Reflections on 60

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I turn 60 in less than a week. As you might expect, I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. Here’s what I’ve come up with: It happens fast – My dad told me this many years ago and he was righ It’s like your car’s gas tank; the first half takes forever to go…
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Ten Books That Have Stayed with Me

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Recently a thread has been bumping around on social media called “Ten Books that Have Stayed with You.” This doesn’t necessarily refer to the ten greatest books you’ve ever read, but more to the ones you think about from time to time, the ones that have become part of who you are. With that in…
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Chapter 1

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On Sunday night I woke up pretty much once an hour to check my alarm. Funny how your brain won’t let you get a good night’s sleep when you have a big day in store. Of course, I finally fell into a deep slumber about thirty minutes before the piercing bleet-bleet-bleet managed to work its…
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A New Beginning

“Begin Again,” my favorite movie of this young summer, tells the story of a down-and-out record company exec (Mark Ruffalo), an up-and coming free spirit singer/songwriter (Keira Knightley) and a breakout rock star who looks and sounds an awful lot like Maroon 5’s Adam Levine. It’s a solid follow-up to writer/director John Carney’s debut effort,…
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In Defense of Malcolm Gladwell (Not that he needs it)

I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. In books like “Outliers,” “The Tipping Point,” and “David and Goliath,” he takes complex counterintuitive concepts and makes them understandable for people like me. One of his strengths is using the power of story to create an emotional connection with his readers as he discovers underlying connections between…
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Pen Pals

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Dear Mr. Battaglia: My name is Ricky (short for Eric) Walker and I am 11 years old. My Sunday school teacher, Miss Peabody, is teaching us about being nice to other people and gave us homework to write to someone who is in the hospital or in the army or can’t find a job or…
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Life-Affirming Songs for the New Year

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Sometimes a good optimistic song is the only thing that will pull you out of a deep funk. As we head into the New Year (always a delightful combination of hope and dread), I thought I’d share the ones that do the trick for me. “A Beautiful Morning” – Rascals. The 60s were one part…
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Slot Zombies

My friend Andrew Hall said, “You should write a story about zombies in Las Vegas.” So I did. Thanks Andrew.   “Hey Boss,” Ike Johnson said, “come on over here. You need to see this.” Tom Stafford, assistant head of security for downtown Vegas’ Lucky Cuss casino/hotel, hoisted himself with a groan from his genuine…
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Pass the Popcorn

One of the best things about having an eleven-year-old grandson is you’ve got a built-in movie buddy to see the big stupid summer blockbusters your wife won’t sit through. He and I have been on quite a roll lately. Here are my capsule reviews of our last three Saturday matinees. “Man of Steel” – The…
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