Thursday, December 31, 2015

Foxboro Flag Flap


Once again I'm in the local paper, The Foxboro Reporter. It's about the recent controversy with a picture being rejected by high school yearbook staff because a student appeared to be standing on the American flag.  It started as with an upset parent posting on Facebook and within a relatively short time it made it to the major network media outlets. I just thought it was amazing how the story exploded and was distorted higher up the media food chain it went. Thanks to the Foxboro Reporter for publishing my letter. It certainly made my day.  


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

RIP- Scott Weiland


Thursday, November 26, 2015

I made the paper!

No I wasn't arrested but I did write a letter to the editor of my local newspaper, The Foxboro Reporter. It was in response to a column in a previous weeks issue regarding a veteran about his experiences. It's just a little note I sent, no big deal. It is something to see your words in print for all to see. It's also a bit scary wondering what other will think. Oh well,  it's out there, I can't take it back now. Enjoy. 


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Read on, Pilgrim



I've loved reading all my life.

                                          -John Wayne

Thursday, November 5, 2015

On the road by Jack Karouac (Audio version)

On the RoadOn the Road by Jack Kerouac
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As I was listening to this I couldn't help feel two things(most of the time). 1. Will Patton was made to narrate this story. His flow and ability to capture the different characters was incredible. I can't think of anyone else that could have done this story justice. 2. I couldn't wait to to be done with it. I was counting the minutes until it was over despite Will Patton's amazing narration. The story(or lack of) just seemed to drone on and on and on and on. Occasionally some bits were meaningful and and worth the effort but they were rare and far between. It's like how many times can these two penniless(most of the time)wanderers cross the country getting drunk, high or laid where ever they go? Seems like a Max Tucker book(see "I hope they serve beer in hell".). At least Max's books makes no pretense of being a literary legend.

What depth did these two characters show? Sal just seemed to drift from here and there and be an apologist for Dean's behavior. In between stealing cars, getting high, drunk, driving at a 110mph he was getting women pregnant, marrying, divorcing and then leaving for the opposite coast at the spur of the moment. Responsibility was not in Dean's character and was easy drag Sal along for the ride. Dean was a class A douchebag who was only lived in moment.

I can see how this influenced many buddy driving type of stories like, Two Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point, Blues Brothers, Thelma and Louise, Smokey and the Bandit and so on.

I kept waiting for the story to have a point but I either missed it due Dean's crazy driving or maybe it really didn't have an overt meaning. Just the spirit of adventure and experiencing life. I can think of a lot better mentors than these two though.

I'd recommend "The zen and art of Motorcycle maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig over(far, far over) this one as far as on the road driving books.



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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy by Ann Rule

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside StoryThe Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story by Ann Rule
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read several of An Rule's true crime books but had never gotten around to this one. This one is different because she actually knew the killer, Ted Bundy, first hand. She even worked with him during a stint handling a suicide prevention hotline in Seattle. We learn about Ted at the same pace she does but like a horror flick where we see the killer but the main character doesn't and we scream at them "He's right there!". That is about how I felt about Ann Rule while listening to this. She was a causal friend and would listen and respond to calls and letters when he was in and out of jail. She would even send him some spending money to. All the while I'm saying, to myself and and to her, why are you being nice to guy who has killed numerous young women mercilessly. I suppose it's like anyone else react to someone they well and they are suspected of doing something horrible. Of course she fell into the trap of Ted Bundy which was his good looks, intelligence and charm that he was able to befriend and manipulate others.

Should you have an interest in true crime stories and serial killers then this should be on your must read(or listen)list. I'd recommend Ann Rule books in general if your interested in further reading in this genre,

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Lincoln getting shot down



It really hurts to watch former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee get shot down by Hillary over her emails. I almost feel sorry for him. What stops me is that he puts himself in that position by appearing to be totally outclassed on his debut on the national stage.

 


Now we get the first day on the job excuse was that just seemed so lame. So in other words give me a pass on this one because my Dad died. So you voted on a major issue without doing your homework before hand. Abstain from voting on it then rather than do something blindly cause everyone else is doing it. 

