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A Radio Good Night

The lonely and creative hearts come out to play

No longer hushed by the glare of an unforgiving day.

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The graveyard shift,

That’s what they call it

The graveyard shift,

a place where

they bury the dead

and other undesirables.

In radio

And other lonely places

The graveyard shift,

Creeps on.

 

Midnight to six am

Where people drift

When there is no place left to go.

For me, it was my voice, my opinions

and my music that was my shovel.

Losing myself in thoughts

Alone in the middle of the night.

Ideas and music flowed like wine

And I lost all track of time.

 

Then the phone would ring

Oh no, not a ring!

You can’t have things ringing

in the “On Air studio.”

A red flashing light

Endlessly flashing, flashing, flashing,

Becoming a scream

Refusing to be ignored

Answer me

Answer me, answer me

Phone call

Phone call.

 

And so many flashes later

I answer.

The voice said

My name is Tobey

Would you play a song for me?

 

A wonderful world happens after midnight

The lonely and creative hearts come out to play

No longer hushed by the glare of an unforgiving day.

So, do the strange

and deranged.

a cross-section of life begins to drift

In and out

On the graveyard shift.

 

The musicians finishing up their gigs

Dropping by because

Where do you go after two am?

When there is no place to go but home

And home is no place to go.

 

We had that in common

The night people

and me.

And I tried to

Keep us glad to be

night people.

It mostly worked.

 

Tobey was neither a lonely heart

Nor a musician

Just a night soul on a quest for tomorrows meaning

And yesterday’s reasons

A late-night spirit who came to listen

Not just to the show

But to this lonely gravedigger

And then she listened some more

More about this lonely

drifting voice in the dark.

 Me, both the ringmaster and the clown. 

 

And through so many passages

Of my life, she came to listen

Again, and then

again.

Helping me through the

The long nights of the emotional soul

The journey from one growing old

To growing older.

 

Dreading the dimming of the light.

Cursing the flickering flame

fading in the middle of another night.

And years later

She came and cared again

 

I guess I never really let her know

How much she had my life

A possible dream

There on the graveyard shift.

A clear and moving stream.

Pushing time along

her memory will go with me

 

Thank you for all that could have been

And for what was

Good night Tobey.

Featured

Memories

I’ve had a theory for a long time that as years pass and we look back on our personal history and at the people and events that have come and gone in our lives, we develop something I call compressed remembrance. It’s a feeling that something that occurred many years before happened only yesterday. Time collapses and years become weeks, weeks become days, and days seem like only hours.

On Friday, November 22, 1963, I was in history class, and it seems surreal that I would have been in history class on a date that will be read about for hundreds of years. I have no idea what I was thinking about before the news was delivered to the classroom. I probably had my mind on the upcoming Thanksgiving football game and practice after class. I’m sure I was not listening to Mrs. Loffler drone on about the Magna Carta or the Louisiana Purchase. I don’t remember the names of most of my high school teachers and fewer names of my college professors, but I remember Mrs. Loffler because she was there that day. That was the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  I can still hear how her voice changed as she gave some brief explanation and told us that school would be ending early.  I remember feeling very detached from whatever new reality was taking place and annoyed that whatever this event was had suddenly disrupted my well-planned afternoon and weekend.

