“ STRONGER” – 8 ½

In a word:  Heartbreaking

     The movie is a docudrama about love, compassion, outrage, sacrifice and most of all, struggle in coping with extreme personal tragedy.

     The story begins with the Boston Marathon bombing four years ago, which took the lives of  three innocent people and seriously injured hundreds more including 16 people who lost limbs. Jeff Bauman was one of these, a regular blue collar fellow who happened to be in attendance near the finish line to cheer on his girlfriend when the bombs went off.

     I remember seeing the first news photos of this young man in 2013, lying in shock amid the chaos, with his shin bone protruding through the skin of his lower leg.

     Surprisingly, the movie is not so much about the bombing or terrorism, or the investigation. It’s about one man, and the people who love him, and his life-changing catastrophe becoming a double-amputee. While Bauman’s life is turned inside out, so are the lives of his family members plus the girl he loves.

    The movie portrays Bauman’s long time relationship with Erin Hurley as having been rocky, in and out, breaking up, making up. At the time of the

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    Have you ever told an old friend, co-worker or supervisor what you really thought of him or her?  Sometimes we wait until it’s too late.

     One of my important police mentors, who guided me through the early days in homicide, became a lifelong friend, long into retirement. Sergeant Ray Beck was a class act, dignified, suave, articulate and smart. He loved his job, I loved working with him.

     Fast-forward to 2002.  Living North Carolina, I hadn’t seen Ray Beck for several years. I knew he had battled on and off with cancer issues. One morning, the phone rang, it was Ray Beck calling from Miami. He struggled to speak, voice raspy, shallow breathing. “Marshall.  (pause-cough) Just wanted you to know (pause) you were like (pause) a son to me.” (pause)

     “Ray? What’s wrong?” 

     In a near whisper, he said, “I…I…(pause-cough)…love you.”

     Dial tone.

     Stunned, I choked up. Then burst into tears. I would have headed to Miami the next day but it was too late. Ray had passed. I never relayed the same message back.

     Ray Beck was the consummate mentor, having taught me another lesson from his death bed. Today, I have no qualms about sharing my true feelings

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(This Op-Ed was published in Florida Today  on line)

By Marshall Frank, Community columnist 

I expect division because party systems call for division. It was normal in Kennedy’s days, in Obama’s days and even under FDR, whom most folks credit with saving our union. It was also an issue during colonial times. Jefferson and Hamilton never saw eye to eye on anything.

But it’s never been so frightening as it is today.

Robert Lee, an ESPN broadcaster, was removed from calling a game in Virginia, because his name is Robert Lee. Minus a middle initial, Lee has committed a racist act by virtue of his birth name. Have we gone nuts?

The crazies are finally running the institutions.

Honorary statues are tumbling and being defaced around the nation because of points of view of 250 years ago. 

A best-selling author/columnist was invited to speak at Berkeley University in April to address a counter point of view on the issue of immigration. Threats of violent acts and demonstrations convinced the school to cancel Ann Coulter, thus plunging another nail in the coffin of free speech and tolerance.

Somali-born author, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who suffered as a child under repressive religious dogma,

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Before reading, please enjoy this 5-minute video/song by Bill Anderson titled: Where Have All the Heroes Gone.”

     Click here: Bill Anderson – Where Have All Our Heroes Gone – YouTube

     I wonder…where have they gone?

     Born in 1939, I grew up through many significant milestones in America; Wars, Political strife, Assassinations, Sports records, Entertainment giants, Economic dilemmas, Segregation, Civil Rights movements, Riots, Crime and more.

     Heroes abounded. As a little boy, I saw every president as a hero, because they stood for America, the greatest country in the history of the world. The first song I ever memorized on violin was the Star Spangled Banner, which I played daily for my second grade class at North Beach Elementary in Miami Beach. I learned early on, that the “Pledge” was a statement of loyalty to the greatest country on the planet, and how lucky I was to be a part of it…despite its flaws.

     The first television screen I ever saw was in New York City, 1948, where my parents were visiting a friend. It was a piece of oak furniture with a six-inch screen in the middle. Through the flickering black-and-white picture, I saw ball players running on a field.

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Some folks may label me a bigoted, anti-everything, but I happen to agree with the president’s order to exclude transgender people from service in the United States military.

     Notice I did not say Lesbians, Gays, or bisexuals, and neither did the president. Transgender represents the “T” in the now-famous acronym, LGBTQ. Critics might broad brush supporters of the president’s order as anti-gay or anti-lesbian, which is simply untrue. Gays and lesbians have been serving honorably in the armed forces for years. But the big “T” is a whole other dimension. So, let’s dispense with false labels.

     The military must operate as efficiently as possible. It does not exist to be a politically correct entity to include each and every American no matter the differences. There are standards, rightly so. The Army has a minimum requirement for applicants to pass aptitude tests. Those who fail are not accepted. Is the U.S. Army bigoted against intellectually-challenged people? People are excluded from military service for various reasons, such as age, education, medical/mental health and physical restrictions. Perhaps we should drop all of that because it discriminates?

     Transgender folks pose a unique problem to military forces, which most people are unaware. Intellectual author, Dr.

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“The Glass Castle” –  8 out of 10

In a word:  Heartrending

     If you’ve been a parent or child of a loved one who’s suffered from addiction, or are close to others who were similarly victimized, this movie will bring it home.

     Based on a true story and a Best Selling memoir written by Jeanette Walls, The Glass Castle introduces us into the nomadic family life of two dirt poor parents and their four dirt poor offspring, told mainly from the viewpoint of Jeanette, the second youngest of the four who eventually pulled herself up from the bottom rung of society into a successful author, writer and gossip columnist.

     The nomadic family is shuttled from shanty to shanty in California, Arizona and West Virginia by the father, Rex Walls, a hopeless but gregarious alcoholic with big dreams and innate smarts, but unable to follow through on anything, forcing his kids, and his wife (Naomi Watts), to live in squalor.

     While the movie portrays Rex Walls (Woody Harrelson) as a basic loving man out of control, the fallout from his actions and inactions create chaos and turmoil – and hunger – among the kids while the mother has little power

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What is going on at FOX News? Must be a Viagra epidemic.

     We all hear about accusations of sexual harassment in the public arena, but this is more like a tsunami. Are there any newsmen at FOX that are able to control their libido?

     Or …is there more to the story.  Let’s start with Herman Cain…not necessarily about FOX…but, actually it is. 


     Remember the 2011-2012 primary election? Barack Obama was well-grounded in his second campaign to remain the first black president. But wait, during the primary campaigns, another prominent black man – a Republican no less — happened to rise to Number One in the Republican polls. 

     Can’t have that.

     Herman Cain was a successful black businessman, a conservative supporter of the Tea Party. After winning Florida, his poll numbers catapulted him as the top Republican candidate. Amazingly, three women suddenly emerged from obscurity to allege that Mr. Cain had made improper sexual advances, one of them as far back as 1997. One of these accusers just happened to reside in the same apartment building as David Axelrod, former senior advisor to, of all people, President Obama. The leaks got out. Cain’s poll numbers took a dive.

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