Mike Schmidt launches wine for charity… seriously

What fun to cover. This a brief for the Philadelphia Business Journal today.theslugger.jpg

Mike Schmidt, the Hall of Fame former Phillies third baseman, has taken to wine-making for charity. Along with two other members of the 500 Home Run Club, former Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks and standout switch hitter Eddie Murray, Schmidt has teamed with Eos Estate Winery in California to produce three wines, each using one of the major leaguers’ names and career home run totals. All of the proceeds will go to a philanthropic cause of the athlete’s choosing. Schmidt has decided his profits will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, based in Maryland. There is the Mike Schmidt 548 Zinfandel, the Ernie Banks 512 Chardonnay, and the Eddie Murray 504 Cabernet. They can be preordered now, though they won’t be available in stores until May. A bottle is expected to cost $17.”

We’ll have a carafe of the Mike Schmidt 548 Zinfandel, maybe something in a 2009.

But, I couldn’t possibly top the press release I received.I happily shared with just about everyone one quotation I read while filing the story. It came from Liz Banks, wife of Ernie Banks and president of the 500 Home Run Club.

With 548 home runs, Mike Schmidt was such a quality ballplayer that for him to launch a quality wine for charity seemed a natural fit.”

Natural fit, indeed.

Number of Views:3818

Medical ailment interrupts interview

Evdoctor.jpgery once in a while, the grind of reporting throws you a gem.You may see only frustration when someone cancels an interview you were going to conduct for a story you were writing. Indeed, at first, I did, too. But then, I got an email from the company’s communications director explaining why, and his words were, indeed, far more meaningful than a 25-minute line of questioning.

Christopher

We have a problem. [Name] has an emergency doctor’s appt [sic] this morning as he either has a broken foot or gout. I couldn’t even make this up and don’t even know what gout is…

…I am not making this up. Seriously. Hilarious.

Number of Views:1489

My grandfather waits

By Christopher Wink | Mar 18, 2008

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My grandmother died on the Monday before Thanksgiving, November 2006, two months beyond my father’s parents celebrated 54 years marriage.The thought of the weight of loneliness, left after a half century of practiced, dependent love, made me shiver one night, then a continent away, studying in Tokyo. I made an effort to call my grandfather more once I returned in December.

The conversations after her death were always the same. He’d answer my questions with as few words as possible, as if he was waiting for a bus. I guess he was waiting for a bus.

“I don’t know anymore, Christopher,” he’d tell me. “I just don’t feel well anymore.”

“It’s okay, grandpa,” I’d answer. “I’ll talk to you soon.”

Maybe he wanted to say more. Maybe he didn’t. I never knew how to offer to help shoulder his burden. We so rarely know how to help shoulder another’s burden. We so rarely know how to shoulder our own.

My grandmother, his wife, had died, quietly, though troublingly near the beginning of the holiday season. It may have been the only time she was ever a burden. The burden of death is a particularly heavy one.

My grandfather was born Oct. 26, 1923 in Cambria Heights, then a safe, working class neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. My grandmother shared her birth with that of the year 1928, welcomed into the world on Jan. 1. They met a church social and were married at St. Albans the Martyr Episcopal Church in a leafy stretch of Turin Drive in Jamaica, Queens on Sept. 20, 1952.

My grandfather’s courtship of a single-mother divorcee is unknown to me. Similarly, all I know of most of their marriage is that they decorated the living room of their Levitt-style home in 1973, with all of that year’s fashionable colors, styles and comforts and never got around to changing it.

I know casual stories of his past, though their veracity is unquestioned enough to merit more scrupulous investigation. In the Second World War, before meeting my grandmother, he sat in a watchtower on some island in the Pacific Ocean, listening to Tokyo Rose and firing his issued firearm just once, to see how it sounded one clear and boring night. In 1963, he purchased a handful of .22 rifles, and took to brandishing them on his front steps, race riots plaguing the country, and two black communities – a suburban one to his east and a quickly changing Queens not far west – surrounding the home he had made.

What I know best, though, is how terrified he was after my grandmother’s death. He was never a great man outside of 15 Windsor Street in Hicksville. Those types you have read before, no picture in the newspaper, no great accolades, nor speeches in his honor. Just a small family and a woman with whom, for whatever reason, he spent the better portion of the last 54 years of his life. Before her death, he was smilingly oblivious, immersed most in maps, and history, stamps and coupons. He tended to repeat himself, but was coherent and kind enough that it was charming. After her death, too much was missing from his eyes, like he was removed, sitting on a bench, waiting for a bus that was already late.
By March he was dead, found by my aunt, turned over and gone in the bed of the home he had made with a woman who had already left.

