My Thoughts: “The Boys of Winter”

On February 22, 1980 I was just 8 years old and beginning a love of hockey. Our family moved into our brand new home on the same day along the north shore of Long Island. It was a bitter cold day. All I remember of the “Miracle on Ice” was the newspaper cover I saw the next morning and as an 8 year old I didn’t realize the impact it had on America. Four months later Ken Morrow and my beloved New York Islanders would win the first of four Stanley Cups.

A vast majority of the players on this team would hail from Minnesota and I find it kind of ironic that in the 1980’s I was not only an Islander fan but a North Stars fan as well. I wore my sweater’s proudly and even came home periodically from street hockey with blood on them. I was devastated when the Stars moved to Dallas and shortly thereafter my love for them had waned.

On Saturday August 18th Julie and I were in Lake Placid for the weekend and had wondered into “Bookstore Plus” along Main Street. We purchased several books this day with “The Boys of Winter” being one of them. I am fascinated with the in depth stories of these players, along with their individual successes and heartaches. All this sewn into the three period account of February 22nd 1980 as history played out in a small Adirondack village along the shores of Mirror Lake against an overwhelming Soviet Union team. I felt my Patriotism swell.

Cheers!

 

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Alone on the Shield: A Novel by Kirk Landers

“I hope you get drafted, I hope you go to Vietnam, I hope you get shot, and I hope you die there. Those words, spoken in the anger of youth, marked the end of the torrid 1960s college romance of Annette DuBose and Gabe Pender. She would marry a fellow antiwar activist and end up immigrating to Canada. He would fight in Vietnam and come home to build an American dream kind of life—a great career, a trophy wife, and a life of wealth and privilege. Forty years later, they have reconnected and discovered a shared passion: solo canoeing in Ontario’s raw Quetico wilderness. They decide to meet again to get caught up on old times, but not in a restaurant or coffee shop—they agree to meet on an island deep in the Quetico wilds. Though they try to control their expectations for the rendezvous, they both approach the island with a growing realization of the emotional void in their lives and wonder how different everything might have been if they had spent their lives together. They must overcome challenges just to reach the island, then encounter the greatest challenges of all—each other, and a weather event for the ages. Alone on the Shield is a story about the Vietnam war and the things that connect us. It is the story of aging Baby Boomers, of the rare kinds of people who paddle alone into the wilderness, and of the kind of adventure that comes only to the bold and the brave.”

Quetico Provincial Park: is a large wilderness park in Northwest Ontario Canada, known for its excellent canoeing and fishing. This 1,180,000-acre park shares its southern border with Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness which is part of the larger Superior National Forest These large wilderness parks are often collectively referred to as the Boundary Waters or the Quetico Superior Country

Derecho Storm: A derecho is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a land-based, fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms. Derechos can cause hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flash floods.

My thoughts: I absolutely loved this book and I didn’t want it to end. Kirk Landers writing is wonderful, energetic and exciting. Yes, this book is about canoeing and wilderness. Two things I am passionate about but isn’t that why we read? If you have an afternoon or two I highly suggest picking this up to read. Sorry no spoilers here! Except I never want to experience a derecho storm while on the water, it would be catastrophic..

Cheers….

Alone on the Shield by Kirk Landers.

My Thoughts: The VW Camper Van

It was a cold and drizzling afternoon back in April along Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. My wife and I were in town overnight for a film festival as we darted in an out of the local shops. My wife can never pass up a bookstore and rightfully so. We came upon the Northshire bookstore and immediately went in, spending about an hour browsing. I’ve never been a really big book reader but the older I get I find myself enjoying it more. I’m very selective in what I read but that is part of the enjoyment. Anyway I came across this book “The VW Camper Van” a biography by Mike Harding. It was $7.98 so I figured what the heck. As a car guy I had always been fascinated by the camper van. As a matter of fact I stopped to look at one for sale along route 4 in Woodstock, VT last summer. In all honestly I think it would be neat to have one a trek across the States with it. In 2022 Volkswagen will be releasing a brand new all electric van. Hopefully my 2007 Ford will hold on until then??????

