Ryan Seacrest is My Role Model

 

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Grant White, SCOUT Media’s Assistant Producer, was an adolescent boy in a small, New York town in the early 2000s when he saw something he couldn’t forget.

White was sitting on his gingham couch, eating a TV dinner and watching the television. There was a charismatic man, in a sharp suit, holding a microphone speaking to a full audience of people, including the audiences across America. “This is American Idol,” said Ryan Seacrest, queuing the American Idol theme song.

“This image was permanently imprinted in my brain, and it would change my life forever,” White said. “From then on, I knew who I wanted to be. I wanted to be Ryan Seacrest, he was my role model.”

White, 23, is 6’5, weighs in at 260lbs and is as wide as a smart car. He has muscles attached to muscles, which peep out of his tight, white Hanes shirt. White also dons a sunglasses tan, which is much less tan and much more a burn.

As soon as White walked through the studio entrance, “Congrats man,” “how’d it go,” and “did she say yes,” interrupted every one of his conversations.

“I proposed to my girlfriend yesterday,” White said. Everyone gathered around White and pressed him for the details. He smiled, turned brighter than his sunburn and told everyone that they shouldn’t really care.

They cared.

Seven people gathered around White on the black couches in the studio’s den.

“Ok, it was perfect,” said White. White’s smile caused his eyes to squint, as his dry, peeling skin limited the mobility of his mouth.

“We went to Florida for the weekend. It was 78 degrees. I wanted to propose during the sunset on the beach. I told Lauren we were going to dinner and as soon as I heard, “I’m ready,” I took Lauren by the hand and ran out of our hotel room. Secretly, at the same time I was texting my sister,” said White. “I knew Lauren wouldn’t want to be proposed in front of a lot of people, so I texted my sister to hide on the beach with a camera. We were sitting in the sand and she said yes.” White was asked how he feels now and he said it’s like a weight off his shoulders; it was the best moment of his life.

White had all of his co-workers surrounding him, like a teacher reading a story to her third graders. As the story ended, his peers clapped and attempted to pick him up to bring him into the technical studio.

SCOUT is a branch of FOX Sports; a multi-channel, male-focused media network. SCOUT covers NFL, fantasy sports, college football/basketball, recruiting, outdoors and the military. Part of White’s responsibilities include posting multimedia content, editing or mixing audio, collating information for scripts, checking facts, answering phones, and lining up callers for the live taping.

In the technical studio, White works with three other men, which includes a director, technical director and producer.

“This morning is packed,” said White, looking through his Google Calendar. Days are predetermined, to make sure the people being interviewed are available. SCOUT hires specialists to provide insight on particular sports teams and related topics.

SCOUT’s segments resemble a mix between Sports Center on ESPN and a student-run news channel. The host, Amy Campbell, a blonde-bombshell, speaks to specialists on various teams or topics through Skype, while the technical director and director edit as the interview is occurring.

White said there was a huge budget cut at SCOUT, “the company was spending more money than they had.” There were 30 employees and now there are only five team members. “It’s pretty boring now. Sometimes I get to host, but I’m not in love with what I’m producing. I would really love to find another position. Entertainment is where I would really love to be. “

White studied at the University of Southern Florida. In his senior year, while playing division one Football, his journalism teacher recommended him to reach out to one of her previous students. “My teacher saw my potential and wanted me to succeed,” said White. White was recommended for an internship at The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon and accepted. “I kept thinking of my end goal, Ryan Seacrest – Seacrest-izing. “ White was employed in remote field production.

White worked for two months on set, before an employee from the accounting department recommended White for a different position. This position was in New York and would give White the opportunity to  be one of the first interns at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “I attribute this to my faith,” said White as he gripped to his black, cross necklace. “I am not a very vain person, but I like to please people. I like to think that this is why I was given these two opportunities.”

After four months, White was offered a position at The Tonight Show as a freelance production assistant. “The best advice I can give when starting out in a career is to make connections and make sure people like you,” said White. “I can’t stress that enough.” White worked as a freelancer for eight months before being asked by employee at The Tonight Show to work for Access Hollywood.

“Access,” as White called it was his career Oscar. “I remember when I was a kid, watching Access Hollywood with my mom,” said White. “My mom would look at the men interviewing celebrities and say, ‘One day that will be you.’” White was hired by Access to be a production assistant.

White was enthralled to work for “Access;” it was a position he had only dreamt of. Though, there was one pivotal event that changed White’s view on the entertainment industry. “I was covering the [2015] MTV movie awards, a day after a photo went viral of an immigrant’s child washing up on the Greek Shore,” said White. “All of a sudden, the Kardashians were walking down the red carpet and the crowd went crazy.”

The Kardashians squashed White’s desire to remain in the entertainment industry. “I couldn’t believe that out of everything that is going on in our world, the Kardashians are what the youth care about,” said White. “I also didn’t care about covering Bruce Jenner’s transition anymore. If you want transition, that’s fine. But I don’t want to cover it.”

