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Talk Of The County


FAVE 5 by the Fab 4
Darren DeVivo

The WFUV DJ and self-confessed Beatlemaniac picks his
five favorite Beatles albums.

Darren DeVivo has been a full-time DJ at 90.7 WFUV (wfuv.org) for 17 years, but he’s been a Beatles fan since he was a baby. A yearly attendee at The Fest for Beatles Fans, the Beatles equivalent of a Star Trek convention, he can tell you any minute bit of info about the Fab Four—but here, he tells us which albums are his favorites.

Photo courtesy of Apple Corps LTD.

 1) Abbey Road  (1969)

Though it may be the last Beatles album, it’s not last in DeVivo’s heart. “It sums up everything that was extra-ordinary about the band,” he says. “Great songwriting, arrangements, performances, production by George Martin. Quite simply, it’s a perfect album. The Beatles went out on top.”

Photo courtesy of Apple Corps LTD.

2) Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  (1967)

“It’s been said over and over: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most revolutionary album of all time. From the music to the packaging, it changed popular music and culture.”

Photo courtesy of Apple Corps LTD.










3) Revolver  (1966)

Though Revolver is third on the list, DeVivo admits that it was a close call. “Song for song, Revolver is quite possibly a stronger album than Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

Photo courtesy of Apple Corps LTD.

4) Rubber Soul  (1965)

“The Beatles maturation reached its artistic peak with Rubber Soul,” DeVivo says. “The album Help! from earlier in 1965, hinted at this growth, and Rubber Soul is where it blossomed. With Rubber Soul, the Beatles left all other music acts in the dust, if they hadn’t already done so.”

Photo courtesy of Apple Corps LTD.

5) A Hard Day’s Night  (1964)

Leave it to a true Beatlemaniac to note that this fifth-place finisher is “specifically the U.K. version.” And leave it to a true music fan to treat ranking two great albums like deciding between children. “It’s a toss-up between the U.K.’s A Hard Day’s Night, With the Beatles, and the U.K. version of Help! for my number-five position,” DeVivo says. “I go with A Hard Day’s Night because it also had the Beatles’ groundbreaking first film attached to it.”

The Beatles Solo!

DeVivo breaks it down even further, giving us his five favorite album by each Beatle—solo.

1) John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, 1970)
2) Imagine (John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band and the Flux Fiddlers, 1971)
3) Walls And Bridges (1974)
4) Double Fantasy (John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1980)
5) Rock ‘N’ Roll (1975)


1) Band On The Run (Paul McCartney and Wings, 1973)
2) Ram (Paul and Linda McCartney, 1971)
3) Flaming Pie (1997)
4) Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (2005)
5) Venus And Mars (Wings, 1975)

1) All Things Must Pass (1970)
2) Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976)
3) Living In The Material World (1973)
4) Cloud Nine (1987)
5) George Harrison (1979)

1) Ringo (1973)
2) Time Takes Time (1992)
3) Ringo Rama (2003)
4) Goodnight Vienna (1974)
5) Choose Love (2005)



Resident Ringtones


It’s a familiar experience: you have a little tune stuck in your head, and you realize that it got there after being in proximity to a cellphone with a catchy ring. Choosing a ringtone is tough. You have to find something that expresses who you are—yet isn’t annoying after you’ve heard it for the 10,000th time. We asked some residents who deal with music every day to tell us what tones   they use.

➤“I have the theme from The Jeffersons, ‘Movin’ On Up,’ as my ringtone. It’s pretty uplifting and it makes me laugh every time my phone rings. But it’s only programmed for specific friends. Only they receive the high honor of a George and Weezy ring tone!”
—Kimberly Locke, North Salem, recording artist, American Idol finalist, and co-owner
of the Croton Creek Steakhouse

➤“‘Ein Deutsches Requiem’ by Johannes Brahms is my ringtone. It is a beautiful piece in seven movements—amazing! It moves me to tears!”
—Andres Patrick Forero, Pleasantville,
Grammy-nominated musician and drummer
for In the Heights on Broadway and
The Electric Company on PBS

