The Grief Frequency by Kealan Patrick Burke. A book review

24 Nov

The Grief Frequency by Kealan Patrick Burke is a short story where the main character Paul, finds out first hand the true meaning of grief under terrible circumstances. His wife is killed when he tries to drive home through a storm much to her objection. It’s bad enough that he is carrying this tremendous guilt, but he suffers from nightmares and haunting reminders from his father-in-law who pushes him over the edge in the tradition of The Twilight Zone. Soon Paul had trouble trying to figure out what is real, and what isn’t. Burke allows the reader to feel the grief that Paul is experiencing in his writing. No man should ever have to go though this terrifying experience. This page turner is a great read! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  This is the 4th book that I have read by this author. If you like reading horror, and you are not familiar with his work, I highly recommend you add his name to your list. You won’t be disappointed! 

 

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Rest In Peace Ventura County Firefighter Ryan Osler

21 Sep

Ventura County Firefighter Ryan Osler, 38 of Moorpark, lost his life in a traffic accident while he was on his way to fight a fire near Lompoc, California early this morning, September 21, 2016. Ryan had been called to help with a fire in another county away from home.ryan-osler

Ryan was a passenger in a “water tanker” truck which was on its way to put out “hot spots” at the fire.  While I never got a chance to meet Ryan, I know many other of his fellow firefighter brothers at Ventura County Fire. One thing about firemen  they all have the same traits. Like all people, each one of them has different likes and dislikes and are different in that regard. However, each and every one of them also display similarities which are unique to firemen. They exhibit unique bravery in time of fear, an eagerness to get the job done, calmness during an emergency, and they know their jobs, and do them very well.fire-black-band

From fighting fires to answering calls for medical help, they all put on their uniform, report for duty, and never know what type of day  or evening they are going to have. They spend time together at the fire station with their “other family.” Their fellow firefighters. They will spend at least two days away from their own families, living at the fire station, sleeping, eating, working out, washing fire trucks, and mostly  responding to 911 calls for help.  They have no guarantee that they will be coming home to their loved ones. Not every call that comes in is the same. One reoccurring theme that is present with each and every firefighter I have ever met is this: They continually put their own lives at risk to help others.  During a fire, when your mind screams at you to run away from the fire, that’s when they go to work.  Why? Because that’s what they have been trained to do. To them, it is all about saving others. You mention the word hero to a firefighter and they blush. They will be the first to tell you that they are not heros, but rather, just somebody who likes helping people, and trying to save lives. To them, that matters more than being called a hero. Firefighters are a very close-knit type of family and it shows. Today, when Ryan lost his life, his fellow firefighters parked their firetrucks on freeway overpasses from Santa Barbara to Ventura, California. They all saluted Ryan as the hearse carrying his body quietly passed by underneath them on the freeway. They didn’t all have to know Ryan personally or even have worked with the man. All they know is that “one of their brothers” had lost his life, and would be coming home for the last time. No longer would he be required to respond to the fire alarm call for help. His job is now done. The last time I saw a tribute this touching was when the hearse carrying the body  of former President Ronald Reagan was on his way to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley to be honored and buried there. Once before,firefighters had lined up on those overpasses to pay respect for their fallen leader. Ryan Osler was a married father of two children. He was a son, father, brother and husband. Thank you Ryan for being a firemen. Thank you for your service. You could have chosen any other profession but like your father before you, you chose this one. You helped countless number of citizens. Now it’s your time to rest big guy. Rest in peace. Your brother firefighters have it from here. ryan-2ryan

Gene Wilder R.I.P.

30 Aug

I was saddened today (8/29/2016) when I read about the death of Gene Wilder from Alzheimer’s disease. I really enjoyed watching his movies from Young Frankenstein to those in which he teamed up with Richard Pryor, like Silver Streak and Stir Crazy. Who can forget the every zany Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. I don’t remember seeing him in The Producers, but I do recall watching him in Blazing Saddles. I watched his last interview tonight that he did with Robert Osborne in 2013. In it, he gives us some insight into many of his films. You can see during this interview that he had some trouble remembering things as he was probably struggling with the early stages of his disease. I was very interested to find out that Richard Pryor was supposed to play the part that Cleavon Little did in Blazing Saddles, but when Richard called the studio one day and said he was in Cleveland, and could not remember how he got there, the studio decided to go with Cleavon. However, Mel Brooks did keep Pryor on as a writer.

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Gene Wilder didn’t consider himself a funny man by his own acknowledgement, but to many of his fans, he was hilarious. I especially recall the bathroom scene in “Silver Streak,” where he and Pryor are running from the cops and the bad guys, and Pryor puts black shoe polish on Wilder’s face in an effort to pass him off as a black  man.  What makes the scene so funny is that no matter how hard Gene tries to act like a black man, he has no sense of timing when he listens to a radio and tries to dance. I laughed so hard at this scene that tears came to my eyes.

