America’s Got Talent: How will we decide?

America’s Got Talent Who cares about Hurricane Isaac or the Republican National Convention? LET’S GET TO WHAT REALLY MATTERS: THE FIRST OF APPROXIMATELY 72 SEMIFINALS ON AMERICA’S GOT TALENT! Believe it or not, we are getting close to the end of this competition (read: about a month away, give or take 6 months), and the 3 acts that move on from tonight will be in The Finals! Which will happen! One day! window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-14', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 14', target_type: 'mix' }); Photo: NBC / Virginia Sherwood/NBC Image 1of/15 CaptionClose Image 1 of 15 AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 726 -- Pictured: William Close -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 726 -- Pictured: William Close -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) Photo: NBC / Virginia Sherwood/NBC Image 2 of 15 AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 726 -- Pictured: Andrew De Leon -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 726 -- Pictured: Andrew De Leon -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) Photo: NBC / Virginia Sherwood/NBC Image 3 of 15 AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 726 -- Pictured: Todd Oliver -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode 726 -- Pictured: Todd Oliver -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC) Photo: NBC / Virginia Sherwood/NBC Image 4 of 15 AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- Episode Continue Reading

Letters to the editor: Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017

Hoping for ‘snowflake’ meltdownThe New Year is fast approaching and I believe it is time for the Democratic Party to cease its endless blockade of legislation that is not in their wheelhouse. The left needs to realize that even though they won their district or state, people living in their communities do not necessarily think as they do. If they would only take a moment to realize that they represent Americans not just Democrats.For the queen of nasty, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to stand up and say that the new tax bill is the worst piece of legislation to come to the floor just illustrates that she is totally out of touch. In my opinion, Obamacare is the worst: especially as it ages and we see the deceptions that Pelosi, former Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Chuck Schumer and former President Barack Obama repeated again and again. Maybe Pelosi never read it, even after she voted for it.Neutral observers agree that the new tax code will save money for most middle class Americans. As with any legislation, not everyone can benefit. 75 to 80 percent is a pretty substantial number. The Democrats say only the big corporations will benefit.Have they forgotten the fact that almost every pension, both private and governmental, are invested in the stock and bond markets? As they go up, so will pensions, and pensions in states like Illinois, which are in danger of going bankrupt, may actually benefit from increased corporate profits.Democrats are mean spirited and nasty. The “snowflakes” the liberals created will disagree with me. My hope is that they melt and they go down the drain as will their ideologies based on deception and untruths. Michael Zubrow, Naples Club assists first responders, familiesAs we enter this season of gift giving and giving thanks, I want to extend a special thank you to the ladies in the Vineyards community who help every year in baking cookies for our local heroes, the first responders. More than 75 women baked Continue Reading

‘Dancing With the Stars’: Our pro teachers judge Maria Menounos, Donald Driver and the rest of the ‘DWTS’ celebs

You know how “Dancing With the Stars” judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman rated the contestants Monday night. But did they get it right? With the help of some of the best-skilled dance pros in the city, each week we judge this season's stars solely on how they perform on the dance floor. Ney Melo is off this week. Katherine Jenkins & Mark Ballas, Rumba Eva Carrozza: Rumba to Pachabel is just blasphemy, a guest commented in my viewing party. Perhaps it is an allegorical Rumba? Eros and Psyche? Bruno and Carrie Ann asking for more raunch or heat is ridiculous considering what the dancers were working to. Lines, timing, and connection were all there. They deserve a 10! Mariana Parma: She is definitely one of my favorites. She has beautiful technique and lines. She looked graceful and elegant. A great piece of music and very hard to dance it as a Rumba, but she pulled it off. I give her a 9. Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Argentine Tango Eva Carozza: Where to begin? Yikes! The inappropriate music, the disastrous costume, which isn't Max & Melissa's fault, but beyond that Melissa appeared too nervous and out of her body. Melissa is not connected to her core and so she ends up looking a split-second behind Max all the time. It was extremely ambitious routine and but the execution isn't competitive enough with the rest of the field. The technique (connection, musicality and line) is just not there. I agree with the 7 they earned. Mariana Parma: Great story line and use of the Argentine Tango to present it. Wrong choice of dress for her to wear, it did not accentuate her movements. She gave a good performance, but it lacked technique and fluidity between the movements. I give her a 7. William Levy & Cheryl Burke, Viennese Waltz Eva Carrozza: Dancing to the Ave Maria already gives this routine a huge boost. Who could not be inspired by that? Performing live to Jackie Evancho had to Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017

