Category Archives: Leisure

Robert Reoch Beats Boston Snow in Miami

Robert Reoch Does Miami

Robert Reoch Takes a Break From Boston Snow

I love Boston, but I was raised in San Diego. And even though I enjoy the Boston winters,  my other half sometimes needs a break from the snow—including the biggest blizzard in Boston history.  So, it’s my duty to go along peacefully when Joon decides we should fly to Miami for a few days. Who’s complaining?

We went from this:

Robert Reoch and Joon Blizzard street 512 x 384 Robert Reoch Boston Blizzard 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To this:Robert Reoch and Joon South Beach Miami March 2015

Bob and Joon on our yacht in Miami bay.  Robert Reoch Miami South Beach composite 2015

 Ah-h-h. It was a nice visit to Miami, but I’m happy to be back in Boston too.

Robert Reoch

Robert George Reoch Publishing Copyright 2015

Kanye West Apologizes Again to Taylor Swift .. His Tweets on Twitter September 4 2010

Kanye West Apologizes to Taylor Swift in Stream of Tweets on Twitter September 4, 2010

Kanye West at it Again Bashes Beck at Grammy Awards 2015

Kanye West should try to remember lessons from his past instead of repeating them. Once again, at the Grammy Awards 2015, Kanye rushed the stage, preparing to denounce award winner, Beck, then chickening-out, but later proclaiming that Beck should have given his award to Beyonce. Wh-u-u-t?

Kanye West proved he’s still a classless buffoon just as he was five years ago. How does a person become so full of themselves? How does a new family member become the most embarrassing of the Kardashians? How can that even be possible?

Recent Comments About Kanye West on Youtube

To watch, click this link: Kanye West is an ass!

Kanye West Prior Apology to Taylor Swift on Twitter

Kanye may need a reminder of what it means to have humility, even if it’s from himself. Here is the actual transcript taken directly from Twitter in 2010. The first tweet shown (10:37 AM, Saturday, September 4, 2010) is the last tweet in this stream below. The tweets that follow are in sequence going backward, starting from the bottom and reading up. The entire stream of feeble tweets was about two hours long:

“I’m sorry Taylor. 

It starts with this…

I want to win there hearts back so I can continue to bring my take on culture to the masses with a clean opinion.

I want to help starting with the music and ending with the smile.

I wish they could accept that I’ve grown and only want to do good for the world. I want to help as many people as I can.

I wish they all knew how much I really cared about music and pop culture and art and peoples feelings.

I wish I could talk to every hater face to face and change there a opinion of me one conversation at a time.

I’ve hurt, I’ve bled, I’ve learned. I only want to do good. I am passionate I am human I am real. I wish I could meet every hater

When I right songs like Heartless I always say “is this melody good enough to be a country song or a broadway song?”

TAYLOR LOVES RAP MUSIC… I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC

Why was it made into such a race issue. Taylor loves rap music… I love country music.

There’s a layer of… Entertainment… we are entertainers and this is only TV… not the War

There’s a layer of… hey Kanye said what I was thinking .   A year later where do we stand?

WHO BENEFITED FOR REAL PEOPLE???!!!!!!!!

Walk with me people… let’s break this down for real now. I might get in trouble again lol?

MTV? JAY LENO? BEYONCE? ALL FORMS OF MEDIA? TAYLOR? KANYE WEST? Who gained? Who lost?

You’ve got the Media play… Who benefitted off of the moment?

You’ve got a layer of… What is reality? You really want this guy to die over an award show???!! wooooooow …..

You’ve got a layer of order… this is how things are spose to go this is how it’s always been etc.

You’ve got a layer of order… this is how things are spose to go this is how it’s always been etc.

If I speak in 3rd person it’s because I’m quoting people sometimes I forget to put the quotations you know my grammar.. #ITSAPROCESS

You’ve got the top layer… Kanye’s rude!

Why are there so many tweets? Well this isn’t a simple subject. There are layers to this beyond me running on stage.

Humanity and Empathy are 2 of the 4 principles at facebook. Those were the 2 principles I was missing on that evening

These tweets have no manager, no publicist , no grammar checking… this is raw

It feels like the movie Heat when you wanted Deniro to make it… You want the bad guy to make it.

These aren’t regular tweets… this is stream of consciousness … I want you guys to know and feel where my head is at…

Beyonce didn’t need that. MTV didn’t need that and Taylor and her family friends and fans definitely didn’t want or need that.

I am not a bad person. Even in that moment I was only trying to do good but people don’t always need my help.

When I woke up from the crazy nightmare I looked in the mirror and said GROW UP KANYE … I take the responsibility for my actions

Yes I was that guy. A 32 year old child.

It is distasteful to cut people off as a general rule. What’s the point of dressing tastefully if I’m going to act the complete opposite?

With new found humility … who am I to run on stage? I would never ever again in a million years do that. Sorry to let you down.

The Wicked witch of the west basically is so convicted to tell her’ truth when she does it she is outcasted by society and turned WICKED

Who’s seen the play Wicked? I’ve seen it 4 times! Other than loving the music acting and costumes… it’s my story!!!

I have given my awards to other groups multiple times on national TV… They never showed that this past year during the massacre of Kanye

It’s not about race America. No one in our position ever stands up and says anything anymore.

I would have ran on stage for Justin that night because Sexy Back (in my mind) was that important… that impactful to our culture

I watched Justin Timberlake at the Grammies loose every televised award including album of the year which the Dixie Chicks won

I am responsible for those who love and represent me and what they have to deal with on a day to day defending “The American Psycho”

There are people who have named there kids after me… can you imagine that next day in school. Even though I don’t have kids…

I know there are family members friends and fans that have literally fought for me.

I’m ready to get out of my own way. The ego is overdone… it’s like hoodies

We’re both artist and the media and managers are trying to get between us. Everyone wants to capitalize off this is some way

She deserves the apology more than anyone. Thank you Biz Stone and Evan Williams for creating a platform where we can communicate directly

She had nothing to do with my issues with award shows. She had no idea what hit her. She’s justa lil girl with dreams like the rest of us.

I wrote a song for Taylor Swift that’s so beautiful and I want her to have it. If she won’t take it then I’ll perform it for her
Reply Retweet .   I wear my scars… It’s almost like I have to where a suit to juxtapose my image and I won’t lie… IT WORKS!

People tweeted that they wish I was dead… No listen. They wanted me to die people. I carry that. I smile and take pictures through that

I’m the guy who at one point could perform the Justin Timberlake on stage and everyone would be sooo happy that I was there

…taking a 15 second blip the mdeia have successfully painted the image of the “ANGRY BLACK MAN’ The King Kong theory.

The media has successfully diminished the “receptive” audience of (3rd person)… KANYE WEST

I have a mission in life to bring truth and beauty through my music and the visuals that anchor around it

Some people say… Why worry about “the haters?” This is bigger that just the concept of haters.

If you google Asshole my face may very well pop up 2 pages into the search.

That’s when you realize perception is reality. I’ve been straying from this subject on twitter but I have to give it to you guys raw now.

I was chilling with this white girl having a conversation and she cut me off and said… Hold up… I thought you didn’t like us?!

There are people who don’t dislike me… they absolutely hate me!

Remember in Anchor Man when Ron Burgandy cursed on air and the entire city turned on him? But this wasn’t a joke. This was & is my real life

People booed when I would go to concerts and the performer mentioned my name.

Had to let employees go… for the first time I felt the impact of my brash actions … I felt the recession from an ownership side

How deep is the scar… I bled hard.. cancelled tour with the number one pop star in the world … closed the doors of my clothing office

With the help of strong will, a lack of impathy, a lil alcohol and extremely distasteful & bad timing … I became George Bush over night

Even though the NBC telethon was widely praised yall didn’t think they was just gone let me get away with that did yall???!!!

Some people’s truth is Kanye is racist… It’s not my truth but I do believe it’s my Karma…. walk with me…

When I say perception is reality I mean whatever you think is the truth… is your truth

I accept the idea (ideal) that perception is reality

Happy B day to sister B … I gotta dope ass gift for you.

Even now a lot of articles start there first 2 paragraphs about how much of an asshole I am

I feel like they were waiting for the opportunity to go in all the way on me and when it came they beat me to a pulp

They wanted yall to believe I was a monster in real life so you guys wouldn’t listen or buy my music anymore

Man I love Twitter… I’ve always been at the mercy of the press but no more… The media tried to demonize me…”

Kanye West (on Twitter)

Some things never change. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So much for apologies.

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Robert Reoch

This is the life...of the undead!

This is the life…of the undead!

Have a safe, fun Halloween!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

 

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts is just me babbling when expressing myself won’t fit on Twitter. I’ll be adding to this same post over time.

October 22, 2014

Dear American Youth: Please read a self-help book on any topic. It will, at the very least teach you how to use your brain to accomplish something useful. Perhaps you might even avoid behaving badly like those fools that rioted in Keene, NH, during the annual Pumpkin Festival. What a bunch of douche bags. People with half a brain don’t pull this kind of shit—even if they get drunk. Only idiots riot out of boredom. Sad, stupid, no-common-sense morons. Like I said, please just read one self-help book on any topic. Try reading The Power of Positive Thinking, or Think and Grow Rich, or I’m Okay-You’re Okay.

