Tag Archives: Mind Pastry Food for Thought

The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty (2014) Starring: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso

fix buy xenical Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Enjoy buspirone canada participate The Great Beauty for its rich cinematography. From interior lighting and camera angles to scenic outdoor panoramas, the filming and direction are superb. This is a reflective study that is best appreciated by a more mature, seasoned audience. Many of the characters are well beyond age 50.

A celebrated writer, aging Jep Gambardella ( v tight gel price Toni Servillo), having written just one outstanding novel, drifts among his also aging society cronies in the monied enclaves of central Rome. We observe how they roll during a crossroads in many of their lives. The writing and dialogue are sophisticated, laced with pathos, and balanced with forgiving irony. A fascinating range of characters come to life through a solid cast of pros, drawing us straight into their world effortlessly. Slow, steady, rambling, and quite thought provoking. Visual gourmet.

Italian with English subtitles, heavy on dialogue.

avert http://w.hanoi-sme.vn/28730-nexium-price.html My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright pred forte eye drops cost correct Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts

go to my blog Robert Reoch http://ducove.sk/milno/6612 Rolling Thoughts is just this content me babbling when expressing myself won’t fit on reddit dating san francisco f4m Twitter. I’ll be adding to this same post over time.

http://globecyclette.com/kljaps/1514 October 22, 2014

Dear partnersuche gastronomie 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 site de rencontre pour Г©colos Keene, NH, during the annual comment faire des rencontres sérieuses 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 useful link The Power of Positive Thinking, or visit site 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 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 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

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

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 2: Tethers

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

A Wild Ride: “Chance and Keanan: Adagio for Windowpane and Gazebo”

The above title is just one of several new short stories in my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2.

In this riotous tale, two friends named Chance and Keanan explore Disneyland on acid—in a form known as “windowpane.”Fly with them along the I-5 freeway from La Jolla Cove to Disneyland and back. Who does that?

Chance and Keanan, that’s who.

Click the images below to order.

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts 2

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The Queen, the Bird Feeder, and the Mausoleum

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

“The Queen, the Bird Feeder, and the Mausoleum”

This short story from Travelers’ Shorts is worthy of a Coen Brothers film. “The Queen, the Bird Feeder, and the Mausoleum” is about a mother and son whose twisted relationship defines their bond.  As Curtis’ mother, “the Queen,” struggles to sustain her hold of power, while her son seeks ways to compromise it. Caught in the middle of the chaos, the son’s friend, Oogie, a mere bystander, observes and does his best to stay clear the fray—involving a new bird feeder, a mausoleum, and a family dinner. Did anyone notice the fourteen-foot long python?

You’ll find the full story in, Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move.

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Russian Law Makers Pass Anti-Gay Bill 436-0 Backed by Vladimir Putin

Kremlin: Vladimir Putin and Russian Religious Elite Exile Gays

Kremlin in Red

Boston Globe Reports Russian Anti-Gay Vote Violence Against Gays

A startling article in the Boston Globe today reports that the government of Russia has passed a 436-0 vote that would basically outlaw being gay. Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia’s already low birth rates, saying they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment, or be exiled. (See the full content of the article using the link below.)

Russia President Vladimir Putin Backs Anti-Gay Laws

One of the first things that comes to mind when considering this violation of human rights is the egomaniacal manner in which Vladimir Putin has conducted himself, historically. Operating always with self-interest, Putin fancies himself a martial arts master, a model of physical fitness, and likely sees himself more as a Tzar (rather than questionably elected president of questionable elect). Instinct tell me Vladimir Putin dost protest too much.

Amnesty International Condemns Russia Action

Amnesty International has deemed the ruling of the Russian government “…a sorry attempt by the government to bolster its popularity by pandering to the most reactionary elements of Russian society — at the expense of fundamental rights and the expression of
individual identities…’’

Russian lawmakers pass anti-gay bill in 436-0 vote – World – The Boston Globe.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Bullying and War

Bullying and War

“John Brake’s Wars” is About Bullying

Bullying has reached new levels in the information age. Youths and adults use new tools in cowardly ways for the purpose of intimidation. Bullying has been a social ill long before cyber bullying. I wrote a short story about a tragedy involving a childhood friend of mine. The story, “John Brake’s Wars,” is based on true events. It’s about a friend of mine, a school aged boy named John Brake, who was relentlessly bullied in school while his father, a U.S. soldier, was away fighting in Vietnam.