Quickly now it’s 21 years later, November 23, 1984. I’m no longer living on Staten Island, a naive teenager dreaming of gridiron glory. I’ve resisted a war, lived in the mountains of West Virginia, and been to prison. I’m back in radio and living in Boston. The Boston College Eagles are playing the University of Miami. There are 28 seconds left in the game, and Miami is leading 45 to 40 when some too-small-to-play quarterback guy named Doug Flutie dropped back and let what became known as the “Hail Mary” touchdown pass take flight. It traveled 48 yards, taking what seemed like forever to go that distance and reach its target, Gerard Phelan, and gave the football Eagles a 47-45 victory. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Fast forward. It’s now 2017, and I am watching what will be remembered as the greatest Super Bowl ever played. My granddaughter is about to become the same age I was on November 22, 1962: Sixteen, a magical age full of hopes and dreams but also fear. She was born into a time when the world seems to teeter constantly on the brink of disaster. I’m watching a man named Tom Brady who is leading the New England Patriots to a mind-blowing come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons. No team in history has ever come from 21 points behind to win a Super Bowl, but in the last quarter New England tied the game and went on to win in the first Super Bowl overtime in history. I saw people laughing and cheering and watched, even if only for a twinkling, the cares and troubles of their everyday lives dissolve away. I was proud of my city of Boston as they danced in the streets, not one-act of violence and no arrests. I have a few more years to keep that memory.

We live in a world where smiles and good times are difficult to come by, and we don’t have many years in a lifetime to make memories. I read somewhere that someday we will only be a memory to someone, and we should do our best to make sure it’s a good one. Trust me, I’m dancing as fast as I can.

 

Tennesse Whiskey

Written and performed first by David Allen Coe in 1981 and until tonight Coe’s version was the only one I had ever heard. I always thought it should be low down and bluesy which Coe tried but fell a bit short. Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake damn near threw a perfect horseshoe ringer, is it country, is it blues, rock or gospel, who cares its damn good music. https://youtu.be/WSfQw-Qhr14

Just Random Info, That’s Random not Rambo.

I’m always curious about what went on, on a certain day in time that I have been circling the sun.

On this date, in case you might think this has been a boring day then hop on the time machine to March 21st,1976 after a David Bowie concert at the Community War Memorial arena in Rochester, New York, Iggy Pop and David Bowie were involved in a drug bust at their hotel room where the police found 182 grams (a little over 6.4 ounces) of marijuana. The pair spent the rest of the night in the Monroe County Jail and were released at about 7 a.m. on $2,000 bond each. Wow $2,000 dollars bond, crap 6.4 ounces may cost that much now. All of Massachusetts is refusing to exhale until July 1st.

On March 21st the number one song was “Silly Love Songs”, I understand that Paul wrote that in response to John saying all Paul wrote was silly or stupid love songs. If you look at the top 100 songs of 1976 no wonder Bowie and Iggy needed a bag or three. But out of all this dismal sound came brilliance at # 18 on March 21, 1976.  https://youtu.be/fJ9rUzIMcZQ

 

People Like You, Country Music Fans.

A lot of you already know I am a songs lyric person, it could be country, country rock, rock and on an on, I love lyrics so I had to look up Hailey Whitters to see who she is after listening to this song that someone suggested I should hear, so I did and I really like the lyrics, still not sure why someone wanted me to hear it 😉. I don’t listen to a lot of radio anymore, I’ll not go into all the reasons why, but I don’t. However, I probably miss a little and some of you may already be aware of this song and Hailey. There isn’t much I have found in my research so far, but country music fans will find this interesting Whitters released her debut full-length album in 2015 titled Black Sheep. Whitters co-wrote Little Big Town’s song “Happy People”, from their 2017 album The Breaker. Song, “People Like You”

 

 

Woody the Lion and Me, A St. Paddys Day tale

It’s the eve of St. Paddy’s Day 2018, in the most Irish town in America, Boston, and what better day to have an eve (small e) on than a Friday depending on the Eve (capital E) any day could be a fine one. And so, I have decided to tell you a story, an Irish story it’s one of many I have but this one happens to be true, pass the bottle, please. I was sitting in the game room occasionally known as the conference room of a radio station one day as we drank a few beers hit a few shots of Jack Daniels back and smoked a few illegals and no not aliens. We were talking about nationalities. It seems everyone had a bit of Irish on them this day even a guy named Feinberg (I used an alias for him) So finally after a few more beer and shots it was my turn to tell my nationality, pass the bottle, please. I started with the strongest two and that was as far as I got. I was never able to add and a little of this and little of that nationality. There was a guy there with thick long red hair and a bushy red beard, a very Irish lad indeed named O’Rourke (I made that name up for him, I think), pass the bottle, please. O’Rourke looked a lot like the original cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz. So finally, the bottle and my turn rolled around, time for me to lay claim to my birthrights and I began to proudly announce that I was half, wait, before I get to that did I tell you that Feinberg, not their real name looked a lot like Woody Allen, and I didn’t make that up or  what O’Rourke looked like, don’t reread if you forgotten he looked like the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.  So, my turn. Yes, my turn to drink, toke and talk, if I still could? And of course I can, I’m a highly rained Ofessional Brewdcaster. And if you have read and followed me this far I’ll bet you’re saying this better be worth it, well it’s not you can stop now.

