Saturday, August 31, 2013

6 Rules Should Be Guiding Your Career - From the Blog "Barking Up The Wrong Tree" by Eric Barker


At a fascinating dinner gathering a few nights ago, I had the privilege of meeting uber-Blogger Eric Barker.  I learned that evening (not from him, for he seems quite humble and self-effacing) that his Blog, "Barking Up The Wrong Tree" is one of the most widely read Blogs in the world.  

So, I have now subscribed to his newsletter and have been reading some of the back issues of his Blog.  The one linked below is based on a book by Daniel Pink entitled, "The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need."  This wisdom contained therein is so succinct and so on target that I knew I wanted to share it with readers of The White Rhino Report.

The basic outline of Pink's book, and of Barker's post is contained in these 6 principles:


"Daniel Pink’s The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need conveys a number of principles about the world of work that everyone should take note of.

Why? Though Pink doesn’t bog the story down with academic research, all of his core ideas are backed up by plenty of studies, many of which I’ve posted about in the past.

So what does he have to say? Six simply-stated concepts:

  1. There is no plan.
  2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  3. It’s not about you.
  4. Persistence trumps talent.
  5. Make excellent mistakes.
  6. Leave an imprint.

So let’s break these down and explore what they mean and why they’re so effective. . . ."

I encourage you to click on the link below to read Barker's wise exegesis of these 6 principles.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree Blog - 6 Rules Should Be Guiding Your Career

To order Pink's book, click on this Amazon link:

Amazon.com: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

Thursday, August 29, 2013

“The Resting Place Of The Dead Has Something To Say To The Living” – In Memory of Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Hay

Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Hay


My friend, Kevin Stacy, has done a good job of reminding many of us that it was exactly eight years ago today, August 29, 2005, that Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Hay died n Iraq.  I made the trip to Arlington, Virginia to attend his burial.  On that occasion, I wrote the following piece, that I am re-issuing today as a tribute and to make a small contribution to keeping the memory of this fine warrior alive in as many hearts as possible.

“The Resting Place Of The Dead Has Something To Say To The Living” – In Memory of Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Hay


Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

The family and comrades of Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Hay began to gather around 10:00 on Tuesday morning in the Administration Building at Arlington National Cemetery. The electronic board directed the Hay family and friends to Family Salon D on the lower level. A quick glance at the board told me that this day at Arlington, at least a score of families would be saying their final “Good-byes” to a loved one who had served our nation in time of war.

The confluence of events that led all of us – soldiers, airmen and civilians alike united in a bond of grief - to gather soberly in that room had had their climax a few weeks ago in a brief instant of gunfire and confusion. It happened a world away in Tal Afar, Iraq. My friend, Kevin Stacy, was patrolling the skies over Tal Afar, seeking out insurgents from the perch of his OH58D Kiowa helicopter. The second bird on this patrol was piloted by Kevin’s teammate and close friend, Dennis Hay. They served together in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, in a team they call “Pegasus.” As they flew low over the ground, they came under attack. The bullets missed Kevin’s aircraft, but Dennis and his co-pilot were hit by machine gun fire. Dennis was mortally wounded. He was 32 years old and leaves behind his wife, Rebecca, 5 year-old Jacob and 1 year-old Abigail – along with a coterie of extended family – parents, siblings, in-laws, aunts and uncles. In Family Room D, all struggled together - each in his own private grapplings and musings - to honor Dennis’ life and to find some comfort, solace and meaning in his all-too-sudden death.


Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

When Kevin e-mailed me from Iraq to tell me that Dennis would be buried in a hero’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery, I knew right away that I should find some way to make the trip to Virginia. Kevin would still be in Iraq and unable to be in attendance in body. Perhaps, by my attendance, I could help Kevin to be present in spirit. Also making the trip was my friend, Matt. Matt is a combat veteran aviator. Matt wanted and needed to be at Arlington for a final farewell and to: “See this thing through to the end.”
Mounted on the wall of Salon D was a large plasma TV showing in real time a scene being acted out a few hundred yards up the hill at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The scene was one witnessed daily by thousands who come to Arlington and to the Tomb of the Unknowns – the stately and perpetual vigil that is kept by elite troops standing guard over the marble tombs, and by extension, over each grave that hallows this storied and vast expanse of gently undulating hills on the banks of the Potomac.


Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus abide with me.

Rebecca and the children arrived with her family of origin, and shortly thereafter, an employee of Arlington National Cemetery directed us to follow her upstairs and to our cars for the procession to Dennis’ grave site. This woman, a stately and dignified Afro-American, was perfectly cast in her role – a comforting and alluring amalgam of strength, confidence, decorum, solemnity and warmth. Once everyone had made their way to the cars, we processed through the cemetery to a site overlooking the Pentagon, and where we met the ceremonial escort that included the horse-drawn caisson that carried a flag-draped casket.

We disembarked from the vehicles and stood in the drizzle as a small band of military musicians played several familiar tunes. We returned to the cars and, led by the caisson and the marching band, we continued to wend our way among the labyrinth of pathways that tie together the far-flung reaches of the cemetery. Matt and I talked as we drove past seemingly endless rows of grave markers – more than a quarter of a million markers emblematic of lives lost in each of our nation’s wars.

“Matt, just think about what we are seeing here. Each one of these stones represents dozens of family members and friends whose lives were forever altered by the sacrifice made by their loved ones.”
“Al, I wish Kevin could be here with us right now.”

“I feel as if he is. By you and me being here, we have helped to ensure that Kevin is here as well.”


Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

The procession halted near the intersection of MacArthur Drive and Bradley Drive – history whispering to us from those signposts that Dennis was joining the end of a long and ever-lengthening line of men and women who served this nation with distinction and with courage in time of war. As we gathered under the canopy that had been erected to protect us from the worst of the wind and the rain, the band played “Abide With Me,” the traditional hymn the words of which serve as a framework for this account of Dennis’ burial.

The chaplain began his remarks by quoting Dr. Tony Evans, a pastor in Dallas: “The Resting Place Of The Dead Has Something To Say To The Living.” As the chaplain spoke, the wind and rain picked up in their intensity – Nature attuning itself to the moment and pulsating in sympathy with the torrent of emotions, thoughts and memories swirling in the minds and hearts of those who had come to bid farewell to Dennis Hay. Leaves blew. Rain fell. The wind carried the strains of “America” and “America The Beautiful” beyond our ears and across the hillside towards the Washington Monument that loomed in the distance – its stony finger piercing the lowering blanket of clouds.


I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

The honor guard ceremonially folded the flag that had draped the casket and handed it to the ranking officer – a Major General who had once commanded a unit where Dennis had served. The General presented the flag to the family as symbolic of Dennis’s service and sacrifice. Our matronly hostess informed us that the ceremonies were now concluded and we should return to our cars. The wind and rain abated.


I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

In two’s and three’s, family members and fellow soldiers made their way up front to stare briefly – lost in their own reveries – at the box that contains Dennis’ ashes. Matt, bedecked in his dress blue uniform and his Cavalry Officer’s Stetson hat, hung back and waited until everyone else had had their moment alone with Dennis.

“Al, there is something I need to do.”

Matt spent a few moments near the urn, and then reached down to grab a handful of mud from the ground where Dennis would soon be laid to rest. Dennis’ mother had lovingly made bows for each mourner to wear – crafted from red, white and blue material. Matt took his bow between his fingers and gently ground into its fabric the mud that he had plucked from Dennis grave site.

“Matt, is this for you, or for Kevin back in Iraq?”

“It is for both of us.”


While I had waited for Matt to have his time alone with Dennis, I watched the lone honor guard who had remained to hold vigil. He stood ramrod straight and was the very picture of flawless military perfection – trousers creased, uniform spotless, shoes shined into mirrors that reflected the gray sky overhead.

And then I spotted the flaw. The soldier was unaware that a solitary maple leaf – brown and rain-soaked – had been blow by the wind and had alighted on the tip of his left shoe. This dead deciduous remnant had been torn from its life-giving branch too early in the season by a brief but violent storm. It lay draped across the soldier’s glistening shoe as if holding on for dear life – delaying as long as possible the moment when it would fall to the ground and moulder into dust.


Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Mini-Review of "For The Falls" by Emily Dendinger - A Staged Reading by Happy Medium Theatre

Falling Water - The Kauffman Residence
designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright made architectural history when he designed Fallingwater for the Kauffman family of Pennsylvania, the stunning house pictured above.  It was this striking design that inspired playwright Emily Dendinger to write a play set in this house, but portraying the struggle of a fictional bereaved family and group of friends.  The play, "For The Falls" has received a workshop presentation at the University of Iowa Playwright's Workshop.  Happy Medium Theatre of Boston presented a staged reading of this play this past Sunday at the Factory Theater in the South End.

The staged reading of this play was stunning.  Many of Happy Medium Theatre's usual cadre of actors participated, including Kiki Samko, Julia Specht, Mkey DiLoreto, Audrey Lynn Sylvia, Nick Miller, Victor Shopov and Michael Underhill, with Krista D'Agostino directing the production.

The play takes place in the iconic home, immediately following the funeral of Victor, a successful musician and composer, who may or may not have committed suicide.  The play is beautifully written, and was ably acted by the troupe - even in the limited staged reading format.  The themes of the play flowed like the waterfall that forms the backdrop for the house perched atop the stream.  Happy Medium Theatre offered a time of audience talk-back following the reading.  I will share with you some of the observations I made on Sunday afternoon.
  • There are several references to making paper boats to float on the stream.  Victor had left instructions for there to be a contest and race.  Two of the characters, Dorothy and Carl, have brought along inflatable rafts.  I made the comment that the paper boats and the rafts are emblematic of the fact that each character in the play is a fragile craft, hurtling down the stream of life and heading for the falls without much ability to control the voyage.
  • The noise of the waterfall makes it difficult for the characters to hear one another when using a normal tone of voice.  I saw this as a metaphor for the difficulty that the characters had in truly "hearing" and understanding each other because of the background noise of their personal issues, addictions, jealousies and idiosyncrasies.
  • The last piece of music that Victor composed before his death combined the background noise of the falls with traditional melodic music.  Those listening either loved or hated this blended piece.  As the play revealed truths about Victor and those caught up in the eddying stream of his life, it became clear that this piece of music represented Victor's attempt to blend his love for his wife, Marion, and his love for his lover, Eliot, who inhabits the house on the falls. 
  • In a sense, the house also stands for each character, perched precariously above a precipice, capable of tumbling into the stream if not properly supported and grounded.
  • Victor's brother, Jack, arrived late for the funeral and for the after-party,  and comes sweeping into the proceedings as the odd man out.  He is like Jack Kerouac recently returned from the road, and occupies center stage several times by making memories, s'mores and pancakes (that may or may not contain pieces of Victor's ashed in the batter).
  • Andrew, engaged to Victor's cousin Veronica, tries to comfort Veronica, but ends up blurting out banal and unhelpful observations.  In a sense, he fits into the stream and falls motifs by coming across as an inane babbling brook..
I loved the play, even in this incomplete form.  I look forward to Ms. Dendinger adding some finishing touches, and to seeing a fully mounted production of this fine work.  She has architected an intriguing story, and the actors/engineers of Happy Medium Theatre did an excellent job of presenting us with a memorable mock-up of the play.

Al

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Soldier Ride Boston - Support Our Wounded Warriors - Saturday, September 21st, 2013


My good friend, Dougan Sherwood, of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) is again helping to spearhead the upcoming Soldier Ride to raise awareness and support for The Wounded Warrior Project.

The ride will take place on Saturday, September 21st.  Let me share some of Dougan's thoughts about this year's race and how you may choose to participate - by riding or by donating.