Good luck. I hope you make it another year without injuring yourself, or someone else.

P.S. This is funny. I sound like a really old person. I’m getting there though. I’ve earned this. pht-t-t!

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Waterfire Providence Rhode Island

Robert Reoch Waterfire Providence Rhode Island

Robert Reoch partakes of Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

Robert Reoch at Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

Robert Reoch at Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

It was a mystical night in Providence, Rhode Island for Waterfire 2014. Or maybe I should say, “mystifying” night—read baffling—in Providence… For more information about this unique event, visit: Waterfire.org.

Providence Rhode Island Gateway Arch Pine Cone

Providence RI, Federal Hill Gateway Arch Pine Cone

Providence RI, Federal Hill Gateway Arch Pine Cone

The Federal Hill Gateway Arch has suspended from it a sculpture of a pine cone (not pineapple). It’s the Italian symbol (La Pigna) representing welcome, abundance, and quality.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

George Island in Boston Harbor

George Island Boston Harbor

Robert Reoch’s Recent Visit to George Island

One of my bucket list items of late was to visit some of the Islands in Boston Harbor. We had a free afternoon and the weather was perfect, so we took a ferry to George Island. George Island is home to Ft. Warren, which was originally built to defend Boston Harbor from any type of naval attack. However, by the time it was completed it was obsolete and never used for its originally intended purpose. Instead, it was used to house Confederate prisoners of war during the Civil War.

Here are a few photos from our outing:

Robert Reoch inside Ft. Warren, George Island, Boston Harbor.

Robert Reoch inside Ft. Warren, George Island, Boston Harbor.

Robert Reoch cruising in Boston Harbor.

Robert Reoch cruising in Boston Harbor.

 

Joon standing on Long Pier Boston Harbor

Joon standing on Long Pier Boston Harbor

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

 

 

 

Robert Reoch Goes to P-Town

Robert Reoch Visits Provincetown Massachusetts

Robert Reoch (that’s me) and long time partner (he’s Joon) recently spent a few days and nights enjoying the sunshine and warmth of Provincetown, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. We stayed at the comfortable and stylish Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel’s. We enjoyed our stay there so much that we’re planning to return again—much sooner than we had imagined before this memorable visit.

Traveling to Provincetown, we used all means of transportation to reach our destination. We began by taking the bus (which stops very close to our door) to the subway station, then after taking the subway from Harvard Station, we took the Gray Line bus to World Trade Center downtown Boston. It was then a brief walk to the pier where we boarded a fast ferry to Provincetown. Now that’s the way to go (instead of driving)!

Here are just a few photos from our trip:

At the Provincetown pier

At the Provincetown pier

Pilgrims Monument, Provincetown Massachusetts

Pilgrims Monument, Provincetown Massachusetts

At the Pilgrims Monument and Cape Cod Museum

At the Pilgrims Monument and Cape Cod Museum

At the top of Pilgrims Monument

At the top of Pilgrims Monument

At Herring Cove, northwest tip of the Cape

At Herring Cove, northwest tip of the Cape

Herring Cove

Herring Cove

"Tourists" statue on Commercial Street in Provincetown

“Tourists” statue on Commercial Street in Provincetown

Oh my gawd, the food here is so good!

Oh my gawd, the food here is so good!

Happy Travels!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

 

Cookies for Summer

Summer Cookies with Flair and Flavor

Cookies Ease the Mind and Satisfy

Cookies are my weakness. What better way to feed a sweet tooth than by baking them yourself. I’ve been collecting some great cookie cutters for months and finally found time to put them to use. You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe to bake these. This summer, I came up with an idea to give my cookies a fruity summer twist. Yum!

The secret ingredients for my Summer Cookies are cardamom and ground coriander seed. Also, for a refreshing fruity twist, I’ve added orange, lemon, and lime oils to the mix—just a 1/4 teaspoon of each will do. Always use fresh ingredients (butter, eggs, and flour). Remember, when you bake cookies at home from scratch, it’s real food with actual food value—even if they are a little high in calories and fat. Moderation is the key. It’s fun to decorate them too!

Robert Reoch Summer Cookies

These won’t last long. . . nom-nom-nom….

Happy baking!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

deCordova Museum Visit Images by Robert Reoch

deCordova Sculpture Park Museum Visit by Robert Reoch

More Robert Reoch Images

A great way to spend a free day is by visiting the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. On our second visit four years, it was delightful to see new exhibits on the beautiful outdoor sculpture park, as well as the indoor museum. Should you get hungry for a snack or a light lunch, the museum has a small cafeteria with some delicious menu items. The staff is personable and helpful. Now on with my photos. Here are just a few. It’s easy to see the lure of this gem hidden along the back roads of Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Robert Reoch deCordova Museum

Just one area of the expansive outdoor sculpture gardens.

Robert Reoch at deCordova

Robert Reoch deCordova terrace

The museum rooftop terrace currently features works by Roberly Bell.

Robert Reoch deCordova Balloon Man

This Balloon artist kept several children (and adults) entertained.

Robert Reoch deCordova Pipes

That’s the museum rooftop terrace behind me, up the hill.

Robert Reoch deCordova

A friendly creation by artist Roberly Bell.

Until our next visit!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Lives

Robert Reoch Lives

Robert Reoch Doesn’t Live to Blog However

Hi folks! Just checking-in. I have a fairly idyllic life, but that doesn’t mean Robert Reoch has time to write regularly. I abhor writing useless fodder just to take up space (like this). Who wants to read that?

Meanwhile, I’m still updating dozens of old posts that were transferred from my old blog. It’s a tedious process, but I don’t want to lose those earlier articles. I like to think that what I write has value.

Speaking of value, how about our president? Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, our country is being invaded by children—by the thousands. Even this is too much for the Obama administration to handle expeditiously. But let’s give it some time…like Syria (and umpteen other crises too numerous to bore you with right now).

Be well,

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Boston Seaport June 2014

Robert Reoch Boston Seaport June 2014

This past Saturday, Joon and I went strolling around the Boston Seaport area. There’s so much to see, one can make a day of it. There’s the Rose Kennedy Greenway, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, all the historic sites of Boston—the list goes on. Here are a few images from our Saturday.Robert Reoch Boston Seaport

 

Robert Reoch Boston

Guess where this is?

It's the Northern Avenue Bridge at Boston's Seaport. See the bridge rotating open?

It’s the Northern Avenue Bridge at Boston’s Seaport. See the bridge rotating open?

 

The Courthouse on Fan Pier

The Courthouse on Fan Pier

Robert Reoch Rose Kennedy Greenway

Along the Rose Kennedy Greenway

Boston Strong

Ever strong in Boston, even at this construction site at Fan Pier.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Images for Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Writes “Mind Pastry”

Robert Reoch is Mind Pastry

Robert Reoch Bakes

Robert Reoch measures, beats, and sometimes whips ideas to death. Welcome to “Mind Pastry,” a bakery of thoughts from my mind to yours. 

Robert Reoch is the Name

My last name, Reoch, is pronounced, Rē’ŏck (rhymes with Reebok). That  image of a piece of cake floating among the palm trees in my page banner is a slice from a red velvet cake that I actually baked! Robert Reoch's Mind Pastry CakeThere’s more to Mind Pastry than just the analogy, though. I actually love pastry—and I bake it too!—but that’s another post.

Mind Pastry is Layered

I offer a dose of conscience to the Internet through many of my posts. I believe we have too many “reality TV” shows and deceptive news outlets in the media. Too often, issues are discussed from just one point of view in the news. Many pop “journalists” aren’t doing their homework. They aren’t getting out to the field to research their stories. Much of current reporting relies solely on popular social memes—mass hysteria, as I see it—rather than on verified facts and nuanced examination of the gray areas. Please, people, stop thinking only in black and white. Look for what’s in-between. Ask what is the back story you’re not getting from the media. I try to present layers and perspectives that encourage people to discover full truths. I live by three principles: Love, Truth, and Knowledge. I resent journalism that ignores these values in favor of ratings and profit. I hope you find something new and thought-provoking in Mind Pastry.

Robert Reoch Writes

I’ve written a couple of books of short stories under pen name, Robert George Reoch. I wrote my Travelers’ Shorts books with the traveler in mind, even though my stories not about travel. The idea was to provide short stories for the traveler who didn’t want to start a heavy novel. Short stories provide entertainment in manageable chunks for the person on the go. My short stories are written with taste and richness (just like pastry). These epic tales offer drama, adventure, and laugh-out-loud humor. You can order them here:

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

 

Travelers Shorts 2: Tethers by Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Please enjoy my books!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Cape Cod

Robert Reoch Welcomes You to Mind Pastry

Robert Reoch Welcomes You to Mind Pastry

Robert George Reoch Blog is Now “Mind Pastry”

Previously known as blog.robertgeorgereoch.com, I’m still reformatting some old posts that were moved to this new site. (GoDaddy eliminated their original blog platform and replaced it with this Word Press version.)

