Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Charlottesville Nazis Need to Be Seriously Punished

Frankly, let me start out by saying outright that I tend to be against public shaming of people in this age of the internet. We have already seen some people wrongly identified and accused of things that, in fact, they did not do. Also, it is an extension of bullying. So, indeed, by and large, I am opposed to this kind of modern day public shaming.

That said, some of the neo-Nazis who gathered in Charlottesville over the weekend have been identified, and it is costing them dearly. Apparently, a few have been identified, and are facing serious consequences when they return home, with possibly even employers terminating their employment. 

But given the violence and the reprehensible actions taken by neo-Nazis and other sympathizers to the white supremacy cause, these people deserve it. 

This is not the United States that I know. Sure, I have been on the opposing side of likely a majority of political positions by winning candidates and elected officials before. I certainly have stood opposed to actions taken, such as the invasion of Iraq, or the bank bailout, and so on and so forth. But this level of violence by people who reject everything about American democracy and reject any pretense of equality and diversity is reprehensible beyond anything else that we have seen in recent decades. We must remember that the United States fought a war to defeat Nazis, and it was not so that so-called neo-Nazis could essentially feel that they took over when the most pathetic excuse for a president took over. These people believe that President Trump is their ticket to restoring white supremacy in the United States, and it must be roundly rejected. Trump's own words, and his continued waffling and refusal to condemn white supremacists as solely responsible for what happened over the weekend is exactly the kind of double speak and dishonest, shady posturing that detractors of Trump, like myself, warned about. 

Of course, Trump is officially the president, the man in charge in the White House, and so we need to keep resisting and speaking out against his pathetic actions. Quite frankly, he is the most arrogant man in the world, and I do not say that lightly. Who else but Donald Trump thinks that being a billionaire from building his vulture capitalist empire truly qualifies him for the highest office in the land? And who else but Trump truly would think that he is being fair and rational when he rejects "all sides" for the violence over the weekend, when we all know, and can plainly see from the weapons that neo-Nazis brought with them, that the violence was by their design before these events ever took place? Trump flip flops, and although he blasted Obama for being unable or unwilling to call out Islamic extremists by name, he himself has apparently the same problem with white supremacists, who apparently constitute a significant portion of his base. 

That, however, is Trump, and we will have to deal with him for another three years and change, at least.

However, the people who outright physically went to Virginia and attacked others need to be made to understand that this is not only unacceptable, but criminal behavior, and will not stand. They need to be made to understand that there are consequences for their actions, and that if they engage in these actions, they will face these kinds of consequences. Period. There should be no ambiguity about it.

There are images of some of the neo-Nazis holding torches and marching in Virginia over the weekend actually trying to hide their faces when cameras were clicking.

I thought they were supposed to stand up, loud and proud? Well, in this day and age, when every image and every recorded word can stick, let these embarrassments remember forever what they stood for. And if they reject so many in the name of a narrow worldview, then I for one will not cry if they are publicly shamed and lose their jobs and other crucial aspects of modern life. They brought it on themselves with their despicable actions this past weekend. For God's sake, the United States fought a war against Nazism, and that was not so that these idiots could fly swastikas and carry torches and do straight arm salutes some 70+ years later, pretending that they are in Nazi Germany, rather than the United States of the 21st century. 

Those who are responsible for what happened this weekend need to be made to understand, and in no uncertain terms, that this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable. It is criminal behavior, and they should be dealt with like criminals are dealt with right now in this country. If that means they lose their jobs, so be it. If that means that they are thrown in jail, possibly for years, and have a record from it, then so be it. If we treat millions of people in such a manner for some nonviolent crimes, then certainly we can do the same with those who outright either are the cause of such violence, or who stood and/or still stand with those who did. 

Indeed, if we believe, or even pretend to believe, in something like deterrence, then others who might flirt with joining some neo-Nazi organizations should clearly see that there are consequences to these actions. That they are associating with criminals, and that if they believe in their actions so strongly, then they had better be willing to pay the consequences. 

