top of the gas pump located all the way back on the end of the island in which I started. Needles to say I turned around and got the wallet but missed the event. I will forever love the bread store owner who works next to my apartment. I didn’t go far but in the process or getting out of my car and walking across the street I dropped my wallet in the snow. The shop owner sought me out and gave it back to me. She would take no reward. That brings me to today. I has a business meeting in Yonkers and needed to rush to come back to the Hudson Valley and be ready for my radio airshift that afternoon. I made it back in time and had a great show. After my show I stopped at the food store to pick up dinner. One problem. No wallet. I left it on the gas pump.

Growing up Catholic I knew that Saint Anthony was the person to whom which you prayed for a lost item. I need to hire Saint Anthony myself and have him take care of me and my life. Until then I will be on all fours looking for my identity Help!

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Artists to watch

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching one of the most popular new artists on the radio perform at the legendary Apollo Theater; Sam Smith. He is embarking on a sold out Fall tour and this was a teaser show for some of his biggest and most loyal fans. His lyrics are deep and meaningful as his delivery of such lyrics are as well deep and meaningful. He is the epitome of the phrase “music is what feelings sound like”. He was joined on stage by legend Mary J Blige and held his own while performing next to such a powerhouse. I predict even bigger things for Sam Smith. In this edition of Skywriting here are a few artists to watch, and get to know as I think their futures are bright. Enjoy this sneak peak.

Electronic Dance Music or EDM is experiencing a huge amount of success right now. What used to be more “rave” and “underground” has burst on to the mainstream front and has increased in popularity. There is a whole dance music culture which has spawned many festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival and locally Mysteryland. Mainstream artists are pairing with DJ’s and music producers to get in on the latest craze. M83 is a French group that is one to watch. They are creative with their use of lyrics and reverb with instruments creating a very unique sound. They are 5 albums deep already but experiencing this mainstream push by attaching their music to motion pictures like Divergent. Check out www.ilovem83.com for more.

Bleachers is the creation of Fun’s Jack Antonoff. It is a indie rock sound  that was created in secret until the album was finished. The single I fell in love with was “I want to get better” and is a unique sound that definetley leaves you wanting for more and for the whole album. I bought the album Strange Desire on July 15th when it was released and it has been on repeat ever since. The songs Roller-coaster and Shadow were two of my favorites on the album and yes on cut #10 you may hear Yoko Ono. For more ear candy check out www.bleachersmusic.com

Schoolboy Q started like many in the hip hop and rap world with underground mixtapes. These are albums put out by the artists themselves to generate a street buzz about them. Often times if you want to see whats new and whats on the up and coming, rummaging through those CD’s on the checkout counter in the gas station is worthwhile. He properly lunched his career in 2011 after getting the attention of Kendrick Lamar another artist and his label. His rap and rhyme style is considered similar to Jay Z which could be why I like this music so much.

Those are just a few of the up and comers but word of mouth is how to get in the know of the next big thing. So i rely on you. Who should I be listening to now?? Tweet me @skyskymedia

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Hudson Valley Day Trips

OK OK the kids want to go to Disney World. You do the math. Plane tickets, hotel, park admission (which is at the $100 mark), food and souvenirs and suddenly ‘It’s a small world” has become “It’s a small fortune and bank loan” to go to the most magical place on earth. Now the “Mickey Mouse club house” DVD’s have been banned and it is time to reconsider your vacation plans. If you only have a week’s vacation time, plan multiple day trips with a variety of activities to make it seem like one great vacation. The Hudson Valley has many different options to choose from and here are a few ideas.

The Rocking Horse Ranch is the perfect option if you want a Disney like vacation minus plane fare, food and park admission. Your overnight stay price is all inclusive covering hotel, 3 meals and a ton of different activities on the ranch.  Horseback riding, a spa, childrens activities, organized game nights and an indoor water park are just a few of the options available to you at the ranch. Zebras, camels and more make up the wildlife exhibit. Horseback riding is a huge part of the ranch but if you love horses but prefer not to ride there are carriage rides, barn tours and even a horse shoeing demonstration. The ranch is open into the early fall with various rates and specials which become more lucrative the longer you stay. It is a viable alternative to a amusement park getaway with its all inclusive nature. The ranch is located in Highland and you can find out more info at www.rockinghorseranch.com

For those of the over 21 age and who like to take a sip of vino is the Shawangunk Wine trail. There are 15 wineries as part of the trail and to get to a bulk of them (with a designated driver) is a challenge but possible. The wineries vary from older to newer and from more rustic to modern. Each winery on the trail has its own sense of character and charm. Find one you like, buy a bottle of wine and pack a picnic lunch and you are set for the way. Often times the wineries have events and music going on during the weekend like Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville. There is a food and wine festival July 26th and 27th that offers  a variety of choices under one roof. One of my favorite wineries with a view is Benmarl Winery in Marlboro. They hold a sangria festival every summer with various flavors and varieties, a BBQ and live music. More info at www.shawangunkwinetrail.com

