New York Times Ventures Into New Adver-Whatever Frontier

Over the past several years, the hardworking staff – and our kissin’ cousins at Sneak Adtack – have chronicled the Grey Lady’s opening the kimono to advertorials and edvertorials from marketers hither and yon.

Still, we weren’t sure what to make of page 7 in yesterday’s Styles section.


Is it an ad? It doesn’t say so.

Is it editorial content? It doesn’t say that, either.

It does say this.



The headscratching staff figures it’s an ad. We also think that previously, the Times would have labeled it as such.  Times a-changin’, eh?

P.S. Here’s a link if you want to buy the lipstick and be like Tia.

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Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times (@MaxKingRealty Edition)

Yesterday’s New York Times yielded a bumper crop of full-page advocacy ads.

There was this ADL ad on page 11.


And this ad from a boatload of human-rights and faith-based groups on page 17.



But it was this ad on page 21 that went straight to our All Those Dollars and No Sense desk.



The ad was paid for by Brett M. Kingstone, CEO of Orlando-based Max King Realty, LLC, who railed against government-funded “corporate welfare deals” in Jarred Schenke’s Bisnow Atlanta piece last year.

Now he’s all about a full-throated defense of capitalism. And his Times ad struck the headscratching staff as bizarre enough to merit a readable reproduction in full.

Not surprisingly, the reaction in the Twitterverse was equally headscratchy.

Memo to Brett M. Kingstone: Next time, just set your $120,000 on fire.

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‘Lest We Forget’/’Yankees Suck!’

The other day I took the Green Line downtown to meet the Missus.

At Kenmore, a horde of Red Sox fans boarded the trolley, fresh off the Duck Boat Parade celebrating the fourth Boston Red Sox World Series Championship of the 21st Century.



And there was this one kid – maybe seven years old, I’m not good at estimating ages – who chanted over and over, “Yankees suck! Yankees suck! Yankees suck!”


Later on, the Missus and I wandered over to Boston Common and took in Lest We Forget, an unforgettable public art installation.

On October 16, 2018, German-Italian photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano unveiled 60 large-scale portraits of Holocaust survivors from the United States – including nine from Massachusetts – Germany, Ukraine, Israel, Russia, and Belarus – on Boston Common as part of a compelling arts and remembrance project entitled LEST WE FORGET. The exhibition will be on display through November 10, 2018.

As we read the heartbreaking stories of those amazing Holocaust survivors, two Red Sox bros walked by chanting “Yankees suck! Yankees suck!”

A couple of observations:

1) All Bostonians should go see that stunning exhibit before it departs next week.

2) You guys have to stop measuring everything against the Yankees. It’s just so stupid.

Your team is better than theirs. But they don’t care about you. Get over it.

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2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox: 25 Players, 1 Cab

And they loved their driver.

Alex Cora led the Olde Towne Team not only to its best regular-season record ever, but also to its fourth 21st Century World Series Championship.

A totally joyful ride.

One discordant note: Steve Pearce’s MVP designation was entirely justified. But the award should have been shared with David Price’s resurrection.

Other than that, just enjoy.



As for this Made Yankee Fan in Boston, see you next year.

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When the Missus and I Visited Hearst Castle 4 Times in 1 Day

Patricia Leigh Brown’s New York Times piece the other day about the Hearst Castle in San Simeon was interesting in its own right.

Taking a Dip at Xanadu

Guests swim at Hearst Castle, where Hollywood luminaries one cavorted.

SAN SIMEON, Calif. — It was the ultimate pool party. The benefit “V.I.P. Swim Experience” in the Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle here started with a troupe of Esther Williams look-alikes in matching white bathing caps and lipstick-red halter suits doing fan dives off the marble steps of the pool’s signature Roman Temple beneath a heroic pediment of Neptune.

As day descended into night, it was the bucket list set’s turn, as guests who paid more than $1,000 for the real-life fantasy of swimming in the Neptune Pool plunged into 345,000 gallons of frigid nirvana designed for the publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst.

Then again, one man’s bucket is another man’s madeleine:

Thirtysome years ago, my boss at the time, thinking I was on the verge of quitting his ad agency, sent me and the Missus on a deluxe, all-expenses-paid trip down the California coast from San Francisco to LA.

About halfway through our Golden State jaunt, we encountered the two highlights of the trip: the Hearst Castle and the Madonna Inn, both located in San Luis Obispo.