White was in a transitional period. He had to meditate and decide what would be his next move. It wasn’t too long before White remembered he loved sports. Though, White does not stay in one place for too long.

“I enjoy so many things, that is why freelancing positions are so great,” said White. “It’s so much fun to talk about politics, I love it, too.” On Tuesday, I meet with Yahoo News, but they don’t pay too much, so I’m not that excited.”

When asked what White’s dream job would be, he answered, “Something where I would be in front of a large, live audience, like American Idol. But with the same heart-warming feeling that Extreme Makeover, Home Edition produces. I want to help people, but remain in the spotlight, kind of like Oprah, but the Ryan Seacrest version. ”

 

Johnny Star Power

The World of Unpredictable Wrestling, WuW, is the real name of a real wrestling school in Brooklyn, NY run by, “The Unpredictable One,” WWE Hall of Famer, Johnny Rodz. Rodz, 77, spent nearly two decades preforming in WWE, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, then switched gears to training, as his in-ring career was winding down.

Rodz wrestled the Hulk Hogan, Dusty Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter, to name a few. In the eyes of Jon Rozner, 23, Rodz was the only mentor for his senior project – a final performance piece to show his board of study what he has retained through his four years of school.

“I came to Johnny for my senior project, which I named Renaissance of the Ring,” Rozner said. “It was a play that I wrote about a professional wrestler, Johnny Star Power, and his internal battle between choosing the life of a character [professional wrestler character] or becoming a serious Shakespearian actor. “

This was a struggle that went beyond the script. This conflict was Rozner’s reality. “The Theater and Performance department didn’t believe that Professional Wrestling was an art form. I knew it was and I was going to prove them wrong.”

Rozner studied all aspects of acting since he was a child. His mother added to Rozner’s young repertoire by playing Al Pacino movies. “I grew up with great movies, that incorporated great actors. I knew I always wanted to preform.” Rozner went to a specialized acting high school and determined that acting was a career he wanted to pursue and SUNY Purchase was the college to go to study the craft.

SUNY Purchase did not offer a class on the art of professional wrestling, therefore Rozner had approached Rodz for help. Rozner wanted to learn some wrestling moves to become more legitimate in his role. Though, Rodz holds a strict policy on not teaching any actors.

“The actors and director from The Wrestler came to Rodz for help and Rodz turned them down,” Rozner said. “I was different. I actually had a passion for the art form and have been pretending to pro-wrestle ever since I could walk.”

Rodz told Rozner he had potential in the business just by hearing the lust in his voice when speaking about the craft and observing the dedication he put to his physique. “Rodz told me if I came in three times a week to train and did not stop after the performance, he would train me. That is exactly what I did.”

After the senior project debuted in May, 2014, Rozner has been wrestled 10 matches, on of which he won the world title of the WuW promotion in October of 2015. After that match, the next match Rozner tore his meniscus and is scheduled to perform two more times. His last performance is scheduled for December, 2015. Rozner is speaking with multiple doctors on the next steps for his knee. For now, with no performances in the foreseeable future, Rosner occupies his time as a personal trainer in Bayside, Queens. He lives in his late grandma’s apartment and has visits from his three-year-long, opera singing, girlfriend four days a week.

Why don’t you beer me up, buttercup, baby…

Opposite of Buttercup, my newfound love for beer has brought me up, instead of bringin’ me down. Unless you’re a Giant’s fan and you need a beer to brave the storm:

 

Turning 21 comes with new responsibilities like gambling, drinking and marriage. This is a video of what kids do when they turn 21:

If you cannot already tell, my favorite out of the three is drinking. Interning at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and living in White Plains, New York means that I have to commute.

 

Every morning and evening I walk through the beautiful Grand Central Station. In the morning I stop at Starbucks and at night I stop at Beer Table, a craft beer seller and professional hole-in-the-wall.

 

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Beer Table offers a curated selection of 100+ bottled beers: stouts, pilsners, pale ales and Indian Pale Ales that are produced locally at microbreweries. Beer Table also offers snacks and rare ingredients for preparing home-cooked meals like kimchi, pickles and pretzels.

 

When I stepped in, immediately a clerk asked for my ID and begun to pour me samples of their favorite beers. No more than 4 patrons and 3 workers can fit inside the store, which became evident as the workers were reaching over my 5-foot body to hand out more samples.

 

I was intimidated by the older and much more wiser women who were selecting their beers. In the back of my mind I couldn’t stop thinking, do I tell them I don’t have a beer palate and if I ask for help, would they look at me like I am a dumb, young girl?

 

I sucked it up and asked for help. I self-consciously said, “I just turned 21 two weeks ago and don’t have a beer palate, but I believe I like dark beers.” It had felt like a lifetime, as I was waiting for an uncomfortable response, then the worker had finally looked and me and brought me two steps to the right. “Here are three dark beers that I enjoy: Fat Dog, Old Rasputin and Whisper Tail,” he said. “Fat Dog is my favorite though.”