So here we are, Woody the Lion and Me on the eve of March 17, which is supposedly the day of St. Patrick’s death.  I’ve never been sure why we celebrate that, dying doesn’t sound like party time to me. And now it’s my turn to proclaim my DNA results, I am, I said proudly part Irish and part Cherokee Indian. At this, Woody felt faint as the lion stood up with red hair and red beard and eyes ablaze and said, “My God man you’re an alcoholic looking for a place to happen”. To which I replied, and I found it, pass the bottle, please.

 

Longing

Once upon a time

As the story is told

we happened

Knowing our love

would never grow old

No Soft-spoken whispers

Just cries of longing

Taking each other by storm

For once feeling like belonging

In all our desperate cries

Of yearning

We knew our time

Would not last for long

For like the summers burning

One would soon be gone

We threw off the guides

And let go the tether

Making the most

Of our fleeting

Summers together.

From the Shores of Styx, The Unbroken Circle.

­

A baby cries from

The shores of Styx

A child cries from the darkness

Of a ghetto

A baby cries

And a child cries

A mother cries

As a father dies

A war starts

Jobs end

House is lost

A father dies

The child grows

The child says why

But the man knows

Like those before him knew

And so

The child sighs

The man dies

From the shoes of Styx

From the deepest part of Stygian

A baby cries again

Screaming out of the darkness

Crawling out of the gloom

Refusing to keep the circle

The child from the darkest recesses of Stygian

Screams I will fight

For light and though I may lose

And die alone in the dark

I will have created a glimmer

Of hope

As the man cries

The woman dies

And once again

A child rises from darkness of Stygian

Screaming I will create light

And the circle remains

Unbroken.

**In Greek mythology, Styx is a deity and a river that forms the boundary between earth and the underworld(the domain often called Hades, which also is the name of its ruler). The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which sometimes is also called the Styx. According to Herodotus, the river Styx originates near Feneos.Styx is also a goddess with prehistoric roots in Greek mythology as a daughter of Tethys, after whom the river is named and because of whom it had miraculous powers.

 

The Rust Belt Rattled

This was first written and published one year ago today.

Well, the Make America Gasp Again campaign is over. It ended in a night of shock and awe-my-God as Donald Trump walked all over the prognosticator’s predictions as they watched their nice little map of blue states and red states fall to pieces like the jigsaw puzzle maps I constantly got for my birthday when I was a kid. It seemed I heard the same mantra on every channel I went to: What are we seeing? How could this be happening?

What was happening was the mad-as-hell scene from the 1976 movie Network. People might not have been screaming out their windows at the top of their lungs, but your average Joe or Mary were rattling the rust off the belt in the upper northeastern United States, the Great Lakes, and the Midwest, areas suffering economic decline, population loss, and urban decay due to the shrinking of its once-powerful industrial sector. Joe and Mary didn’t get to move on up to the east side, and if they got any pie at all, it was old and stale. Now they are just mad as hell at what they see as false promises and business as usual in Washington and are ready to have their voice heard and make a change. Apparently, the loudest they could scream was by voting for the biggest change they could, a racist, sexist person who makes fun of disabled people and calls for offensive bombing attacks on sovereign nations because someone gave the middle finger. This is a very short list of the insane thoughts of the man some now call president, but maybe when you have been kicked long enough and you feel powerless and someone with high visibility comes along shouting many of the things you feel, even if you don’t agree with all of them, you’ll let them get away with groping women and make fun of the disabled just as long as they seem to be telling the establishment to take an effing walk off a short pier.

