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BULLYING MORE SERIOUS THAN PEOPLE THINK

(This Op-Ed appears in the December 16, 2017 issue of Florida Today newspaper.)

Bullying is a nightmare for many kids, a problem which schools, government officials, and yes, some parents, do not take seriously enough. It can impact a person’s future forever. In some instances, it can cause death and destruction within families.

I know something about bullies. I remember a slightly built boy in seventh grade nicknamed Squidgie who didn’t realize that other kids thought he was a “fairy.” A bigger boy named Stanley and his followers began taunting Squidgie daily in hallways, bathrooms and school yards, belittling, screaming, laughing, pointing and humiliating the child to the point that he began to withdraw into his own world. His mother (widowed) was perplexed, unable to crack through the shell that Squidgie withdrew into.

One day, a gaggle of boys and girls played dodge ball after school with Squidgie as the target in the circle center until he fell. From there, came the pushing, hitting and kicking. The kids took his violin from the case and threw it in the bushes, all laughing and screaming, “Squidgie is a fairy” over and over. The world became a lonely place for that child.

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MO.”

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI  –  9

 

In a word:  Dark

     This is a movie for wannabe movie actors, who seriously study the art of acting by watching every move, every expression every nuance, every word spoken (or unspoken) by star, Frances McDormand, the quintessential thespian. This is what Oscar performances are made of.  

     The plot surrounds the single, middle-aged mother of a girl who had been raped and murdered in a small town in Missouri, where the perpetrator(s) were never caught or brought to justice. After several months of no action by police, Frances Hayes (played by McDormand) runs out of patience and proceeds to rent three dilapidated billboards, in consecutive arrangement, off a desolate road near blue-collar Ebbing, Missouri (a town that does not exist) where she pastes three large signs that read: 1) RAPED WHILE DYING, 2) STILL NO ARRESTS and 3) HOW COME CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?

     The bold action by the take-no-crap woman ignites a firestorm of reactions from the entire town, including the chief of police whose name appears on one of those signs, deftly played by Woody Harrelson. Enemies erupt from everywhere, but this is one tough gal who dazzles and puzzles the authorities

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BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS

This is a pitch hoping to interest my readers and friends in giving books as Christmas gifts this year. Yes, MY books. 

 

The Christmas holiday is but 3 weeks away. I many published books, half fiction and half non-fiction, some of which would make excellent gifts to readers with varied interests.  And for everyone who makes a purchase for the holiday, I will sell (and sign) each book at a discount, and charge no shipping costs.  Can’t beat that. Certainly a better deal that Amazon.com.

Order books by sending check (and your mailing address) to Frankly Speaking Enterprises, P.O. Box 411841. Melbourne, Fl.  32941.  Cost for each book is denoted below.  (If you have a special message to be penned, let me know)
 
Here’s a brief synopsis of each:
 
 
FICTION:
 
 The Upside To Murder:     $15
 
(This book was recipient of the Don Argo Award in fiction by the Space Coast Writers Guild. It also was contracted two years for the rights to a movie – which never materialized). 
 
After 16 year-old Cassandra is gang-raped, shot and left for dead, African-American physician, Orville T. Madison, embarks on a stealth campaign to protect his daughter from reliving the terrifying ordeal
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MEET SUZANNE – MY WIFE FOR LIFE – HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, is Suzanne’s birthday. The most remarkable human being known to me.   My bride of nearly 29 years. Here she is, the day we were married. She even made her own dress.  (She makes everything!)

 

 — Suzanne, June 14, 1989 —

 

Three years ago, Suzanne accepted an offer to tell part of her personal story on video.  It’s about 8-9 minutes. Enjoy:

 

In 2011, Suzanne was nominated for Citizen of the Year in Brevard County, for her work in bringing awareness to our fallen soldiers and victims of terror, by installing flags and banners across the giant Unitarian property abutting U.S. # 1 in south Rockledge. It was a major project to coordinate, indeed.

                    

FIELD OF REMEMBRANCE:  2007.                                      

FIELD ON THE UNFORGOTTEN   September 11, 2011

 

NOW:  SUZANNE’S ART (SAMPLES):  CLAY SCULPTURES AND LADIES PURSES.

            

 

     

 

Suzanne’s son, Tyson, and family:  Lisa (wife)

Grandkids: Logan, Andrew, Avery, Carling

 

Plus OUR kids, Jason 32, and Lacey, 31  (It’s a long story) But they ARE our kids…who Suzanne (and I) took in some 22 years ago. One of her life’s greatest achievements…for which I…and they…will always be grateful. 

                    

Sue, Shilpi, (girlfriend) Jason                          Lacey, Daniel

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HILLARY COULD HAVE BEEN A SHOE-IN

Of Course, hindsight is 20/20. But has anyone ever wondered what would have happened if Hillary dumped Bill Clinton once she learned that he continued to brazenly cheat on her, in the White House itself? She would likely be, or would have become, president, by a landslide.

Instead, she has chosen to stick by her sleazy spouse, despite the overwhelming evidence of his disregard for fidelity to his wife and family, even to the point of debasing his accusers.

You ask why?  Is it not obvious? Hillary took the wrong course in all of these incidents that dishonored her. Her ambitions from day one was not to be a good wife, nor a good senator, or a good secretary of state. Her goal has always been obsessively fixated on becoming the first female president, to the point that she would allow herself humiliation and dishonor, while doing her best to pretend she’s a women’s rights advocate.

Give me a break.

If Hillary was truly a thumper for women’s rights and role model for the weaker gender in America, she would have acted like one. She would have taken no crap from a husband who – for decades — continually refused

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WHAT MY 30-YEAR CAREER TAUGHT ME ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS

This Op-Ed, by yours truly, appeared in the November 17 issue of Florida Today.

It was another routine day as a homicide commander in Miami, where I often spent time visiting the Medical Examiner’s Office — aka the morgue — because that was the hub of forensic analysis in death cases.

One day, as I chatted with doctors performing autopsies, I looked to my left and saw a dead female child, about 11, lying on a steel tray, clad only in a toe-tag for identification. I looked twice, then gasped. Lori was my wife’s niece. I had visited her house often. She used her father’s .22 revolver to fire a bullet into her brain.

Lori was just a little girl who seemed normal, yet suffered with emotional anxieties and a lopsided temperament adults dismissed as simple childhood behavior. “Oh, she’ll grow out of it.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause for kids ages 15 to 24. More than 90 percent of children who commit suicide suffered with a severe mental disorder. Veterans commit suicide on average of 20 per day.

Mental illness

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A FRANK MOVIE REVIEW: “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE” – 8.5

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE – 8 ½

     In a word:  revealing

If you want to know more about PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) victims as related to military service and the pains of war, see this movie.

This is not just a medical diagnosis, it is a somber dilemma for many thousands of American men and women who have witnessed the horrors of fellow soldiers dying in agony, forever embedded in involuntary memory. Or, for those who suffered their own physical trauma.

The movie primarily centers on three friends, young men from the mid-west who had spent multiple tours in Iraq during war time. Each has their own stories, their own demons, and their own frustrations, some of which will stun the audience. These are but a microcosm of the national dilemma. I didn’t realize this was based on a true story with actual characters until the end of the film.

With shocking realism, the movie captures the living hell not only of the battlefield, but of the suffering these soldiers experience at home once the ordeal is thought to be over. Such trauma also creates huge impacts on perplexed spouses, family and friends who are at a loss

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