A tire and water. Thats all you need. Town Tinker tube rentals in Esopus is an affordable and fun option for a summer activities. For as little as 25 dollars you can rent all the gear you need to go tubing down the Esopus and enjoy the sights and sounds of Mother Nature. Kayaking is also available if that is more your cup of tea. Details at www.towntinker.com

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Red White and Boom

Ahhhhh.. i hear the silence of the office right now. Yes a 4th of July that falls on a Friday means a sneak out of work on Thursday for an even more extended weekend is the thought process for most. America is turning 238 years young today and an American tradition is BBQ’s, fireworks and family fun. The options are plentiful, inexpensive and Mother Nature is going to cooperate for the most part this holiday season. Many villages and towns have their own fireworks celebrations and you can find out more and even get a map by texting the word “fireworks” to 410-45.  Here is a listing of some of the larger celebrations and as always all are weather dependent.

Orange County-The town of Newburgh and the Newburgh waterfront host a fireworks display on the 4th of July beginning at 9pm. The great thing about this event in particular is the Newburgh waterfront has multiple dining options to partake in before the fireworks celebration so you are in prime position to view.  Or attempt to make a dinner reservation at one of the venues with outdoor dining and you can possibly time a great meal with some great entertainment. If you want to just view the fireworks and want to picnic there is common area greens and boardwalk along the river to check out the fireworks.

Ulster County- The city of Kingston hosts a citywide celebration on Friday night with live music at TR Gallo park. There will be multiple bands (one of my favorites The Cagneys) performing. Shuttle buses will be available at various locations to bring you to the waterfront as streets on the waterfront may be shutdown to traffic. Fireworks begin at 9:30 and like Newburgh the Kingston waterfront has multiple restaurants and bars to choose from for some pre-fireworks options.

Dutchess County- One of the best attractions in Poughkeepsie is the walkway over the Hudson. This  walking bridge gives amazing views of the Hudson River as well as the Mid Hudson Bridge all year round. People walk the bridge span year round for pleasure, exercise and more and it lends itself as the perfect fireworks viewing location. By going to www.walkway.org you can purchase tickets for 1o dollars to be allowed access to the walkway on the 4th of July night from 6:30 until 10:30. Find your spot on the walkway, and enjoy as the fireworks will go off between 9 and 9:30. Tickets also available at Adams Fair Acres Farms as well as Mahoneys Irish Pub  in Poughkeepsie.

There so many great options here in the Hudson Valley for you to enjoy the holiday. Please leave the fireworks to the professionals Often times home parties include the shooting off of fireworks in the backyard or street. Make sure  everything is done with safety first so you can enjoy future holidays with your friends and loved ones.


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No more pencils no more books no more teachers dirty looks! Uh oh can you hear that? It is the sound of fear, worry and loathing as parents realize they will now be responsible for the entertainment of their children an extra 8 hours or more while school has recessed for the summer. When I was a kid it was a simple as going outside and not coming back UNTIL the street lights came on. Now with the advent of smart phones, I pads and gaming devices children are in danger of spending their whole vacation indoors on an electronic device. As tempting as that may sound as it will keep them occupied here are a few suggestions that will get them out and about with actual people and activities and hopefully before you know it that school bell will be ringing again.

Camp Redwood-Walden is a summer camp that has been around since 1961 giving kids the chance to play sports, do arts and crafts and more. There are boy/girl specif cams for ages 5-12 and then Co-ed Teen camp for teens 13-16.  There is a pool, games and activities as well as my favorite Color Wars. If you would like to take a look at the facility check out their free camp fishing derby from 1p-3p on June 29th. More info can be found at www.campredwood.net

Make sure you check out your local library for FREE programs from the children like crafts, trips and summer reading programs. Having worked in a library I know the incredible resource it can be and all for FREE as your tax dollars pay for most of the services. Many libraries have summer book clubs in which children can read a book for the summer and “report” on it to a library employee. Often times there are events and parties planned through the summer and at the end of the summer as an incentive to keep reading. Many libraries also offer bus trips to amusement parks and such for teens.