Keep funds at local levelEvery time that the folks in Washington start to figure out ways to reduce taxes, entitlements and/or other fiscal matters, it doesn’t take long for senators and representatives to raise the specter of “we pay far more into Washington than we are getting back" (e.g., Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., during Fox interview on Oct. 29).One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that money in and money out had better be in balance or else the bank account gets overdrawn. Oh, right, people, businesses and condominium associations have to worry about that, but not the federal government.So, I have an innovative idea. If representatives don’t want to be “shortchanged” in the redistribution of tax revenue, then why not just stop sending any money to Washington and keep the money at the state and local levels? Let Washington collect only the revenue it really needs to run essential governmental programs and let the rest stay in state and local coffers.This will eliminate lobbying costs, cut back on government employees who have to administer the return of money to states (e.g., block grants, educational funding), reduce the size of the IRS, and, overall, streamline the government. In short, the overhead associated with the passing back gets eliminated.Say, why not do that at the state-local level, too, and let’s keep our money in Collier County instead of Tallahassee? H. Michael Mogil, Naples  School system failingLetter-writer Bill Korson is right that Florida Citizens' Alliance (FLCA) wants to keep politics out of Collier schools. But what does that mean?Today, social studies textbooks and novels used in Collier County and Florida are riddled with political and religious indoctrination, revised history, age-inappropriate and sexually-explicit material, and math methodologies that are dumbing our children down.In Florida, we use Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (aka Common Core) and Continue Reading

A new Bronx tale: Rezonings, cultural institutions drive growth in this boro stronghold

Not many New Yorkers would call an area of the Bronx packed with people, national retail, city buses, slightly decaying housing stock and a booming commercial infrastructure precious. To some, though, that’s exactly what the neighborhoods around East Fordham Road, Fordham University, For years, these areas have been safeguarded by local institutions, small-business owners, community activists and old and new school real estate developers who all have a stake in ensuring the area stays affordable, accessible and vibrant. Until a month ago, you could even buy an egg cream at a local candy store on 187th St. with an old-fashioned counter out of the 1940s. A bagel store catering to local Fordham University just took its place. The zoning currently in place along Third Ave. and Webster Ave. is outdated,  reflecting a time when the elevated L train traveled here. Times are changing, or have dramatically changed. Those neighborhoods are actively seeking a balanced approach to growth, encouraging a mix of uses along wide streets and limiting growth with contextual zoning in more auto-dependent areas. The goal is to focus growth along major thoroughfares such as East Fordham Road, Webster Ave. and East Tremont Ave. “Communities all over the Bronx have been supportinve of encouraging reinvestment especially near transit and in fostering lively, attractive corridors that better the serve the adjacent neighborhoods,” says Ryan Singer, the deputy director of the Bronx Office for the Department of City Planning. “A variety of neighborhood stakeholders suc as community boards and local institutions want to see good things happen here. The streets are wide. There is great transit access, and the communities want growth in appropriate areas.” With three Metro North station stops all in the area, it has become a fast commuting hub to Manhattan, reachable in 17 minutes, and an easy reverse commute to White Plains, Greenwich and Stamford, Continue Reading

