John Delach

On The Outside Looking In

Month: January, 2017

Trump’s Tweets

There is a very good likelihood that I am about to deliberately descend into the rabbit hole where I will be lost in a strange and incomprehensible world. Like a good number of you, my understanding of social media is minimal.  Granted, I am slightly ahead of the Patriot’s Coach, Bill Belichick who recently referred to electronic sites with made up names like “SnapFace” and “InstantChat.”  Though I don’t participate directly in social media, I am aware of Facebook, Skype, Twitter, Snapchat, Linkelin and YouTube.


I have impressions of these platforms. Facebook is where people put their egos to show off who they are, what they do, where they go, what they love and hate and how great their kids are. Snapchat is where kids, teens and young adults can make assholes of themselves. Skype is how to video chat with family and friends around the world for free. Linkelin is where to find a better job and YouTube replays an endless number of videos, mostly of pets doing stupid things.


Now, thanks to President Donald Trump, Twitter is the one that I am trying hardest to understand. Not what it is or what it does, this I believe I get. I see Twitter as a place where an individual can make a brief proclamation making a quick, brief point, the electronic version of shouting out to a crowd using a megaphone. Like using a megaphone, the individual has to stop and take deep breathes to continue. Likewise Twitter’s format forces the author to send separate messages to continue making a point.

I get this but I am just beginning to understand why it appears that Trump is addicted to Twitter but there is a rationale to his supposed madness? There was a piece in The New York Times explaining why the press / media can’t deal with Trump’s tweets. The author made the point that reporters are totally addicted to all forms of social media so as to stay on top of breaking events and not be scooped in this era of instant and changing headlines.

I have discovered that there are just over 60 different social media sites and Twitter is only the seventh most popular. Facebook is number one with well over one billion hits a month. Next is WhatsApp with 850 million, then WeChat (700), Ozone (640) Tumblr (550) and Instagram (400) before Twitter’s 320 million.

That’s just the top seven sites and how many can the average reporter possibly track at any given time? But enter Trump. In a way he simplifies the search for breaking news. Why troll sites like Google+, Viber, Line, Snapchat, Pinterest and Telegram when all one has to be is alert to the next early-morning “bulldog” edition of Trump’s tweets.

Once these messages reach the media’s hand-held devices, it is off to the races. Scribes react immediately and furiously “re-tweeting” his messages to each other and launching new versions, making commentary and issuing challenges to build the story or fact checking to verify or attack the accuracy of Trump’s tweets. It seems obvious this is the press’ / media’s intent, but it is not the consequence. Instead of developing the story, their actions and reactions actually fan the flames of Trump’s rants until they fuel fire storms sucking the oxygen out of other news much of it more important and relevant than his daily rants.

Trump breaks all of their rules of communications, analysis and distribution of information. In the pre-Trump world, policy would be presented by the President in a speech, a written presentation or a document that we once called a “white paper.” The press would react; analyze, debate, critique, challenge approve or disapprove. That’s the way media liked it and liked doing business.

Trump preempts the process through his attacking tweets. These tweets are not a new phenomenon. This has been Donald Trump’s early morning modus operandi for a dog’s age but the press didn’t pay attention until his campaign got legs. Now, media reaction converts sleeping dogs into exploding bombs that carry his message everywhere with priority and importance overshadowing other news regardless of its importance.  Trump didn’t plan this, he fell into it but he’s smart enough to recognize the weapon he now has.

What the scribes and commentators should do is downplay or ignore his rants so that they develop at their own speed or slowly die from a lack of interest or real content. But the press can’t do that. It is completely alien and contrary to their addiction to the need for speed and to stay on top and ahead of breaking news. They can’t resist the scoop so they push it as hard and fast as they can.

Trump recognizes that the press can never get ahead of him because he decides when and where to strike. They can only react to what he sends out. So it works for him as they are always on their back foot and they can’t help themselves from doing it. By the time they get their hands around the subject he’s moved on to a new rant.

Think about it. In this way Trump controls the dialogue and not the press.

How long he can continue is anybody’s guess, but meanwhile, like it or not, it’s brilliant!



No Mob on the Waterfront

The New York Times had the chutzpah to run a feature as their lead story in the January 8, 2017 edition of the Metropolitan Section with an inflammatory headline:


The Mob’s ‘Last Candy Jar’: New York’s Waterfront may not be what it was,but organized crime is still clinging to what remains.


This lengthy piece by Joseph Goldstein reported that “investigators say the mob is still present.”


Really? Just because a nephew of a famous wise guy made $400,000 in a single year because he was never off the clock “even when he was at home sleeping.” So what!


“Three consecutive presidents of Newark longshoremen’s union were convicted of extortion.”  Give me a break.


“Walter M. Arsenault, the executive director of the Waterfront Commission insists the mob remains unchanged since ‘On the Waterfront.’ The only difference is now it’s in color.” Well, to quote Mandy Rice Davies reaction when Lord Astor denied having sex with her: “He would (say that), wouldn’t he?”


George Daggett, counsel for the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILU) and cousin of its president, Harold Daggett, demonstrated the commission’s bias and harassing tactics in a suit he brought on behalf of Pasquale Falcetti Jr., a NJ longshoreman. “Mr. Falcetti,”  (Mr. Daggett) said, “was denied a port registration card by the Waterfront Commission for no other reason, apparently, than ‘who this kid’s father is’ – Pasquale (Uncle Patty) Falcetti, a convicted racketeer and reputed leader in the Genovese family, currently in federal prison.”


Mr. Arsenault countered and noted: “You can’t throw a rock on either side of the waterfront without hitting a brother, son or daughter of a made member.”