Robert Reoch is Robert George Reoch

I’m Robert Reoch, aka author Robert George Reoch. I’ve written and published two volumes of short stories under the title, Travelers’ Shorts.  If you enjoy variety, drama, and humor, you’ll enjoy my short stories, but keep coming here for stimulating blog entries too. The list of categories is to the right. I’ve got a mind to speak about nearly everything, although I don’t write every day. I rant, babble, and educate—and sometimes pontificate—when in the mood.  That’s how we do on blogs.

Mind Pastry Name

I love to cook and bake. My other hobbies include music, travel, and physical fitness. I’m also one of those genius folk who think a lot. I bake and I think; hence the title, “Mind Pastry.” Again, I don’t post on this blog frequently. My everyday life is ordinary (and busy) and I enjoy spending my time living rather than documenting every burp and fart here. If you want that, go to Facebook.

That’s what’s on my mind, for now. I think I’ll bake something.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Images New York City

Robert Reoch Visited the 911 Museum and 911 Memorial During Memorial Day Weekend

Robert Reoch, that’s me, aka Robert George Reoch took the train from Boston to New York City this past Memorial Day Weekend with his long time partner Joon. We stayed at the elegant Conrad (Hilton) hotel in Battery Park. We had a fabulous view and were just steps away from the 911 Museum and 911 Memorial. I’ve included a few photos in this post.

New York Memorial Day Weekend:

Robert Reoch Freedom Tower

We won’t be base jumping this.

The Freedom Tower also known as One World Trade Center, up close, seems smaller than any one of the original twin towers of the World Trade Center. In fact, the overall square footage is less, and it has fewer floors than either of the original towers. I found it underwhelming.

WTC Remnants

Remnants from an original tower reach upward toward the Freedom Tower.

From inside the 911 Museum, these remnants from one of the original World Trade Center towers seem to be reaching toward the new Freedom Tower outside.

Robert Reoch Brooklyn Bridge

Reflections on the Brooklyn Bridge

Here I am trekking over the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade (above). Reflected in my wicked awesome shades, notice Joon snapping the photo, and the distinctive architecture of the span.

Freedom Tower Topper: Antenna or Minaret?

Freedom Tower Minaret Antenna

Who designed the antenna? Intellectual honesty says it resembles strongly a Minaret.

Seeing the Freedom Tower up close for the first time, I am struck by the appearance of the antenna atop. If I’m being intellectually honest, the antenna clearly resembles that of a minaret (see left image above), which is the traditional tower on a Muslim mosque from where Muslims are called to prayer. I cannot possibly be the only person who has noticed this with concern. Is this structure complete as it is? Are they perhaps planning to streamline it with some type of architectural covering? Is it intended to resemble a minaret by design? What is the story here? I have been researching and have not yet found the answer. Apparently, a few separate creative entities have combined and cooperated to design and construct the antenna. I will continue to investigate and provide updates when I learn more. I’d love to be able to shed some light on this.

911 Memorial and Museum

I have a couple of final thoughts at this writing. The 911 Memorial with its World Trade Center Towers’ square-footprint-shaped pools of water cascading into a seemingly bottomless pit are a tad depressing. The water ultimately rushes down into those massive dark square holes in the center of each of the two pools. It evokes a sadness, even an echo of horror and loss, as though the victims are being drawn down into an abyss. Perhaps that is the intent, or maybe not. That’s just my impression.

The 911 Museum, on the other hand, is well thought-out. It pays tribute to victims in all three sites where jetliners were crashed due to the actions of radical Muslim terrorists. The remnants on display in the museum and the multimedia displays do well to convey the subject matter thoughtfully and with due respect.

Until next time, my deepest sympathies to victims, friends, and families of those lost on 9/11.

Robert George Reoch

 

Valentine’s Day Advice

Valentine’s Day Advice

Valentine’s Day Requires Thought

I’ll keep this Valentine’s Day advice simple: If you plan to please your someone special, do it in a way that makes them feel special. It’s not about making yourself look good. Rather, you want to do something that your sweetheart will appreciate. It doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Just put a little thought into it. You can do it.

Robert Reoch Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake is a Tradition in Our Home

I baked another Birthday Cake for Joon this year. This  birthday cake has pockets of soft chocolate fudge swirled inside each of the two layers, plus a rich chocolate butter cream frosting. That’s love, man. Ha!

JoonsBirthdayCake2014comp

Happy Birthday Joonyo!

I’ve really been getting into baking over the last few years. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes an investment of time and love (and using the right tools). Anyone can learn. Just remember this one important rule about baking: Measure, measure, measure. You can’t mess around with recipe proportions. Also, don’t substitute ingredients like baking soda for baking powder, or powdered sugar for regular sugar. It just doesn’t work that way. I’ve learned a ton about baking by watching Martha Stewart videos on TV too. She is the best at explaining all the tricks.

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Responds to French Travel Advisories in Boston Globe Editorial

Robert Reoch Replies in Boston Globe

Robert Reoch Offers Perspective as Students Rally Against French Consul General for “Bum Rap”

Crime in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan is Topic in Boston Globe

I was recently privileged to have had another letter published in the Boston Globe. It never occurred to me to share this stuff on my blog, but that’s what blogs are for, right? This public discussion concerns a meeting with students from the Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, MA, who invited the French consul general, Fabien Fieschi, to visit with them that they may ask him to remove negative travel advisories to French tourists that depict their communities as being dangerous. The French consul general did not relent, however. He politely informed that his job is to protect and represent his fellow fellow citizens of France through unbiased travel warnings. I wrote to the Boston Globe to show my agreement with the consul general and to share my objective observations since moving to Boston from San Diego over ten years ago. My published letter follows below. Read more on the Boston Globe web site.

Robert Reoch Boston Globe Letter

ReC’est la vie in Dorchester” (Metro, Jan. 16): The idealism and naiveté of the students of Codman Academy Charter Public School are what spur progress. I appreciate their community pride. However, I cannot help but agree with the view held by Fabien Fieschi, consul general of France, that the communities of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan have earned a bad rap.

When I moved from San Diego to Boston more than 10 years ago, I put a map of the Boston area on my wall to help me familiarize myself with the area. I used my map to locate stores and restaurants I’d seen in TV ads, or to identify communities from which news stories had come. I was finding my way around. Within three months, I realized that nearly all of the crime being reported was coming out of the same three neighborhoods: Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.

Ten years later, this same observation is reinforced daily. Those same neighborhoods continue to be areas where innocent people are victims of gang- and drug-related crimes. Most of the violent crimes occur at night, though recently they’ve occurred in broad daylight.

Just as visitors welcome warnings about dangerous cliffs overlooking certain beaches, they also want to know how to stay out of harm’s way by avoiding any major city’s known crime areas. It’s common sense.

People outside of Boston, even outside of this country, make objective observations without the sentiment of community pride. We should pay attention.

I hope the bright students at Codman Academy take forward a goal to effect change within their communities, not just in spirit, but in reality.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Beat Hotel Restaurant Harvard Square

Beat Hotel Restaurant Harvard Square

We tried the new restaurant, Beat Hotel, in Harvard Square last night.

I should blog more often. I’m lazy and lead an uncomplicated life. Be jealous. We do like to dine out a few times a month. I love hopping on the bus to Harvard Square. It’s only minutes away, so we don’t need to drive there. Tonight we tried a new restaurant called, Beat Hotel. For your edification, I’ve copied my Yelp review here. I hope, as you begin this second month of 2014, that your life is going smoothly and you’re enjoying good health. I’ll try to blog more often. Here’s my restaurant review:

Beat Hotel Restaurant

Although this was a disappointing first visit, I wouldn’t call it a total disaster. The atmosphere is inviting and wide open, softly lit and comfortable. The service was excellent, although the friendliness felt just slightly forced (fierce smiles). Here’s what we had and how it rated:

Two Appetizers: The Smokey Chipotle BBQ Spare Ribs were tender, flavorful, and fall off the bone easy to eat. Perhaps they could have been a bit more spicy (more heat), but we loved them! The Crispy Tuna Springrolls were excellent too. One large roll was sliced in half on the diagonal. The wraps were light and crunchy, the tuna and greens inside were fresh, and the sauce complemented well. Very well executed.

Two Entrees:

The FAROE ISLAND SALMON with Cous Cous, Lentils, Spinach, and Carrot Miso Puree was okay. The salmon was cooked properly. Most of the flavor was in the skin, but that’s fine. My dining companion enjoyed it, however the accompanying cous cous was undercooked and tasted of uncooked pasta.