 

In Young Frankenstein, Wilder is the grandson of Dr. Frankenstein, and inherits his lab and eventually his grandfather’s monster, whom he brings back to life. The jokes throughout the movie with Marty Feldman playing his assistant with a hump, which seems to move back and forth doing the movie, are just hilarious.

When Gene Wilder wasn’t starring in a movie, he was writing scripts for them. Sadly, he quit acting several years ago because according to him, he kept getting scripts with foul language in them which turned him off. He couldn’t find a decent script worth doing. He spent his final years writing books. His family kept his Alzheimer’s disease a secret, and I don’t blame them. The man deserved his privacy.

Mel Brooks who worked with Gene on so many films paid tribute to his friend today saying that Gene was a truly great talent, and that he blessed many of Brooks films they did together with special magic. He also blessed Brooks with his friendship.

Thank you Gene Wilder for all the great movies, gags, and laughs. You will be missed!  For a man who didn’t consider himself very funny, we beg to differ with you. You were down right hilarious !

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Tough as they Come By SSG. Travis Mills

5 May

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Staff Sergeant Travis Mills tells the true story of what happened to him after he stepped on an IED during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army. Prior to his accident, Sgt. Mills shares with the reader how terrible the daily conditions are for those stationed in another country. While I enjoyed reading this book and I appreciate his honesty, there were times when I felt that Sgt. Mills was giving the reader too much information. Case in point: while I realize that living conditions are very rough for the men and women serving over there, did I really need to know how long the men have to go without showering and what it feels like in detail for a  man?  Mills describes the sensation of going on patrol, with a lingering odor, while your sticky, unwashed, thighs, cling to your uniform.  To be fair, Mills does give a good description of his life before and after his accident. While on patrol with his men, he steps on an IED (improvised exploding device) placed by the Taliban, which damaged both of his arms and legs, leaving him a quadruplegic for life. The man is just twenty-five years old. Travis describes the difficulty in accepting this difficult news, and the transformation that his life took, before being able to come home to his young wife and children. Despite his very difficult hardships, the man never gave up. He even went as fas as stepping up his recovery schedule in therapy against his doctor’s orders. Mills succeeds and is now able to function without his limbs. He travels around as a motivational speaker for others who have gone through similar situations. He is able to help other soldiers who have lost limbs, and have to cope with this new way of life. Travis Mills is a hero without a doubt. I’ve read several books written by soldiers serving in Afghanistan, but never one as precise and detailed as this one. If you have ever wondered what a soldier goes through both mentally and physically on a daily basis while stationed in the middle east, and what they have to endure, this book answers your questions. This book is an excellent read, and once I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. It is that good! It is rare when I find a book so good that I look forward to reading it again just to see what I may have missed. I’m happy to report that Tough as they Come, is one of those books, and I can’t wait to read it a second time through!

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Today, Travis Mills is  retired, and spends his time as a motivational speaker and an advocate for veterans and amputees. He is 1 of only 5 servicemen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ever to survive his injuries as a quadruple amputee. He started the Travis Mills Foundation which benefits and helps wounded and injured veterans. For more information, please visit: http://www.travismills.org.

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This book was sent to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Clint Hill, an amazing man!

2 May clint hill and book

Clint Hill.clint hill and book If you grew up in the 1950-60’s like I did, then you know the name. If you didn’t, well, all you have to do is Google it. People in my generation usually ask the famous question, ‘Where were you when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated?’ The response’s vary because no two people have the same answer. I was just five years old when this tragic event occurred on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. I remember seeing footage of a United States Secret Service agent jumping off the running board of a follow-up car, and rushing to the aid of the President. That agent was Clint Hill.  Mr. Hill gently pushed Mrs. Kennedy down in the back seat, and then he stretched out his body as a shield to protect them, as he had been trained to do. He stayed in that position all the way to the hospital. He also stayed with Mrs. Kennedy until they arrived back in Washington, D.C. later that evening.

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What is interesting is that Clint Hill was assigned to protect Mrs. Kennedy. In fact, he wrote a book, “Mrs. Kenney and Me,” in which he describes all the good times that he had in doing so. As First Lady, Mrs. Kennedy traveled around the world, and sometimes with her husband, and there was Agent Hill not too far from her, wherever she went. Clint describes the Kennedy children, and President Kennedy himself. The President gave Clint Hill some gifts from time to time, and he still has them, and treasures them. Although Clint was probably considered one of the Kennedy family, often spending holidays and vacations with the Kennedys,  it is interesting to note that Jackie always called him, Mr. Hill, and he always called her Mrs. Kennedy. Very professional of him. They had a great relationship, and it shows.