So, I am in support of the people who were photographed begin identified and shamed, losing their jobs, or whatever else happens. Again, if we believe in anything like the law and order that this president claims to espouse, then we need to apply this to lawbreakers who support President Trump, as well. 

It cannot be otherwise. We could send no worse message than to look the other way, or allow these criminals to get away with outright criminal behavior. 

People are identifying the Charlottesville Nazis and getting them fired POSTED BY: ANTON WORONCZUK AUGUST 13, 2017:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What's Wrong With Coming From the Northeast?

Last year, my son and I took a trip out west. It was the second year in a row that we went out west during the summer, although the idea that I had for last year's trip was that we would travel far and wide in the limited time of a couple of weeks that we had while out there. In short, I wanted to make sure that we got a little taste of everything.

Well, that was very nearly a year ago, and yet, somehow, I still find myself reminiscing about the trip. It really was just wonderful, and despite it being busy and chaotic on some levels, we did indeed get a taste of almost everything that the west offers. We went through the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, and even into the Great Basin. We got to see Yosemite and the Grand Canyon again, this time from the North Rim. We stood under the canopy of the towering and majestic California Redwoods, and got to experience the lush green hills of the Pacific Northwest in the process. We finally got to be in the Rockies, and got to visit the ancient Pueblo dwellings at Mesa Verde. We appreciated the beauty of San Francisco, and enjoyed the Fountains of Bellagio under the half scale Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas. We made it to Nogales, Mexico, for a second year in a row. We even got a surprise day in Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which was not really part of my initial plan. 

In short, it was a remarkable trip. We spent nights in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. While we did not do everything that I had initially planned for or expected, what was left out probably proved best in the end, and what was added proved incredibly valuable. Sometimes, admittedly, I marvel at just how successful we were at truly getting a taste of how much the west has to offer during our trip.

There were a lot of pleasant memories from that trip, although one day in particular stood out for me, personally, and for several reasons, at that. That would be our day in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains. As mentioned earlier, that was the second year in a row that we took a trip out west, but when I found out just how close we had been to Colorado and the Rockies the previous year, while staying at Flagstaff, I felt almost disappointed that we had not taken that kind of day then. So, when we reached Colorado in the wee hours (after almost hitting some apparently wild horses roaming free on the highway in the middle of the night), I was elated!

Frankly, there were several things that made that particular day memorable, and left a sweet set of memories for me. We arrived frankly too late at night, or too early in the morning if you prefer, for me to feel comfortable rolling into the campground that we had reservations for. I imagined driving on the gravel, lights flashing brightly, and then our neighbors for the night having to hear car doors slamming and the sounds of chaos as we tried to set up our tent, or perhaps not, but at least went to the bathroom, and all of that. So, I decided instead to simply pull over before we reached Durango (our main destination for the Rockies, other than Mesa Verde), and just get a few hours of shut eye. My son had fallen asleep quite a while before, understandably. And as thrilled as I was to be in Colorado, as much as I was trying to make out the shapes of the Rockies, I did somehow manage to get a few hours of sleep - maybe two or three, anyway. 

In the early morning, as it was still mostly dark, but with a ribbon of the approaching dawn clearly visible in the horizon, I woke up. Still tired, but now suddenly energized as well and too excited to fall asleep again, I stepped outside to go to the bathroom, marveling at how quiet it was. Now, the mountains were visible, although they looked more like hills. We could see pines, which are associated with the Rockies, as well. It was very chilly, so I turned on the heat in the car, and with my son still asleep, drove to Durango, where there was barely more life yet. The streets were still largely empty.

I found the campground that we were supposed to stay at but, funnily enough, decided to pass it. It was on a hill, and the top of the hill seemed to give out on some views of surrounding mountains, which was one of the main reasons for going there to begin with, of course. And so, I spent the first part of the morning driving around, taking pictures of farms with mountains in the background.

Here are some of those pictures:

This was the early morning view that I had shortly after waking up, as the sun was just rising in the east.