The Sound Investment

Picking out your favorite tunes is easy, but finding the right digital music player can be as hard as listening to Ozzy Osbourne sing Ave Maria. Your Money spoke with Matt Buchanan, associate editor for gadget blog, about what to look for and how much to expect to pay for an MP3 player. We also asked whether music lovers are better served by an Apple iPod or a Microsoft Zune. There are options beyond the Big Two, such as SanDisk, but Buchanan likes the iPod and the Zune for their style and intuitive interfaces. “They’re really easy to use,” Buchanan said. “And the Zune is really beautiful.” If you’re choosing, practicality should play a big part in your decision. “First and foremost, having one that works with your setup is important,” Buchanan said. That means a Zune isn’t a smart choice for a Mac owner, since it only works with Microsoft’s own software. Likewise, if you’re not a big fan of Apple’s iTunes, you may want to stay away from an iPod, since no other program will let you copy music onto it. The tricky area is guiding the huge group of people who have a Windows-based computer and buy songs from iTunes. For them, it comes down to personal preference. “Zune has this touchpad, iPod has the clickwheel. Both are good,” Buchanan said. “Some will prefer one to the other.” For real digital audiophiles, the iPod Classic (160 gigabytes of storage, $335) boasts the highest capacity of any current iPod model, but it’s larger and less flashy than the rest. Microsoft offers the Zune 120 for $250. Like all Zune models, the 120 has an FM radio tuner in addition to its music and video capabilities. “If you’re not on a Mac, I might just recommend a Zune over the iPod,” Buchanan said. If you want a sleeker music player to take to the gym or out for a run, both companies have you covered. On the Apple side, the iPod Continue Reading

It’s Latin to them: Ashley Dupre’s tattoo flummoxes pros

Revealing Daily News pictures of Eliot Spitzer's favorite hooker cavorting on the beach gave rise to some obvious musings, but also some not-so-obvious, like: What exactly does that tattoo mean?Ashley Alexandra Dupre's teeny bikini exposed a Latin phrase inked on her lower belly: tutela valui. Experts said it was pseudo Latin, like the mostly meaningless Chinese characters some people tattoo on themselves - but even stodgy scholars were chuckling at the double entendres jumping out of it. Tutela, which is related to tutor, has to do with a protector or guardian. Valui appears to be a past form of the word strong. "So I guess you would say it means, 'I have a strong patron' or 'I have a strong keeper,'" said Doug Machle, assistant to the chairman in the classics department at the University of Washington. "Or, actually, it's more like, 'My guardian was strong.'" Others read it differently. Daniel Nodes, a classics professor at Ave Maria University in Florida, translated it as "I've been well and remain that way because I have protection." Mark Buchan, a classics professor at Columbia, took a different tack, musing that it could mean "safe haven." One California professor translated it as "I have been highly proficient in support" - which he further simplifies to "I have been an expert escort." In any case, Latin teachers are used to seeing lots of fishy tattoos. "Latin is really a living language - it's a lot more prevalent than you'd think," said Gerry Visco, administrator of the classics department at Columbia. "We get a lot of people calling up - every day, I'd say - wanting to put something on a mug or T-shirt. They think there's a team of scribes sitting here waiting to translate for them." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017

Get union house in orderHollywood isn’t the only progressive bastion dealing with a crisis of bad behavior. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) recently suspended executive vice president and Fight for $15 minimum wage architect Scott Courtney for inappropriate behavior with female employees. Courtney has subsequently resigned.Courtney allegedly had a pattern a pattern of dating subordinates in return for promotions. Like Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Courtney’s transgressions were an “open secret” among women who worked with him. And like Weinstein, complaints about Courtney’s wrongdoings were ignored. The allegations are especially embarrassing for the SEIU, which claims restaurants should be unionized partially because of supposed pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace. Several SEIU members admitted to the media that the values the union practices are opposite to the ones it preaches.The SEIU should get its own house in order before preaching moral superiority to the rest of us. Jordan Bruneau, Washington, D.C. Senior research analyst, Employment Policies Institute  Nationalism not a bad thingI was deeply moved by an article that appeared in the Naples Daily News this summer and can't get it out of my mind.Written by a reporter from either The Associated Press or USA TODAY, it covered Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Venezuela. The very last paragraph of the article mentioned that there was a man in the crowd who carried a sign that read: "Make Venezuela Great Again."How very sad. It broke my heart, wondering how much hope those repressed people have under the regime of President Nicholas Maduro, successor to former socialist dictator Hugo Chavez. He turned the country from a democracy to a dictatorship, from oil riches to economic collapse and widespread poverty.What a dramatic contrast to our situation in the USA.  President Donald Trump may be unorthodox and rough at the Continue Reading

