News + Views

I’m in Charge of “Whatchamacallit”


Bruce the Blog







By Bruce Apar



One of my pet peeves when I was a daily commuter on Metro North is the slothfulness of those who made a habit of leaving newspapers on their seat at either end of their journey. Notwithstanding that there are workers who get paid to clean the cars of debris, how hard is it for the person who bought the paper to take it with them and deposit it immediately in a bin on the platform? Hard enough that too many folks didn’t bother.

Since I’ve returned to riding the rails more regularly, a funny thing happens on my way to Manhattan to audition for acting jobs. That peeve about newspapers strewn on seats has all but disappeared, along with the newspapers that I used to see commuters hold aloft in unison, as if they were members of a choir. Nobody is going to leave a smartphone or tablet on a train car seat on purpose. Based on my careful if anecdotal observation, those devices are what commuters now peruse, almost to the exclusion of daily newspapers. If I took a random count in a car—as I have done a couple of times—at least seven of ten people are engaged with a screen of some sort.

No longer is it news that our culture is being endlessly upended by digital media. Post-analog devices and technology are so pervasive at this point, even the word “digital” is no longer descriptive enough to faithfully denote the infinite and wondrous ways it works itself into our lives. Some companies are ditching now-nebulous job titles like “VP – Digital,” to revert to past nomenclature with a tad more specificity, like “VP – Interactive.”

If you’re further on in years and happen to ask a millennial what he or she does for a living, you may need a 21st-century thesaurus of job titles to decipher the answer. What comes back could be something as bizarre as “I’m a Buzz builder” or “I was just promoted to data guru” or “UX is my bag,” with UX short for user experience.

Don’t feel embarrassed if you mistake someone whose business card reads “Director of Talent and Culture” as an entertainment industry mover-and-shaker. That’s an actual title that has nothing whatsoever to do with Hollywood. It describes a recruiter whose job it is to find the most qualified and compatible hiring candidates for all kinds of employers.

Yesterday’s headhunter is today’s head of talent acquisition. Not everyone with me on a train car is heading to Manhattan to audition, but in other ways, everybody wants to get into the act.

Media and marketing specialist Bruce Apar, also known as Bruce The Blog, is Chief Content Officer of Pinpoint Marketing & Design, a Google Partner agency.  He also owns APAR All-Media, a Hudson Valley marketing agency. Follow him on Hudson Valley WXYZ on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Reach him at or (914) 275-6887.

February 10, 2016 |

Pick Your Cherries and Eat Them Too


In Good Taste








How to pick the best cherries and make them last longer

(Family Features) Now that sweet cherry season is officially here, these summertime rubies are a must-have for any barbecue or party, whether they’re baked in a pie, crushed into a cocktail or eaten as a fresh out-of-hand snack. But first things first, what should someone look for when searching for the perfect cherry?

The Perfect Cherries

Cherry enthusiasts should keep an eye out for firm, shiny and smooth skins. In general, the darker the cherry, the sweeter, and with most varieties darkness is a sign of ripeness. The stems should be green and flexible. Northwest cherries, in particular, are known for their extraordinarily sweet flavor, due to the area’s excellent growing conditions. There are a wide variety of sweet cherries, ranging up to the extra-sweet, yellow-fleshed Rainier cherries. Though so similar they’re often sold as their collective “dark sweet cherries,” the most common varieties include Bing, Sweetheart, Chelan, Lapins, Tieton and Skeena.

Keeping Your Cherries Fresh

Fresh cherries should be kept in a tightly sealed bag or container and can keep for approximately two weeks in the fridge. While this cherry season will be short, you don’t have to limit these tasty, healthy treats to just the summer. Buying an extra bag (or two, or three) to freeze allows you to have sweet cherries all year long.

To create festive cherry dishes for the summer season, try this Cherry Martini or Cherry Almond Pie and find more recipes and cherry tips at

Cherry Martini

Servings: 4

2          cups pitted, halved Northwest fresh sweet cherries, divided13279

1/4       cup almond liqueur

2          teaspoons sugar

12        lady fingers, split in half lengthwise

4          whole Northwest fresh sweet cherries with stems

1/4       cup whipped lowfat cream cheese, divided

Mix halved cherries, liqueur and sugar; marinate 1 hour or longer.

Arrange lady fingers against sides of 4 martini glasses. Before serving, spoon 1/2 cup cherries over lady fingers and swirl 1 tablespoon cream cheese over cherries in each glass. Garnish with whole cherry and serve.