We did eventually wind up at the campground, and immediately showered and cleaned up, then had breakfast (which was delicious!). We played a round of miniature golf, and then spent a lot of time at the dog park. Up to this point, my son had always seemed a little nervous and surprisingly uncomfortable around dogs, but he fell in love with them there. If he could have, he might have wanted to spend the entire day there! But we had places to go, and were in Colorado only for the day. Still, we made a point of getting in a swim before going out for our Colorado visit.

It wound up being a wonderful visit! At the advice of some locals, we traveled along what was known as the "Million Dollar Highway." There, we did indeed see some of those famous towering mountain peaks of the Rockies in all of their majesty. And later, we managed to get a decent visit of Mesa Verde, particularly of the Cliff Palace and the Balcony House.

The Rocky Mountains and Mesa Verde:

Mesa Verde:

Obviously, all of that made it a very memorable day, although there was another thing that really stood out for me on that day. Everyone we encountered seemed incredibly nice. Almost everyone looked at us full in the eye, which is rare in my home state of New Jersey. And most people smiled and said hello, and would try to engage us in friendly conversation. It made the day much more pleasant, and yet I would be lying if it also did not have the effect of making me wonder what was wrong with me! Again, in New Jersey, you just do not generally encounter that kind of easy going friendliness, which made the day particularly pleasant. Not for the first time, or the second or the third, even, I began to ask myself just what in the hell I was still doing in Jersey.

Really, why does it have to be this way? Why do we have to go almost all the way to the other side of the country - and obviously far, far away from New Jersey - to encounter legitimately friendly, well-mannered people who invite you into their lives in a small way, with some friendly conversation. I suddenly felt like a very rude and self-centered guy from the overly busy and crowded northeaster, in every negative way possible.

On top of it, we saw clearly that not only did the people out west seem generally and genuinely friendlier, but there was a lot more to see, on top of it. Some incredible landscapes that made sunrises and sunsets incredibly dramatic! Mountains and endless valleys, deserts and just tons and tons of space to breathe, room for new perspectives. We had known all of this before, of course. But this trip really hammered that lesson home.

Not surprisingly, it was with some reluctance and dragging of the feet that the arrival back in New Jersey came. Here we are again, back in the state known mostly as a toxic waste dump by some. Back in a state where many take pride in being rude and nasty, often thinking it a good thing to appear "hardened" and world worn. Back in a state where huge sections of it feature shoulder to shoulder housing and serious overcrowding, where prices are as inflated as the population density, and where certain highways give out on unpleasant and uninspiring views of warehouses and power plants and landfills, particularly in the northeastern section of the state.

Recently, I ran into this article that more or less encapsulates some of the paradoxes of being from the overcrowded northeast. Again, some people take pride in being nasty and/or having an attitude, and see it as a sign of being tough and world weary. Here, the title of the article already shows serious attitude, and I guess I should apologize for adding it, given the strong language. But while it can be funny, and admittedly, there were some points which I felt I could relate to, overall, it felt almost bittersweet, knowing that it was both relevant and, frankly, a bit depressing.

It made me wonder, again not for the first or second or third time, why I find myself still living in New Jersey, when many other places seem to draw me far more.

Take a look at the article (see link below), and see for yourself, perhaps especially if you are from the northeast. It might be amusing, yet if you are like me, perhaps you will find it a little overly cliché and a bit tiresome. It made me wonder what could possibly be so wrong with being well-mannered and pleasant, like people in the Midwest are famously supposed to be. Is that supposed to be a sign of weakness or naïveté, something to be avoided? And if so, what does that say about us here in the northeast? Is it a good thing?

Take a look for yourself:

APRIL 22, 2015 19 Signs You’re A Superior Asshole From The Northeast By Maya Kachroo-Levine

Monday, August 14, 2017

Can We Stop Pretending That American Racism Is Not a Major Problem Yet?

These are scary times, and it can be frustrating trying to get through to a supporter of Donald Trump through all of this.