We have seen an increase in this hostile behavior in recent years. Cyber bullying has given small minds effective tools with which to wreak havoc. The consequences are too often becoming deadly. The effects are always lasting.

“John Brake’s Wars” is just one of the short stories in my book, Travelers Shorts.

Travelers Shorts

Travelers Shorts

 

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers Shorts 2

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

Terrorists Bombs in Boston Kill and Injure on Patriots’ Day

Boston’s Motto: “By the sword we
seek peace, but peace only under liberty”

Uncle Sam Arlington MA

Uncle Sam is in Arlington MA

Commentary

I live just outside of Boston in Arlington, Massachusetts, on Massachusetts Avenue, a road which stretches south all the way through Cambridge and across the Charles River to Boston proper. It’s a matter of minutes by public transportation to get downtown where the bombs exploded on Monday on Boylston Street. I visit downtown Boston regularly.

Boston Historic Symbol of Freedom

Today, I received a call from friends, asking if I was okay. I hadn’t heard about the explosions in Boston and I hadn’t been watching TV, so I wasn’t aware of what was happening downtown. Only yesterday, we hosted the Patriots Day parade in Arlington, formerly known as Menotomy. Arlington lies on the route on which Paul Revere made his famous ride. My home is on the site of some of the first battles fought during the onset of the Revolutionary War. Just north are Lexington and Concord. In Arlington, we’re right in the thick of things. (In 1867, Menotomy was renamed Arlington in tribute to fallen soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery.)

Terrorism on the Boston Freedom Trail

What can we do about terrorism on our shores more than 200 years after establishing the land of the free, The United States of America. I am reminded of the poem by Emma Lazarus, born on a plaque on the side of the Statue of Liberty‘s pedestal, with its famous
passage:

“…Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!…”

Melting Pot Includes Poison

As of late, I feel uneasy when I think of this country as being the “melting pot” that it is. I’m sure I’m not alone in my concern about poisoned minds of extremists coming to our shores and wreaking havoc here. Ever since the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, I had been under the impression that, in this country, we were doing all we could to prevent further terrorist attacks. There actually have been fewer major acts of terrorism than I would have expected. Even so, I’ve always had a sense that it’s an impossible task to predict and stop all such malevolent acts. Today, after this terrorist act in Boston, I feel a renewed sense of that concern. That said, we don’t even know if this act was of domestic origin, or from foreign monsters.

Optimism Sustains Us

I am not a fatalist, rather I am an optimist. I’ve been an optimist my entire life. I was born with a hopeful outlook. However, I feel we aren’t smart enough yet. We haven’t put enough into the business of shutting down threats. We cannot yet detect the evil that lurks within our shores. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to read what’s in the hearts of those wretches who come to do us harm (or the ones already here), but perhaps we can do a better job of preventing them from obtaining bomb making materials and entering crowded areas carrying such weapons of mass killing.

Unfortunately, even with my optimism, I don’t see 100 percent detection and prevention as ever happening in my lifetime. People still get in. People are already here. The Boston Marathon is a wonderful excuse to let down our guard and allow individuals to mingle freely and participate. That’s what we do. It was Patriots’ Day! As a whole, our collective intelligence amounts to  somewhere in between that of the highly educated movers and shakers and the “wretched refuse” who have been tempest tost to our shores (or somehow raised here by wild dogs). Unfortunately, some of those that reach our shores are bringing the tempest with them.

Technology for Freedom

I’ll just bear all of this with my usual dumb optimism. I’m not the policeman. That’s not me. My hope is that, one day, the good geniuses in our midst will bring to bear all available intelligence and technology to monitor thoroughly the physical aspects of terrorism. Shouldn’t we be able to keep materials out of the hands of evil doers? I believe the possibility is less remote than trying to read the minds of (and thereby stopping) all mass killers. If we can sniff out every nook and cranny where weapons chemicals come together, we can respond. I don’t think it’s such a huge leap to be able to zero-in on these elements as they converge. I believe it’s possible. If they can put satellites and telescopes in outer space to peer back billions of years, or to look back down to Earth and pick out small objects, why not focus those eyes on identifying traces of elements where they don’t belong in our country? Current technology can already identify millions of light spectrum using filters deployed in those cameras in space. I believe technology may exist, or will exist, that would enable scientists to spot confluences of materials with a specific footprint and identify potential weapons before they are fully formed, or deployed. That’s my hope. That’s all I got.