Substitutions: Orange liqueur may be substituted for almond liqueur. Angel food cake or pound cake, cut into 3-by-1-by-1/2-inch strips, may be substituted for lady fingers. Lightly toast strips, if desired. Sour cream or creme fraiche may be substituted for cream cheese.

Cherry Almond Pie

Servings: 8

1/2       cup sliced almonds, divided

1          pastry (9 inches), for double crust pie

1          egg, beaten

4          cups pitted Northwest fresh sweet cherries

1/3       cup sugar

3          tablespoons cornstarch

1          teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4       teaspoon salt

2          tablespoons red wine

Red Wine Glaze

2          cups powdered sugar

1/3       cup red wine

Heat oven to 375 F.

Finely chop 1/4 cup almonds.

Roll dough into circle approximately 16 inches in diameter and sprinkle chopped almonds over top; roll gently to embed nuts in dough.

Transfer dough to lightly greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, if desired. Brush with beaten egg.

Mix cherries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt and wine. Spoon cherry mixture onto dough, leaving 4-inch border. Lift edges of dough over fruit, leaving 5-inch circle of cherries showing in center. Fold in edges of pastry to form circle.

Brush pastry with remaining egg mixture; sprinkle with remaining almonds. Bake 30 minutes, or until pastry browns and filling bubbles.

Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. If desired, serve with Red Wine Glaze to drizzle over each serving.

To make Red Wine Glaze, mix together powdered sugar and red wine.


August 3, 2016 |

Jeterless in New York


Bruce the Blog







By Bruce Apar

I’m watching the NBA draft and, no doubt like millions of others watching this chess game of a sports spectacle on ESPN, I am suddenly taken aback. It’s not because of anything on stage. It is the sight of a boy, who couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12, reacting with horror when the New York Knicks draft pick was announced: Kristaps Porzingis. Laugh now. One day, he well could be a household name, albeit a household name unpronounceable to most tongue-tied Americans.
The boy’s crumpled facial expression was worthy of having just lost his pet bearded dragon. I imagine he knew the TV camera was on him, so he probably was mugging some for his buds back home. Still, I was flabbergasted that such a young man would take so hard something that ultimately will have zero effect on his life. Or at least should have zero effect. Sports are supposed to be a pastime, not an obsession that defines a lifetime.
Then I recalled the reaction of our late son Harrison in 2001 as we watched the invincible Yankee closer Mariano Rivera literally throw away—with an errant toss to second base—the World Series in a Game 7 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. I noticed that Harrison at that moment was on the verge of tears when Sandman put his club to sleep for the season. He quickly composed himself, but it made me realize how much a young sports fan’s happiness can hinge—none too healthfully—on the outcome of a single contest, or the fate of a home team.
Not that I always was immune to the same sentiments. The first time I drove by Yankee Stadium after Harrison died in 2003, I burst out bawling like a baby. They were tears of memories that came flooding back in a wave of emotion. They were the realization that he and I never again would share the thrill of watching Jeter or a post-season game at the Stadium.
As I write this, I just have read that the Yankees most likely will not field a single starter in this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star game. Not even resurgent A-Rod, who to the fans is more like an insurgent who shouldn’t still be playing and setting dubious records of historic import.
New York fans are booing the Knicks’ draft pick. New York fans are indifferent to voting in any of the Yankees as an All-Starter. The Rangers and Islanders are on ice ’till next season. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots totally dominate pro-football conversations in the NFL’s off-season.
The unthinkable has happened: When it comes to superstar athletes who transcend their sport, right now there are no sports heroes in New York. David Wright? Wrong. A-Rod? Anti-hero. Henrik Lundqvist? Ice try. Carmelo Anthony? (H)oops!
Oh, well. Wait until next year.
Bruce Apar owns and operates APAR All-Media, a Hudson Valley agency for advertising, content, marketing and public relations. Follow @HudsonValleyWXYZ and @BruceTheBlog on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at or on Facebook at APAR All-Media.





July 8, 2015 |

South Salem Golf Phenom Morales Hopes to Shine in Florida



As a sophomore, Nicole Morales of South Salem left the John Jay Cross River High School’s boys golf team to pursue her future as one of the elite junior woman golfers in the country.  Now, as a senior, she is dropping out of John Jay entirely, and for the same reason.

Morales, the only high schooler ranked among the top five junior girls in the nation, is currently playing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Charleston, S.C. after advancing to match play in the U.S. Girls Amateur Juniors in Fort Wayne, Ind., in late July.

In her final high school year, before embarking on a full scholarship to Alabama, and then, if all goes according to plan, a professional golf career, she will not return to her Cross River campus.