The SKIRT STEAK with Frites, Peppercorn Jus, and Pickles was heinous. I believe skirt steak should not be on the menu if you aren’t familiar with its characteristics and how to prepare it. I ordered mine cooked MEDIUM because I know skirt steak can be stringy. Preparing it rare can be
disastrous. You can go medium rare if you marinate it and season it properly and then slice it with the grain into serving size pieces. Unfortunately, my skirt steak was prepared blood rare and served as one large piece plopped smack atop of a large pile of thinly sliced
undercooked very brown potatoes (frites). I struggled cutting the stringy steak. It had a minimum of seasoning. After a bite or two, I lifted the steak off the pile of potatoes and put it aside to try the potatoes. (Why did they plate the steak on top of the potatoes anyway?)
Trying to cut into a potato slice, my steak knife had a tougher time than with the steak. The potato was like leather. I was baffled. I chewed on a piece of potato. It was definitely undercooked and saturated in grease, which made it rubbery—really rubbery. I do not exaggerate. I had to stop trying after poking a few more potatoes with my fork and
knife and not being able to pierce them. What did they do to them?

After the nice appetizers, my skirt steak plate was a sad let down. I didn’t love the steak. I couldn’t eat the potatoes. They transformed them into something that bore no resemblance to potatoes. There was no white potato flesh to be found. Thin, brown slices of rubbery ick. (Okay, I’ll stop.) I shared my skirt steak with my dining companion, but it was slow work chewing on that. Our server stopped by soon after we were served and I pointed out that my steak was rare instead of medium, as I had ordered. She offered to take it back, but I declined because experience has taught me that sending back food is an exercise in futility. Restaurant food rarely comes back quickly, or improved, once you’ve sent it back. Besides, don’t you worry they might get a little funky with it?

As our plates were being cleared, I explained my disappointment to a friendly bus person who promised to pass along my comments. Soon after, the concerned manager came and listened with great patience as I explained my dissatisfaction with my entrée while at the
same time heaping praise on the appetizers. The manager explained that the restaurant is new and the kitchen was just trying out the potato dish. She expressed genuine interest in my feedback about the skirt steak and the frites, and she made every effort to make us feel valued. She also offered to pay for my entrée, which I felt was the right thing to do. It wouldn’t be fair to ask me to pay $24 for what was served to me. Including our appetizers and sodas, our bill (with the one entrée taken off) was about $75. We tipped well for the excellent service.

I’ll conclude by saying the vibe at this restaurant is very good. By the way, they have live music entertainment and plenty of bar seating as well as dozens of dining tables. The food
needs to follow suit in order to generate repeat business. Nothing should leave the kitchen that wouldn’t delight a patron. I would not discourage anyone from trying Beat Hotel for dinner. (For now, just take a cue from what I ordered and hopefully you’ll “skirt” any
disappointment.)

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Robert Reoch Images

Robert Reoch Images

Robert Reoch uses the pen name, Robert George Reoch

Look for Robert Reoch’s Traveler’s Shorts Books available worldwide.

Robert Reoch at Grand Tetons in Wyoming, U.S.

Robert Reoch Grand Tetons

Robert Reoch in Chatham Massachusetts on Cape Cod

Robert Reoch
Robert Reoch Cape Cod

Robert Reoch in Old Quebec City, Canada

Robert Reoch Quebec City

Robert Reoch in Quebec City, Canada

Robert Reoch Op Pic

Robert Reoch in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Robert Reoch Amsterdam

Robert Reoch Amsterdam

Robert Reoch at Tanglewood in Massachusetts

Robert Reoch Tanglewood

The other place to enjoy the magnificent Boston Symphony.

Robert Reoch in Italy

At the top of Il Duomo in Florence Italy. It's only 422 steps to the top.

At the top of Il Duomo in Florence Italy. It’s only 422 steps to the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Reoch in Venice Italy. Yes, it really looks like this. (sigh)

Robert Reoch in Venice Italy. Yes, it really looks like this. (sigh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Reoch writes short stories that have nothing to do with travel. Figure that out.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Christmas Cookies 2013

Robert Reoch Christmas Cookies 2013

Christmas Cookies or Duck Sex.

Real men don’t manufacture devices to call ducks for sex and then shoot them (hello Duck Dynasty). Real men bake cookies.

Christmas Cookies

Merry Christmas!

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Halloween Again. Yay! Robert Reoch

It’s Halloween Soon!

I love Halloween.

Halloween images are colorful and spooky, but not as scary as real life these days. Boo!
Here are a few of my Halloween decorations at home. We’ve been collecting for years.

Decorate for Halloween. It’s fun!

Robert Reoch Halloween
Another Halloween Haunted House.
Notice the Peanuts characters?

Robert Reoch Halloween

Robert Reoch Halloween Skeletons
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
….or else!

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Robert Reoch in Paris Brussels and Amsterdam

Robert Reoch Visits Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam

Robert Reoch August 2013 Travel in Pictures

We took another vacation, Joon and I. We began in Paris, France this time. We also visited Brussels, Belgium, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It was an eye-opening and exhausting-in-a-good-way experience. We covered lots of ground including some of the great museums (The Louvre, in Paris, the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, and several others). More bucket list items are now checked off. I feel richer for having made the the journey and covered an amazing lot of area.

Below are selected photos from the thousands we snapped. The great thing about the digital age is not having to worry about using up all your film. Now it’s about keeping a big enough memory chip on hand, but we were well equipped. The photos tell the story. I won’t bore you with too many details.

Paris, France

Robert Reoch Eiffel Tower

The strobe lights flashing on the Eiffel Tower at night.

 At the bottom.

Robert Reoch Eiffel Tower Base

To get to the top, you have to start at the bottom.

At the top.

Robert Reoch top of Eiffel

At the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Love locks on a bridge over the Seine.

Robert Reoch love locks

This is apparently becoming a weighty problem… c’est la vie.

The gardens at Versailles.

Robert Reoch Versailles FranceRobertReoch Versailles France

The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

Robert Reoch Hall of Mirrors

Inside the Palace at Versailles.

Outside of the Louvre in Paris.

Robert Reoch at the Louvre

Heading in to the most famous museum in the world.

The most photographed thing in the world and still smiling.

Robert Reoch meets Mona Lisa

Not exactly how you pictured her, eh?

Brussels Belgium

Robert Reoch Grand Place

Belgium is lovely.  Robert Reoch Belgium 2013

The peeing boy statue, “Manneken Pis” (making piss?)

Robert Reoch Manneken Pis

This kid really has to go…

Galeries Royales Saint Hubert in Belgium. (It’s a mall.)

Robert Reoch Belgium

There’s lots of chocolate to found here. (Waffles too.)

Amsterdam The Netherlands

Robert Reoch Amsterdam Canal

Everywhere these canals enchant. So serene.

This is why the people of The Netherlands are among the happiest in the world. They’re smart, they’re serene. Maybe it’s what they smoke. (I think it’s in the water.)

Robert Reoch Amsterdam

Robert Reoch Amsterdam

 Revelers in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. It’s all here.

Robert Reoch Red Light District

Amsterdam at night in the old red light district.

Grasshopper Green Building

The Grasshopper Green Building

What is Amsterdam without a historic windmill?

Robert Reoch Amsterdam Windmill

This windmill dates back to 1755.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2014

Cape Cod July 2013 in Chatham and Sandwich

Cape Cod July 2013 in Chatham and Sandwich

Robert Reoch and Joon Visit the Cape Again

Joon and I spent a few days in the town of Chatham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We’ve been to the Cape in the past, visiting Hyannis and Provincetown on two previous trips. This time we did the “elbow” for a different perspective.

We stayed at the beautiful “Captain’s House Inn,” which turned out to be one of the finest guesthouses at which we’ve ever had the pleasure of staying. I could go on at length about the comfortable rooms, lush grounds and gardens, and the delicious breakfasts. Take my word, it’s worth every penny.

We toured the area by car. We also enjoyed a few strolls down Main Street in Chatham. We hiked along the shore at Monomoy Wildlife Refuge and snapped photos of the lighthouse and driftwood. You don’t have to go far to find interesting things to see and do.

Robert Reoch Cape Cod


We stopped in Sandwich during our return drive. There you’ll find the Sandwich Glass Museum. We were fascinated by a glass blowing demonstration as well as a superb multimedia presentation on local history, and the origins of glass manufacturing in Sandwich.

Robert Reoch Cape Cod


While in Sandwich, don’t miss Beth’s Bakery and Cafe! Stop in for a sandwich or some quiche, but especially for the spectacular selection of pastries. We pigged out on an éclair, a huge cream puff, a carrot cake/bread pudding, and a pecan tart. There were dozens of other handsome pastries too choose from too. If left to me, I would spend a day sampling one of everything. I’ll be working off those sumptuous calories for a few weeks before we head off to Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam at the end of this month, where I’ll probably throw on the pounds again. What the heck, life is short.

Robert Reoch Captain's Inn

We stayed in the “Whirlwind Room” at the Captain’s Inn in Chatham



Our stay on Cape Cod was just right. We’ll be back. It’s fun to hit one area for a couple of days, then go back another time, and visit another region of the cape. I always recommend reading up (on the Internet) the places you visit before you go. Use Google maps at street level and gain a little footing in advance to minimize confusion.