I was driving a young friend home from work the other day, and we were talking about the election and the surprise we both had at how completely Trump marched to victory. I got on my soapbox about the 1960’s and protest and “The People” working for change. My friend, while young in years, is wise, and she said, “I am afraid that kind of passion is gone.”

Did you hear? The immigration website in Canada crashed with people wanting to leave America (or at least wanting to know how). To me, leaving is the wrong move. Stay in this country and organize, write, talk, march, protest. Do everything you can to make Donald Trump miserable and bring his regime to a quick end. Remember, it is still a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, and this is our country. He may be in the White House, but he can be impeached. Watch him closely and draw attention to his every false move. In my mind, he’s only one discovered crime behind Richard Nixon. If there are enough people to crash Canada’s immigration website, there are enough people to bring his Big Top Circus in D.C. crashing down on the clown’s head.

I would like to say this is my last political blog and write about cute cats and puppies and clever kids that do tricks, at least for a while. I would like to say that and so I did, but I may also have lied.

 

 

The Real, The Unreal, The Unexplained.

Boston, Massachusetts, one of the oldest cities in the United States, was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. Just north of Boston along the jagged coastline and unpredictable currents of the Atlantic Ocean, hidden someplace between the old Boston lighthouse and your imagination, is a place called Rambling Harbor. It’s late October in Rambling Harbor as blue skies and mild temperatures disappear quickly into cold gray and harsh winds begin to wail, fashioning a perfect atmosphere for the coming of the witch.
Fall colors are gone, and bare branches dance around under the moonlight, casting shadows. Long contorted in pain, they stretch out across the bogs and open fields. They taunt you, daring you to come close. Come in, if you have the nerve. You can hear the whisper of some diabolical laughter coming from their tortured trunks. No longer hidden by deceiving coats of colors, the boughs are twisted arms, grasping out to wrap themselves around you and bring you down to their shadowy world forever. The harbor almost always has a wind blowing, favorable for both sailors and one’s imagination. What was that sound? Was it just the wind, or the cry of some lost spirit?
So many things in old New England remain unknown, hidden behind centuries-old houses that hide—secrets? The jagged unforgiving coastline and unpredictable storms that roam the North Atlantic have sent many ships to rest forever at the bottom of the sea. Do they rest? Perhaps that was not the wind.
One story says that in 1851, a lighthouse located just off Minot’s Ledge in a particularly turbulent part of New England waters was destroyed by a storm, killing two lighthouse-keeper’s assistants who were trapped inside. The lighthouse became automated in 1977, and now no one goes there except the Coast Guard, on occasion, for general checks of the lights. But boaters and fishermen have reported spotting two men who appear to be hanging over the side of the lighthouse, clinging to it for their lives.
Not too far from the entrance to Rambling Harbor, there is Hangman Island. According to legend, many a pirate felt the rope of the executioner and was left there to dangle in the wind as a warning to others to avoid the same fate.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The House of the Seven Gables, it is agreed, was written because of ancestral guilt. Hawthorne’s great-grandfather was one of the main perpetrators of the Salem Witch Trials, and the house and property where Nathaniel grew up are said to be cursed.
There are so many mysteries in the air, in the sea, and on the ground. Rambling Harbor, a small piece of land located somewhere off the coast of New England in the Atlantic Ocean, is inhabited by the real, the unreal, and the unanswered.

