Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Copies

The author copies of my books "Return to the Shore" and "Carnival Week" came in the mail today. I had to take a photograph. :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Must Never Forget

Nine years ago today, terrorism fueled by radical Islam forever altered the American landscape, both physically and emotionially. Nearly 3,000 innocent Americans became the first casualties in a war they did not want, and war they did not seek. But war was brought to the United States, and the United States responded, vowing to defeat terrorism fueled by whatever twisted religious or secular ideology propelled it.

A native Long Islander, I lost an old friend, and a personal hero that morning. A firefighter who wasn't even on duty that day, William Johnston heard the call and rushed into the inferno, into the World Trade Center, and subsequently gave his life for a greater cause than himself.

It was a greater cause that brought American armed forces to faraway countries to fight a war that they likewise, did not want or seek. But it was a war that was thrust upon the United States by its enemies. Nine years later, as the American military wraps things up in Iraq and prepares for a new offensive in Afghanistan, all Americans should remember that the radical Islamists that our friends and family in uniform fight -and protect us from- would rather see us dead than live free.

The American people, living in a time of economic crisis and shouldering the burden of two wars -wars they as well did not want or seek- should remember that despite the personal hardships we face here at home, we have it better than anyone else in the world. Indeed, the history of the world has never seen anything quite like the United States, or the promises it offers.

Americans remain free and defiant in the face of evil. We learned on 9/11 that the 21st century did not offer utopianesque safety and security that was promised. We have seen -and not heard of- countless terrorist attacks against our home that have been foiled or stopped. As pathetic as the Christmas Bomber was, as incompetent as the would-be bomber of Times Square was, as murderous as the Fort Hood killer was, Americans are reminded that the War on Terror is not over, that terrorism has not vanished from the face of the earth.

The United States will prevail so long as it remains free and vigiliant against Islamic terrorism, and whatever other evils come our way. The War on Terror may never end, but it is nevertheless a war we will never lose -and indeed, prevail over- so long as we choose to remain defiant.

Nine years later, the scars in our nation -and in its people- run just as deep as they did that September morning that everything changed. Now, Americans appreciate freedom and security a little more, and as time goes on, the false sense of security may again set in upon us. But we must never again be lulled to sleep by false promises offered by a 21st century global community. We will always be Americans. We will always be a class apart. We will always be different.

We must never forget 9/11, the victims, the casualties and dead of our wars.

We must never forget that what we offer the world -freedom- is unlike anything seen in the history of men, and is worth preserving.

We must never forget who we are.

God Bless the United States of America.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Carnival Week and Return to the Shore Now Available

More posts to follow. :)

Hammers and Hardware: "I'm Having Work Done..."

As I continue to head toward my career goal, and do my best to find alternative work in the job market, I will write about my construction/home improvement experiences, in posts that will be titled, “Hammers and Hardware.”

One of the most generic sounds when it comes to having work done on your house is that of the pounding of a hammer. It is loud, outside routine, and apparently, the perfect topic for a phone call.

I've met a lot of people in this line of work, from all over the social class spectrum, across all races, genders, political affiliations, ages, etc. Basically, I've worked for every generalized kind of person there is.

Yet they all have one thing in common. They're all "having work done."

And it's the perfect topic for a phone call.

The first time I ever worked with my father (starting during summers in middle school) I noticed how excited people were to talk about "having work done" on their houses. Who can blame them? Having work done on your house -even down to a simple change in paint color in a room- is like getting a whole new house so to speak. It's a change, a face-lift, remodeling, a fresh start. It was what they saw on TV.

But now it's happening to them.

And it doesn't matter whether we're up on ladders, working on trim, putting in new windows, framing out walls... the homeowner will always happen to venture by with a smile, a phone against their ear, and the words "I'm having work done" emanating from their mouths.

The sentences may vary, but the effect remains the same.

"I'm having work done on my house this week." "I'm having work done in the living room." "I'm having work done on the roof." "I'm having work done in the downstairs spare bathroom that nobody ever uses except during every other Christmas."

Sometimes, the homeowner will call someone up just to let that someone know that work is being done. "I know we haven't talked in months, but I've got to tell you, I'm having work done."

Once, a customer walked into a room we were framing out while on the phone -I swear- just to be able to say, "I'm sorry. I can't hear you. I'm having work done. Could you repeat that?"

Another customer came in so often on the phone to talk about having work done, I started keeping count, but then lost count because it happened so many times. Either the same person was getting the same "I'm having work done" sentence repeated, or the homeowner had called up everyone listed in their cell phone to tell.

Or maybe the Yellow Pages.

Once, a customer stood on their stoop to tell every neighbor that passed by that work was being done on their house.

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind it at all. I think it's cool for people to be able to tell family and friends that they're having work done.

But when you walk into a room full of hammers striking nails on pine, on the phone, and apologize because you can't hear the person on the other end, I know what you're up to. If you need me to hammer louder, just ask.