First stop was the Madonna Inn, which boasts “110 whimsical guestrooms, each with their own unique charm and decor.” We stayed in the Highway Suite, described thusly by the hotel’s website.

Alex Madonna’s passion was heavy construction… building highways throughout California. The “Highway Suite” commemorates several job sites with personal photo’s sharing this facet of his life. The large stone boulders featured in the fireplace were recovered from local highway construction projects adding to the novelty of this room. Natural rock is also used in the shower to compliment the theme.

Not to mention complement it. (Alex Madonna’s descendants are clearly not passionate about grammar.) Either way, we dubbed it the Clan of the Cave Bear Room.

Next morning it was off bright and early to the Hearst Castle, where the Missus – a certified cinema junkie – wanted to take all four tours.

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that.

After the first tour, the Missus said to the bus driver, “We’re all in for the other three tours, so can we just stay up here and catch the next one?”

The bus driver very sweetly said, “No. You have to go back down to go back up.”

So we rode back down 15 minutes to ride back up 15 minutes three more times.

And it was worth every minute.

P.S. Not long afterward, I did quit that ad agency. As the bus driver said, you have to go back down to go back up.

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Blue Point Brewing Company’s NYT Ad Fairly Hops Off the Page

. . . and onto a can of its beer.

Maybe we should take a step back. Blue Point Brewing Company is a craft beer subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch that says it’s “constantly inspired by the coastal spirit of Patchogue [N.Y.] and the hard-working people who keep it alive. We channel this dockside lifestyle into our innovative beers, brewed with ingredients like local oyster shells, beach plums, and seaweed.”

Okaaay. But that’s not even the most unusual thing about Blue Point right now. The most unusual thing is this full-page ad that ran in yesterday’s New York Times.

Body copy:

And here’s the chaser:

The hardworking staff says, Go for the can.


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Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times ( Edition)

Latest in a very long-running series

Yesterday’s New York Times featured this heartfelt full-page ad from a Dad to his daughters.

The text:

Sweet guy, yeah?

Then again, tucked away at bottom left, there’s the link to his website.



Turns out that Dad is Kurt Sutter, whose IMDb bio details “the shit” he does.

Raised in the shadow of Rahway prison, Sutter spent most of his New Jersey childhood indoors, away from people, three feet from a TV screen. That’s where he learned the essentials of storytelling and the comic significance of anvils . . .

In 2001, he landed a gig on FX’s The Shield (2002). Starting as a staff writer, he stayed on “The Shield” its entire seven season run, finishing up the last two seasons as Executive Producer.

Kurt continues his relationship with FX, with his new critically-acclaimed series, Sons of Anarchy (2008). Along with his TV work, Sutter has feature projects in development at Warner Brothers and Paramount.

Along with some other stuff, of course. (WTF Sutter is also fun.)

The ad also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, which means Sutter dropped a pretty penny to address his two girls. Belle Zwerdling – the manager of Sutter’s wife, “Sons of Anarchy” star Katey Sagal – told the Tribune’s John Keilman that the ad is “a thoughtful, insightful love letter to his daughters — a love letter that was written because of the climate of the world.”

Another costly attempt at climate change, eh?


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Made Yankee Fan in Boston: That Craig Kimbrel Spidey Thing

In the wake of the Red Sox hang-on-by-their-fingernails win in Game One of the ALDS over the New York Yankees, we gotta ask: What’s up with Craig Kimbrel’s Pitch of the Spider Man mound vogueing?

Before every pitch? Seriously? That’s just weird, yo.

[Join our Facebook group today!]

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’14 Back’ Takes Us Back to More Than Bucky Bleeping Dent

It’s excellent timing that, as the New York Yankees face tomorrow’s postseason play-in game against the Oakland A’s, SI TV has released the documentary film 14 Back.

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is arguably the most iconic in sports history, and remains white hot to this very day . “14 Back” traces the origins back to the late 1970’s, when it was at its knock-down, dragged-out grittiest, culminating in Bucky Dent’s infamous home run.

I would have liked to watch it, but SI TV’s Free 7-Day Trial requires you to actually subscribe to the service, so here’s the trailer instead.



That was 1978, four years after I arrived here (Forced  busing? Seriously? What the hell is wrong with you people?), and many years before I became a Made Yankee Fan in Boston.