As a former Rhode Islander im a little familiar with Lincoln. I actually even voted for him in his failed Senate campaign almost ten years ago. I kind of liked him back then when he was an ultra liberal Republican. It seemed like he was a bit of a rebel. He started losing me when he ran as an Independent for Governor. He won because three-way split and only garnered 36% of the vote. I actually voted against his closest opponent(Kilmartin) who was only 2% behind him. Soon he was acting as though he had a huge mandate. He fought Federal extradition of a suspect in a bank robber/murder. His granite like head fought on principle cause the suspect could be facing the death penalty. He had definitely lost me at that point. 

 

Back to Lincoln's puzzling Presidential run. Why is he running in the first place? He did so poor as a Governor he didn't even bother running for re-election so what realistic chance does he have as Governor? Latest polls show him at less than one percent and has barely raised $15,000(about the price of a decent used car). Claims to be a "block of granite" but has switched from Republican Senator, Independent Governor and now to Democratic candidate for the highest office in the land.  His "staff" is reportedly only composed of two people. Appeared to be ruffled when the questions turned against him. How would he handle the U.S. Congress, Vladmir Putin or a terrorist attack? He doesn't exactly inspire confidence or good leadership skills. 

Perhaps it's maneuver for  an office position, book or TV deal. The book would be great for the political humor section. Maybe like many of us we have something to say and we're using this venue to be heard. Unfortunately it seems like no is listening to him and the only attention he get's is ridicule and call's for him to drop out of his futile campaign for an office he is woefully under prepared for.

It seems this isn't the first time a political son has stumbled. Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Senator from Massachusett's Ted Kennedy whose status in politics is incredible, whether you liked him or not.. Poor hapless Patrick tried but seemed to fumble and was faithfully re-elected on his name and family money and with the even more hapless Republican opponents that dared to run against a Kennedy. Like Patrick, Lincoln's father was a legendary statesman and political figure in Rhode Island. Lincoln has obviously not lived up to it. It would be a lot for anyone. He just seems to have not found his niche and unfortunately his political capital has run dry and no one wants to listen. 



How long will this go on? Apparently despite no money, no support and nationwide ridicule Lincoln Chafee seems to pressing on like the granite block(head) his. So Rhode Island and the nation will have endure his dazed in the headlights campaign. How far will he go before he ruins his father's name for the sake of his own ego? It does not appear Linc will see the light any time soon. Do your Dad's name a favor and dropout.



Friday, August 28, 2015

Bloom County Returns!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman

John Wayne: The Life and LegendJohn Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What could be said about John Wayne that hasn't been said. He became a character unto himself. I thought I knew a lot a Duke Morrison but this was a decent and thorough accounting of his life. From his dirt poor kid from Iowa to a legendary Hollywood movie star. He defined the American masculine model for decades. The book is well written and paced. Details of his personal life are intermingled with his on screen activities. I did enjoy this book and it has spurred me to watch more of his films. With his long career I was amazed how many I've missed or overlooked. I'm even watching one now as I'm writing this(Hondo). Perhaps the most moving part was the end of his life battling cancer. It remind me of my Dad's battle with it. It's worth a reading if your fan of John Wayne.

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A Bitter Harvest



A few years back I was called on jury duty. Now many people try and dodge this civic duty but in a way I find it a fascinating process. It puzzles me the extant that other avoid it or look down upon it. It's perhaps the closest many of us get to see government and the judicial process in action. I will admit the waiting in the jury pool room waiting to be called can be boring. Your in a room full of stranger marking time. This time I went there were a few different rooms with tables, chairs, book shelves and magazines. This was before I had my iPhone so I was bored so I checked out the books. Most I wasn't interested until I came upon a beat up copy of Ann Rule's Bitter Harvest. Needless to say soon after I was hooked in the book. After two days of jury duty I had a good portion of the book already done. I couldn't help note the irony of reading about crime while on jury duty. I didn't feel right taking the book so I ordered another online so I could finish.

This wasn't my first encounter with Ann Rule true crime books. In my younger adult years about the time of the first Bush Presidency I read many of her books. My girlfriend then worried a little about me reading about serial killers and such. I think it was more of an amazement and perhaps a morbid curiosity as to why people commit these horrendous crimes. Many times against those they supposedly love.