Either they have blinds on, or, more frighteningly, they actual approve of all that is going on. That would mean they are okay with his broken promises (Mexico paying for the wall, ISIS being defeated within one month, divorcing himself from his businesses, releasing his taxes, repealing and replacing Obamacare with a plan that would cover everybody), as well as with all of the complete nonsense and excess drama, such as threatening North Korea with nuclear war, or getting our allies to announce that they no longer felt that they could rely on the United States shortly after meeting with President Trump, to his outright trying to censor any scientific discussions from members of government who are concerned about climate change, to now, outright having neo-Nazis on the streets of American cities giving straight arm, fascist salutes and saying, "Heil Trump!"

These are not young people doing this for shock value, or protesting Trump's pseudo-fascist policies and approach. They did not do this tongue and cheek.

No, those might be comforting thoughts or wishes. But these white nationalists, or the Alt Right as they sometimes are referred to now, are being entirely serious. They believe Trump is their vehicle to a return to white supremacy in the United States, and that is why they support him. That is why they are literally hailing him while giving those straight arm salutes. It is something that many Americans are shocked by, but it is the reality nevertheless.

Dan Pfeiffer summed up the dangers of the Trump presidency in a recent tweet:

"Only 8 months into the Trump Presidency we are on the brink of nuclear war and Nazis are in streets of an American city. Seems about right."

Here's the thing: some years ago, during the height of the French bashing thing, every incident that took place in France conformed the worst suspicions that Americans had of the French. When some teenagers defaced Jewish cemeteries, it reaffirmed for many Americans a sense that the French are shady and secretly anti-Semitic. Yet, I remember seeing similar stories in local papers in northern New Jersey during that time, although this somehow escaped receiving major news coverage. Certainly, most Americans would not have so quickly associated those incidents with a wider perception that America had a serious problem with racism and/or anti-Semitism and/or ethnic hatred in general.

And when Barack Obama was elected president, I remember being told by a couple of older men (both white) that it could no longer be said that the United States had a problem with racism anymore. In fact, that perception was held by many people, and some even came up with the term "post-racial society."

Now, I think it is far to say that in light of recent events in the United States, not only does racism exist here, but that it might be a larger problem than not only most Americans either realized or were willing to admit, and that it might be a bigger problem here than in most other countries.

Don't believe me? Well, consider this: Barack Obama, the first black president, was followed by a man who received the endorsement, and even admiration, of the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. There is video of members of the Alt Right hailing Trump with straight arm salutes (see video below to see for yourself). President Trump himself refuses to systematically condemn or single out white supremacist groups, and seems completely unable to refer to them by what they are, which is exactly what he accused Barack Obama of doing in regards to Islamic terrorism. We have seen a dramatic rise in both hate crimes and hate groups in this country since the rise of Trump in last year's election, and now, we outright have the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist hate groups on the streets of American cities making headlines and clashing with counter protesters. One sympathizer ran into crowds with his vehicle, which is precisely what we have seen from Islamic extremists in Europe, right?

The whole problem in the United States is that people want to believe that they are better than others, and that these people are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to pursue this belief, or rather, this hope of confirmation in their belief. And chances are, if you are an American today reading this, than you probably believe in this, in some form or another, as well.

Again, most likely many people would quickly reject this notion as preposterous. Yet, we have religious groups passing quick and easy judgment on those who do not share their belief. We have hate groups. spewing their venom and assuming that they are somehow superior to all who are not as white or pure of blood as they are. We have the ultra-wealthy, who exert their influence and betray their clear belief that their lives and their interests are more important than anyone else, and we have legions of people who admire them and want to be like them. Finally, the most persistent and stubborn superior belief is one that is commonly held by many Americans, if not perhaps even a majority of them, and it is this: Americans believe themselves to be exceptional. That is how we get a leader who makes threats of using nuclear weapons in such a blasé manner, the way that Trump infamously did last week.

That is how to get much of the rest of the world against you, by the way. When you get so full of yourself, that you start to be utterly blasé about starting a war - even a major war - and cockily assume that you will handle everything efficiently and quickly. Americans already earned considerable suspicion and disrespect by much of the rest of the world for going ahead with the Iraq invasion, despite it being justified under a completely false premise that Iraq had a lethal arsenal of Weapon's of Mass Destruction (WMD's) and posed an immediate threat to the United States. Nobody believed it, and that clearly included some American officials like Donald Rumsfeld, who predicted that this dire threat to world peace would be defeated in six days or six weeks, but not six months. Such double speak does not help the rest of the world either like, much less trust, the United States.