In fact, this story is how I avoided being made as a Yankee fan in Boston the afternoon 40 years ago today that Bucky Dent hit his infamous home run.

First, though, a recap of how we got there.

“The Red Sox had a 14-game lead over the ridiculously infighting Yankees in July before the teams’ fortunes flipped, and the Yankees caught and passed Boston in September,” Boston Globe sports media columnist Chad Finn reminded us last week.

Then again, as 14 Back filmmaker Jonathan Hock told Finn:

The Sox, when they fell 3½ games back in September, if they could have been tarred and feathered, if that was still legal in the Commonwealth, I’m sure they would have been.

For them to have then turned it around and win eight in a row and 12 of 14 with all of the starters going on three days’ rest, Dennis Eckersley winning four of the last 14 games and Luis Tiant winning three of the last eight, the last on a two-hit shutout in Game 162, that was heroic.

And, as Jerry Remy said in Nick Cafardo’s Baseball Notes column in Sunday’s Globe, “It’s pretty hard to say you choked when you won 99 games. We had an outstanding team. We just had so many injuries the second half of that year.”

Regardless, the race came down to the last game of the regular season. For me, the drama then unfolded in two acts.


The whole one-game playoff could have been avoided if the Yankees had won their 162nd game.

But they didn’t.

My friends Rob, Mike, and I – good native New Yorkers all – decided to trundle down to the Big Town to catch the regular season finale between the Yanks and the Cleveland Indians, which did not go well on a couple of levels.

Level #1

Level #2

After the game, we trudged out of the big ballpark – as Red Barber liked to call it – just three disappointed Yankee fans among the many.

Until we reached our car.

With the Massachusetts plates.

Right away we drew an angry crowd that raised quite a rumpus that had all the makings of a who-struck-john (namely, me). Luckily, some fast talking defused the situation sufficiently for us to enter the offending vehicle and exit the Bronx in a New York minute.

Only to return to another fraught moment in Boston.


On October 2, 1978 I was planning to take a Greyhound bus to Hartford and visit the folks, but once I got to Park Square, I figured I should catch the game first.

So I squeezed my way into a bar on Stuart Street (I think it was called My Brother’s Place and I think it might have been a gay bar, but I could be wrong on both counts).

And I’m watching the game and it’s the top of the 7th, Sox up 2-0, and Dent comes to the plate with two men on base and Mike Torrez on the mound. And here’s what happened next.



Of note in retrospect: How much Dent choked up on the bat; how Dent fouled one off his already battered left foot; how Dent got a new bat handed to him at that point; how cheap the home run was.

Also of note: I’m watching all of that in a bar full of Red Sox fanatics, trying my best to blend into the cheap furniture.

And then – two on, two out, Yankees leading 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th. And here comes Yaz and he . . . fouls out to the hated New York third baseman Graig Nettles.

(You can relive the whole game here if you like.)

Quick as a smile, I beat feet before I could out myself as a Yankee fan.

But I grinned all the way home on that Greyhound bus.

Postscript #1: There was also excellent 14 Back talk – and clips – on Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen (starting at 42:15), with both co-host Stefan Fatsis and director Jonathan Hock calling it the greatest moment of their young lives. Also, don’t miss Fatsis’s deconstruction of the whole Bucky Dent/Mickey Rivers corked bat kerfuffle (at 1:04:50). It’s a hoot.

Postscript #2: Very few (including me) remember that Dent was also the 1978 World Series MVP – the sixth worst in that category according to Dan Tylicki’s Bleacher Report ranking.

He did little in 1977 or the 1978 ALCS, so not much was expected in the 1978 World Series. Against the Dodgers, however, he hit .417 and had seven RBI.

Bleeping A, eh?

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New York Times Chases Younger Readers by Touting Old Guy

The headscratching staff has never really understood the Bernie Sanders connection to millennials, although The Bernie Sanders Connection would be a good name for a rock band (with apologies to Dave Barry).

But the New York Times, apparently, totally gets it, as this full-page ad in Thursday’s edition illustrates.


It’s all part of the Times’s “spirited live conversation series for college students.”



There are also, as you might suspect, New York Times “partners” to help corral the young’uns.



So, to recap: The Grey Lady is joining up with the white-haired guy (and a bunch of corporate shills) to monetize some green behind the ears kids.

Get with the Times, indeed.

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