 

The Ken Burns/Lynn Novick Documentary on the Vietnam War: The Untold Story  

I almost never watch anything that runs more than an hour except for a movie or a football game. If I can’t see it in one viewing, then I’m likely to not be wherever I need to be when the next part of whatever it was becomes available for watching. But I made an exception for the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary on the Vietnam War. And I am angry, not at the fact that this colossal undertaking took ten years for them to complete or that it consumed 18 hours of my life because, in all honesty, I don’t do all that much from 8 pm–9:30 pm on any given night anyway. No, I am angry at Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for the lopsided interpretation of history that was a sizable portion of my life. Their chronicle of the war itself was misleading enough (and I would love to hear how my friends, my brothers, and sisters who served in Vietnam, felt about how the war was portrayed). But Burns and Novick totally hoodwinked anyone not aware of many facts about the antiwar movement.

We saw violence in video and dialog by people like the Weathermen as well as the protesters who retaliated with violence, we saw a couple of minutes of one man who went to Canada (and there were many of them who did, and that was not making a statement. It was a cop-out). And violence is not a protest, it’s a riot. What took place with people like the Weathermen or the person who just wanted to burn and destroy is a long, long way from the protest of the 1960’s that I knew, and Burns and Novick completely ignored the peaceful resistance that I was a part of.

I would ask Ken Burns and Lynn Novick where the information is about a person like myself who not only began protesting the war in the early-to-mid-1960’s long before it was fashionable, a person who burned his draft card quietly and peacefully. In my case, much to the disappointment of my mother, I had to convince the powers-that-be to reclassify me to 1-A from 3-A—family support/fortunate son and college deferments up one arm and down the other. I also peacefully refused induction and refused alternative service. In short, I refused every way out that they offered me, and I did not run to Canada. If my brothers and sisters were putting something on the line, I had to give what I could, and what I could give was my freedom.

I will never forget the old judge, Judge McClain, who looked at me sitting in my laundry basket. Yes, my laundry basket. Since I had refused to walk and the guards didn’t want to keep carrying me (or in some cases, drag me like a rug they were taking to the junkyard), they decided to dump me in a laundry basket and wheel me about that way. I was pushed into the middle of the courtroom, and Judge McClain pulled himself up on the bench, leaned over, and peering down at me said, “I know what you will not do, Mr. Sanders, your reputation got here before you did. Will you tell me what you will do?” I thought he might burst a seam when I said I believed there are only two choices here and they were his: “The first is, if you believe in the robes you wear and the laws you have sworn to uphold, then you must send me to prison. The other is, if you do not believe in those robes and laws, take off the robes and we will go out to lunch.” He called a court recess, and in about an hour, he sent me to prison for two years with a one-year probation to follow. Not bad, I thought, since I was facing 15 years if all counts were added together.

I have given some of the details of my resistance because I know them, but I am not the only one who took this course of action. There were many more just like me who did not blow anything up or throw bombs or actively participate in a riot (although they were clubbed in places like Chicago in 1968) or run to Canada. We simply said no and gave what we could. We gave our freedom.

I sat through the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary waiting for this side of the resistance to be shown, and it never was. They claim to give all sides of an issue, but in this case, they not only missed the boat, they sank the boat, and I am about as angry as I could be about a documentary. I can’t get my 18 hours back or my two years in prison, but I would like that side of the war resistance to be told for all of those who took a non-violent path and gave all they could and lost friends and relatives and their freedom. That story has never been told.

Just Thinking, October 10th 2017 

About baseball, a sport I played a lot in high school and a smidge in college and as a young man I really looked forward to watching the New York Mets, now come on Boston! I grew up on Staten Island and it’s a hell of a lot better than the Yankees. In their 1962 inaugural season, the Mets posted a record of 40–120, the worst regular season record since MLB went to a 162-game schedule (two games were canceled). The Mets “The New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc. Included Roger Craig, Richie Ashburn, Felix Mantilla to name only a couple, or three, The Mets, made up of players that many of them were driving a golf cart happily retired the day before.

But 162 games, I don’t think so, summers in New England are fleeting things and to spend them inside, I repeat, No! Thank you! But all that aside, I am right now as I write this, I’m in the fits of Angst watching my first full baseball game in many years and oh how it has changed. The Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros are playing game 4 of the playoffs and the Sox need to win or go home, as they say, even though they are home, but if they win they must leave home.