➤ “Because music isn’t just a job for me but really a whole way of life, I’m completely and always surrounded by it. And since a ringing phone is often a bit of a distraction anyway, the last thing I need is to hear Mozart or Puccini or Gershwin coming out of my cellphone. So, I have a simple double-ring, old-fashioned bell sound of the sort used on antique European telephones. It somehow makes me think of the French countryside, even when I’m on the Saw Mill Parkway.”
—Michael Boriskin, pianist and artistic
and executive director of Copland
House in Cortlandt Manor

➤ “My ringtone is vibrate. I never use the tones so it doesn’t disturb anyone.”
—John Treacy Egan, Mamaroneck,
Broadway actor currently
in The Little Mermaid



Wearing Your Sunday Best


You don’t have to sport a tuxedo, but what should you wear to play golf at a private country club?

“Golf is a game of etiquette,” declares Mike Carulli, assistant pro at Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison. One way to show your good manners? Choose the right attire. Here is what you should be wearing the next time you step onto the links.

Photos by John O’Donnell

Wear a collared shirt with two to three buttons or a mock-neck tee, which, thanks to Tiger Woods, is growing in popularity. “Mock tees should not look like regular T-shirts,” warns Jim Bender, head pro at Ardsley Country Club in Ardsley-on-Hudson. “If the neck of the shirt is less than an inch in length, then it is inappropriate.” Tuck the shirt in.

Don’t show up in denim or cargo-style pants (photo above); no shorts either. Slacks or Bermuda-length shorts are acceptable for guys on the greens; knee-length skirts and dresses for gals.


Sneakers may be tolerated, but impress them with traditional golf shoes with soft spikes. “Most courses, including ours, went away from the metal spikes,” reports Cale Avila, general manager at Hudson Hills Golf Course in Ossining. “Soft spikes are easier on the greens.”


Though not required, if you wear a hat, wear a baseball cap or college-type visor with the bill facing forward. “If you are going to wear your hat backwards, you’d probably fit in better at a barbeque slinging back beers,” says Rob Davis, head pro at Anglebrook Golf Club. “This is a gentleman’s game, not a slob’s game.”


Close Encounters In the County

A peek into Westchester’s X-Files


Few know that July 2 is World UFO Day, celebrated around the time the 1947 Roswell crash was supposed to have taken place. Lest you think that UFO sightings  occur only in cornfields out on the plains, the National UFO Reporting Center (nuforc.org), a Seattle-based organization that documents and tries to corroborate UFO sightings, has these reports from your friends and neighbors.

“My co-worker and I, taxi drivers in Larchmont, were standing by the train station platform talking while waiting for the train to come in around 11:15 pm. Then suddenly, my co-worker started looking at something in the night sky that caught his eye. I turned around and looked up. We both saw a super bright light almost skidding to a halt or vibrating back and forth momentarily. Then, it took off streaking across the night sky.”

“I noticed a very, very bright light. I grabbed
my binoculars to see if I could see it closer, but
it was hard. I grabbed my video recorder and tried to get as close to the object as I could. Through that, this bright light looked like it had a type of ‘strobe’ effect. It had remained in the same spot for fifteen minutes. It was the brightest thing I’ve ever seen in the sky ever…I do know that it was in the area of a power plant.”

“First I would like to say that I’m a skeptic. TRULY! But I SAW AN UNIDENTIFIED, FLYING, OBJECT. This was astonishing and terrifying. I was telling my friend that I saw a craft flying at a high altitude that could change shape and direction and slow down on a dime, when I saw it again. We followed it with our eyes, and all of a sudden a bright orange meteor intersected the path of the object. It continued to move in a fast, slow, fast, slow pace. Then the UFO disappeared. Then, get this, not one but three meteors flew across the sky in the same direction as the craft.”

“Object had to have passed no farther than twenty miles of the Westchester County Airport! Object WAS NOT flying in ANY normal aircraft route. Craft also did not have any strobes, just three white lights. I did see at least three planes that were in the area at the same time.”
­— ML\




King Pong

Forget throwing darts, shooting pool, and playing pinball.
The latest “sport” at some county bars has become drinking itself.