Her style of writing was straight forward without being heavily judgmental. You almost felt sympathy for the accused but then you remember what they did and it brings you back. Many are tragic stories that just make shake your head in wonder and sorrow over how they happened. She helped understand a lot about the criminal mind in many ways but admittedly many will never be fully understood.

I was saddened to learn of Ann's passing this week. I will miss her writing and insight as will many of family, friends and fans.

 Thank You Ann!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Teddy and Reading




I am part of everything I have read.

-Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of United States

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Teddy Roosevelt Speech

Lately I've been on a Roosevelt kick. You can't have one without talking about Teddy. Some how in my life as a history buff he's sort of flown under my radar. A recent viewing of the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelt's kick-started me. The more I learn of him the more I'm impressed. I wished I had focused on him earlier. He was tenacious, smart, patriotic, hardworking and one tough son of a bitch. He once took a bullet before a campaign speech and went on to finish the speech.  I found this recording of a short speech interesting because it sounds somewhat different that you might expect. This of course was long before the soundbite on 24-hours news channels. You''d almost expect an early version of General Patton(George C. Scott's version). Some of his ideas are clouded by big words that would confuse the soundbite sensitive listeners of today. One of the greats.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Stephen King On Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, Lovecraft & More (55:51)

Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce by JoAnne_Pedro_Carroll

Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through DivorcePutting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce by JoAnne Pedro-Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An informative book about putting your children first while going through the pangs. It offers many insights and tips for making a trying time less painful.Much of it isn't groundbreaking information as it reinforces what other sources tell you what you should do. The only complaint I had was it it seemed like the narrator was a bit too happy at times although not intentional. It's worth listening to if your going through this situation and love your kids. They came first.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Charleston Tragedy

The tragedy of the Charleston killings is appalling. This has sparked reaction on many fronts. The obvious one is the blatant racism of the killer, Dylann Roof, who sported patches from former apartheid nations of Rhodesia and South Africa. It has also brought forth the old issue of guns in America. It seems for many it seems it's defending their second amendment rights were under attack instead of worrying about the nine people who are dead. The NRA blames the church for not allowing "open carry" which they say would have prevented the tragedy. Seriously? Priorities seem to be a bit backwards.


The confederate flag has come under fire also as a relic of the past. I admit as a Civil War buff I've had mixed feelings about the flag. Although I think this falls first amendment protection for the individual citizen or private group  I don't feel it should be displayed on any state or Federal property. It's sad that over 150 years since the war ended that it's still prominently displayed. It really should come down, the war is over.

It's sad that we can't seem to find some middle ground as far as gun control without gun enthusiasts entrenching themselves in rhetoric and weak arguments. Honestly little will probably be done as most politicians fear support from southern voters and the wrath of the very vocal NRA who solution it seems is that everyone needs a gun.




Thursday, May 21, 2015

As the balls deflate


As a New Englander it's hard not to be unaware of this whole deflated balls mess with the New England Patriots . Even as we're closing in on summer this pound or two of pressure is still causing all this fuss. I'm only a Patriots fan by default as I'm really a hockey guy as I was more concerned who the new Bruins GM was going to be (Congrats to Don Sweeney for the selection!).

Of course the big news of the days was the reaction of Bob Kraft capitulating at the spring NFL owners meeting and is supposedly all hugs and kisses with Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner. In short he gives the reasoning that he won't fight the team sanction part of the penalty(draft picks and million dollar fine). This has had everyone scratching there heads as the last couple of weeks Bob had sworn for blood to fight it all. the way. Supposedly he saw the light decided, reluctantly,  to not pursue the matter for the better of the NFL. Yeah right.

Although I'm not expert but I think a few things happened,  more probably than not. First I think he got there and had realized he had little or no support from fellow owners. Let's face it, outside New England the Patriots and Brady are hated with a passion for a number of reasons. We've probably beat their butts at one time or another. Plus the issue of spygate several years back has them already with a black mark.

Another theory going around is that some sort of back channel talks have been going on and maybe Kraft dropped the issue if they'd give Brady a break on the suspension. Of Goodell is in denial of this in his most recent news conference. One has to realize to is that any back room dealing would most likely be considered confidential with a unofficial nondisclosure type of agreement so all involved could deny it. Kind of wink and a nudge type of agreement. So I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss this theory.