Nicole Morales, a John Jay Cross River student, is spending her senior year in Florida, for intensive golf coaching at Mike Bender Academy, before heading to a full ride at the University of Alabama. Photo courtesy Nicole Morales

She will move to Lake Mary, Fla., and finish her coursework at Lake Mary Prep.  There, she will work intensely with Cheryl Anderson, who has been her stroke coach since Morales was 8, and is part of the nearby Mike Bender Academy.

“This,” Morales said, “is the final chance to work closely with her on my skills and have my coach with me before I go to Alabama.”

The move has been planned as carefully as Morales lines up a 12-foot putt.  “The long-term plan was to make the Lake Mary area near her coach the home base,” said her father, Miguel Morales.


August 8, 2013 |

Give the Gift of Dairy this Holiday Season



In Good Taste







(Family Features) This holiday season, give your family the gift of home-cooked meals that combine the flavor, comfort and variety of dairy. Dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can serve as helpful on-hand ingredients that also provide nutritional and economic value to help you eat, drink and be merry.

Because dairy foods are readily available in most kitchens, they are ideal for creating easy recipes for last-minute get-togethers and entertaining. The experts at Midwest Dairy offer the following tips on how to give the gift of dairy during the holidays:

* Start those busy shopping days off with a hearty bowl of oatmeal made with milk.
* For lunchtime get-togethers, give tuna or chicken salad extra zip by replacing mayo with plain yogurt.
* Make side dishes sparkle by sprinkling shredded cheese on steamed vegetables before serving for added flavor.
* Warm up everyday cold weather favorites by switching out water for milk in hot chocolate, soups and even bread dough and other baked goods.
* Get a kick start on those New Year’s resolutions by using protein-packed plain Greek yogurt to top baked potatoes, chili and soup, and as a base for homemade dressings.
* For extra flavor and nutrition, top seasonal favorite casseroles and pasta dishes with shredded cheese.
* For last-minute parties, mix plain yogurt with seasoning or mash with an avocado to create a quick dip.
* Serve delicious, one-dish dairy-inspired dinners, such as dairy farmer Chris Sukalski’s Parmesan Chicken Fettuccine.

Find more information, nutrition tips and recipes at and visit Midwest Dairy on Pinterest for more dairy-inspired holiday ideas, from home-cooked meals to party pleasing recipes and holiday gift ideas, such as The Dairy Good Cookbook.

Parmesan Chicken Fettuccine                                                 Parmesan Chicken Fettuccini

1     pound fettuccine
3     cups small fresh broccoli florets
3/4     cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), divided
3/4    teaspoon salt, divided
1/2     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
12     ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1     small onion, chopped
2     garlic cloves, minced
4     ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
3     cups whipping cream
1 1/2     cups grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
6     slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
cracked black pepper

Cook fettuccine according to package directions, adding broccoli during last 3 minutes; drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile in large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Season chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Cook in hot butter until cooked through, 5-6 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken from skillet to a plate; set aside. Add 2 tablespoons butter to skillet. Cook onion, garlic and mushrooms in hot butter until vegetables soften, 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

In medium saucepan, combine remaining butter and heavy cream over medium-low heat. Heat and stir until butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining salt and remaining ground pepper. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Stir in chicken, onion mixture and half the bacon.

Toss drained pasta and broccoli with chicken mixture. Divide among 6 serving plates. Top with additional grated Parmesan, remaining bacon and cracked pepper.

Source: Midwest Dairy

December 16, 2015 |

Varsity Girls Soccer Teams Advance in Playoffs: Briarcliff, Mahopac, Ossining, Somers, Yorktown



Four local girls high school soccer teams with outstanding records, led by undefeated Somers, advanced in the first playoff round on Oct. 25.

Somers (16-0) routed Lourdes, 7-0, in Class A as Hannon Eberts, Ciara Ostrander and Jessica Rosenblum each scored twice.  On Oct. 28, Somers plays Eastchester, which nipped Hen Hud, 1-0.  Also in Class A, Yorktown (14-2-1) blanked Sleepy Hollow, 6-0, as Alyssa Francese scored thrice, and Panas beat Harrison, 4-2, as Alyson Kelly scored twice.

In Class AA, Ossining improved to 11-1-1 behind Jhada Francis’s three goals, while JoLynn Magnani’s pair of goals led Mahopac past Clarkstown South, 3-1.  Bella Rodriguez helped with 10 saves.  “Our captains said we were not going to make this our last game,” Magnani said.

In Class B, Briarcliff moved to 15-2, burying Croton Harmon, 7-0, as Carly Fanelli had three goals, while Putnam Valley fell to Bronxville, 5-0.

October 27, 2014 |
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