When then 19-year-old Marist College freshman Sam Pines played his first game of beer pong, little did he know he was
partaking in his future vocation. “I was a sports communications major,” Pines says. “I planned on becoming a sports writer or broadcaster.” Instead, at age 24, the Briarcliff Manor resident is CEO of worldpongtour.com, a company he founded in October 2006 with friend Peter Altholz.

Getting roughly 4,000 hits daily, the website is the online home for the New York Beer Pong Tour, a series of competitions that take place in bars from the Hamptons to Buffalo. Each competition attracts between 40 and 80 two-person teams paying $20 a head. Among the prizes: trips to Las Vegas and gift certificates to the host bar and electronics retailer F.Y.E. “I set up beer pong tourneys for fun during my senior year of college,” Pines says. “But now it’s my full-time living.” (Pines earned approximately $25,000 in 2007.)

For the uninitiated, beer pong consists of teams of two facing each other across a table throwing Ping-Pong balls into 10 cups of beer set up in equilateral triangles. The winning team is the first to get a ball in all of the opposing team’s cups. The game is a spin-off of a similar game called pong, which uses Ping-Pong paddles,
created at Dartmouth College.

“You need to have good hand-eye coordination,” Pines says. And, in the case of most beer pong games, good alcohol tolerance. “At a typical college game, when a ball lands in a cup, the defending team must consume all of the beer inside that cup,” he explains.
“But our tournament rules have drinking as optional.” Players must sign a release form about the dangers of alcohol and drinking and driving
before playing in a worldpongtour.com competition.

Pines, who wanted to start the business right after graduation in 2005, worked “a few miserable temp jobs in White Plains” before teaming up with fellow enthusiast Altholz. “We don’t play much anymore,” Pines confides. “We’re too busy running the events.” They travel to their tourneys in the PongMobile (a 1998 Ford Econoline van) and hire women (called “Beer Pong Divas”) to act as tournament “refs.” And what do his parents think of his career choice? “At first they were skeptical that I could make a living, but they’re coming around as they see the company grow.”

That growth includes a likely office move at the end of the summer from Pines’s parents home to Manhattan. The company  also is hiring its  first employees (two regional tour directors to oversee the out-of-state tourneys) and closing in on a beer sponsor. “We’re pioneers,” Pines declares. “Beer pong is an American original—like jazz, baseball, and barbecue. It’s like we’re starting up McDonalds.” 
   //  John Bruno Turiano



Do mosquitoes really prefer to bite some people more than others?

“Yes,” answers Thomas J. Daniels, associate research scientist and co-director of the Vector Ecology Laboratory at Fordham University’s Louis J. Calder Center in Armonk.
“Mosquitoes use a variety of stimuli—olfactory, visual, thermal, and electrical—to locate a host, the most important being olfactory; their sense of smell is quite acute. It’s estimated that there are about three-hundred-fifty chemicals we release as a byproduct of our metabolism. Once it approaches, the mosquito relies more on skin temperature to tell it there’s a good host to feed on, and what parts of the body might be best to bite—it determines the level of infrared radiation given off. Movement is also an important cue—you’ll increase your chances of being bitten by playing frisbee on the lawn instead of just lying on that chaise lounge.

“People with higher levels of uric acid or cholesterol or steroids on their skin, possibly because of how they break down these chemicals, will find themselves swatting more bugs than their chemically different buddies. Genetics has a major role in this.”

Additional Tips

Besides avoiding all areas that may have mosquitoes (good luck with that), there are a few things you can do to help yourself stay off the menu.

First, reduce the breeding mosquito population around your home by emptying out open containers holding water. Mosquitoes start life out as aquatic larvae and getting rid of breeding sites can go a long way toward cutting their numbers. Second, try to keep mosquitoes out of your home by making sure door and window screens are intact. We’ve all been awakened at night by a pesky mosquito that made it into the bedroom. Third, minimize your time outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, usually in the late afternoon and early evening. Since that’s when most people like to use their yards, the fourth thing to remember is that light-colored, loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and long pants provide some protection from bites and should be worn, if possible. Because most of us are somewhat stubborn and won’t dress up to grill a hot dog, the use of repellents should also be considered. More and more repellents containing natural botanical compounds of varying efficacy are being marketed. Just realize that most will have to reapplied more frequently than the products with DEET. Those containing DEET are the most effective for the longest time and concentrations above 30% are generally not needed. Products are available for kids and will usually have lower concentrations of DEET (less than 10%).

