Saturday, July 11, 2015


“It’s crowded.  What are these people staring at?” she said standing on one of the horizontal telephone poles that marked the line of demarcation between the asphalt and the sand. “There’s nothing to see.”

“They’re here for the sunset,” he said.

“It’s a cloud,” she said, “There’s nothing to see.”

“It’s like Key West,” he said standing next to her looking out at the scene before him.

This is not Key West.” She said, sick of the sand, the people, and the cloud that was blocking her vision of the sun.

“No, in Key West the people are piled twenty deep against a fence.”

“Did you hear that man?” my wife asked me, “Piled against the fence. Twenty deep.” She was sitting and kicking the broken shells out of her sandals. My wife and I are taking a belated 25th anniversary trip to Florida and Key West is on our itinerary. We were both close enough to hear their conversation. Of course hearing their conversation wasn’t all that hard to do.

“Yeah, but did you hear her?” I asked looking out at the blazing colors that outlined the ‘cloud’ that the woman was so verbally distraught about. I looked back at where they were standing and they were gone – retreated to a gift shop or, more likely, their car. I was sure she would be bemoaning the fact that there were so many people “staring at nothing” far past her trip to Cape May.

My wife had not heard the woman. They were a middle-aged couple; I suppose they were about our age but as couples we were obviously looking at two completely different sunsets. I felt that I had to look again at the view and see it with eyes that weren’t poisoned by the woman’s freely offered but never asked for opinions. And so I did.

She missed it. She never saw the colors that exploded around the edge of the clouds – the shimmering feathers of light that were painted like bright orange brush strokes against the canvas of the sky. The sparkling reflection of ambient light on the water so close to where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay. She missed the magic – the celebration of another day turning into night. The thing about sunsets is that no two are alike. Each one is different, unique. Each has its own verse of poetry to whisper in your ear. You either appreciate that or you don’t. Sunsets are moments in time and moments are fleeting, they are unique - they are precious. 

I thought of the man on their car ride back to wherever it is they were from and whatever their life together has been thus far. “Poor bastard,” I said.

“What?” my wife asked.

“Huh? Oh, nothing,” I said and we returned to the sight before us.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

JAWS Turns 40 Today

“What’s the scariest movie that you’ve ever seen?”  

It’s a fair question for any movie geek.  You’ve got your Omens & Exorcists (which are, yes, quite scary) but there was only one film that made me petrified to get into the bathtub and that film is JAWS.  JAWS hit a collective nerve - it still does.  There is something buried deep in our minds that concerns itself with simple survival.  That little voice that reminds us that we are part of the food chain, that there really are things out there that cannot be seen – things that may eat you alive.  JAWS plays perfectly on those fears.  With all due respect to aliens & zombies (both of which, when handled properly, can be quite scary), the food chain is real.  Sharks are real.  Rationally, relying on statistics, I know I will both hit the lottery and be struck by lightning on the same day before a shark takes a bite out of my well-marbled hide.  But I’m talking fear and, yes, “The Shark is Still Working”. 

40 years ago today – JAWS was released.    

I still look twice before getting into the bathtub.  Thanks Mr. Spielberg.  

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Better World Books

I am blessed to be around readers.  People who love books.  We recommend authors to each other and sometimes there is the payoff of discovery – the discovery of something wonderful.  We tell each other what we like and what we believe others may like too.  We are fans of our libraries and funky used book stores and, on occasion we’ll wander through a Barns & Noble, which appears to be the only big brick and mortar book store left these days.  We have accounts on Amazon for our Kindle apps and e-readers.  We have access to e-books from other sources as well.  We read or we listen to stories.  We are fans.

Perhaps you too are such a fan?  If so then lend me your ears…

This week one of my reading friends asked me if I had heard of a website called Better World Books (  She said that it was an online used bookstore where you could find great stuff cheap AND, she went on to tell me, “The best part is that for every book you buy – they donate a book somewhere else in the world.”  This is a great idea.  This is a great concept.  There are books who are looking for readers and there are people out there who don’t usually have access to books who, through this site, now have access to them – worldwide.  It’s easy to take a thing like literacy or being able to pick up a book from a library or bookstore for granted.  There are places and places not necessarily too far away where this is the norm and not the exception.  You can help shrink those barriers.

There are bins all over the place to donate your used books – see here: and if you don’t want to do that you can have labels sent to your domicile to mail them away yourself.  They even accept textbooks. 

So by getting books through Better World Books makes the world a better place.  It’s a win-win.  You get the books you’re looking for (really – it’s an exhaustive selection), promote literacy, and get books into the hands of people who wouldn’t have them otherwise.  That’s a good thing all the way around the horn.

Spread the love.  Let other readers know.  Here’s their Facebook page too:

Thank you, Gentle Reader.  Keep on readin’.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Free Comic Book Day - 2015

Today is Free Comic Book Day and as this website ( says, “Taking place annually on the first Saturday in May, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops!”  Comic Book Shops from coast to coast will open their doors later this morning and spread the love of comics to anyone who stops by.

I, therefore, encourage you to stop by Gentle Reader.  Find your local Comic Book Shop and see what’s going on there.  I will be at my favorite Comic Book Shop – Level Up Entertainment and Far Point Toys in the Hamilton Mall (that’s in New Jersey – close to Atlantic City).  Now I can’t tell you what the comic book shop near YOU is doing today but I can tell you the mighty happenings that are going to be going on at my Comic Book Shop…

So, there it is.  It’s Free Comic Book Day!  Celebrate accordingly.