Readers sound off on Rachel Dolezal, Pope Francis and Alan Cumming

The sickness of Rachel Dolezal Astoria: One can’t blame Rachel Dolezal for passing herself off as black and leading a chapter of the NAACP. All she probably wanted was a piece of the racial spoils pie, which organizations like the NAACP regularly extort, trading on slavery and segregation as an excuse and as a means to extricate themselves from all blame and personal responsibility. The upside to this is that it squashes the concept of “white privilege” forever. If whites are so privileged, why would a white person choose to be black? This could also be a great companion piece to Dave Chappelle’s black Ku Klux Klansman skit. Brad MorrisH.D. KayneJames League Right to bear Manhattan: I am Vladimir Gotlibovsky’s gun-licensing lawyer, and as such, I take great exception to another lawyer questioning who Vladimir “knows” in order to have had his case “deferred.” As a former Kings County assistant district attorney, I have full confidence in the DA’s determination. In this situation, since my client had been issued a full (as opposed to a limited), valid NYC concealed-carry license, he is protected under Penal Law Section 400.00. And, although the NYPD regulations do call for concealed carry to be connected to business activity, we, as members of the public, have no way of knowing what Gotlibovsky was doing prior to his attending the wedding at the Waldorf-Astoria. The rules do not and cannot create a crime of carrying outside a particular perimeter. John S. Chambers Boulevard of life Elmhust: The city has plans to improve the safety of Queens Blvd. by upgrading crosswalks and planting trees. Who can be against that? But doing so will not make the boulevard safer. I have repeatedly complained to our local congressman about cars routinely going 50 and 60 mph in a 25 mph zone. But nothing has been done to enforce the speed limit, especially during rush hours. It is almost as if there is some kind of Continue Reading

Stasi: ‘Mad Men’ is a show in which nothing happens, yet we love it

Mad as Hell About Mad Men Why do we love “Mad Men,” which starts its final season this Sunday night and “Downton Abbey,” which ends next season? They’re like "Seinfeld" without the laughs — nothing happens — but in better clothes. And I can’t get enough. Let’s take the case of the leading man of “Mad Men,” Don Draper, the ultimate empty designer suit. We (I) lust for the bum for no reason other than he looks as good dressed up and drunk as Lady Mary does decked out for dinner. But Don’s actually a nightmare husband, father, boyfriend, co-worker, employee. He’s selfish, narcissistic and hasn’t cracked a joke since the Hoover administration. He also drinks like Prohibition is coming back and smokes like cancer is a good idea. Don Juan Draper’s a huge bore, abusive to everyone who loves him. If that isn’t enough to make us fall for the guy, I don’t know what is! His life is dedicated to making consumers consume things they don’t need, and worse, he’s terrible at it. He hardly ever even comes up with a campaign anyone likes. Yet, he’s an adman legend. And the sex appeal thing? It’s one thing for women to hit the mattresses with him in 1964 — but hello! — it’s 2015. I mean, in real life we wouldn’t even want to have lunch with the guy, let alone get abused by him at dinner and be stuck with his nasty, drunken self afterward. Sexy? He makes bad ads for Patio Cola and Playtex girdles, for God’s sake! OK, his psycho exes — bang-bang Betty and giant choppers Megan — do look fantastic in those giant girdles he pushes, but do we want to live their lives? Not on your life. But I have a feeling this season that Don’s finally going to get unfixably unhinged by being suddenly unfixably unhip in the swinging sixties. Continue Reading