Maria Menounos has been through quite a roller coaster of trauma, between being diagnosed with brain cancer and undergoing surgery, and coping with her mother’s own brain cancer diagnosis and treatments. In an exclusive interview with “Mooch and the Mrs.,“ Menounos opens up about how her friend, Sylvester Stallone, helped her to cope.
“Going into surgery, I was playing ‘Rocky’ music as my theme song,” the former “E! News” host told Anthony Scaramucci and his wife, Deidre, for their RADIO.COM podcast. “Rocky’s quote gets me through so much: ‘It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward,'” Menounous revealed she would say to herself through her struggles.
“He’s a dear friend, and then when I came out of surgery, I was quoting ‘Rocky,’” Menounos said of her 2017 procedure.
Menounos said that a quote Scaramucci once told her about fear — “Everything you want is on the other side of fear” — also stuck with her through her 2017 procedure.
On top of coping with her own diagnoses, had her mother’s illness to think about, too. After various treatment methods left her mom weakened and ill, Menounos got her involved in alternative therapies. The therapies had their side effects, though, and when Menounos went under the knife to get her own brain tumor taken care of, her mother admitted some time later that she really didn’t remember it much.
“Between the cognitive deficits, the radiation, inflammation, she doesn’t remember anything,” she said. However, that’s really not such a bad thing. “To me, that was another silver lining because she didn’t have to feel that. To someone who has cancer, the last thing they need is stress,” she said.
Despite the gravity of her struggles, Menounos has been able to gain a new sense of hope and understanding. “My life had to change, and it has, drastically. Anybody else would be kind of freaking out … and I’m really loving the moments of uncomfortableness,” she said. “I feel like if I’m gonna go to the next dimension, this is kind of that place where I’m really working on [the] next level.”
LAS VEGAS (WCBS 880) — With more than 20 Democrats vying for the White House, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says there’s one candidate in particular President Donald Trump should be careful of in 2020: Joe Biden.
“Biden can appeal to those blue-collar white workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin where the president won the presidency by tens of thousands of votes in those four states,” Christie said. “If he were to peel those voters off, the president would lose. But I don’t think anybody else like Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris – they’re too far left. And I think middle America will just say, ‘Yea, we’re not thrilled with Trump but we’re not moving to this’ and that’s why I think Biden’s the only chance they have.”
But Christie, who was a GOP contender in the 2016 presidential election and later removed from Trump’s transitional team following his upset victory, says he believes Trump will be re-elected.
“I really think since the Bush v. Gore election I think it has been building towards what’s happening now in the country for the last 20 years. The one thing I’ve said to people is if the president is reelected, which if you ask me today to guess I’d say he’s going to be, that the one good thing about it amongst other things will be that after eight years of Donald Trump the country will be exhausted,” the former governor said. “Those who aren’t will be by the end of eight years of him and it’s going to force us to reassess it. It’s going to be a time to hit a reset button because no one can take it to the level that he’s taken it to.”
Christie says that while President Trump has created significant changes to the Republican Party, he doesn’t believe those changes are permanent.
“I don’t think he’s changed the Republican Party forever and I don’t think he’s changed the Republic forever,” he said. “And he would love that, that it’s unique to him. Most people would want to change it forever and want a legacy, I don’t think he’s the least bit interested in that. He wants to look back and say he’s the only one that could’ve done that.”
The former governor reflected on the currently political climate and notes that the tension between the Democratic and Republican parties have grown significantly because of President Trump. However, when looking back on the 2016 Presidential Election, he says there was no way to stop the momentum that have built up, simply because no candidate had the funding to push back against Trump.
“It was very hard to run against him because, except for Jeb, none of us had the money to go after him. I had all kinds of things that I wanted to use that were factually hits on Donald Trump that I knew from my time in New Jersey because his business career in New Jersey was checkered. But, who had the money to do it? Only Jeb did, and Jeb wasted all that money,” Christie says. “If people really look back on that race, the candidates in particular, if you want to quote-unquote blame someone for Donald Trump, it’s Jeb Bush because he had $150 million and he never laid a glove on Donald Trump, ever. In fact, became a punching bag for him.”
The question that remained was whether or not Christie himself would ever consider facing off against the president again, to which he says, “There would be no way I would do it unless I thought I had a legitimate chance to win.”
Bridget Kelly, along with co-defendant Bill Baroni — a former Port Authority executive, was convicted in what prosecutors and a co-conspirator claim was a plot to create gridlock in Fort Lee as political payback against the town’s Democratic mayor who had declined to endorse her former boss, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Kelly authored the infamous “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email a month before the lane closures took effect. Prosecutors said it shows that she was part of the conspiracy but Kelly explains it was a “poor choice of words and writing an email in terrible haste.” She says she was told by David Wildstein, Christie’s high school acquaintance who worked for Baroni at the Port Authority, that this was just a traffic study.
“If I could go back I’d write about a traffic study,” Kelly tells WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “I said it in court when I testified, if I had said, ‘Time for a traffic study in Fort Lee,’ I wouldn’t have been in court.”
Kelly continues to insist she did nothing illegal and now Christie’s former deputy chief of staff wants to control her own narrative.
“I think I’ve been defined by this in a manner that’s not be fair,” she said.
Christie was never charged and has denied wrongdoing. The former governor contends he knew nothing about the scheme, but Kelly disputes that.
“What I know is that he and I had a conversation about this prior to this study taking place, which is what I believed it to be,” Kelly said. “And seven people in court testified that he was aware of this.”