Rest in peace, to those innocent people harmed or lost in Boston, from wherever they may have come, including the fine young woman, Krystle Marie Campbell, of neighboring town of Medford, Massachusetts, who worked in a favorite restaurant right here in Arlington. Let’s bolster their families and lend our best support to the injured too.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Margaret Thatcher Has Died

Margaret Thatcher First
Female Prime Minister of Great
Britain Has Died

Margaret Thatcher death

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to become a British Prime Minister has died of a stroke at the age of 87. According to CNN, she suffered a stroke on Monday. The former “Iron Lady” and leader of Great Britain suffered a first stroke in 2002, and then several small strokes in subsequent years. She had been the longest-serving (1979–1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century.

Margaret Thatcher Close Ties to Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev

Margaret Thatcher’s stunning career included close ties to U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev.  Thatcher once said she considered Ronald Reagan, “…the second most important man in my life.” Bound by opposition to communism, Thatcher and Reagan shared a close bond throughout the 1980s. Together, they provided a united western counterbalance against the Soviet Union. The relationships developed by Thatcher, who famously told Mikhail Gorbachev that “[she] could to business with him,” and the two world superpower leaders, Reagan and Gorbachev, ultimately helped lead to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the push for democracy in Eastern Europe.

Margaret Thatcher Grocer’s Daughter

Born in 1925 in the small town of Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a British grocer, Alfred Roberts. Her father was active in politics and raised Margaret Roberts as a strict Methodist. After graduating from Somerville College at Oxford, Margaret Thatcher began a slow rise in politics beginning in 1959, eventually serving as leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. Thatcher won thenation’s top job only six years after declaring in a television interview, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.”

Margaret Thatcher Career Defining Moment


Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Fighting Lady

Well into her career as Prime Minister, on 2 April 1982, when the ruling military party in  Argentina ordered the invasion of the British-controlled Falkland Islands and South Georgia, Margaret Thatcher took to defending Britain’s interest with the triggering the Falklands War. The subsequent crisis was “a defining moment in Margaret Thatcher’s career. She set up and chaired a small War Cabinet to take charge of the war effort,  dispatching, in early April, a naval task force to retake the Falkland Islands. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the British operation was hailed a success.

Margaret Thatcher Funeral

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, with full military honors, followed by a private cremation.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 2 Marketing

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 2: Marketing

Books Don’t Pay Unless . . .

Books don’t pay unless:

A) Your book comes with built-in name recognition, or a signed book deal with a major publisher eager to profit from your celebrity (in other words, you are already rich and famous, or at least in the midst of your 15 minutes of fame), or

B) You’ve written a true literary masterpiece and have a well-connected saint for a book agent. There’s a caveat to the latter too. Most agents won’t touch you unless you can show you’ve already sold at least a thousand books! (See A).

Books Only Profit When They Sell Tens of Thousands of Copies

If you’ve been thinking of having your book published in hopes of making tons of money from royalties, read the above paragraph again. Depending on the price of your book, your cut will be small
compared to the actual retail price. Printers, distributors, and retailers (even Ebook retailers) take a big cut. If you sell 100 books, you will likely receive less than a thousand dollars. If you sell 1,000 books, you’ll probably make less than $5,000. If you are distributed through a site like Amazon, you’ll be
competing with millions and millions of books. Millions!

Why Your Book Won’t List at the Top

On Amazon’s site, your book title won’t necessary be listed in order, alphabetically. Algorithms decide how to list your book as befits the retailer. These secret formulas are dictated by consumer demand and will determine how early-on in the list of publications your book appears—even if your book should be first alphabetically. More popular books with similar titles will be positioned near the top of the list. If you are a new author, or unpopular, your book will quickly be lost in the morass. Again, even if someone searches for your book title by typing it in alphabetically exactly correct, it won’t pop up near the top of the list unless it’s already a big seller. (I know this from experience. Go ahead, experiment with my book titles if you like.)

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

Marketing is Key

I ran out of time for marketing my books. You may laugh. Seriously, I had an entire strategy, but life happened and I had to move away from my book projects before I could delve into serious marketing. I had given myself a timeline. Even with a solid year dedicated, life gave me too many interruptions. I finished self-publishing my books, but I needed to go back to my day job. I didn’t have time to market my books properly. However, I missed a window that would likely have been fruitless anyway. (See A in paragraph 1).