Robert Reoch

Monomoy Wildlife Refuge



Robert George Reoch

Robert Reoch Cape Cod

 

 

 

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

What Are Travelers’ Shorts?

Travelers’ Shorts are my short stories. Although originally written with the traveler in mind, my short stories are for everyone. In fact, they’re not even about travel. I just thought travelers might enjoy reading short stories as opposed to a lengthy novel. Thus, the title: Travelers’ Shorts.

I used to travel on business often. I was never in the mood to begin a heavy book while jetting. I didn’t like reading long tomes on vacation time either. I craved something interesting to read (on a plane, train, boat, or bus) instead of the usual newsstand pulp and in-flight magazines. I realized that other people likely shared my sentiments too. Thus, I came up with the idea of writing short stories with the traveler in mind. I knew I could write interesting content. I had a flair for the dramatic and definitely a sense of humor that other travelers might appreciate. The results came pouring out.

I wrote several epic stories—if you can call a short story epic. Some are made-up, but most are based on real life experiences. They say, write about what you know. The truth is always more interesting. I’ve been around for a while. There’s been a lot gone on in my life that makes for first-rate story telling. You’ll be convinced when you read my books. You may find a bit of yourself in them too. 

From Batman to Bobby Kennedy and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Scenarios in my tales go from mausoleums to outer space. From Southern California swimming pools to New England. There’s a rich mix of heroes, soaring icons, everyday slobs, and royalty.

My books are available in print as well as Ebook, including wireless delivery. Enjoy my short stories at your own pace, in your own time. You’ll want to read them again and again (unless I exposed you in one of my stories). Order today and see what’s inside my “Travelers’ Shorts.”

Robert George Reoch

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers Shorts 2: Tethers by Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Absolutely the Best Pasta Sauce Recipe

Absolutely the Best Pasta Sauce Recipe!

Robert Reoch Best Pasta Sauce

Robert Reoch Invents the Best Pasta Sauce Recipe

This is absolutely the best pasta sauce you will ever eat!

I’ve been preparing this sauce for over 30 years. Decades of experience and experimentation have culminated in this one, incredibly delicious sauce. This is one sauce you will not find on Food Network, which I do follow faithfully.

In order to fully appreciate this sauce, you must fully commit to the process. I suggest you read the entire recipe and instructions prior to beginning your culinary masterpiece.

Your efforts will result in a truly magnificent sauce that no one can resist. Don’t be afraid to invite guests for your first presentation of this wonderful sauce. Be ready to serve seconds and thirds. This rich, vibrant sauce is absolutely the best! (Just wait ‘til you discover the secret ingredient!)

Five Easy-to-Follow Segments for the Perfect Sauce

This recipe is broken into five easy-to-follow segments:

1) Utensils and Implements 2) Ingredients 3) Prep 4) Directions 5) Pasta Suggestions

Utensils and Implements you will need:

• Large 12” sauce pan with high sides OR large 10” – 12” pot
• Large pasta pot for boiling pasta
• Large bowl (for temporarily setting aside sautéed vegetables)
• Large 12” serving bowl or larger platter
• Large tongs for tossing pasta
• Salt and Pepper at hand for seasoning adjustments
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil close at hand for drizzling
• Garlic press (optional) or pre-chop garlic

Ingredients:

2 Medium onions (chopped)
1 Cup Grated carrots
1 Cup Chopped green peppers
8 Garlic cloves (minced) divided into two portions
½ Cup Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
1 Tbsp. Fennel seed (whole crushed or 1 tsp. dried)
1 Tsp. Red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. Oregano (dried, crushed)
1 Tsp. Bay leaf (dried flakes or one whole)
2 Tbsp. Basil (dried, crushed)
1 Tbsp. Parsley (dried, flakes)
1 – 1 ½ Lb. Ground turkey or ground chicken
1 Lb. Italian turkey sausage (sweet or hot)
1 28 oz. can Crushed plum tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. can Diced tomatoes
1 6 oz. can Tomato paste
1 15 oz. can Tomato sauce
1 6 oz. can Sliced beets (chopped with juice) Secret ingredient! Adds deep red color!
½ Cup Marsala cooking wine
½ Cup Grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese
1 Pinch Ground allspice
1 Tbsp. Anchovy paste
1 Tbsp. Capers (jarred, drained)
1 Tbsp. Sugar or sugar substitute (do not omit)
1 16 pkg. Dried spaghetti rigati (or other dried pasta)

Prep:

Begin by setting up the cooking area with necessary pots, pans, and
cooking utensils. Wear an apron or an old shirt. (This bright sauce may stain.)

Remove ground meats from refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature so as not to slow the sauce cooking. With a sharp knife, slit the sides of sausages to allow removal of casings.

Use a garlic press, or pre-mince the garlic and set aside.

Chop green peppers and carrots first and set aside. Chop the onions last (to minimize “crying” during sauce preparation).

Assemble and arrange spices and herbs for easy reach while sautéing vegetables and meats. Pre-open canned and jarred items.

Directions for Preparing Sauce:

• Heat skillet on medium heat and pour in half of the olive oil (¼ cup)
• Add chopped vegetables (onions, carrots, and green peppers) to pan.
Season lightly with salt and pepper. Using a large wooden spoon, sauté
the vegetables until just tender and push them to one side of the pan
leaving an open space on one side to create a “hot spot” for the next
step.
• Drizzle a small amount of additional olive oil into the “hot spot”
area and sprinkle in the dried pepper flakes, fennel seed, oregano, and
basil. Sauté the dried ingredients in the hot spot to release their
essences, stirring them in the oil until the aromas begin to release.
Then, push the sautéed vegetables back to the center of the pan and stir
to incorporate the herbs with the vegetables. Transfer the mixture to a
separate bowl and set aside temporarily.
• Pour the rest of the olive oil (¼ cup) into the pan and add the ground
turkey (or ground chicken) and the Italian sausage meat (removed from
casings). Season lightly with salt and pepper and sauté until fully
cooked. (Drain excess liquid and fat only if preferred.)
• Stir in half of the chopped garlic and mix thoroughly with the meat.
Taste for salt and pepper adjustment. (Save the remaining garlic until
the end.)
• Stir in canned, crushed plum tomatoes and canned diced tomatoes (fire roasted if available) .
• Add the tomato paste and gradually pour in the tomato sauce to blend.
• Fold in the remaining ingredients (except the the chopped garlic).
Remaining ingredients: dried bay leaf, parsley flakes, Marsala cooking
wine, beets with juice, grated parmesan cheese, ground Allspice, anchovy
paste, capers, and sugar. (Note: sugar reduces any bitterness and
enhances flavors. Add gradually and taste as you go.)
• Allow sauce to simmer on low heat for a minimum of one hour, stirring
occasionally to avoid sticking or burning. Add the remaining garlic
during the last 15 minutes of cooking for a final infusion of rich
flavor.
• Serve sauce with desired pasta. Suggestions follow.

Pasta Suggestions:

I like to serve this pasta sauce over any pasta with
ridges on the sides. If you enjoy spaghetti style pasta, look for
“spaghetti rigati” which has ridges along the noodle. Boil the pasta in
well salted water. Italians say the water should taste “like the sea”.
(Don’t overdo it, though. This, you learn with experience.) Be sure the
water has come to a rapid boil before adding salt. Then add a little
olive oil to help prevent sticking and toss in the pasta. Cook until al dente
(still slightly firm “to the tooth”) – never too soft. Use tongs or
pasta ladle to pull the pasta from the boiling water, allowing it to
drain before depositing into a large bowl. Drizzle with a small amount
of olive oil and toss. Serve with the sauce ladled over the top of the pasta, or drop the pasta into your large skillet of sauce and toss to incorporate before serving.  Mangia! Mangia! Enjoy! 

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Saint Patrick’s Day or The Feast of Saint Patrick

What Is Saint Patrick’s Day?

St. Patricks Day

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. Saint Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. The patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. However, for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many exaggerated stories of St. Patrick are traditionally told, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland. The stories, although false, are the products of hundreds of years of embellished lore.

Some of What is Known About St. Patrick

Saint Patrick was born to wealthy parents in Britain near the end of the 4th century. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and transported to Ireland where he was held captive for six years. There is dispute over as to where in Ireland this captivity took place. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. After a voice from God compelled him to escape, he traveled hundreds of miles on foot, back in Britain. In a second revelation, an angel told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as Irish heritage and culture in general.

St. Patrick’s Day Green

Shamrock

Saint Patrick’s Day involves public parades and festivals, and wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day. Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years, the color green replaced blue in Saint Patrick’s Day observances. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish, hence the wearing of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs has become a popular tradition of the day. The phrase, “the wearing of the green,” is derived from wearing a shamrock on one’s clothing. In the 1798 rebellion, to draw attention and make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March.