Last, it's possible that the Roger Goodell had something more that wasn't revealed in the controversial Wells report. May have promised a bigger fight than Kraft was willing to take on at this point.

It would seem that Tom Brady is on his own at the moment. I don't see how they'll raise a championship banner while Superbowl MVP is serving his suspension. I'm hoping and predicting it'll get cut(hopefully) to just a game or two. I don't see Tom getting totally off on this one. Only time will tell what happens as this isn't over just yet.

It really is the Patriots verses the world in this case. This whole thing just leaves a rotten taste  in your mouth especially cause you know every football fan outside New England is having a field day with this one. This isn't over yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring Book Sale at Boyden Library

Friends of Boyden Library Spring Book Sale 




 Come to our Spring Book Sale at the Boyden Library in Foxboro, Massachusetts and browse our huge selection of gently-used books, CDs and DVDs for adults and children. You are sure to find a bargain or two (or three!) - it's a perfect opportunity to stock up for your summer reading. All money raised through our book sale supports library programs such as the Author Series, DVD rentals, and wonderful children's programming. 

Our book sale hours will be:

Thursday, May 14 5pm-8pm 
Friday, May 15 10am-6pm 
Saturday, May 16 10am-3pm 

Thank you for your support and happy reading! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland by Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt's History of IrelandMalachy McCourt's History of Ireland by Malachy McCourt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a look at the history of Ireland through the stories of about 50 people who have influenced, defined, created and have become the Irish. I must admit i didn't know a lot about Irish history, despite being of Irish heritage, in much of any detail before reading this. I knew about Saint Patrick, Michael Collins(because of the Liam Neeson movie), Frank McCourt(Pulitzer winner brother of the author) and of course U2. If you were to quiz me on Irish history before hand I'd fail miserably. I'd probably still fail but not because of this book. It would seem this book would assume you already knew a bit about Irish history. Although an excellent book, if your starting out in the beginning phase of Irish history something a bit more simplified might help. Perhaps an Ireland for dummies book would work along with a geographical map. It's still a very good book to learn about Ireland I just wouldn't start at the beginning with this one as the detail, politics and geography can be confusing for the Irish beginner.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Old Friends are Back!

The moment that Han Solo and his faithful friend Chewbacca appear at the end of the new teaser trailer it felt like an old friend you haven't seen for decades(which we haven't) has returned. Someone whom you grew up with when you were younger. Someone you've laughed with. Someone you shared danger and adventure with. Whom you cheered for.




 You know this film won't be as charmless flat cgi filled as the previous prequels were, although they are still cool. The original trilogy the group that had a chemistry that was rare in films these days and was missing in the prequels unfortunately.

Welcome home old friends!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

Monday, March 30, 2015

How do you Library?



My local library, Boyden Library, Foxboro, Massachusetts. 
How do you use your local library? If your like me it becomes something to get lost in. Like a kid in a candy store I look at all the books I can take out and for free too! Like that kid in a candy store I've had a tendency to take to too much all at once. You see so much and temptation takes over. 

Of course This past winter I've started actually using my local library a lot more than I have in the past. Some of it had to to do with the record breaking snowfall we had this year. What else better than being cooped up inside with nothing else to do? My problem was that I wouldn't just pick out a book, it would be two or three at a time. I just couldn't help myself. To further this issue was that I'm not a fast reader in the first place. Secondly I already have many books in my own personal library that are waiting to be cracked open. 



It was fine at first but after awhile I began to notice these books collecting dust on my shelves while I got more from the library. Books I'm already reading were many times put lower on my priority list as the pressure to finish books before they had to be returned mounted. Don't get me wrong all this indulgent behavior could be directed at a lot worse things. Perhaps though I could temper it a bit and use it a lot more wisely.

 I've sort of come up with a new strategy in using the library. 1. Used it to supplement a subject I want to write or research more.What better place for this. It was the place for it before Google. You'll still find stuff that isn't on a search engine. 2. Try it before I buy it. Some books are still expense do to newness or rarity. Libraries are of course inexpensive to "test read" a book before buying a certain book. I've done this already. 3. Use library as a quiet place to read, study, write or just a place to chill out. Many of us can't get a ny quite time at home. Taking an hour or two at the library I've found it easier to focus without distractions such as family, pets, friends and so on(although I love many of them). 