As the summer arrives, enjoy the outdoors. But take precautions to avoid being bitten. There are times when being attractive is not a good thing.       //  Marisa Iallonardo



The 411 on 914

We, the people

Biggest jump in county population: 53.6%
between 1900 (184,257) and 1910 (283,055)
(Primary reason: some of the area’s largest public works projects were underway at the time, especially the construction of New York City’s water supply and its subways.)

Biggest decline in county population: -3.1%
between 1970 (894,104) and 1980 (866,599)
(Primary reasons: a shortage of affordable housing, retirees moving south to avoid high taxes, significant reductions in immigration, Westchester’s proximity to a then-troubled
New York City.)

Population today (est. 2006): 949,355



Just What Does “Namaste” Mean?

For those of you coming late to the yoga party, there’s a ritual at the end of each class during which the instructor bows to the students and says “namaste.” But what exactly does that mean? We asked yoga instructors for their definitions.

Nancy Kardon, Iyengar Yoga Instructor, Scarsdale “Literally, ‘namaste’ means, ‘I bow to you.’ It’s a reverential salutation recognizing a common connection between the student and instructor. It also means ‘soul to soul’ or ‘heart to heart.’”

Betsy Kase, Owner & Director of Yoga Haven, Tuckahoe “In India, it’s used as hello and goodbye. It means, ‘The light within me bows to the light within you.’ I use it at the end of each class as a way of honoring and respecting students, to let them know I’m excited for them to be in the world of yoga.”

Basil Jones, Co-owner of Aer Yoga and Living, Cross River “It is a salutation of deep respect. It is the recognition of someone’s spirit.”

Vrahmani Liebman, Owner of Rivertown Center for Yoga and Health, Dobbs Ferry “It’s a way of saying, ‘I honor the light within you’ or ‘The light in me sees the light in you.’ A similar greeting in different regions of the world is ‘jai bhagwan’—‘jai,’ meaning ‘victory,’ ‘bhagwan,’ meaning ‘carriers of the light’—which basically means the same thing: ‘I bow to the light within you.’”

Danielle Jolie, Bikram Yoga Instructor at Yoga Spa, Elmsford “It’s a way of having closure for the moment, similar to ‘go with peace.’ It’s a way of wishing your students to have a peaceful day full of love and joy, with thankfulness.”



H.E.L.P. Is On the Way



State government service aids county motorists in need.

It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: you find yourself stuck on the shoulder of the Sprain or 287 with a flat tire, an engine that won’t start, or an empty gas tank. You call AAA and wait and. . .wait. Next time, call 911 and it’ll dispatch a H.E.L.P. truck, free of charge.
The H.E.L.P. (Highway Emergency Local Patrol) program, launched in 1992, is funded by the New York State Department of Transportation. Currently, 21 trucks patrol various Westchester roadways, including 287, 684, 95, 87, the Hutch, the Saw Mill, the Sprain, and the Taconic. Driving up and down the highway between the peak hours of 6 and 10 am and then again from 3 to 7 pm, if a H.E.L.P. truck driver sees that you’re stuck, he or she will gladly stop and help with anything from a flat tire or a jump to repairing a radiator hose. If H.E.L.P can’t fix the problem within 15 minutes, it’ll call a tow truck.

“The primary intent is to keep traffic moving,” explains Sandra Jobson, acting public information officer for the Hudson Valley region of DOT. “Often, you’ll get secondary accidents due to disabled vehicles. Also, it helps improve air quality. If someone is pulled off to the side of the road, it will often result in major back-ups and delays and you’ll have cars and trucks just idling.”