Book Marketing Requires Research

Even though I ran out of time, I still made a modest effort to market my book. I quickly discovered that book agents put up walls. While searching Online, I found websites for agents who advertised, openl, that they don’t take clients whose books have not already sold at least a thousand in number. Was I discouraged? Of course, so I moved on. I could have continued looking, however I feared I might spend more time and money for naught by falling victim to someone preying on another new author’s dreams. Some unscrupulous agent might take my money and just make a few empty promises. Perhaps they would make some weak gesture such as offering to issue a press release—something I could have done myself. That’s how things panned out.

I put up a couple of websites for my books, which was a hopeful idea, but even that doesn’t help  if people never see the websites. Meanwhile, social media explodes. This could be good. Yet, even putting one of my books on Facebook did nothing measurable.  Facebook wanted me to purchase ads (like the ones you can block). Those Facebook ads cost me more than all of the royalties I’d ever received. Ouch! (Yes, you can laugh.)

My Books Have Been Purchased

The few purchases of my books were probably made by distant relatives of whom I’ve never heard. Perhaps I made a few sales from people who happened across one of my websites, or one of my Twitter accounts. Maybe they saw the poster I tacked up on a bulletin board along the bike trail near my house that was later mowed down by an errant bicyclist. (How’s that for sophisticated marketing?)

If you want to market your book and you don’t fit the profile in item A of paragraph 1 above), you’ll need a lot of luck, plain and simple. Maybe you have a big congregation at your church who can be easily guilt-ed into buying your books.

At the end of the day, at least books should be written if only for the love of writing. Keep writing…or don’t. Be happy.

Robert George Reoch

 Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 1

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 1

Book World and Self-Publishing

In the book world, self-publishing has taken off over the last ten years. I learned about self-publishing in 2009 as I was writing my first book of short stories, Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move. I discovered on the Internet a company called iUniverse and decided to give myself and them a try at publishing my stories. I had no idea what I was doing, yet I was determined to give it my best shot. I was certain people would love my short stories. Once my books were published, and once people began buying my books, I would get rich! I’d have a best seller!

Books Don’t Sell Themselves


“…once people began buying my books.”—that’s the telling phrase. Nobody buys your books if they haven’t heard of you. I worked for nearly two years with iUniverse and finally finished my project. When all was said (written) and done, I eventually realized that if iUniverse had things their way, I would have bought hundreds of my own books myself.  They actually expected me to buy caseloads of my own books from them so I could peddle them on the street myself. They aggressively offered me discounts for buying quantities of my own books. I live in an apartment. I don’t have room to stockpile books. Fortunately, being a salesman from way back, I could see their angle. Get me all happy that I’ve written a book, then turn around and sell it to me for their own profit! Nuts. I’m the type of person who has foresight. I can usually see the end-game coming. iUniverse had already charged me hundreds of dollars for holding my hand and doing some minor editing (which mainly threw me off my rhythm). They reformatted my pages to fit the printed book (tasks that, later, I realized I could have done myself for free). Yes, I was that green.

Books on the iUniverse Shelf

iUniverse offered marketing and distribution options for my books, including some expensive ad campaigns. I remained leery because they were still constantly trying to sell me box loads of my own books (and I wasn’t biting). Once—just once—I paid them a large sum to show my book at a book fair in Miami. Unfortunately, there was never any concrete evidence that my book even made it to the fair. I never received any sales as a result of the fair. In fact, in following-up, I checked my account records online at iUniverse and discovered that nobody at iUniverse had procured a copy of my printed book prior to the fair, which they would have needed in order to show it. When I mentioned this to iUniverse after the fair, they refused to refund the promotional fee. There later appeared a post-fair record of an internal request for a copy of my book on my account records. Someone had attempted to manipulate the records and backdate an order to make it appear as though they had procured a copy, but the system wouldn’t allow it. It showed the true date confirming the internal book request was made well after the date of the Miami book fare. They were trying to cover their tracks, it was obvious. It wasn’t worth  pursuing. Without having flown to Miami on the day of the book fair, I couldn’t prove anything. I laugh at the absurdity of the book fair ploy (and my gullibility). Nobody bought my book in Miami, and it took months before anyone purchased my book through iUniverse, or from any of the other bookseller’s to whom they claim to distribute. By the way, your books are not sent to retailers at all. These books are printed on demand by those who sell the printed copies online. iUniverse did nothing to promote my book. It sat on their online shelf in virtual reality. Of course, they offered other advertising options costing thousands of dollars, but . . . are you kidding?