How do you use your local library?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

On the run again

This past week I finally gotten back to running again. Here in New England we've had quite the winter which put a huge damper on my running on the road. I wasn't too keen on running on narrowed roads due to six foot high snow banks coupled with temperatures hovering in the single digits a lot of the time didn't make it too enticing to bundle up and run a few miles.

Before the 100 plus inches of snow I had signed up for a couple of 5k's this month thinking I'd be able to do them no problem. Was I mistaken. Of course I procrastinated getting back to running until the last minute. I could have used the gym and hit the treadmill but that also fell victim to my procrastination.  Needless to say I was totally not ready to run anything close to 3.1 miles(5k). I had ran a total of one mile the whole month of February. Even going back to January I was only doing a mile or so mixed in with some walking.

Not only was I not in running shape I had gained back the weight I lost year in a short amount of time which has pissed me off. It has given me added incentive. This was my original motivation to running in the first place.

I had also noticed I was more tense and irritable than I usually am. I was prone to outbursts at times which. I think part of it was i missed the release and endorphins that relaxed me after a run. I had missed running which is quite new to me. Since I've started these past couple of weeks I've been more relaxed. It's a good tension reliever for sure.  

Finally these past two weeks I've finally hit my favorite running spot in Mansfield, Massachusetts along a paved bike path that the snow and ice finally retreated to safely run. Just yesterday I finally hit the 2 mile mark for the first time since December. It also was the first three run week in 2015. Very happy to be back hitting the pavement. Already have a few 5k's in mind and hopefully won't miss anymore.

Until next time, cheers!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military HistoryAmerican Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I became interested in this after hearing about the hype of the movie release recently. I did hold out to read the book before seeing the movie. This is an up close look at the war American soldiers faced in Iraq. Chris holds nothing back as far as details and his own feelings. He did his job as he was trained to do and doesn't apologize for it and I don't feel he should have anyway. War is brutal and shouldn't be sugarcoated or glorified which Chris does neither here. Also covered is how it changed him at home with his family and friends. Now I can't wait to see the movie.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Captain Jerry Yellin



Thursday, March 12, 2015

To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing by Simon Garfield

To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter WritingTo the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing by Simon Garfield
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An interesting look at the history and lost art of letter writing. Not the ones sent by email or text these days. On paper and sent by post office. Some simple correspondence or sharing life events. Others away at war time or pining away for a far away lover. Letter writing tends to be a personal private look inside a person as it's usually only intended for the addressee. I enjoyed this one a lot.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Special Extended Trailer

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Crossing The Line by Derek Sanderson with Kevin Shea

Crossing the Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey OriginalCrossing the Line: The Outrageous Story of a Hockey Original by Derek Sanderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I came to know Derek Sanderson as a Boston Bruins color commentator in the 80's and 90's. I came to know him as the one who fed Bobby Orr the puck on "The Goal" in which we see Booby Orr flying through the air as he scored the Stanley cup winning goal in 1970. After winning again in 1972 he took a detour in the ill-fated WHA hockey league and became known as the world's highest paid athlete for a short time with the Philadelphia Blazers. He went on to play stints with New York Rangers, St Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins. Meanwhile he fell into deeper into alcohol and drug abuse. When he recovers he becomes a school speaker, broadcaster and financial adviser. It's an inspirational story on redemption and recovery.

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Studying at the Library

Feel The Hate.......


The amount of media frenzy over the deflated football of the New England's Patriots demolishing of the Colts is reaching ridiculous proportions. It has blown up social media and old school media alike. The level of hate towards the Patriots is incredible.

"I'm looking for loopholes." - (W.C. Fields when caught reading the Bible)
 News flash people! Most professional athletes and organizations are always looking for an edge over the competition. Part of why the Pats are successful are is that they push the envelope of the rulebook and playbook alike. Here are some Hollywood examples, they are dramatized and or put in comedic form perhaps but they illustrate a my point.


 

Little do the haters realize this just adds fire to Belichick  and Brady's motivation. So just keep it coming.