And holly mother of the strike zone. Why don’t we just eliminate the people, though not literally, no bullets allowed in Rambling Harbor, and make it a Multinational computer game controlled only by computers that we as humans have absolutely no control over but watch as if we did? Strike zone with pitches seen in slow-mo creeping toward some computer-generated square that no one can see without the magic of television and we the well programmed but unseen millions are able to know if a human blew “the call”, and now they can review a call of safe or out at a base, if the manager thinks the umpire is a bloody fool he throws a fit, at least that hasn’t changed, and he calls for a review, a review a review, a freaking review ?! and so with cameras in slow motion that no human eye could catch, we, pardon me not we, but the computer can overturn the decision of the human. But even though we have no control over the outcome we do see the truth of it, or do we? oh dear, just thinking.
Post Script: The Red Sox lost.

 

Wounded Knee Remembered

It was a cold 29th of December in the year 1890. When one thinks about the year, it was only 123 years ago. It was not that long ago when you consider that there is a woman in England who 3 years ago celebrated her 109th birthday. My grandfather was 98 when he died and that was in 1968. This means he was born in 1866 and was a young man of 24 when the Massacre at Wounded Knee took place. My grandfather and my mother were Cherokee, born in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Their story: The “Trail Of Tears,” a forced death march of the Cherokees is a story for telling at another time.

We are in many ways a very young country. At least, we are young in terms of the arrival of the Pilgrims and the desecration of a very old land and its original people. The people who had farmed and hunted the land for hundreds upon hundreds of years, before the settlers came. People who worshiped the land had reverence for nature and the animals that served their needs. They took only what they needed and would have never polluted the skies or dirtied the waters.

And so, on that cold December day in 1890, 500 troops of the US 7th cavalry supported by Hotchkiss guns, guns which were lightweight, made for travel, allowing the Calvary to surround the encampment of the Miniconjou, Sioux ( Lakota) and Hunkpapa.

The army had orders to transport the Sioux by railroad to Omaha, Nebraska. The day before the Sioux had given up their flight from the troops and agreed to peacefully turn themselves in at the Pine Ridge Agency in South Dakota. They were the last of the Sioux to do that.

In the process of disarming the Sioux, a deaf Sioux by the name of Black Coyote could not hear the order to surrender his rifle. This set off a fight that left approximately 300 Lakota women, men and children dead. About 25 troops were killed; many believed to be the victims of friendly fire in the chaos. About 150 Lakota fled and the rest were left on the ground to die from hypothermia.

After this battle, the most Medals of Honor, the highest recognition for bravery were the most ever awarded to U.S. soldier of all wars in the United States… and to think it was all because a deaf Lakota could not hear the order to surrender his rifle.

In witness to how little we have learned, 83 years later February 27, 1973, the town of Wounded Knee was seized peacefully by followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The control of the town lasted for 71 days. There is disagreement as to whether the town was cordoned off as AIM claims, or if the blockade took place after the takeover. However, the reasons that AIM was there was to oppose Oglala tribal chairman Richard A.” Dick” Wilson. Wounded Knee was chosen for obvious reasons.

By the morning of February 28, the police had set up roadblocks, cordoned off the area and began arresting people trying to leave the town. The equipment brought by the military included fifteen armored personnel carriers, rifles, grenade launchers, flares and 133,000 rounds of ammunition. There were paramilitary personnel armed with automatic weapons, snipers, helicopters, armored personnel carriers equipped with .50 mm caliber machine guns.

One eyewitness, a journalist, chronicled…” sniper fire from federal helicopters”, “bullets dancing around in the dirt and “sounds of shooting all over town.” Throughout the conflict, Frank Clearwater, a Wounded Knee occupier, was shot in the head while asleep and died on April 25. Lawrence Lamont was shot in the heart and died April 26. U.S. Marshall Lloyd Grimm was paralyzed from the waist down, again by a gunshot wound.