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States

Green Beer

Green Beer

St. Patrick’s Day, although not a legal holiday in the United States, is widely recognized throughout the country. It is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture with celebrations including prominent displays of the color green, feasting, religious observances, and numerous parades. Many celebrants also engage in the copious consumption of alcohol, including drinking “green beer” (beer that has been tinted green). The traditions have been carried-on in North America since the late eighteenth century. Some of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades are held in the cities of Boston and New York, and in Chicago, where the Chicago River is died green each year in recognition of the holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montreal Canada

One of the longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, whose city flag includes a shamrock in its lower-right quadrant. The parades have been held there continually since 1824.

London, England Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

London has held an annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade since 2002. It takes place on weekends around the 17th, usually in Trafalgar Square. In 2008, the water in the Trafalgar Square fountains was dyed green. Some excellent information sources about St. Patrick’s Day include Wikipedia and History.com.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

On my first trip to Atlanta, Georgia, we visited the Georgia Aquarium. It was just what I had hoped. There are an abundance of creative exhibits, and the dolphin show is spectacular! It’s all indoors, so you can visit anytime. Here’s a shot of some of the colorful fish there:
Georgia AquariumFish Tales

Speaking of fish tales, check out my books of short stories. Look for the links on this page. Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

 

Happy travels!
Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Twitter Trending Topper is One Direction

One Direction Trends on Twitter

One Direction? I think I like them. They remind me of a certain band from way back. I even knitted together a couple of images to express my initial impression:

Remember the Monkees

One Direction and Monkees

You’ve got to admit the resemblance.

My best!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch in Hudson Valley New York October 2012

Robert Reoch Visits Hudson Valley New York

Robert Reoch Loves Leaves

During a particularly colorful fall week, we drove from Boston to the Hudson River Valley in New York State to enjoy the sights and surrounds of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park. Our drive through Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York was spectacular. This was a great year for “leaf peeping.”

Among the sites we took in was the Walkway Over the Hudson, which is a recently completed footbridge, which spans the Hudson River with panoramic views in all directions. We also toured Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home and museum, a must-see while in the area. Rounding out our trip was the Vanderbilt mansion tour, which proved just a little more tedious than edifying. If you have a couple of hours to kill, it’s just worth the stop.

Do not miss The Eveready Diner in Hyde Park! This is the real deal. It’s a beautiful classic diner-style restaurant with an extensive menu of traditional favorites. The food is as good as the best homemade fare, and the service and atmosphere are like stepping back in time. Order a vanilla malt! Incredible!

The photos below tell the story.

Autum Leaves Hudson Valley NY

Autum Leaves in Hudson Valley New York

Hotel Window View  on a Hudson Valley fall morning.

Hotel Window View on a Hudson Valley fall morning.

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

Hudson River as seen from Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Hudson Valley Fall

Oooh…pretty.

Leaves nothing to the imagination.

Robert Reoch Autum River View NY

Another view from our hotel.

View from the back deck of our hotel.

Robert Reoch FDR Home

Looking down FDR’s driveway.

The Eveready Diner

Eveready Diner

The Eveready Diner has that nostalgic aura and great food!

The Eveready Diner is hoppin’! YUM!

Eveready Diner interior (we sat on those stools). It was bustling and alive.

Eveready Diner interior (we sat on those stools). It was bustling and alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat right there in those stools. The place was packed.
I had the best Reuben with fries and a frosty vanilla malt!

Robert Reoch Fall Leaves

Brilliant leaves and all I see is my disheveled hair.

 

Robert Reoch Hyde Park

Hyde Park outside a Vanderbilt Mansion

Still thinking about diner food.

Robert Reoch over the Hudson River

Snapping shots over the Hudson.

Taking snaps atop the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Vanderbilt shack.

The Vanderbilts built this summer shack.

The Vanderbilt “Summer Shack.”

Robert Reoch Vanderbilt Hudson Valley

Grounds of the Vanderbilt estate Hudson Valley NY

Robert Reoch Walkway Over Hudson

Another view from the Walkway Over the Hudson

Another view from Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Fall Leaves

Me and Joon enjoying the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joon and me and them purty leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a nice fall!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone

Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone

Yellowstone

You’ll find lots of tourists in Yellowstone. And I do mean lots. It’s Disney World with cars, motor homes, and busloads of tourists on winding roads that sometimes get backed up. Foot trails are snaking lines of camera wielding humanity, but still, we’re talking natural wonders, not Disney rides—but almost as many people.

Grand Tetons

We began our trip south of Yellowstone in Jackson Hole at the base of the Grand Teton Mountains. The views and hiking around the mountains and lakes are amazing and not nearly as crowded as Yellowstone. Be sure to take the shuttle boat across Lake Jenny. You’ll cut out a lot of walking around the lake and get directly to the best hiking up the mountain on the other side. The waterfalls and viewpoints are spectacular.

Robert Reoch Grand Tetons

Robert Reoch and Joon hiking in the Tetons

Robert Reoch and Joon hiking in the Tetons

Jackson Hole has Crappy Food

I don’t suggest dining out in the town of Jackson. The food was awful. Don’t just take my word for it, read the restaurant reviews online. I won’t sugar coat this. It’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to. Jackson Hole exists solely for the tourist’s dollar. That’s been their history since early settlers realized nothing grows there. And yet they still don’t know how to feed their paying guests properly. Unfortunately, they do know they’ve got you captive. I won’t mention the names of establishments we tried because they don’t even realize how bad their food is. Our hotel offered some decent free alternatives, but even the grocery store deli was a disappointment. Bottom line: Don’t dine in the town of Jackson if you can avoid it.

Downtown Jackson looks like Main Street in Disneyland with a more Western bent. Walking around, it resembles a Hollywood back lot of old west storefronts (but with bold paint colors like a modern mall). You won’t find a town with more t-shirt shops (except maybe Disneyland). Buy a shirt or a hat if you must, but I suggest you avoid Lee’s Tees. The proprietor of that particular trinket shop has a nasty attitude toward gay people and he  shows it in a cowardly way. My partner and I went in to shop quietly. We aren’t the animated types, just mild mannered tourists like most everybody else. I’m not in the habit of wearing touristy t-shirts, so I selected a logo cap with a subtle design as a souvenir. When I went to pay, I noticed the eldest male employee in the store (probably the owner himself) was conspicuously moving away from the checkout counter as I approached. I was certain he had seen me coming. He then took up position at a nearby table and got busy folding t-shirts, doing his best to actively ignore me—passive aggression, they call it. It became apparent he wasn’t going to ring-up my purchase. Just as I understood the man’s unfriendly behavior, a young female assistant approached and kindly handled my purchase. Ignoring the grumpy man as we were leaving, I could hear him behind us making faked coughing noises, apparently directed at us—he did this a couple of times, desperately trying to make some lame point. Coward.  Please don’t shop at Lee’s Tees. You can buy the same t-shirts and caps at nearby Visitors Centers at lower prices and without the dumb-ass attitude.

Jackson Lake Lodge

Moving away from Jackson, the good news is you can get a great meal at Jackson Lake Lodge just a few miles up the road! We went for a meal in the “Mural Room” restaurant with its breathtaking views. The real mural is the spectacular wall of huge windows framing the glorious panorama of sky and the majestic Grand Teton Mountains outside. It’s like being in a postcard and the food is superb. If you want to eat well while visiting the Jackson area, this is the place to go. Again, it’s The Mural Room at Jackson Lodge. I dined on their signature chicken pot pie (prepared with a flaky French pastry crust). It was amazing! There’s also a casual sports bar and grill at the lodge, as well as an additional family style restaurant. Something for everyone.

 Yellowstone

Onward north to Yellowstone: Yellowstone is definitely for families, tour groups, and anyone who can tolerate crowds and frequent parking challenges in order to experience the unique wonders that are Yellowstone National Park. Who knew Yellowstone was so mountainous? The entire park is elevated due to dynamic seismic action  pushing up the earth’s crust. The main visitor areas of the park are within the boundaries of an immense crater, or caldera, caused by a volcanic eruption 640,000 years ago. The ongoing subterranean activity generates the fascinating geothermal features that Yellowstone is famous for, such as geysers and bubbling mud pots. The average elevation in Yellowstone is around 8,000 feet due to several mountains within the park including Eagle Peak at 11,358 feet. Most of the time, you’ll be at around 2,000 feet. Because of the elevation, even the healthiest hikers will notice some shortness of breath.

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone

Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring
Old Faithful Spouting Off

Old Faithful Spouting Off

Old Faithful. . . or was this whale watching?

We stayed at the historic Old Faithful Inn. It was rustic, tidy, comfortable, and noisy well into the night. The atmosphere is like that of a summer camp, perfect for families with children (but we saw many happy elderly visitors too). The Old Faithful geyser spouts off right near the front of the hotel at regular time intervals. They even post approximate times in the hotel lobby. I highly recommend this locale. The food is edible too. There’s a huge dining hall and a small deli within the hotel as well as a large gift shop. Next door to the inn is a large general store with a hundred-year-old soda fountain (an old-fashioned term for fast food joint) where they serve burgers, fries, and malts at a long marble counter lined with stools. It’s just like your parents and grandparents knew in their day. We loved it.