One of the best family activities as a friendly price is a trip to Dutchess Stadium to see the Hudson Valley Renegades play minor league baseball. The Renegades are a division of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and they CATER to families. There are always on field games and contests between innings and a lot of entertainment other then baseball to keep kids interested. Also for kids they can be just as entertained by the Renegades as the New York Yankees so long as its baseball. Additionally at a Renegades game kids have the opportunity to get an autograph from players. This one on one opportunity is not something you get in the Bronx. The best part of a day at the Renegades is the cost. They have game packages that include tickets and food making it an affordable day for the family as opposed to major league baseball. So affordable that you can make it a weekly occurrence. www.hvrenegades.com

Tweet me with more ideas: I will publish them mid-summer when you “run out of ideas”   @skyskymedia

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Rules Of Divorce

Ahhhh your 30′s. It’s a time when you are beyond those late night beer binges, have hopefully found your career niche and are on the verge of buying your first home. All part of the “American Dream”. Also in your 30′s your mailbox will become flooded with 2 items. First wedding invitations and then birth announcements. You will have summers where you easily attend 6 to 8 weddings while being in a wedding party for half of those. First comes love, then comes marriage then come the baby carriage. And according to National Center for Health Statistics what follows for 50% of those is divorce. Yes one in two marriages are destined for divorce. It is a discouraging statistic which has only increased as years have gone on. What is the radio for this? Money? environment? just the overall stress we constantly live with? Taking it a step further maybe we has humans were not meant to be monogamous meaning not meant to devote our whole live to one person. Regardless it is a fact in todays world and has been something I have been dealing with as mid thirties person. And it has raised or sorts of uncomfortable questions to me.

My parents separated a few years ago. This was after almost 40 years of marriage. To say this was awkward and jarring would be an understatement. To say that it is still rather heartbreaking to this day would be a truth. My first thought was “if you lasted 40 years together why throw in the towel now?” To which other people reminded me that yes it has been 40 years and if your not happy why spend the last few years of your life unhappy. Doesn’t everyone deserve happiness?  While everything remains cordial it still brings up many moments to remind you the bond is broken. Suddenly family holidays become a “choice”. Where are you spending your time? With what parent. Who is left out? Or do you choose neutral territory so there is less awkwardness amongst everyone. The other disconcerting thing about divorce and separation is that not only are you removing yourself from your former spouses lives but it is also a “divorce” of family and friends you met through that person. Sure you can remain cordial with a former spouses friends but does your relationship in effect just “end” right there. I suppose it doesn’t have to but if you continue a friendship then is there an element of being disloyal?

There are many nuances and unanswered questions to an all to common situation. The reason I wrote this piece was to garner your advice and suggestions on how to navigate the complexities of being an outsider to divorce. How do you or do you not even continue your relationship with those friends and families whom you met thru the divorcee. I supposed every situation is different as some are more cordial while others can be on a “Jerry Springer” level. Tweet me @skyskymedia

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Sniffle Sniffle Cough Cough

I was just minding my own business. Going through the motions and my day. It was a long day but nothing unusual. I turned in. went to bed ready to tackle the world in the morning. Upon awakening I could immediately feel it. The light heaviness in my chest. I wasn’t in pain but it was there. I immediately cleared my throat. I began to speak as if I was on the radio doing my on air announcing job. Everything sounded ok but yes. THE FEELING was there. “It” was coming. A clear sign that sickness was on the way. My body often gives me a one to two day grace period between when the warning signal sounds and when its “too late”. I immediately went to the drug store to stock up on syrups, pills and the sort trying to deny what I know was the inevitable. SICKNESS is coming and I cannot stop it. As predicted the post nasal drip began to become more prevalent.  Later that day towards the end of my on air shift a gravely scratchy element to voice began to show itself. Here it comes. Sick is on the way. As if planned out like a novel, the progression and symptoms laid themselves out day by day to follow until a full blown sinus infection has blossomed. Speaking, let alone speaking for a living became impossible and I had to call in sick to work.

It is amazing how even as adults we regress to childhood mentality when we are sick. Suddenly I was wishing my Mom was standing by with chicken soup in hand and available to wait on me hand and foot. When I was kid she would lean her head against my forehead and instantly know with the “mom internal thermometer” if I had a fever. Now I actually had to get up myself and take my own temperature with the newfangled digital thermometer.  I don’t think its a coincidence that “mom” is embedded in the word thermometer. If my stomach was bothering me Mom was standing by with a basin next to my bed. Now as an adult my apartment is littered with used tissues, dirty cups and opened medicine packets. As sick as you were as a child there was a kind of happiness that you were missing school and the drudgery of the school day. Now, as an adult reality is yes you can call in sick. However the trade off? Yes you will be that much behind on the work you missed. Or worse yet be expected to “check in” to your work email via your home and smartphone.

One American tradition remains true to at home sickness, as an adult or a child. THE PRICE IS RIGHT. Yes, it is unwritten law that you watch who “comes on down” to spin the wheel and bid on the showcase showdown. Plinko may not be Penicillin but it sure does help you feel better.

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    For the past 14 years, Skywalker has been a fixture in Hudson Valley radio broadcasting. He hosts then most listened to radio show in the market; the 2p-7p drive home on WSPK K104.7 Follow him on twitter @K104sky Read Full
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