What I loved most about this book was the history and how the Volkswagen Bus all started in the bombed and burned out ruins of postwar Europe. How the camper van culture evolved and is still evolving. I did not realize how popular they still are across the pond. One downside to this book was that I felt the middle portion of this book dragged on a bit and the author was just trying to fill pages. I had to set it down for a bit and read another book in the interim. However the fun soon enough returned and I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Some of the English words made me chuckle as well. You don’t hear the words Bloke or Lorry often here in the United States. It was a fun read and I recommend it if you happen to see it or can get it at your local library.

Cheers!

1969 Volkswagen Bus converted transporter Lake George, NY September 4th 2016. © Joe Geronimo

Pops on the River

After a 25 year absence “Pops on the River” returned last evening to Binghamton, NY. You couldn’t have asked for better weather in order to celebrate a triumphant return. With low humidity, temperatures around 78 degrees under cloudless skies.

I have been living in Binghamton for 24 years and have not had the opportunity to witness this event. To be honest I was 23 when I moved here with my interests more in beer, women and Rock N’ Roll. So I probably wouldn’t have went anyway. Times and tastes change a bit. Don’t get me wrong I still love Rock N’ Roll!! When I heard “Pops on the River” was returning I was extremely excited and could not wait to attend. I had seen pictures, read stories from years past of crowds approaching 50,000. Last nights event didn’t come close to that number but I would say several thousand lined the riverwalk, the Court Street bridge and rooftops. However the images of past did show a very large crowd on the water in all sorts of watercraft.

My wife, son Max and I decided to paddle our kayaks and canoe a short distance down the Chenango river to take in the show from the water. Arriving at the launch there were about a dozen or so cars parked who had the same idea as us. The current was mild which made for a real nice paddle and we were setup right before showtime which was 8PM.

There were many kayaks, canoes and homemade watercraft as well. There was even a pirate ship. However the custom float complete with drunk guys right next to us the entire evening were very entertaining. They were fixated on pillaging a later from that pirate ship I mentioned. During the Binghamton Philharmonic’s final score of “Pirates of the Caribbean” one jumped in the water and swam over to try and acquire a lantern. It didn’t go so well, but again was extremely entertaining. As a matter of fact one of those  drunk guys tried to help my son Max get his kayak unstuck from a rock once we were leaving, only to flip him over. It was hysterical!

The music was wonderful. My wife and I enjoyed it very much and Max I know he enjoyed it because he plays in his high school band and loves the music as well.

The evening was capped off with an amazing fireworks show and sitting in the river we had front row seats. Hopefully Pops on the River will return again in 2019!

The firework show was 10 minutes long and spectacular so please watch the video, cheers!

Max, Julie & I paddling down the Chenango river to “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying the music of the Binghamton Philharmonic during “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. © Joe Geronimo
Max paddling around before the start of “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018> © Joe Geronimo
Enjoying an evening listening to the Binghamton Philharmonic during “Pops on the River” Binghamton, NY July 19th 2018. ©Joe Geronimo

TONY DANZA: STANDARDS & STORIES

Last night at the Patchogue Theater on Long Island we had the opportunity to see for the first time one of my most favorite actors, singers and dancers perform on stage, Tony Danza. The show had a Rat Pack sort of vibe to it. He sang some classic Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and so forth. It was like we had been briefly transported to 1960’s Vegas. He told funny stories of growing up in Brooklyn and summers on Long Island in Patchogue as well.

Tony just has this charm about him that while you were seated in the audience you felt like you were family. He was funny, he tapped danced brilliantly and his voice utterly amazed. One of my favorites is a song Tony covers written in 1952 by Alan Brandt and Bob Hyames, That’s All. Tony also recently performed at the USO 75th Anniversary Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner in New York back in December of 2016.

Perhaps best known for his starring roles on two of television’s most cherished and long-running series, “Taxi” and “Who’s The Boss,” Danza has also established himself as a Broadway star and a cabaret song and dance man. Danza most recently received rave reviews for his performance in the Broadway musical comedy, Honeymoon In Vegas. He has also starred on Broadway in the “The Producers,” “A View from the Bridge”, and opposite Kevin Spacey in “The Iceman Cometh.” Tony debuted his latest cabaret act, “Standards & Stories,” last year to a sold out audience at the world famous Carlyle Hotel in New York City, with The New York Times calling him “a live wire who tap-dances, plays the ukulele, tells stories and radiates irresistible charm.”

Tony Danza: Standards & Stories