We drove and hiked Yellowstone for three days, which is not enough time to see everything (which would take weeks). However, many of the views and points of interest are redundant. Once you’ve seen one steamy geyser or hot spewing mud pot, you’ve practically seen ’em all. (Kind of like Washington D.C.)

Robert Reoch Yellowstone

Hot water is free here. Comes right out of the ground!

So now, Yellowstone is now checked off our bucket list. It was worth the trip. We planned each day carefully and stuck to our plan, which allowed us to see more than we had hoped. In addition to droves of humans, we also encountered many bison up close, including one large brown specimen, which we initially mistook for a grizzly bear. It was walking alongside some cars in the road ahead of us, and after frantically locking our doors, we discovered it was merely a slightly confused buffalo. We never did see a bear, which was a bit of a letdown. Of course, being mauled by a bear never was on my bucket list.

Hello Bison

The bear that wasn’t.

Thanks for reading!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man  (2012) Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

Director: Marc Webb

3D is well-honed in The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not all in-your-face in one moment and then gone the next. The visuals lend splendidly to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man in his red and blue costume, swinging like Tarzan between tall buildings in Manhattan.

Teenage Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man is made to appear plausible in this well directed installment. Thanks to a great cast and a rounded story, things move along with the character of a good indie and the appeal of a John Hughes film. There’s even a high school bully with whom Peter Parker must contend along with the pressures of a twink Spider-Man saving the world from a mad scientist while romancing the police chief’s daughter at the same time.

Fine cinematography captures the abundant screen presence of the cast. As Peter Parker’s aunt and uncle/legal guardians, Martin Sheen provides firm fatherly authority while Sally Field weighs-in with her urgent motherly pleadings. It’s screen gold. Emma Stone is radiant.

Andrew Garfield’s expressiveness adds depth to his character. We get the full range of the male testosterone experience including his initial awkward flirtations with classmate Gwen Stacy (Stone).  Somehow, overnight, he morphs from a fumbling geek to a smoldering kisser and ninja fighter.

This is the best Spider-Man so far. It’s balanced romance, drama, and thrilling 3D action.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Maine Visit June 2012

Maine Visit June 2012

Cape Elizabeth Light Maine

We drove north from Boston and up the coast of Maine to Rockport. Along the way, we stopped at the Cape Elizabeth Light (it’s a lighthouse). Here are photos from some of our stops in Rockland, Rockport, and Camden.

Robert Reoch Cape Elizabeth Maine

Cape Elizabeth Light Maine

 

 

Cape Elizabeth Light

Robert Reoch Camden Harbor

Camden Harbor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camden Harbor

Robert Reoch Camden Falls

Camden Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camden Falls (smack in the middle of town!)

Robert Reoch Mount Batty

Mount Batty View

 

 

 

 

 

 

On top of Mount Batty. (Do these shorts make me look fat?)

Robert Reoch Rockland Jetty

Me and Joon at the Rockland Jetty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and Joon on the Rockland Jetty

Robert Reoch Rockland Jetty

That boat is available for tours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can sail on that schooner out there.

 

 

 

 

Get out and travel when you can! We are lovin’ New England!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black 

The Woman in Black (2012) Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Roger Allam

Director: James Watkins

Like homage to classic ghost thrillers from mid 20th century, every hoary haunted house cliché gets play time in this flick—not just once or twice, but repeatedly throughout.

A young English gentleman (Daniel Radcliffe) is stranded alone overnight in a vacant old mansion during inclement weather. He’s left to wander the musty house, room to room, following the sounds of creaking boards and tortured cries. Doorknobs turn themselves. Children’s toys spring to life. The tension is pierced by sudden loud noises and ghastly apparitions strategically spaced between long pauses of dread filled silence. This type of business is repeated too often over the course. The result feels contrived and planned like a carnival spook house. Still, there’s something compelling, even redeeming, holding our interest.

Handsome, well-dressed lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), has traveled on business to retrieve legal documents left by the deceased former occupant of the vacant manor, which is situated on a small island only accessible at low tide. Mr. Kipps is warned off, and treated hostile by a few local villagers who vehemently try to convince him to leave. The only cordial resident, Mr. Bentley (Allam), provides supper to Mr. Kipps and reveals some horrid secrets. Several of the local children have died mysterious horrible deaths, believed to be the result of vengeful acts by the spirit of a dead woman who had ties to the empty house. Mr. Kipps very slowly pieces together a tragic local history and even goes so far as to try to reconcile a lingering conflict.

Savor this film for how it gloriously mimics the old classics. A clever macabre twist at the end compensates for any campy thrills leading up. Compared to the classics, this movie is over-the-top with its bumps-in-the-nights and ghosts-in-the-mirrors. However in the good old days it would have been choice fare for a date at the Drive-In-Movie theater, sharing some shivers and cuddles during the scary parts.

Daniel Radcliffe and Roger Allam do fine work, certainly appreciating the rare opportunity for modern actors to revisit this dramatic genre, especially with it being so well wrought with nostalgia and authenticity by director James Watkins. Vincent Price would have loved this.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers (2012) Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow

Director: Joss Whedon

Multiple Marvel Comics superheroes can work together well, even if they don’t always get along. They may even have a few spats, but they get their work done. 3-D effects keep getting better, and this film is the best example I’ve seen yet.

In this story, Thor’s half-brother, Loki, is back on the scene and bent on dominating stuff (in this case, the Earth) as usual. He manages a feasible plan, but is forced to contend with the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.—Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate—including a potent assortment of superheroes hired as temps for the police.

This film moves quickly. The dialogue is smart and often funny. The outcome is predictable. Seen in an IMAX theater, children screamed and laughed in some parts, while the adults laughed in others. The movie was engaging enough that I could ignore the girl behind me kicking my seat and forgive the little boy beside me elbowing me and kicking me as he sucked on his gigantic soda loudly during the quiet parts. It’s a superhero movie. It’s noisy. I’ll never go to a matinée again.

My grade: A-

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Rango

Rango

Rango (2011) Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina

Director: Gore Verbinski

Is there anything Johnny Depp can’t do well? How about portraying an animated banged up chameleon prone to bad luck that is recruited as the sheriff in a town called Dirt? With this dried up desert town as the backdrop, sheriff Rango has his hands full. Ned Beatty voices the irresistible corrupt mayor of Dirt, who lords over the oppressed thirsty citizenry with his monopoly on the water supply.

Hilarious, colorful characters abound. Although the story slows in the middle, humor and distinctive voices keep things interesting. Johnny Depp continues his reign as king of inflection and nuance. The actor must have watched a ton of old movies to have picked up so many echoes from classics of the past. He brings a richer level of entertainment, rare in the industry today. This crazy role as an animated lizard is another example of his extraordinary talent. It makes this movie special.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Hugo

Hugo

Hugo (2011)Starring: Asa Butterfield, BenKingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen

Director: Martin Scorsese

A boy named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is orphaned after his father dies in a fire. Taken in by his drunken uncle who runs the massive clocks at the Paris Train Station, Hugo winds up (no pun intended) alone, once again, after his uncle disappears. Fending for himself, Hugo keeps the clocks running while working to restore a mechanical (automatronic) man, a museum relic on which his father had been working.

A colorful ensemble of characters frequents the train station, echoing the charms of an old Charlie Chaplin film. Among the denizens is a shopkeeper, George Méliès (Kingsley), who has it out for Hugo, convinced that Hugo had been stealing mechanical parts from his merchandise. The train station’s sole constable (Cohen) also presents a constant threat to Hugo, as he tries to capture the homeless boy, eager to remand him over to an orphanage.

Computer assisted imagery and masterfully blended cinematography combine for a visually stunning film. Legendary director Martin Scorsese imbues the production with sentimentality and nostalgia harkening to the days of silent film (again no pun intended).

As daily life unfolds, Hugo secretly befriends the shopkeeper’s goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who mysteriously happens to possess a special key, the only one that can unlock and make function the mechanical man.

Romantic side tales embellish, as well do several classic silent film clips. Inspiring and entertaining, Scorsese adds to his generous legacy.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

Robert Reoch Cupcakes
Leave these babies out
for the Easter Bunny.

 

Happy Easter!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Drive

Drive
Drive (2011) Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, James Biberi

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Music: Cliff Martinez

Drive is cinematic perfection. Cliff Martinez’ music captures an essence and feel for LA that  reminded me of the American Gigolo soundtrack (music by Giorgio Moroder).

Ryan Gosling (whose character is unnamed) plays a stunt driver doing side work driving a getaway car  for armed crooks. Becoming friendly with his married neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), things become complicated when he tries to help Irene’s husband, an ex-con, who is being threatened over old debts upon his release from prison.

Gosling’s driver is steel behind the wheel in souped-up chase scenes. His character develops quickly, growing throughout the story. His boss, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), at a garage on Reseda Boulevard, has dreams of owning a competitive stock car with (Gosling) driving it on the racing circuit with high paying sponsors. Cranston’s Shannon is a cringing, vulnerable stooge with one bum leg, and prone to bad luck. After successfully convincing a mobster named Bernie Rose (an unlikely but highly effective villain Albert Brooks), to bankroll his racing dream, things go sour. A rough entanglement ensues.