And now, Donald Trump became the first president since Harry Truman to threaten to use nuclear weapons against another country. And he has not either apologized or backed down, but is ramping up the rhetoric and the stakes. Meanwhile, the whole world is watching events unfold domestically, as neo-Nazis march and exchange Hitler salutes, and express their admiration of and high hopes for President Trump.

Scary stuff.

Maybe we can learn some lessons of much needed humility from all of this. Obviously, we collectively have allowed a leader to represent us who decidedly lacks any humility or restraint. So, let us stop pointing to the rest of the world and trying to identify what is wrong with them, and start to recognize that we have no shortage of problems to work on right here at home. Okay?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

New York Jets- Tennessee Titans Review of Preseason Game - August 12, 2017

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry regarding preseason games, this game was unusually cheap to obtain tickets for. 


Because the Jets are projected to be a terrible team this year. Most people seem to think that they are serious candidates to be the very worst team in the league, or darn near close to it, at least.

So, why did I choose this game, specifically?

Well, that one is easy. First of all, it was cheap, and it is enjoyable to go to these games, for the reasons mentioned yesterday. But this game in particular featured the Tennessee Titans, and they were the only team entering this season that I had never seen even once on the football field at any point. So, when I heard that the Jets were going to host the Titans during the preseason, and that the tickets were selling for so cheap? You can understand why I wasted no time obtaining these, which I did in July.

Also, the Titans are an interesting team, and I suspect that they are generally on the rise. They have their stud young quarterback in Marcus Mariota, who is still only 23 years old! Yet, already he has made his mark with a fairly impressive rookie season, and then a hugely successful and promising sophomore season last year, leading the Titans to their first winning season in a long, long time, and making a serious run to qualify for the postseason, although they fell just short in the end.

Still, Tennessee has to be considered a team to watch for the near future. 

Yet, there were questions regarding this game, and probably no questions were more pressing than how young Mariota would handle the intensity of NFL game action, which he has not actually experienced since he broke his leg late last December against Jacksonville. 

Also for the Titans, it would be interesting to see how rookie cornerback Adoree' Jackson would handle his first NFL action. It will be as smooth a first test as possible, because the Jets wide receivers are supposed to be...well, not so good. Finally, how would second year outside linebacker Kevin Dodd do? He rather disappointed last season, so the Titans obviously hope for better things for the upcoming season. Will he produce? This was his first chance to show his team what he is capable of, following his rather forgettable season last year.

In the first quarter, Robby Anderson, the new deep threat for the Jets, nabbed a 53-yard pass from Josh McCown, who many feel will be the starter for the season opener in a few weeks. Moments later, McCown hit Charone Peak for a short touchdown. McCown only played that first series, but he was impressive, at least, completing three of four passes for 72 yards and that touchdown.

That was it for the scoring on the Jets end, and the Titans offense was even less impressive, only managing a field goal in the third quarter. That accounted for all of the scoring in this game, in which the final score was 7-3.

Mariota played, and that was the biggest news for the Titans. At some point, he got sacked, too. But he got right up, and went back to work, which was as encouraging a sign as there could be, really. So, no major great news for either team, although no bad news or disasters, either.

As for my son and I, we sure had fun. Again, I got these tickets a long time ago, at some point in July, for fairly cheap. They were clearly not the best seats that I had, although they were a lot better than the seats we had for the Giants game the night before.

Ultimately, it was a fun game. There were more fireworks than the previous night, and having much closer seats also helped quite a bit. My son is only mildly a fan of football, but he got to enjoy the evening that we shared together. I felt absolutely blessed to have been able to spend some quality time together during this fun event. 

Titans vs. Jets: 3 things to watch Jason Wolf, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published, Aug. 11, 2017:

My son standing in the still empty parking lot well before kickoff. 

The Jets starting running into the locker room after practicing on the field. 

The Tennessee Titans are introduced and come out. It looked like there were about 100 players in Titans uniforms for this game!