Second Book Similar Fate

I also published my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers, with iUniverse. Am I crazy? Well, since I already knew the process, I went ahead with iUniverse again. Once you understand the mechanics of self-publishing, the venue at iUniverse works fairly well—enough to get a book out there. Your books find their way to Amazon (see Part 2). I wanted to get my second book published quickly as a way to show legitimacy. I had written several good short stories. People who read them loved them. For my second book, I made the mistake of using one of iUniverse’s book cover designers. (I designed the cover of my first book myself and was quite happy with the way it turned out. It kept with my vision.) For the second book, instead of trusting my gut and going with my own cover design again, I used one of iUniverse’s “professional” designer’s. That was a mistake. I had created a design of my own, but I took a chance with the iUniverse designer and it isn’t what I had pictured. I should have taken the time to change it. One day, when I publish a compilation of all of my short stories, in a single volume, I’ll design that cover myself. I may republish the second book and use my cover. At least, I discovered I’m a better cover designer than at least one paid professional. See my book cover (below) for Travelers’ Shorts? Those shorts are an actual pair of mine that I photographed and photo shopped.

Travelers Shorts

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts Contain Gems

My books are gems. Of course I say that because I wrote them! The stories speak for themselves. In my first book, Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move, my prose leans toward being overly rich, or “purple,” as my aunt would say. However, I learned to move the story telling at a more contemporary pace in my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers. You can click on the image below to find out more. Don’t let me stop you.

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

Self-Publishing Book Companies Have Their Own Agenda

Most self-publishing companies are in it for their own profit, not yours. They profit from the process of publishing your book for you. They will charge you for editing services, formatting, cover design, advertising, etc.  They will then push your finished book right back at you to buy it from them (in quantities) so you can go out and peddle it yourself. They want you to buy your own book from them in large quantities (at discounted prices, of course). Just remember, the marketing onus is on you. Nobody sees your book if you don’t market it, but that’s another story which I’ll cover in my next article about self-publishing. Also, in my next article, I’ll talk about my positive experiences in self-publishing with Amazon and their affiliate company CreateSpace.

Good luck with your writing. For more information, read Part 2.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

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

Pope Elected

Pope Francis is the 266th Pope

PopeJorge Mario Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-GOAL-io)—now known as Pope Francis—age 76, has been elected as the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. This selection follows the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The new pontiff will be called Pope Francis. This marks the first time in papal history that the name, Francis, has been used. He is the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years. In his title, Pope Francis will not use the Roman numeral, ‘I,’ to denote “the first,” unlike a preceding pope, John Paul I, who decided himself to add the ‘I’ to his title. The new pope will be correctly referred to simply as Pope Francis.

First Jesuit Pope

The election of the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was an apt choice in that the bulk of the world’s Catholics currently reside in the Southern Hemisphere. As Bill Chappell of NPR mentions, the choice of the name, “Francis,” is seen as a gesture toward the Franciscans from Bergoglio, the first Jesuit to become pope. Vatican representative, Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the name refers to St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order, often seen as the Jesuits’ traditional rivals.

Pope Has Dual Role

In his role as pope, Pope Francis is both the leader of the Catholic Church and the sovereign ruler of the Vatican City State.

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

Halloween Cookies

Halloween Cookies

Check out my Halloween creations. This recipe tastes as good as it looks.

Robert Reoch Halloween Cookies

Boo!

Halloween Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour (for a looser crumb, substitute half the flour with finely ground almonds)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cardamom (optional, or 1/4 tsp. pumpkin spice for Halloween)
1 1/2 cup butter, softened (3 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp vanilla extract (optional) If used, add one extra tablespoon of flour

Directions:

Whisk together flour, salt, spice in a mixing bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla to combine until ingredients are well blended.

With mixer on lowest speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture until all ingredients are combined (about 45 seconds – do not over mix). Divide dough into 3 portions and flatten into a disk shape. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days (or freeze for another day).

Remove dough from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before rolling out. If you attempt to roll while it is still too cold, dough will crack along the edges. If the dough becomes too soft while using, refrigerate again for 15 minutes.

Transfer dough to a clean work surface which has been lightly dusted with flour. Remember to rub flour on rolling pin often to prevent sticking. Roll out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness.

Dip cookie cutters in flour before cutting. Cut into desired frightful Halloween shapes. Carefully arrange cookies on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Parchment paper helps to prevent over browning the bottom of the cookies.

Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 8-10 minutes, depending upon the size of the cookies. Smaller, thinner cookies will take less time to bake. Larger, thicker cookies will take longer. It doesn’t pay to walk away from the oven while baking cookies. Set a timer for 8 minutes and  peek to check progress. Stand by during the final few minutes of baking. When edges just begin to turn golden brown, cookies are done. Remove pans from oven to cooling racks. After 5 minutes remove individual cookies from pans to cooling racks. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.

For decorating, experiment with your favorite homemade icings and food colorings, and/or use store bought tubes of colored icings and sprinkles. Have fun! Remember, sugar is a natural preservative. Your cookies should remain fresh and edible for several days after baking and decorating. Store them in plastic containers with lids, using sheets of waxed paper between layers of cookies.

Happy Halloween!
Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Looper

Looper 

Looper (2012) starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Noah Segan, Paul Dano, Pierce Gagnon

Director: Rian Johnson

Directed with clarity, the sci-fi drama, Looper, takes us forward and backward in time without undue confusion. One of the joys of this story is having a single remarkable character portrayed by two remarkable actors in the same film. Gordon-Levitt, even with face altering makeup, does a compelling version of the character, Joe, including the way he mimics many of Bruce Willis’ mannerisms. Willis, as Older Joe, gives us a juicy dose of, well … Bruce Willis! No complaints here.

Organized crime in the future is able to assassinate a person and send them back in time to be executed. Their remains are destroyed in the past, thereby eliminating their existence and any evidence in the future. Assassins are paid handsomely for each and retire wealthy. However, complications arise with a few assassins in the loop.

Emily Blunt is convincing and has great screen presence as usual. Jeff Daniels gets down with his bad self as a mob boss. Child actor Pierce Gagnon is a standout too. Some kids just have it.

Power struggles, romance, intricate story, and big drama combine in a top-notch production. It all works beautifully. The music greatly enhances too.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012) Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Stanley Tucci

Director: Gary Ross

In The Hunger Games, teens are forced to battle-to-the-death with each other in order to appease a long-standing national tradition of extracting a penance for prior homeland unrest and wounds. In the fictional future, this is the flimsy premise for humans hunting humans. Worse, there will be sequels (or better if you enjoy this type of fun—it’s not totally crap).

The story is produced as well as any reality show, but with the bigness of a blockbuster movie. We follow with interest. We marvel at the wonky wigs worn by Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks. (Tucci will never live this down.)

The fact that the violence is somewhat tempered is appreciated by the squeamish among us. The cheesy love triangle that develops mid-way through the plot is not. We’re suddenly thinking of The Twilight Saga and Taylor Lautner, and…gag.

This actually is an excellent rendering of the familiar theme where the powerful elite entertain themselves with futuristic blood sport at the expense of the downtrodden masses. Throw in alliances and young love and there you have it. At least they’re not tossing people into volcanoes.

My grade: B-

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

In Time

In Time

In Time (2011) Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy

Director: Andrew Niccoli

In this sci-fi action suspense film, In Time, people trade time as currency. Everyone on the planet has a running digital clock readable on his or her arms. Years, months, days, minutes, and seconds can be added and removed between persons and various external devices. Once your time runs out, you’re dead. On the other hand, you can literally live forever if you keep your meter full.

The wealthiest individuals are practically immortals, owning huge blocks of time. They lord control over the rest of society, whose ghetto lives are lived tediously at various jobs, working just to earn more time to avoid running out and dying in the streets.

Enter our hard working hero, Will Salas (Timberlake), who receives an unexpected gift of a century’s worth of time from a disillusioned man of upper society who wants to let his time run out and die, having grown mentally tired of living indefinitely.

Unfortunately, most of the rich don’t want the poor ever to get enough time to live too long. They prefer to control the wealth and prevent overpopulation by employing “Time Keepers” such as Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) to ensure that the lower classes never get ahead. Will Salas, having upset the balance with his recent gain, becomes a target of the Time Keeper and his goons. Salas decides to take on the rich establishment and find a way to balance the wealth.

Meanwhile, rich girl Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) is bored. When Salas shows up among the rich people, she becomes drawn to him and winds up helping him. It’s The Patty Hearst Story meets Logan’s Run.

Overall, this production is pedestrian and lacks enthusiasm. There’s off-putting poor CGI for certain scenery. Also looking cheap is a fleet of ’70s muscle cars and classic ’60s Lincoln Continentals, all painted black to look “futuristic.” (TV’s Dukes of Hazard and The Green Hornet had better stock.)