AIM claims that the government tried starving out the occupants, and the occupiers smuggled food and medical supplies past roadblocks set up by Dick Wilson.

Now here comes what may be a surprise to the reader: I was an eyewitness to at least a part of the occupation and can certify that the military presence, the roadblocks, and the attempt to starve not just men, but women and children as well were real.

On a March night with a jeep loaded with peanut butter and bread and having informed the powers that be, that all I would be carrying was food. I took a back road (actually it wasn’t a road at all) into the town and having arrived and returned, counted 27 bullet holes in my jeep. I had dropped off my supplies and left the same way I came in. When I read about bullets dancing around in the dark and the dirt, I smiled, because some of those bullets were dancing behind, around and in front of me. You will never see my name associated with this movement, and I am not even sure that any of the occupants of that small town of Pine Ridge, South Dakota ever knew my name. That was the way I wanted it, and besides, I wanted out as quickly as possible. I do not want to prove any of this; most of it can be proven by history.

However, I will tell you that I often smile to think that some child ate and lived because of a peanut butter sandwich instead of a gun.

Heroes

It will be easy for some people, likely many people to think I’m re-posting this in a see I told you so manner and on some level, that may be true.When I first published it I got a lot of grief about it from people saying I was defending a thug, a gang member, and a killer. What I was trying to say then and what I am trying to say now is we should never rush to judgment of anyone and especially our so-called heroes when they disappoint us. This link is the up-to-date news about Aaron Hernandez and my blog from April follows. http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nfl/aaron-hernandez-lawyer-brain-showed-severe-case-of-cte/ar-AAsjSlj?OCID=ansmsnnews11

We place our heroes on pedestals, athletes because they can catch or run or hit a ball better than anyone else, movie stars because they can deliver a line written by someone else better than anyone else, or in the case of some actors like an Eastwood or Stallone because they can grimace or groan better than anyone else. We place them all on high and kneel before a throne called the box office. We pay them ridiculous amounts of money and let them live fairy-tale lives, but god help them if they disappoint us by proving they are human, that they have feet of clay.

I am reminded of a scene from a good movie called My Favorite Year, released in 1982, starring a really good actor, Peter O’Toole. O’Toole plays an aging, swashbuckling actor named Allan Swann who, because he is also a raging drunk, is taken under the wing of a junior comedy writer named Benjy who has always looked up to the actor. When he learns that his hero has feet of clay, he starts to become disillusioned, and when Swann proclaims that he is not a hero, he is an actor, Benjy says he need heroes, needs them larger than life, needs to look up to them.

Benjy was right. We need real-life heroes. We all need someone to look up to, and we need heroes trying to save us, something we can believe in. When we find out they are not who we thought, that they have an Achilles heel, it totally disrupts our emotions, sending us head over heels into an “I can’t accept this” state of mind.

It may surprise many New Englanders, but there are people across America who have barely, if ever, heard of Aaron Hernandez. He was a hometown hero, and when he seemingly let us down, some turned on him with a vengeance. When news broke that he had apparently killed himself, many danced on his grave, forgetting that we were the ones who made him larger than life. It was our hard-earned dollars that gave him a $40 million a year contract, and it was our hero-worship that made him infallible.

I think we do need larger-than-life heroes, but we are not going to find them on the silver screen, the baseball diamond, or the football gridiron, and we don’t need to pay them ridiculous amounts of money. The real heroes are fire fighters, police, teachers, and doctors, to name just a few, and how about the amputee who carried his guide across the finish line at the Boston Marathon? Now that’s my idea of a hero. But I will not forget he is also human, not a god.

You may be convinced that Aaron Hernandez did it, but I am not convinced. I am convinced that he was a person with a multitude of emotional and mental issues and a victim of a system that would have rather had him play football than help him with his problems, as we knelt before a throne called the box office.