>"Now in its 4th year, we're hoping that this year's Soldier Ride builds on the 1,000+ riders that have collectively raised more than $300,000 since 2010. 
Our ride will once again begin and end at Minute Man Historical National Park in Concord, MA (9 am start time), and there will be ride distances of: ~22 mi, 100 km (aka 65 mi) - and for the pain seekers - 100 mi!   
Most importantly, we are expecting more than 50 wounded veterans will be out there to ride with us.  These men and women will be coming to Concord from across the U.S.  It's a really special weekend that not only gets these heroes out on bikes and together with other vets, but it also helps organize the communities - both civilian and military - around them.  These communities in turn show their support and appreciation either by riding alongside them, or by cheering from the sidelines - all the while raising money and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.  
The most important thing you can do is to join us as a rider and ask your friends, family, co-workers for contributions.  There is a $25 registration fee and $125 minimum fundraising per cyclist.  If you're unable to ride, I'd be grateful for any contributions you can make to my ride.  Beyond all that, we'd love to see you out there on Saturday, September 21st, supporting our troops.  

If you'd like to register to ride in this year's Soldier Ride, click here (you'll eventually be directed to our active.com page).  If you do sign up, I hope you'll join my team, Team Sgt. Gregory Tufts, honoring my niece's husband who's currently serving in Afghanistan as an Army medic.

If you can't make it but would like to make a donation to my ride, please click here.
Hope to see you there!


Dougan Sherwood"



Here are some more details:

START/ FINISH LOCATION:
The Old Manse
269 Monument Street
Concord, MA

REGISTRATION FEE:
$25 for the 22 mile, 100 kilometer, or 100 mile route
Day of registration will be available at the event site.
*Please note: There is a $125 minimum fundraising requirement 

REGISTRATION FEE INCLUDES:
  • Registration for Soldier Ride
  • Personal fundraising website
  • 2013 Soldier Ride t-shirt
  • Post ride picnic
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
7:00 amRegistration and packet pick-up opens
8:45 amOpening ceremonies
9:00 amRide begins
Post ridePicnic for riders only






WHAT TO BRING:
  • Bicycle
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle

Wounded Warrior Project Website

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Calling Java Programmers with Android Experience - Contract and Permanent Positions with Amazon!!!


Java programmers with Android embedded experience - Send the word out to your developer friends.

I have been asked to find some great developers to help Amazon develop the front end of several new Android applications. Contract positions available to work remotely or in Cambridge.

In addition, Level II and Level III permanent positions are available in Cambridge, MA and Newark, NJ. Contact me for details.  achase47@gmail.com

Thanks for your help in spreading the word.

Al

"Rooms" With a Wee Brogue - Produced at the BCA by Bad Habits Productions - Extended Through September 1st

We are pleased to announce that we have added a full week of performances, and will now close on September 1st!

Readers of the White Rhino Report are fortunate that the producers at Bad Habit Productions were able to  extend the run of "Rooms - A Rock Romance" for an additional week.  You now have a chance to make s trip to Boston's South End to the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts and experience for yourself this very moving two person play.  The story - book, music and lyrics by Scottish artist Paul Scott Goodman - is largely autobiographical.

"It's the late 1970's in Glasgow as Monica, an ambitious singer/songwriter meets Ian, a reclusive rocker. The two quickly become entangled creatively and romantically. Their music takes them first to London and ultimately to New York City, where they discover the vibrant new music scene and create an intimate partnership, their love deepening while their personalities drive them apart. A rock band accompanies these two characters as they search for the balance between ambition and happiness."

Ian Wallace is the reclusive guitarist and composer whose self-confinement in his bedroom in his widowed mother's home in Glasgow is both safe and stultifying.  Played superbly by Michael Levesque, Wallace reluctantly accepts a paying gig to write a song for an upcoming Bat Mitzvah.  The baldly ambitious songstress, Monica P. Miller  has been hired to provide the music for the occasion, and she needs help writing an appropriate personal song for the young girl-about-to-become-a-woman.  In many ways, the Bat Mitzvah motif fits the dramatic arc of Monica's rough road from ambitious girl to knowing woman.  Ashley Korolewski (soon to become Ashley Levesque!) as Monica leads her character- and leads  the audience - through a coming of age journey that is palpable and moving.  If I were to describe three of the stages of Monica's development,I would offer the metaphor that she begins the story as starched linen, then during her Punk Period pretends to be burlap, and finally resolves into a very comfortable velveteen.  Like the "Velveteen Rabbit," she is truly loved and becomes "real."