“I don’t know anymore, Christopher,” he’d tell me. “I just don’t feel well anymore.”

As if that bus was four months late.

Number of Views:2515

Barack Obama in Philadelphia on Tuesday

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The Obama plane will be landing shortly.

In an email to supporters, Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged that – enough with the suburbs – the big guy is coming to Philadelphia. A press release that was released from his campaign today read as follows:

Chicago, IL – The Obama campaign announced today that Senator Obama will campaign in Philadelphia on Tuesday.  Further details will be announced as they become available.

Number of Views:1804

How celebrities recover from scandal

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In a stellar example of evergreen journalism, the Philadelphia Inquirer also had a little fun.

Tired of celebrities, politcians and other public figures taking the same route of recovery after some scandal, most usually of their own making? Well, apparently so is the Inqy.

They’ve set up a “Redeemability Quotient,” a mathematical formula to see how well or if at all someone could clean their name up after a public relations stumble.

Check it out, well worth the time.

Number of Views:1657

Temple Owls are going dancing!

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(Photo of Dionte Christmas and Mark Tyndale in tonight’s game in Atlantic City, N.J., taken by Kevin Cook of The Temple News)

Four years ago I matriculated into a large, urban American research university with one of the more successful men’s basketball programs in the country. Trouble is, it was on the way out.

Legendary Coach John Chaney retired and the Owls hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2001 – including all of my years of cheering on the time. Of course, that is before tonight, when Temple beat arch rival St. Joseph’s, 69-64, in the championship game of the Atlantic-10 conference tournament, giving the Owls an automatic bid to the most watched college athletic playoffs.

The Owls were trailing at intermission, and it was looking bleak, but they came out and smothered the Hawks, with whom Temple split their two regular season matchups.

Number of Views:3479

The myth of reason

By Christopher Wink | Feb 27, 2007 | Existentialism

In philosophical discourse, discussions of reason are not without precedence. It seems that all of the great thinkers of the 19th and 20th centuries had thoughts on rationality and its role in history, society and individual decision.

German philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969) is known for his unshakable resolve towards his truth and ethics, so, it is understandable that he held a strong belief in the meaning of reason, as derived from an interpretation of moral action (Kirkbright, 85).

Conversely, a great many other philosophers are more famously tied to the topic in discussions of the ‘myth of reason.’ Prussian-born Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) criticized rationality for its idealism, its ability to be understood and evaluated by the actor. As an example, tying the system of reason to Socrates, Nietzsche suggested that rationality eroded Greek tragedy because it forced the art to follow the forms of its idealism (Stewart, 307).

Continue reading

Number of Views:1160

Free consulting: latest story in the Philadelphia Business Journal

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In today’s edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal, I have a good clip on MBA students in Philadelphia getting practical experience by consulting small businesses in the region.

See its start on the PBJ site. Further reading requires a subscription, so read the text I submitted on this site here.

Writing this story, as a student at Temple, one of the colleges I was asked to cover, brought up some interesting ethical dilemmas. Read more on that here.

Number of Views:1612

Perry Weinstock: doctoring across the river

Interview and article prepared for the Philadelphia Business Journal, as filed last week, without edits, to run in yesterday’s edition.

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His colleagues told him that a move from Philadelphia to New Jersey was a mistake.

Ten years ago, though, Dr. Perry J. Weinstock made the move. He was recruited by Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J. as the director of clinical cardiology and associate head of his division in 1998.  For ten years he served the growing research university and served it well. In January it was announced that Weinstock would be made head of the division of cardiovascular disease at Cooper.

“I’ve waited ten years for this promotion,” he said.

Before Cooper,  he was the director of cardiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with a nice office and patients he liked. So, at first, he rebuked calls from Cooper. But the calls persisted enough that he crossed the Delaware River for a tour. He was impressed with the facilities and staff.

“To this day I love Jefferson,” he said. “But, Cooper has really emerged as a premiere research hospital in the Delaware Valley. It is truly an honor to lead such a fine institution.”

Still, more work is to be done, he said. Weinstock has plans to expand the hospital’s preventative cardiology practice.

“I also want to promote quality,” he said. “At all levels of cardiovascular care: inpatient, outpatient, prevention, treatment after the fact.”

He thinks his background in practiced cardiology, rather than strictly an academic, leadership or supervisory role, will help.

“I have actually worked on the battle lines,” he said. “If that general sits in the ivory tower and never gets his fingernails dirty, it’s hard to listen to him.”

For it, he has a lesson, ten years in the making.

“There’s life on the other side of the river.”

See other reporting by Christopher Wink here. Above, an artist’s rendering of Cooper University Hospital after impending renovations, taken from the hospital’s Web site.

Number of Views:3016