The Jets are now about to be introduced. They had some fireworks, they had an inflatable jet, tons of cheerleaders and two big Jets flags. A lot of hype. 

Marcus Mariota runs during one of the first plays that the Titans offense ran. 

This picture came out a bit more dark than expected, and it is hard to make things out here. But there are giant screens everywhere in and around this stadium, including on the outside. There is a small patch of makeshift field, presumably to show people what the field feels like. There were a lot of people sitting and enjoying picnics and downtime with family, watching the game on the big screen seen pictured here (although the people themselves are mere shadows in this pic). 

It is a nice looking stadium, especially when it is lit up at night like this. Could not resist snapping a few photos.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Review of Giants-Steelers Game - August 11, 2017

I know what your saying to yourselves: "Who does this guy know to get such awesome tickets so damn close to the action?"

Going to preseasons games can be an opportune time for people like me, who do not have season tickets and never have, and who still like to catch a game or two, here or there. The weather during the summer is ideal, generally speaking, and ticket prices tend to be far, far cheaper than they will be come the regular season. Even if you have a really bad team, like the Jets this year are expected to be, the preseason tickets can be ridiculously cheap. I saw Jets tickets selling for $6, and I was able to obtain a pair of Giants tickets, with parking, for $30, to see them against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Try getting Giants for cheaper, at any time of the year!

So, that is why I like going to preseason games. It is easier on the wallet, often less filled with drunken idiots, which means safer and more pleasant. Finally, you often also have a real chance to get halfway decent seats. I have had quite a few close to the field, in various stadiums. Often times, the traffic is lighter both upon arrival and departure.

Of course, that does not assure you of the results that you want, although the sting of defeat is also not nearly so intense during the preseason.

Case in point, the Giants-Steelers game that I went to last night. For a Giants fan, which I obviously am, it was not exactly great news. All Giants fans likely will remember how the Giants defense was a crushing force last season, and the strength of the team. However, the offense was another story entirely. Despite big names, such as two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, or all-star wide receivers like Odell Beckham, Jr., Victor Cruz, or emerging star Sterling Sheppard. Yet, the offense could not reach the 30-point plateau even once, despite being a playoff team!

Some people feel that the Giants have perhaps the best wide receivers of any team in the league for this upcoming season. And again, a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback in Manning. So, why such limited production? Well, the offensive line has some holes, and the running game needs some help, of course.

Which is why it was frustrating to see the Giants struggle as much as they did last night, of course. They did not score any touchdowns, settling instead for four field goals scattered throughout the game. That does not exactly make for a super exciting game, especially when they are playing a team as tough as the Steelers, who managed to score a couple of touchdowns. That said, the good news here was the Pittsburgh's starting offense, for what it was worth, was not able to do that against New York's starting defense. Of course, it should be noted that neither starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger for Pittsburgh and Eli Manning for the Giants, played in this game at all.

However, the Giants offense did not look much better, if at all. Twice they went to the red zone, and twice the threat was ended with turnovers. And young T.J. Watt - J.J. Watt's younger brother - was impressive in his debut in a Steelers uniform, nabbing two sacks. That should assure him a spot on the roster, right? In fact, the Steelers defense seemed to have a lot of sacks, and pressured Giants quarterbacks all game long. Other stand outs for the black and gold included Arthur Moats.

For Pittsburgh's offense, Josh Dobbs filled in capably at quarterback, and did so nicely. He showed some promise. He did have two early interceptions, but he also was able to complete a 28-yard touchdown pass.

As for the Giants, former Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith played well enough to likely secure the second spot behind Manning, although the Steeler defense was able to get to him and smother him at times.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Stephen King's New 'Mr. Mercedes' Television Series

Some pictures I found recently of chalk sketches of the great writer himself.

The King residence in Bangor, Maine.