Supposedly, “the Gigantes, for instance, have 10 relatives – mostly nephews, in-laws and grandsons – working on the waterfront. “


But, let us leave the last word to George’s cousin Harold. So speaketh the president of the ILU: “There is an old saying. The son or nephew should not carry the sins of the father or an uncle.”


Case closed: shut up and fuhgeddaboudit.



The Noro Stomach Virus is that horribly infectious sickness that usually makes headlines went it strikes a cruise ship’s complement of confined passengers turning the “love boat” into “voyage of the dammed.”


Since mid-November, it has struck and continues to strike people in the Metropolitan area with a vengeance. Appropriately, it has selected the period of time surrounding the 75 Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor to suddenly and deliberately attack individuals and families with devastating results.


Our ordeal began with a sneak attack on grandson, Matty, during the week of December 11 in the early hours of the day. Poor Matty never saw the virus coming and suffered both torpedo and bomb hits. Laid low by its severity, he was knocked out of action for five days.


Brother, Drew, was next attacked repeatedly by a lesser dose that never took him out but slowed him down to a crawl for over a week.


All of this happened several days before Christmas. As is our custom, Mary Ann, Max and I made our way to Fairfield on Christmas Eve to celebrate and open gifts in the morning. We took the chance and all was well as we enjoyed Chinese food for dinner, another Dec. 24 tradition. We left for New Hampshire and our daughter’s family early Christmas morning to repeat the process sans Chinese food.


The game plan called for the Connecticut Delachs to join us in Marlow on December 29th but Noro whip sawed Michael on Tuesday while at work in Manhattan. Needless to say, his early commute home to Fairfield, Connecticut was a seemingly endless ordeal. He barely held it together while on the train trading violence for uncontrolled sweats but then paid the awful price for being able to do so once off the train.


And so ended those plans. What was left of the holidays ended the night of the 29th when our son-in-law, Tom, had his turn arrive without warning. We quickly shelved the idea to stay through New Year’s Day as we decided to “get out of Dodge while the getting out was good.”


Tom heroically extended himself to assist in helping to leave and Beth rewarded him by driving home to Brooklyn as he slept.


New Years was quiet which is not unusual for us allowing me to watch my Giants beat the Redskins and get ready for the Packers in a wild card game the following weekend.


The week got off on a good note, a local R.O.M.E.O. (Retired Old Men Eating Out) lunch on Tuesday and lunch and a show in the city on Wednesday to celebrate Mary Ann’s upcoming birthday. We ate at Gallagher’s Steak House and saw a stirring revival of Irving Berlin’s, “Holiday Inn.”


Thursday, my plan was to meet friends at Penn Station and ride the newly opened Second Avenue Subway. NOT: at 2:30 AM, Noro struck. I was amazed how low I fell so quickly. I was able to overcome the nausea but I felt like I had been knocked so hard that I felt dopey. Just completing thoughts was difficult and I took to my bed except for emergency action. By the middle of the day Max decided to join me so I accepted this new bedmate feeling too weak to tackle this 80 pound horse of a dog. My recovery began Friday morning when I decided to shave.


Blindsided indeed! It didn’t end with me as Beth succumbed on Sunday, Jan. 8. I truly hope that none of you suffer this fate but should you, all I can say is this too shall pass.


No Orders, No Messages

I commuted between Port Washington, Long Island and New York’s Pennsylvania Station from 1977 until 2000 and, since my retirement, I continue to make this run mostly on non-rush hour trains two to three times a month.


Port Washington is a terminal and my title is taken from the banter between crew members that I could hear over the open intercom on those coaches as the crew prepared for the morning run:


Engineer to conductor: “Mickey says it’s time to go.”


Conductor: “No orders, no messages.”


Engineer: “I have the railroad.”


…and off we’d go each morning.


Other happenings were not so regimented or contrived. One morning a conductor named, Barney, entered my coach just after the train left the Plandome Station. A well-dressed and coiffed dowager looked up at him as he prepared to punch her ticket and asked, “Conductor, please tell me what time this train will arrive at Grand Central Terminal?”


Barney punched her ticket, looked at her and replied, “Lady, you’re on the wrong f***ing railroad.”


One evening on a return journey, the train was just emerging from one of the East River Tunnels as a different conductor entered the car. He commanded: “All tickets, please, all tickets, please. This is the 6:11 Flyer to Port Washington stopping only at Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington. We expect to arrive in Port Washington at 6:48, all tickets, please.”


When he reached my row, a chap sitting across from me asked, “Why did you say ‘expect?”


“Because nothing in life is guaranteed.”


Beginning in 1989, I started a morning routine of having a daily workout before beginning my workday. I used Cardio Fitness, an upscale facility located in Rockefeller Center as my company was willing to pay for the annual membership. This required me to make the 5:36 train as insane as that sounds. Needless to report, my regular coach was only sparsely populated with other riders when it left Port Washington and often I was its only occupant.


One morning, I sat next to the window on a two seater on an otherwise empty coach. I was already engrossed in the morning’s New York Times when a young woman entered and sat down next to me. I slowly folded my paper, put it down, turned toward my unwanted companion and looked directly at her.


I obtained the desired effect. Clearly flustered, she spoke rapidly trying to explain: “I didn’t know what else to do, my mother always tells me to never sit anyplace but on the aisle and to look for a well-dressed gentleman to sit next to in order to be safe.”


“Look around, the coach is empty. I assure you that it will not get crowded and you can pick any other aisle seat except this one and nobody will try to sit next to you.”


She did as I asked and I returned to my paper but I did keep a protective eye on her for the rest of the journey just in case.