The story builds well enough, but we don’t ever feel real buy-in from Timberlake or Murphy. Seyfried is the most convincing in her role. There’s no “big reveal” and the intended climactic scenes merely expire, like time. Still, interest is held for most of the duration. In Time avoids becoming too tiresome by the ending—but just in time.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

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

Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs

Albert Nobbs (2011) Starring: Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wosikowska, Aaron Johnson, Pauline Collins

Director: Rodrigo Garcia

For twenty years, a single woman (Glenn Close) with no family has been posing as a male butler named Albert. Educated, but with the hardship of having lost all family, her only means to survive in 19th century Ireland was by living as a man. While working in an upper class hotel in Dublin, complications arise when her secret is discovered by a newly hired hand at the hotel. Albert has been stashing away money for years with dreams of opening a tobacco shop. While working at the hotel, she develops sympathy for a young hotel maid (Mia Wosikowska) who has become pregnant by a young man (Johnson) also employed at the hotel. Meanwhile, the hotel proprietor, Mrs. Baker (Pauline Collins) abuses her staff while coddling to her wealthy upper class patrons. Thus is the setting.

The running parallel stories and the characters all provide satisfying drama. Glenn Close is a fragile Albert. Troubled waters run deep beneath her palely made up man’s face. I would like to blame Botox for a lack of expression, but one cannot be sure if it’s not just Close’s role interpretation. Albert is a strangely disturbing yet sympathetic character.

Janet McTeer is brilliant as the gentleman who knows the score. Her bold character is both masculine and endearing. I don’t consider this a spoiler because it’s not that hard to detect.

I was thoroughly engaged watching this film. It’s not appropriate for children due to the sophisticated dialogue and adult subject matter. I’m giving this film an ‘A’ because it’s so well above the quality of most modern mainstream pulp.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

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

We Need To Talk About Kevin

We Need To Talk About Kevin 

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Told with strategic flashbacks, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a compelling character study. Even with its non-linear style, satisfaction comes in the telling and the superb acting.

Life turns melancholy for Eva (Tilda Swinton), a successful writer, after giving birth to a boy, Kevin, who only shows contempt for his mother. Compounding Eva’s frustration, her boy demonstrates normal outward affection for his father while maintaining open hostility toward her only when the father isn’t around to see it.

As teen-aged Kevin, actor Ezra Miller ignites his scenes. Attractive and dangerous, his character is also troublesome and defiant. Eva, even after giving birth to another child—a normal happy girl—continues to struggle as a parent. Jumping between present and past, we come to appreciate Eva.

Director Lynn Ramsay’s calculated timing heaps-on the suspense, although we can see the ending coming. Still, it’s a thrilling journey despite an editing bump or two.

My grade: B+

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

One World Trade Center Under Construction

One World Trade Center Under Construction

One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower Construction Photos

Here is a link to some remarkable photos of One World Trade Center under construction. As of this writing, the tower had surpassed the height of The Empire State Building as the tallest building in Manhattan. I love New York!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Limitless

Limitless

Limitless (2011) Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro

Director: Neil Burger

An acquaintance gives a struggling writer (Bradley Cooper) a sample of a new drug (NZT) that causes his mind to expand at an extraordinary rate. Soon, his writing improves dramatically as does every other aspect of his life. He’s able to recall every experience he’s ever had or witnessed, bringing to bear knowledge and skills he had never used before. The world becomes his oyster.

Naturally, there’s a price to pay. Others want the secret. The film’s ultra-cerebral story and beautifully produced theatrics overcome its predictability. The result is a taut and exciting drama. Visually innovative and well acted.

My grade: B+

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

The Ides of March

The Ides of March

The Ides of March (2011) Starring: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood

Director: George Clooney

George Clooney plays it safe in this middle-of-the-road election politics drama. It’s a timely story. The structure is by the book, the acting is slightly more than competent. Although, Paul Giamatti, as the rivaling campaign manager, raises the pitch more so than others do.

Personally, I would have developed the character of Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) a little farther to expand the emotional dynamics a bit. There was plenty of time to do that, given this film goes just 101 minutes.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is in everything these days. I admire his work ethic and his craft.

I haven’t seen any other Clooney directed films as of this writing, so I can’t compare this to one of his others. I like this film. It was worth the price of a rental.

My grade: B-

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