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Now, Clint Hill has written another book, ” The Five Presidents.” He worked for President’s Eisenhower, Johnson, Kennedy, Nixon, and Ford. The book comes out tomorrow, May 3, 2016.I am looking forward to reading Mr. Hill’s book. He always has some interesting stories, and I am so glad that he took the time to remember them, and to share them with us. Today, Clint Hill is as busy as ever. He is currently on a book tour to promote his new book. I will be reading his book, and will do a book review of it as soon as I can.

Yes, Clint Hill was a man who, if you ask him, was merely doing his job. But, what a fascinating job he had. Protecting the First Family, and traveling around the world. It helps to be in the right place, at the right time!

Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Series book review

16 Nov

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Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show

By  Daniel de Vise

A Book Review by Michael Limon

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for a book review

Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show is a love story between two Hollywood actors and best friends. In his book, author Daniel de Vise goes into great detail describing the lives of both men both professionally and personally. He starts out with each man’s background, and how they actually got into acting. In fact, the two men would have never met at all if they had not just missed out on prior acting auditions, and met up at the audition for No Time for Sergeants. Andy Griffith and Don Knotts would become lifelong friends after working on that play. Each man married three times, and the author dives into their marriages. It was surprising to me to discover that the nice Sheriff from Mayberry was prone to drinking and had a terrible temper which he often took out on his first wife. Don Knotts recently out of work saw his pal Andy on his new show, The Andy Griffith Show. Thinking quickly and not telling anyone, he places a phone call to Griffith with one basic question. “Don’t you think the Sheriff out to have a deputy?” Eventually, Knotts is hired, and Deputy Barney Fife is born. Griffith was also a shrewd businessman and when Knotts was eager to leave The Andy Griffith Show, Andy offered him a percentage of the show (Andy Griffith was a part owner of The Andy Griffith Show) and thought that Don wanted at least 50 percent of the show. Knott turns it down, ultimately leaving the TV series and goes on to make feature films like The Ghost and Mrs. Chicken, and Mr. Limpet amongst others. Again the author goes into details about Barney Fife’s last episode which was very touching. Knotts does come back and visits the series in guest spots as well as two Andy Griffith Return to Mayberry specials. The book also talks about how Knotts landed the part of Mr. Furley on Three’s Company. The producers were actually looking for him and he didn’t need to audition for the role. They just hired him. Griffith was not as successful as first, but does eventually go on to making some movies and is hired as Matlock the southern attorney. I really enjoyed reading this book. It is detailed with many facts and the timeline is in order. It gives the reader an insight into how hard it is to be an actor and the struggles that they go through. One aspect of Andy Griffith’s life that I found fascinating was that he actually held a grudge with many of the people in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, the town where he grew up. He never forgot or forgave the people that burned him or would not help him when he first started out. He kept that grudge going years later when he retired and returned to North Carolina. Another nice part of the book is when Don Knotts is on his deathbed. Andy rushes to the hospital and tells his best friend, “Come on Jess. That’s it. Breathe!” Jess was Don Knotts first name, and Griffith often called him by it, which Knotts didn’t care for. Andy Griffith would join his friend in death some six years later after his health failed. This is a great love story between two men who loved each other’s company, and spent as much time together as possible. When they weren’t together they were on the phone with each other. If you are a fan of either man, or just a fan of the shows that they were in, this book is for you. You can’t miss by buying it and reading it. It’s the kind of book that you can read again and again and still learn something that you might have missed in the first read. Very informative and well written!

Drones and brush fires, a deadly combination

18 Jul 0000drone3

First of all I will say that I like drones. I believe that they can be useful and might even be fun. However, when I read about brush fires like the one we had on Friday, July 17 in California, where 5 drones were flying in the area, and the firefighters could not make water drops, that really bothers me. You see, by law, firefighters cannot and will not fly in the same airspace where drones are. This is just common sense. For the life of me I cannot understand why the owners and operators of these unmanned aircraft don’t realize this. Or, maybe they do, and for whatever reasons, choose to fly overhead anyway. Firefighters have a tough enough job trying to put out these fires. They are racing both the clock, and sometimes headwinds. They don’t need drones or any other aircraft including television helicopters in the area trying to see what is going on. This is particularly sad news when motorists on the Interstate 15 had to abandon their vehicles and run for safety. Many of them had their vehicle destroyed by flames. California lawmakers must act now to enact legislation which will make it illegal to fly drones in areas where there is a fire emergency, and where they will interfere with the efforts of these brave men and women who are simply trying to do their job. They don’t need to worry about their safety because some drone operators are not thinking clearly. Please, if you own and operate a drone, I beg you to stay out of the area. Let’s allow our firefighters to do the job that they were hired to do.0000drone40000drone1    0000drone3  0000drone6 0000drone7

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