She claims there was a cover-up in the upper level of Christie’s office that reached to the governor himself. She feels she was a scapegoat.
“I called him a coward outside of the courthouse, I mean that cause I don’t understand why the truth changed,” Kelly said.
Kelly was initially sentenced to 18 months but had three months shaved off the term after a federal appeals court tossed out some of the counts against her last fall. Kelly said she could’ve made a deal to avoid prison but that would’ve required her to lie.
Now, the grim reality is staring her in the face.
“A lot of people think it’s over, I’m going to prison in eight weeks for something I didn’t do,” Kelly said. “For me, it will never be over.”
Kelly has four children between the ages of 12 and 22, and she says they’ve learned some painful lessons.
“They know we don’t give up, we don’t give in and we fight for the truth,” said Kelly, who has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Neil A. Carousso produced the video interview with WCBS Reporter Peter Haskell.
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mets great Mike Piazza may not be taking the field Thursday, but he’ll still be at Citi Field on Opening Day.
The 12-time All Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner played with the Mets until 2005 and says years later, he still misses Opening Day with the team.
“It’s always a thrill as a player, Opening Day, because it’s such a tradition in baseball and in New York it’s even more special because of the intensity the fans here,” Piazza said. “There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that you don’t miss it, so you miss it every day as a player and so it is very special.”
The former catcher says he’s already offered advice to newcomer Pete Alonso, who makes his Citi Field debut on Thursday, telling him to “drink it in and enjoy it.”
Piazza says “it takes a special person to really do well in New York” and that Alonso already shaping up to be a great addition to the team.
“He’s off to a great start and I think even more so, I’m completely convinced he’s gonna be a great player, but he looks and, just from when I’ve talked to him, being a great kid as well and a good person,” Piazza says.
Starting the season on the road has given Alonso a chance to break into the big leagues with a little less of a microscope, but Piazza says that he’s already begun to make a name for himself. It also helps that he has the support of veterans such as Robinson Cano and Jacob deGrom.
“A guy like Robinson Cano, he makes the team better just by his presence in the lineup,” Piazza says.
As for deGrom, the former Met says “he’s a great competitor, he has great stuff, he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and when he won the Cy Young, as I said, I put a note out that I’m proud of him because he’s a good guy and he works hard, but he’s a bulldog on the mound and he’s got all those great qualities, so I think we’re very blessed to have him.”
Neil A. Carousso produced special coverage of the Mets 2019 home opener at Citi Field, including Brad Heller’s interview with Mike Piazza, for WCBS Newsradio 880 – the flagship station of the New York Mets.
PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — It’s called the forgotten war, but a hero’s daughter will never forget the sacrifices of her father, Private First Class Walter E. Decker, during his time in the Army in World War I. A special golden crucifix passed on to her keeps him first place.
“I was close to my dad growing up, and I always remembered in the summer, he’d be wearing these long johns, and the tissue on his skin was so thin, that he’d bleed through,” said Carol Fazio, 77, of her father. “He suffered ‘til the day he died from mustard gas.”
Decker’s hand-written discharge papers notes he was gassed on October 15, 1918 while serving in France for just under 10 months.
He entered the service at 16, just before his 17th birthday, after his father died. He mailed each of his allotment checks to his mother.
“He was a communication expert. His company would go up to see the enemy and to send back [intelligence] to his troops,” said Fazio. “On the way back, that’s when the enemy got them and shot them.”
German troops attacked Unit Company B in the 303rd Field Signal Battalion of the 78th Infantry Division in the French forests with mustard gas.
“My father was left for dead. They thought he was dead,” Fazio said, adding several of his cohorts were killed.
Decker was 20 at the time of the gas attack. He died in 1980 at the age of 82. He is buried at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island where local soldiers from all the wars are buried with their spouses.
Private First Class Decker received the Purple Heart in the first year the award was instituted, 1932, on the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.
He also received the Distinguished Service Cross – the second highest decoration for valor.
But it is a different cross passing through the generations that’s revered by Decker’s daughter.
“At the time, the French monks used to go through the forest when they knew it was safe and call out to find out anybody who was alive. And, they heard my father, and what they did was they placed this cross on each of the bodies that were ready to go back, back to a hospital,” said Fazio while holding the golden crucifix.
Fazio just learned of the cross last year when she visited her niece and nephew in Wilmington, North Carolina. The cross made its way to Decker’s step-son Daniel who was a Marine, and then, Daniel’s brother Alfred when he died. The family wanted Carol to have it, as she is Decker’s biological daughter.
“I had no idea. It was really overwhelming, it really was, to think I was holding something that was 100 years and it stood on my father in the forest,” Fazio said.
When Carol was growing up, it was common for disabled veterans to be at her house. Decker was active in the Disabled American Veterans Charity (DAV) after leaving the Army and would visit wounded soldiers at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Veterans Affairs facilities.
“My father would walk them through it,” said Fazio who saw her father as a caregiver, serving throughout his lifetime.
Like many WWI veterans, Decker did not talk about his service, what he saw overseas or the gas attack in France that left him suffering until the day he died. The stories were passed on through family members who gleaned information over time.
“One thing I asked him about the war and about his involvement, everything with the VFW, I asked him, if he had to do it all over again,” said Fazio. “I said to him, ‘Dad, would you do that?’ I said, ‘Would you go into the service?’ And he said, ‘Without a doubt.'”