Come fall, additional road­ways, including the Bear Mountain Parkway, Route 9A, and Route 9, will be patrolled and additional trucks dispatched to help all drivers.   



Along Came A Spider


How a local Miss Muffet strove to conquer her fear of spiders through hypnosis.

“You’ve got hypnosis eyes,” declared Bob Pargament as I slowly pulled the reclining chair back into sitting position.

 I walked sluggishly to the nearest mirror—and squinted. Yes, my eyes were pinkish; after all, I’d spent the past hour with my eyelids shut; not sleeping, but in a state of guided relaxation (hypnotized) in an attempt to rid myself of my biggest phobia: spiders. See, the mere sight of the eight-legged critters cripples me with panic. Can you really blame me? They’re always waving their creepy, needle-like arms and lurking evilly in dark, isolated nooks and crannies.

Not that spiders interfere with my regular daily routine. At most, my fear has kept me away from garages (prime spider real estate), woodsy areas at night, horror flicks with arachnid-like monsters, and the dust bunny-inhabited corners of rooms that beg to see the bristled end of a broom (but it was a perfectly valid excuse for delaying my cleaning chores, Mom, I swear!). 

Still, when someone suggested hypnosis as a solution, I was eager to try it out.  Tiger Woods uses it to visualize his A-game before golf matches, and Matt Damon swears he instantly kicked a 16-year smoking habit with its help, so why shouldn’t it work for me?

That’s when I met Pargament, a Harrison-based certified hypnotist, who for the past four years has helped his clients lose weight, speak in public, take tests calmly, quit smoking, etc.  He estimates that 90 percent of his clients report success; some in just one session.

Pargament explained the process, noting that a discrepancy between the conscious mind (“where willpower is”) and subconscious mind (“the hard drive that stores everything without any critical or logical analysis”) prevents people from overcoming phobias and bad habits. “Hypnosis reconciles them,” he said.

He began by asking me a little about myself, and whether a past experience had triggered my fear (none came to mind). Next came EFT (the emotional freedom technique), which comprised acupressure tapping on my face, collarbone, and hand and repeating the phrase, “Even though I have a fear of spiders, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

In each of the six hypnosis sessions, Pargament’s mellow, bass voice guided me through a gradual and complete relaxation. He’d instruct me to breathe slowly and deeply; in through the nose, out through the mouth. This usually was followed by counting, repetitions, and guided visualizations of descending  stairs and elevators, until I’d sunk somewhere in between the waking and sleeping worlds. Pargament would periodically lift my arm to check if I was relaxed. Limp as a rubber band.

I can’t remember much of what was said in most sessions. What I do recall are Pargament’s vivid descriptions of a sobbing cartoon spider, wearing a bandana, sunglasses, and boots; an alien-esque spider being ignored and misunderstood by the uncaring human species; and all the reasons why we should marvel at spiders—for example, their inherent ability to build intricate webs.

To my horror, Pargament had one or two spiders waiting in Ziploc bags after each appointment. The instant I saw them, I was paralyzed with fear—and wanted out. With more sessions, my sense of panic eased somewhat; I didn’t automatically want to dive for the nearest doorway.  I was even able to hold the Ziploc bag at one point. 

Still, it was a controlled environment. How would I fare in a real-world situation?

My opportunity to find out arrived like an ill-fated reenactment of Frank Marshall’s Arachnophobia. I was mid-shower one morning, when a thin, gossamer strand caught the sunlight and gleamed brightly. Curious, I let my eyes follow the thread down from the ceiling, until I was eye-to-eye with a blurry black blob, inches from my nose.

I bugged out. Shampoo in hair, I darted out of the shower, a watery trail of shame behind me. I’d failed. And yet…

Days later, my brother, home from college, noted the stark difference in how—on two different occasions—I calmly asked him to please remove one of the creepy-crawly intruders from my room.

So, the verdict? It’s a hung jury. While I do find myself slightly less terror-stricken around spiders, I don’t want to cuddle with one anytime soon. And nowadays, instead of screaming Macaulay Culkin-style, I can casually find someone to remove the gross, horrid, sneaky little buggers from a safe distance.



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