 

Fat Dog it was and the two days later was Old Rasputin.

 

Tonight will probably be Whisper Tail and who knows what would be in store for next week.

 

 

Pizza, as Far as I Can See

Iron Tomato on Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, NY is an Italian, nonna-style café with upper class clientele and a one-eyed pizza maker.

Fauto Pazmino, 60, makes line-out-the door-on-a-Friday-night pizza – and every other night pizza, too. Pazmino likes to show off his 45 years of making pizza by handling his dough like a Harlem Globetrotter handles their basketball. “I like to be in the window. I like to flip the dough, make the Mexican sombrero and all that, you know?”

Pazmino is the son of an Italian father and Ecuadorian mother. Pazmino’s father died when he was five years old. After his father’s death his mother moved him and his brother to the United States from South America. Pazmino’s mother wanted her son’s to be successful and showed them the art of cooking.

“I became a chef when I was only 15, now I’m 60, “ said Pazmino. “Thanks god I know how to make every type of dough, every kind of pizza and every kind of pasta.”

Think of any cuisine and Pazmino can produce it. “I cook anything… Chinese, Asian. Because I used to chef over at Two Boots in the Village, the original.”

Pizza is Pazmino’s favorite food to cook. At Iron Tomato, he is know for his pesto, eggplant and mozzarella pizza. “When I don’t make this pizza, people get sad and ask me to make it, “ said Pazmino. “Then, you know what, I make it because people come and I make them happy.”

You can find this one-eyed pizza man smiling every time you walk into his side of the café. “I’m very happy every time I’m working in a busy place,” said Pazmino. “When I work in a booming place, where people are coming and everything – I never get tired.”

Ghost Kitchens Haunt GrubHub and Seamless users (OooOOooOOo)

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Yesterday, it was uncovered that some of the restaurants featured on GrubHub and Seamless are fake.
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If you have been actually going outside and moving your feet for the past 5 years, this is what GrubHub and Seamless, the delivery service is like:

The food at the ‘ghost restaurants’ have been cooked in low-grade, or even unregulated, “ghost kitchens!” How spooky?! A survey of 100 top customer rated restaurants on these two sites, revealed that over 10% were “ghost” listings.  Imagine, your Pad Thai being cooked on a gas burner down that scary ally behind your house surrounded by mouse poison. It could happen and has happened.

Some restaurants try to increase their revenue and likeness by changing their name on GrubHub or Seamless. For example, the GrubHub listing for “Really Chinese,” at 235 E 31st St. in Manhattan, you guessed it, is not real. There was never a “Really Chinese” restaurant in that location. But, the food prepared was by a Chinese restaurant, “Abby Chinese,” in the neighborhood with a B- rating.

Since this information has surfaced, Abby Hunt, the spokeswoman for the two sites, said that these listings are registered with the city Health Department’s database. If a restaurant is not registered with the Health Department, they cannot be accessed from the site. Though, these listings did not comply with the ethics of the NY Department of Consumer Affairs and have been taken down because of the erroneousness from the platforms.

Michelle Jones, a restaurant professional who helps keep kitchens in compliance with the law, says GrubHub and Seamless are not to be held accountable when and if the names and addresses of restaurants are false.

When attending or eating out of a restaurant poses two questions, what is worse: not knowing what is in the food we eat or not knowing the conditions of where our food is being made.

Which question is worse to not have answered? Probably both. Hopefully both.

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I feel you Kat, I feel you.

How Deep is Your Love… for Peanut Butter?

I love peanut butter.

A healthy vegetarian, who isn’t allergic to nuts, knows that peanut butter is a delicious and natural sources of protein. A serving of peanut butter has the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6. Research shows that eating peanuts can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Besides it being good for your health, here are a few weird things you can do with your best friend, PB:

Anyone who knows Rachel Epner, should be educated enough to know that I eat peanut butter every day… in almost every meal. That be PB2, powdered peanut butter for smoothies to three teaspoons of PB all over my banana. For one to truly understand the emotional attachment to my favorite food, I have created a plethora of Hikus:

Oh, peanut butter

I’ll never stop loving you

Creamy and Chunky

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It goes great on bread

Along with some good jelly

MMMM, peanut butter

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Who’s that cool spokesman

It’s Mr. Peanut Butter

What a nice top hat

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Children love candy

M&M’s, Reeses Pieces

All have that PB

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You already know

That PB is the best food

It is healthy and good

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Hey! Look who it is!

It’s George Washington Carver

Peanut Butter King

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What’s great with jelly?

How ’bout some peanut butter?

Between bread slices

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It really gets me

That tasty peanut butter

I want a spoonful

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Sir peanut butter

That knight in shining armor!

What a gallant man!

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An internet meme

“Peanut butter jelly time!”

The whole world knows it

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There are many people in this world who appreciate the art form of loving your food. Just like this Twitter user:

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