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In a word:  Intense

Finally, a good riveting action-packed movie in July, amidst a muddle of mediocre releases.

     This is a good film for these times, because it highlights stark realities collectively involved in the world of illegal immigration at the Mexican border, particularly all the off-shoots of drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, corruption and violence associated with it.

     The early scenes show us suicide bombings inside a retail store set off by radical Islamic extremists. This leads to the focus of the movie which is the CIA operative played by Josh Brolin who is secretly assigned by the government to penetrate the cartels in order to bring criminals to justice, including the use of violence and murder if needed. Brolin’s character teams up with Alejandro Gillick, deftly played by Benicio Del Toro, who has his own tragic history connected to the deaths of loved ones. These two fine actors drive the movie, which is deep in emotion and awash with violence, particularly with the use of modern technology.

     In addition to the two fine actors names above, the story also involves two teen kids, each within separate plots. Played by Elijah

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For movie buffs and lovers, here’s a few of my ratings for the “Best” all-time movies,  (broken down into genre),  plus actors and directors. Tell me your opinions.

Best movie of all time, Drama:

  1. Godfather
  2. Schindler’s List
  3. Titanic
  4. Dances With Wolves
  5. Shawshank Redemption

Best movie all-time; Comedy

  1. Some Like it Hot
  2. My Cousin Vinnie
  3. Young Frankenstein
  4. Blazing Saddles
  5. Liar Liar

Best Movie all-time: Musical

  1. Grease
  2. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  3. My Fair Lady
  4. Chicago
  5. Phantom of the Opera

Best actor, all-time:

  1. Daniel Day Lewis
  2. Robert DeNiro
  3. Jack Nicholson
  4. James Earl Jones
  5. Al Pacino

Best Actress, All-time

  1. Meryl Streep
  2. Bette Davis
  3. Ingrid Bergman
  4. Halle Berry
  5. Jody Foster

  Best Director, All-time  

  1. Steven Spielberg
  2. Clint Eastwood
  3. Cecil B. DeMille
  4. Alfred Hitchcock
  5. Francis Ford Coppola



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(This Op-Ed by yours truly, appears in Florida Today newspaper this date.)

Some of us remember “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” the iconic Pete Seeger tune popularized in the 1960’s. How about substituting “comedians” for “flowers”?

Seems today’s audiences create successes for so-called comedians who really don’t know how to make people really laugh.

Where are the Jackie Gleasons, Robin Williamses, Carol Burnetts? The Red Skeltons, Bob Hopes, Joan Riverses and Johnny Carsons? Where are the comics who made audiences howl with a stare into the camera, a dumb flub or an ad-lib line not on the cue card? The funniest comics were loved by all audiences, not just right-wingers or left-wingers. For the most part, we had no idea what side of the political aisle they aligned with. Neither did we care.

Sure, they took jabs at politicians, but not borne of their own politics.

Comedians — and some actors — of the modern era have tarnished the profession to a low point from which they may never recover. The unfunny Samantha Bee recently stained show biz by espousing pure filth on national television to an equally disgusting audience, calling the daughter of our president a vulgar term. 

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(This article, by yours truly, appears in the editorial page for Florida Today, this date)

This is about remembering special fathers on Father’s Day. Stepfathers, that is.

Bernard Stein was one of those. Actually, he was known to most people as Bernie the Bookie. I was 16 when he came into my life. Then a widower, he had known my mother from the mobster scene in Queens, New York, during the war years. She was a twice a widow.

My blood father died in 1941 when I was a toddler. My mom was a well-known showgirl who remarried a New York mobster named Willie. We moved to Florida in 1945 where Willie died four years later of natural causes. My embedded images are of his smoke-filled casino room in a Miami Beach hotel, with gangsters, hookers, New York lingo and laughter everywhere. Later came dinner time and the flow of booze at the apartment.

Seven years later in 1956 my mother married Bernie. Few people in my 79 years had such a deep impact on my future. Bernie the Bookie was one of those. He deserves a heartfelt remembrance.

After the Great War ended, Miami Beach was ripe for an

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“OCEAN’S 8” –   7


In a word:  Entertaining

     Good (not great) action movie involving eight beautiful ladies. Can’t lose with that formula.

    Sandra Bullock is the spearhead actress, playing the role of the now deceased, Danny Ocean’s sister. She has pulled over five years in prison for a major theft, then – to secure her parole – promises to go straight forever more. Naturally, she’s lying. Not only is she a cocky kleptomaniac, she has formulated what would become the greatest jewelry heist in world history. The target; a fabulous diamond necklace worth over $150 million currently stored under heavy guard in an underground vault,  scheduled to be worn by a major celeb at New York City’s star-studded annual Met Gala.

     Bullock’s character, Debbie Ocean, knows such a robbery must be coordinated and executed with perfect timing, so she secures, one by one, the skills of seven other lady crooks with varied offerings of expertise, including Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Laura Dern.  One is a digital security systems expert, another a jewelry maker, a fashion designer, art dealer, actress and so on. Cate Blanchett plays Bullocks’s best friend. Hathaway is the beautiful

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(This Op-Ed by yours truly was published in Florida Today, Monday, May 14, 2018.)

Most folks do not realize that homicide detectives spend more than half their time on the job investigating suicides, accidental deaths and even unexplained natural deaths, not just murder cases. That’s because any of those could be a homicide in disguise.

Sometimes, it hits home. As a Miami-Dade County homicide supervisor in the 1970s, I was routinely reviewing a stack of reports when I came across a suicide case where a 65-year-old man shot himself in the head and left a note: “I don’t want to suffer the cancer.” His name was Joe Strauss. My stepfather’s brother, he was “Uncle” Joe to me.

On another occasion, I visited the morgue to consult with the medical examiner, a frequent occurrence. As I passed by the array of bodies wearing nothing but toe-tags, I noticed a small person lying with a bullet hole in her temple. I gasped. I knew this girl, my wife’s niece, age 11. Alone in the house, she found her dad’s pistol, lay on the bed and elected to die.

Nationally, suicides comprise more than double the number of homicides, 44,965 compared to

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(This Op-Ed, by yours truly, appears in today’s issue of Florida Today newspaper, 4/30/2018)


I’m a supporter of Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. We are lucky to have such a capable and dedicated law enforcement leader in our midst. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything he proposes.

I oppose the arming of staff within our public classrooms. It’s a bad idea. There are other solutions. If educators are armed statewide, it would increase the incidents of deadly encounters particularly with violence-prone students in volatile venues. Increasing the presence of firearms, en masse, inside school walls increases risks and could cause more problems than it solves.       

This is not only my opinion and that of many others. A recent Gallup Poll showed:

  • 73 percent of teachers oppose teachers and staff carrying guns in schools
  • 58 percent feel that carrying guns would make schools less safe
  • Only 18 percent claim they would be willing to carry guns in schools.

In Brevard, classroom teacher could not be armed because their union-negotiated contract doesn’t allow them to carry firearms. 

My opinion is based on experience as a 30-year law enforcement veteran in Miami-Dade, as well as an involved citizen, father, and grandfather

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