The initial impetus for the award came after I received an electronic invitation to the opening of Jason Eskenazi’s “Wonderland: A Fairytale of the Soviet Monolith.”  I am familiar with Jason’s work and knew that it wasn’t receiving the attention it deserved so I spontaneously gave him this award and forwarded the email to everyone on my list.

I told Derek Stroup the story of how I made up this award and he laughed.  He was very encouraging and said, “Just keep doing it, the next thing you know people will be sending you their portfolios.”

A month or so later, Jay Nubile happened to send me a You Tube link to a video he and Toby Kaplowitz made for an experimental video workshop.  I tried giving him five stars but the You Tube software had a bug in it and only three stars were given!  This made me mad so I gave Jay what he rightfully deserved -– 6 GOLD STARS ******!

The idea stems partially from my discomfort with traditional media’s methodology for reviewing books, films, art, etc.  I feel these large entities have too much power over what is promoted nationally.  How often does the New York Times review a photography or multimedia book?????  Most of the decisions to review something are coming from editors with an expertise only in writing and editing text.  The visual arts are so dominant in our society yet only a handful of these editors have a strong background in this area.

I’ve always had complex feelings about awards because they foster competition and if someone doesn’t win, the individual often feels sad.  I’m not a person who likes competition or believes people need to be validated by awards, especially in journalism, photography and the arts.  However, awards often promote stuff that might go unnoticed and the psychology behind an award is still very powerful……so the intent is for this to be a friendly, quirky, happy, nice award.

The name of the 6 GOLD STAR AWARD is derived from my early pre-internet days in photography when I used to star my favorite slides so the editors would know which ones to choose.  The best slides were exuberantly given numerous stars.  Despite my not so subtle efforts, these editors have a mind of their own and often choose photographs I don’t want published.  As anyone in field of communications knows these listening skill problems persist to this very day.

And of course….we can’t forget our days in elementary school when we eagerly awaited our gold stars.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Todd Berton of Tech Auto Wins Award For Being An Honest Mechanic and Saving Me $700 On My Cracked Catalytic Converter.

Quick Tour of Hamden 1/11/08 (That's me! driving, talking and filming myself with my cellphone!)

Award Ceremony 1/11/08 (filmed with cellphone)

I have a 1996 black, Honda Civic that has held up very well. However, it’s starting to get up in years and recently the engine developed problems. I brought it in to Todd Berton of Tech Auto, whose shop is in Hamden, CT. Hamden is town where I grew up. I left the car for Todd to check. He called me around noon with the bad news, my catalytic converter was cracked and it was going to cost $700. It was painful!!!:( However, he told me he wanted to check with the parts distributor to confirm the cost. He called me back and with great news, this converter was under an extended warranty and if I brought to Honda, they would replace it for free. I was so happy :) because I needed to spend the money elsewhere!!!!!

This was a situation where a dishonest mechanic could have easily taking advantage of someone because there would have been no way for the customer to know the part was under warranty. For this reason, I have awarded Todd Berton, The Steve Lehman 6 Gold Star Award ******. Thank you Todd!!!

Interestingly enough, I brought this car from the famous Josh Hammer, A.K.A. “The Hammer.” He was based in L. A. as the Newsweek bureau chief. Josh received an overseas posting and needed to unload his car quickly. I had recently totaled mine so we were a match made in heaven. I was a little bit nervous because "The Hammer" kept bragging how great the car held up when he was speeding around the L. A. freeways at 80 miles an hour. It turned out to be one of the best deals of my life. I’ve owned the car 9 years and have had only a few problems.

If you are in Connecticut and looking for a mechanic you can find Todd at
Tech Auto
55 Connolly Pkwy
Hamden, CT 06514
Phone: (203) 281-1799

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