Michael Levesque

Ashley Korolewski


Levesque and Korolewski are superbly cast in these two roles.  Their chemistry sizzles.  The voices dip and soar, from soft and reflective to Punk Rock brittleness complete with spit and snarl.  Levesque's sweet falsetto could melt butter.  There was a point when Korolewski was sustaining a note that seemed to hang in the air forever.  I watched her perfectly formed mouth, and listened to the unwavering sound that came bouncing out of that echo chamber and I thought: "This may be the most perfect single sung note I have ever heard!"

The play, which had an Off-Broadway run at the New World Stages on 50th Street, feels as if Goodman were standing on the shoulders of Jonathan Larson when he wrote this story - the Jonathan Larson of "RENT" fame - with a wee Scottish brogue.  The music has a very Larsonesque feel, made even more so by the fine band of Jason  Smith on bass, Courtney Petersen  on drums, Jakob Reinhardt on guitar and Rebekah Hardeson and Meghan MacFadden on keyboards.  The Direction by Daniel Morris and the Musical Direction by Antanas Meilus was flawless.  he overall  feel of the story is a bit of "RENT" meets "Once."

I loved the play, and I believe most of you will too.  You have until the end of this week to find out. week to find out.

Extension Week Performances:

Thursday, August 29 @ 7:30 PM
Friday, August 30 @ 8:00 PM
Saturday, August 31 @ 8:00 PM
Sunday, September 1 @ 2:00 PM

Bad Habit Productions

Enjoy!

Al

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kissing Cousins: Boston Landmarks Orchestra & Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Present a Sumptuous "Kiss Me Kate"


I joined a large and enthusiastic crowd last evening upon the Esplanade to enjoy the sumptuous concert version of Cole Porter's classic "Kiss Me Kate," a musical send-up of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew."  The purpose of this little Blog piece is not to write a review.  Simply put, the show was wonderful - a great cast anchored by Broadway's Kerry O'Malley and Marc Kudisch, a perfect evening in an idyllic setting backed by a world class symphony orchestra, the Boston Landmark Orchestra.

The purpose of this missive is simply to say "thank you,"  and to blow kisses in the direction of two wonderful  cultural institutions that help to make Boston such a rich haven for the arts.  Boston Landmark Orchestra under the direction of Musical Director Christopher Wilkins collaborated on this project with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, led by Artistic Director Steven Maler.  With the backing of generous corporate, foundation and media support, these two organizations were able to offer this show to our community as a free event.  As a lover of great music and great theater, I am thrilled to be part of a community that values the arts in a way that makes it possible to spend the kind of evening that thousands of us experienced together last night along the Right Bank of the River Charles.

For a more comprehensive understanding of the mission and range of activities of these two outstanding institutions, I encourage you to dive into their respective web pages linked below.  While you are at it, make a donation to ensure that this kind of quality of life in our town is preserved.

To steal a word from one of last night's show tunes, Boston Landmark Orchestra and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company serve as catalysts to help to make life in Boston "Wunderbar"!

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Boston Landmarks Orchestra

It just occurred to me that I should share an anecdote of something "wunderbar" I observed last evening as the concert was starting and the orchestra was playing the Overture.  I was sitting near the VIP section where there were reserved seats set aside for Board Members, Donors, the Press, etc.  Just in front of this roped-off section, individuals and families had laid out blankets.  A family sitting just in front of us appeared to be recently arrived immigrants, possible from the Middle East based on their appearance.  A young daughter was struggling to be able to see over the heads of those sitting in chairs in front of her.  A couple in the VIP section had an empty chair next to them.  They appeared to be, if not strictly "Boston Brahmins," at least members of the 1%.  They quietly and unobtrusively invited the little girl to sit in the empty chair.  Hesitant at first to intrude, she finally accepted the invitation.  Her smiles as she enjoyed the show were incandescent.  The moral of this story? The arts can be a great leveler, and the glue that binds together parts of our community that might not otherwise interact in meaningful and positive ways.

Thanks.