Now, I have been a Stephen King fan for a long time now. It was 20 years ago that my friend introduced me to him, essentially selling me on the notion of purchasing a used hardcover copy of the book, 'Needful Things', which he said was rare and that he had never seen a used copy of it for sale before like that, and which I then read and loved. That was the one that got me hooked, and before long, I was a collector and avid reader of King books. As it turns out, used copies of 'Needful Things' are not especially rare or valuable, or anything, although since it was actually the first King book that I ever read, there is still a special feeling and attachment that I have, much like the first song that you loved from one particular artist or band, which got you hooked on their music. 

Over the years, I got to reading almost all of his books, have seen him several times, and have even gotten and read books from his family members, as well. Hell, I have even taken a few trips up to Bangor, once to see many of the places that serves as inspiration for fictional places in his books, and have gone to his house (outside, not inside) twice. And I have followed his career quite steadily since that time. I remember how shocking it was to hear that he had that accident in 1999, and worried about his health, then rejoiced as he recovered. It was hard not to notice the impact that the accident, and the physical therapy that he had to endure afterward, had on his work. 

I still love almost everything that I have read from this man, and feel that he is truly one of the great and prolific writers of his time, and generally, he seems to be greatly underestimated and/or overlooked. His ability to breathe life into his characters, to make them truly believable and feel like actual people, warts and all, is simply amazing. And his descriptions of the society that we live in, not necessarily restricted to the state of Maine, are equally stunning and revealing, and he often describes it in depth, in between the lines. Someday, hopefully, he will be recognized for all of this, although in this day and age, a lot of people dismiss him as a horror writer only, or think that his work is for kids or teenagers - something that people seem to use against me sometimes when they see me reading his books ("Oh, I used to read him when I was a teenager!"), as if his writing is something like a phase that most normal people get over at some point or other. All part of growing up, right?

Wrong. This man's writing is underrated. Now, let me reveal a little secret: I am not even that big of a horror fan. Oh, sure, I like watching some scary movies every now and then. That said, let me sound really old and complain about many of the more recent horror movies, which tend to focus less on scaring you, and more on grossing you out by showing truly gory scenes in both great detail and length. But a decent, scary flick, especially right around Halloween? Awesome. As for horror books, I tried getting into some horror books other than Stephen King. Tried Anne Rice, but her writing style did not speak to me as immediately as King. It did not have the same kind of grip, and I found myself unable to really get into it. Tried Dean Koontz, and the first book of his that I read, 'Intensity,' was indeed very good! But the other few books that I tried to read felt a lot slower somehow, and frankly, something felt missing in his characters, specifically. It was hard to relate to them, at least in comparison to King's characters. Perhaps I was spoiled by getting into King first, who knows? All I know is that so far, the only other horror writer that I managed to really get into other than King is Joe Hill. And as most of you probably know, Hill is actually Stephen King's son, and his writing style is quite similar, the characters have a very real quality to them, which makes the novels come alive. 

So, there you have it. Perhaps I am just a fan of the King family and how they write. They are not the only writers that I read, of course. Not even close. But by and large, when it comes to horror, or even to descriptions of contemporary American society (the junk food, or Big Mac, side, as King himself might suggest), they are the best at it - at least when it comes to fiction. Plus, they all seem like genuinely good people, the more you get to learn about them.

Wow! Okay, so this was supposed to be about the new television series, 'Mr. Mercedes,' yet I somehow allowed myself to go on a tangent about the qualities of King's writing. Apologies. 

Now, let me focus again. Okay, so here's the thing: I heard about this series, but like an increasing number of things as I grow older, this one kind of snuck up on me. I did not realize it was about to be released on television as a series so soon, and also, I do not have the channel that this aired on (at least, I do not believe that I have it). So, I cannot actually review what I did not see, right?

However, some of you might actually have seen it, or intend to see it. Some day, sooner or later, I intend to see it as well, having read the book (in fact, having read the entire trilogy of these books). So, this article (see link below) might help you to understand it and/or appreciate it more, as it is a guide for what you need to know before you watch the series. Hell, even if you saw an episode or two (not sure how many have aired as of my writing this), this might help to clarify certain things that you might not have known or understood. So, without further ado, here is the link to an article which might help:

7 Things to Know Before Watching ‘Mr. Mercedes’ Posted on August 7, 2017 by Shayna Murphy