While Bernie Rose is the intimidating calculating businessman, his violent partner, Nino (Ron Perlman), epitomizes heavy handedness. The violence in this film comes through with masterfully created special effects.

Nicolas Winding Refn artfully directs with equal measures of bold strokes and a subtle brush. His characters interact with both tenderness and shocking brutality. The bursts of graphic violence rival that of any mob movie ever made, while other scenes linger languidly as Irene and her young son interact with the driver (Gosling), developing a tentative bond. The dialogue is sparse and not wastefully trite. Gosling’s driver is disarming as he melts the screen.

This film imparts nuances of the essential history and majesty of Los Angeles, even while snaking through its seamy underbelly. The contrasts and the crassness feel familiar to those who know LA. With music, often synthesized, the soundtrack brilliantly recalls a musicality from a 70s-80s synth age, sometimes grinding and pulsating rhythmically as in night music and the clubs. Always, the tone fits with the dynamic. This ride demands you crank up the sound of your home theater system. With superb cinematography and action, this is an exhilarating drive.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

Peanut Butter and Jelly Squares Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

I baked these babies from a favorite recipe and took them up a notch by drizzling-on some homemade chocolate ganache. Oy! Just an example of my little baking hobby (and dedicated to my someone special who loves these!) I wish everyone could eat one of these melt-in-your-mouth monsters! Ha!

Peanut Butter Jelly Squares
“Oink, Oink!”

Thanks for reading and see you at the gym. Yikes!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Help

The Help

The Help  (2011) Starring: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia L. Spencer, Ahna O’Reilly, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Anna Camp, Eleanor Henry, Cicely Tyson

Director: Tate Taylor

The Help is great cinema with its authentic depiction of life in the south in 1963. Rich white families in rural Mississippi employed black women as full time maids. In this story, young, white, ambitious Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) decides to write secretly a book exposing the unseen abuses endured by black workers in the town of Jackson where bigotry thrived. With a variety of characters, conflicting attitudes, and clashing personalities we have an epic story of personal and social evolution. The superb ensemble cast assures a rich interpretation of Kathryn Stockett’s book. In the hands of screen adapter/director, Tate Taylor, the production remains pure.

Viola Davis received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role. Octavia L. Spencer won for Best Supporting Actress in this film. Sissy Spacek’s scene stealing performance is notable too. Fans will relish this small, but memorable role. The entire cast are solid and convincing.

The DVD includes must-see Special Features. The director’s personal experiences parallel those of the story’s writer/personal friend. The behind the scenes back stories provide additional layers of fascinating nostalgia. Destined to become a classic.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity 3

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Paranormal Activity 3 is, by far, the best of the three in this series of flicks thus far. The
premise is the same. The household sets up video cameras to study what is going bump in the night in their home during the wee hours of the morning as they sleep. What’s fun, this time, is the use of a rudimentary device to affect cinematic suspense—a camera mounted on an oscillating fan mechanism. As the video view pans back-and-forth, we observe ghastly changes in the nighttime activity.

This time, there is some actual activity. There’s actually a back story and a plot line too. I even experienced a fright or two. This time, it was more entertaining.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Six Hour Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake Took Six Hours of Love

Monster Birthday Cake

Robert Reoch 6-Hour Birthday Cake

This is devotion.

Robert Reoch Cake 2

Tasted even better than it looked. Happy Birthday Joon!

I spent around six hours baking this monster birthday cake for someone very special to me. This chocolate and cherry bomb had it all goin’ on, including the most decadent chocolate ganache frosting dripping with cherries and little mandarin orange segments (some of Joon’s favorite things.) The best part was in the eating—

Yum!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton

Directors: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a fantastic look at the many faces of romance. Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) find their 25-year marriage falling apart, while their adult daughter, Hannah (Emma Stone) explores her own romantic options. Meanwhile their youngest son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), has his first crush on his teenage babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who has doe eyes for Robbie’s dad, Cal.

After separating from Emily, a forlorn Cal befriends a guy in a bar, Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who is a womanizer of the first degree. Receiving coaching and a male makeover from Jacob, Cal winds up having flings with several woman at the local club, including his son’s recovering alcoholic teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei). The plot really thickens then.

As incredible as the character dynamics become, the movie works remarkably well. Excellent acting and realistic dialogue keep it interesting and often funny. Carell keeps a firm rein on his character, never going over the top. Tomei lets loose to great effect. Jonah Bobo steps into his role, and holds his own along with the stellar cast. A wonderful, original, modern film.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

Director: Brad Bird

On audience appeal, teenage boys are the obvious target here. This Mission is packed with explosions, mechanical gizmos, and spy weaponry. Adults will enjoy the nostalgia of Cold War stereotypes. The film’s primary villain is a Russian bent on blowing up the world. It’s always the same with those pesky Russians.

Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt again, has the right stuff this time. He projects intensity and effortlessness, unlike other recent turns where he’s been wound-up tighter than his smile. The only visual negative in this movie is the bad hair on nearly every character in the film. (You’ll see what I mean, but it doesn’t detract from the story.)

This Mission actually has two major tasks for the IMF team to complete over the course, filling up every second of its 110 minutes. Multiple complex characters keep things interesting too, while the changing global scenery supplies added visual depth. Altogether, worth a watch.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Super 8

Super 8

Super 8 (2011) Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths, Ron Eldard

Director: J. J. Abrams

Obvious story influences is Super 8 range from E.T. to Jeepers Creepers and even Stand By Me. The most redeeming quality of this film is its charismatic ensemble of preteen actors.

Super 8 refers to the old eight millimeter film used in cameras of the 60s and 70s. Set in the late 70s, a group of kids is making a zombie movie for a school project. While filming, they witness a spectacular train wreck. Out of the twisted metal and to their small town comes mystery and terror.

The tight group of characters each have distinct personalities, all easily winning our sympathy, which rarely happens in movies over the last few decades. This ensemble is irresistible from the beginning.

Among the effective cinematic devices vexing these children are a deep black hole in the ground, a cemetery,  kidnappings, and the adult figures who cannot understand all the urgency. Resisting the adults and other horrors, the band of youngsters press-on with their movie project, while terrifying secrets are unleashed by the train wreck. Soon, the entire town is facing a violent menace.

Joel Courtney (as Joe Lamb), in his first ever film, is already someone to watch. The same goes for Elle Fanning with her impressive turn as Alice Dainard. I see great things coming from these two young actors.

Even with its overabundance of loud explosions and some graphic violence, this film charms. Gratifying entertainment.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Cookies Cookies Cookies I’m a Cookie Monster

The main reason I enjoy baking Christmas cookies is to eat them! My recipe for butter cookies includes cardamom (the secret spice that reminds your taste buds it’s holiday season). With a few well-chosen cookie cutters, some colored icing, and a little finesse, these tasty gems make the season right. Ha!

Christmas Cookies Robert ReochChristmas Cookies Robert Reoch

 

 

 

Christmas Cookies Robert Reoch

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Today, just for fun, I made cupcakes. I used a mix from one of TV’s more famous ladies (the one without shoes). Delicious pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, which I cranked up with some pumpkin spices.


Yes, these taste even better than they look! I’m getting good
at this stuff. Yum!
Happy Holidays!

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Blue Mystique Orchid

Blue Mystique, the world’s first blue Phalaenopsis orchid!

This past weekend, we stopped at a nursery in Lexington, Massachusetts and discovered this blue orchid. It is called the Blue Mystique, the world’s first blue phalaenopsis orchid. Who could resist? We brought one home to give a lively shock of electric blue to our home. Thought I would share.



Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Spring Break Reading Store for Your Online Shopping

Spring Break Reading Store

Bookmark this site for your online shopping. Everything you need can be found at my Spring Break Reading store with highly recommended products at the best prices anywhere. Click on the image below and browse through the  list of categories, then bookmark the site. Make this your first choice for convenient online shopping!

                                                  

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

“Peanuts” Fan (me)

I still recall this strip from an old Peanuts book by Charles M. Schulz. 

My Mom used to buy me “Charlie Brown books” (as I called them) as a kid. Life was so much less complicated then. This particular strip doesn’t actually involve good ol’ Charlie Brown.  Schulz would often feature his other characters, by themselves, with hysterically funny portraits of their personalities.  I recall reading this one during a warm summer day in the ’60s as I laughed out loud. I can only describe it as I remember it:

An empty round wading pool flies in the air past Linus in a gust of wind. Lucy, carrying a long bicycle pump, walks up to Linus, looking for her runaway pool. She is still wearing her scuba mask and a large pair of flippers for swimming.  Linus, having mistaken the pool for a flying saucer and Lucy for an alien from outer space, screams, “A-a-ah! A Martian!” He runs and hollers, “The Martians are here! The Martians are here! . . One of them just pointed a ray-gun at me!”

That was all it took to make me laugh as kid. (And still.)

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013