Al

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A First Class Book About Minor League Baseball in Clinton, Iowa: "Class A - Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere" by Lucas Mann


I loved this book - not merely because I love baseball, but because I also love good writing.  Iowa seems to grow a lot of corn that stands tall - and writers who also stand tall.  Lucas Mann is such a writer, having received an MFA in non-fiction writing from the University of Iowa, and then stayed there to teach as a Provost's Writer-in-Residence.

Mann is a self-proclaimed neurotic, and his transparency and self-deprecation in "Class A - Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere" sets just the right tone in describing the town of Clinton, Iowa and its Class A Seattle Mariners' affiliate baseball team, the Clinton LumberKings.  With a deft writing style, he captures the ethos of the town, once the lumber shipping capital of the world, and now home to the mixed blessing that is the huge Archer Daniels Midland plant that occupies fully 25% of the real estate in this riverfront town.  With affectionate detachment, he became a participant observer, hanging out for a season both with the players and coaches of the LumberKings, and with the loyal fans for whom rooting for Clinton's minor league team is a way or life and a religion.

I found myself caring about the fate of many of the players - Danny Carroll, Erasmo Rodriguez, Hank Contreras, Nick Franklin, et al.  These were some of the men who made up the roster of the 2010 edition of the Clinton LumberKings that Mann followed and chronicled.  So intriguing are Mann's descriptions, that at several points along the road in reading this account of life in Clinton, I set the book aside and went on-line to see what these players are doing now.  I needed to know how they had progressed after putting in their time in Clinton.

The book is also populated with Clinton denizens, loyal fans who call themselves the Roadkill Crew.  They used to follow the team to all of their away games, but many have died, some, like Joyce, work in the casino or in the ADM plant and can't devote as much of their time to the team as they once did.

Beneath the level of the individual games and players and fans and citizens of Clinton, Mann delves into a protracted philosophical disquisition on the nature of fandom.  He looks at himself and others and asks what it truly means to be a fan on an emotional, psychological and sociological level.

This book will prove to be a delight to thinking fans of baseball and of the heartland.

Enjoy!

Al

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wounded Warriors Show Off Softball Skills at Fenway - Linked to mlb.com Article by Jason Mastronado

Kyle Earl, the DH for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, stretches before the game.
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/AP)
As I promised in yesterday's Blog post, I was pleased to be able to attend last evening's  special softball game between the Wounder Warrior Amputee Softball Team and group of Boston First Responders made up of men and women from the BPD, BFD, and BEMS.

Jason Mastronado of mlb.com was there, and chronicled the event in an article linked below.

mlb.com Article by Jason Mastrodonato

"BOSTON -- Kyle Earl knows the role he plays on his traveling softball team. He understands he's supposed to run really fast, put pressure on the defense with his legs and cover ground in the field. He's not trying to do too much else.

Earl is missing his right hand. It was amputated after an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq in 2006, when he was serving in the U.S. Marines as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "For me, I mean, having one hand, you have to catch, take the glove off and be able to throw," says Earl, 27, a Michigan native with a wife and three kids at home. "Hitting -- it's the same thing. 

This is all I got." He motions to his right arm, which stops short near the wrist. Earl grabs a bat to show how he swings. "I hold it right here," he says, grasping the bottom of the bat with his left hand and resting the higher part of the grip on his right arm."

  I was joined in the stands at Fenway by USA Col. Everett Spain and his family, a visiting British Wound Warrior who was wounded by an IED while his RAF unit was deployed to the Middle East, and a host of other veterans, wounder warriors, family, friends and supportive citizens.  It was a great evening.
 
In his article, Jason Mastronado mentions the WWAST shortstop, Matt Kinsey: "Matthew Kinsey, who plays without a right foot, has proven so talented that he was named MVP after homering in the celebrity softball game at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game in Kansas City."

Because I found a seat close to the WWAST on deck circle, I had opportunities throughout the evening to keep up a running banter with several of the players, including Matt.  My first Salvo was to tell him and a few of his team mates the following: "Listen guys, I come to a lot of games here at Fenway to see the Red Sox.  I can tell you for sure that you are going to be running these bases better than most of them do!"  That set the tone for the chatter that followed for the rest of the game.  After the game, Matt, Kyle and their team mates spent time signing autographs and posing for fan photos. 


