Tough. My Dad first and foremost. Okay – you’re talking about school I think. School. I loved Mr. Mason (Ray Mason) my 7th grade Spanish teacher. He was “cool,” fun and showed an interest in his best students. In many ways he is my “favorite” teacher. But – I cannot forget Mr. Hyman. Richard Hyman. He was strict. He was a former US Marine. He wasn’t anybody’s “pal.” But he was a man’s man who wore a suit and white shirt and tie to school every day. And he saw something in three of his students in his 7th grade social studies class. Kevin, Kimball, and me. We had our hands up all the time for question and answer. We loved history. He singled us out. He gave us harder tests than the rest of the class. He made us write essays and graded them hard. He pushed, pushed, pushed and then pushed us more. He made me believe I was really as smart as I wanted to be and made me want to be even smarter to show him. He was right to single us out. He was the best teacher in public school I ever had. I wish every kid could have a teacher like him. I wish I could track him down if he is still living and thank him.
3. If you could be paid to do anything besides your current job, what would it be?
1) A musician, who can play at least 3-4 different instruments with the ability to “throw down” in every musical genre. Oh. He would be able to sing too- and hold a tune. 2) A master landscaper, a guy who designs showcase landscapes for everyday middle class back front yards all over America. 3) A master woodworker who designs and builds custom furniture and a myriad of other “things” that come to mind. 4) An archeologist. 4) A planetarium owner. 5) A spy.
4. Tell me about a public or private moment when you thought to yourself, "This is what Elvis felt like every day.”
I don’t have the foggiest notion of how to answer this one. Oh well. Elvis has left the building, apparently.
5. What's your current “guilty pleasure” non-news television show?
I missed most of the X-files. Netflix fixed that. I watch an episode two or three times a week. Yeah. The X-Files. Kookville.
6. What’s the best present you ever received as a child?
The Remco Frogman. It was the first toy I really, really, really, really, really wanted. And my parents hooked me up! Oh the bliss. Oh the delight. The darn thing never swam like it did on TV but – it was still a dream gift. One I will never forget.
7. What’s the best present you ever gave?
The money (fifty bucks or something like that) that I gave my mom. It was money from my first real summer paycheck.
8. What advice do you remember your mother or father giving you? Did you take it?
This is America. You can be anything you want to be. Yes. It was part of the “culture” back then.
9. Who would be on the perfect "Red Eye" panel?
Guests who are incapable of telling lies, trying to spin a story for political gain, journalists who know their subject matter in and out and would rather the truth be revealed than they get face time, and politicians who still believe in the goodness of America.
10. What books are on your reading list?
Too many to list. But, just today I started one more – Ideas Have Consequences, an expanded edition of Richard M. Weaver’s book published in 1948.
11. What would you like tomorrow's headline to say?
12. Tell me about the moment you decided to enter the political arena.
In the 4th or 5th grade – reading an article that ticked me off and wrote a letter to the editor of the Long Island Press. It got published. Never revealed my age – that I was just a kid, nor was it mentioned.
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