Matt Kinsey chats with an RAF Wounded Warrior - The White Rhino looks on
Photo by Everett Spain


As the mlb.com article mentions, the WWAST defeated the first responders 28-11, but there were no losers on that field last night.

If you would like to learn more and the WWAST, please take a moment to check out their website.

http://www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org/

mlb.com Article

Monday, August 19, 2013

Alert for Military Veterans Considering Business School - HBS Military Prospective Students' Day - Friday, September 27



Please share this information with active duty military and veterans who may be considering applying to business school.

If anyone planning on coming to Boston is in need of help with housing, members of the Harvard Business School Armed Forces Alumni Association have offered to help house individuals.  Let me know and I will put you in touch with the right people.


HBS Military Prospective Students' Day

Friday, September 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM until 6:30 PM
Harvard Business School
117 Western Ave
Boston, MA 02163
United States
Harvard Business School invites you to attend Military Prospective Students' Day (MPSD).  Jointly sponsored by HBS MBA Admissions and the Armed Forces Alumni Association, MPSD is an opportunity for members of the military to experience Harvard Business School.
The event is from 8:00am to 6:30pm.  Morning activities will include a continental breakfast, a class visit, and an Admissions Presentation. Afternoon activities will include lunch, a student panel, and a campus tour.  The event will conclude with a reception.  You will receive a detailed agenda the week prior to the event.

Link to HBS Event Registration Page

Link to Armed Forces Alumni Association page


Support Our Wounded Warriors and Boston Marathon First Responders - At Fenway Park Today at 6:00

Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team Logo

"Life Without A Limb Is Limitless"

Our beloved hometown baseball team, the beloved Boston Red Sox, limped out of town early this morning for a flight to the West Coast.  They leave Boston having succumbed last night to the New York Yankees and the much-maligned A-Rod.  While on the Left Coast, they are hoping to cling to their precarious 1-game hold on first place in the AL East Division as they face the strong LA Dodgers and SF Giants.  In their absence, the Red Sox home base of Fenway Park will be well defended.

At 6:00 this evening, Fenway will be the venue for an epic event that will give Bostonians a chance to thank two special kinds of heroes: Wounded Warriors and Boston Marathon First Responders.  

The heralded Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team attended last night's game, and stood along the first base line during the presentation of the colors and the singing of the National Anthem.  Tonight they will take center stage at the plate and on the filed as they face a team comprised of members of the Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department and Boston EMS.

Please read the Press Release below, and if you are in the area, plan to join me in cheering on these amazing citizens and athletes.  Gates will open at 5:00 at Gate D on Yawkey Way.  Admission is free with voluntary donations going to the First Fund.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review of "Paris - The Novel" by Edward Rutherford


I have become a big fan of the writings of Edward Rutherford.  I first discovered him in reading "Sarum," then "Ruska" and "London" before devouring his new novel, "Paris."  His meticulous research, his clever weaving together of centuries worth family histories from all social classes and his distinct literary style make the publication of each new work an anticipated event.

I love Paris and know it reasonably well, but I learned a great deal of the hidden history in following the fortunes and misfortunes of several generations of members of the de Cynge, LeSourd, Gascon, and Blanchard families, et al.  Several historical figures are interwoven into the fictional lives of these clans, including Napoleon, Robespierre, Messr. Eiffel, Monet, Hemingway, Mlle. Josephine Baker and many other cameos.

The river Seine and the bridges that span the stream figure prominently in the narrative.  Rutherford seems to be saying that just as the river flows through the city as it has for unknown eons, so there runs a thread of connection from generation to generation - a common humanity that transcends class, economic condition, political persuasion, occupation or lack thereof.  I came to care about each character and whatever fate might await them.  At the same time, I came to appreciate the city even more than before, and cannot wait to return and walk its boulevards and explore its galleries and cemeteries.

Enjoy!  Amusez-vous bien!

Al