My story is typical. I was born a poor, Black child. I survived the mean streets of the Buffalo suburbs and four straight losses in the Super Bowl, grew into a mature adult and pillar of the community, and made my parents proud. OK, well, part of that is true. I was indeed raised in the Buffalo 'burbs...North Tonawanda, to be exact. The rest? Well, can't a guy dream?
Here's some highlights. I was a big baby. Like, 20 lbs. Maybe a few less. Mom always reminds me of the pain. The guilt ensures she gets great birthday presents. I have a brother two years older, and he used to make my life a living Hell, like any good brother should. That stopped when I turned 12, and was bigger than him. I spent most of my formative years annoying my elders. That includes parents, teachers, and the police. If I wasn't in after-school detention, I was being questioned for the latest neighborhood "incident". Looking back, it a was all pretty harmless. Well, maybe not the thing we did to our Spanish Teacher. But that's a story for another time. Sports helped keep me out of any serious trouble. Get suspended...and you were kicked off the team. So that only happened once. Maybe twice. With hopes and dreams, and a suitcase filled with Molson Canadian Lager, I headed off to college. Less than a year later, and a plea agreement with a reduced sentence (like I said...never convicted), my college experience wasn't exactly going as planned. But, with threats of bodily harm from Mom solidly in my back pocket, I managed to graduate from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and looked forward to a lucrative career in broadcasting. Soooooooo...I've bounced around from station to station in such vacation hot spots as Clearfield, PA, Joplin, MO, Evansville, IN, and Fayetteville, NC. In February of 1999, I took the job that I have now (more or less).
I never did find that pot of gold, but I've had a lot of fun along the way. And moving here was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met my beautiful wife, Stacy, while watching a Bills game at what used to be Damon's on Tunnel Road, and we were married in September of 2001. I lost my wedding ring in a bizarre chicken wing incident (true story), so I really have no proof. But I think she'll vouch for me. We don't have any children, but we do have cats...lots and lots of cats. I'd love to tell you exactly how many, but I lost track. Seriously, I started counting them the other night, but had to stop after I'd used all my fingers and toes. I was plum out of digits.
So that's my story. Of course, some of the sordid details have been left out due to pending legal action. But, Judge...I swear I had no idea that pig was your pet!
I haven't written a book report since high school. It might have been Johnny Tremain. Maybe Great Expectations. I can't remember.
I love to read, but don't get to do it as often as I like. I always take a book or two on vacation. And I read as much as I can in the winter, when my schedule isn't as busy. There's just something about turning off the TV and losing yourself in a good book. And I read two really good ones, recently, that I highly recommend.
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand
The book title says it all. It's the true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian whose plane crashed at sea during World War II. Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, he was caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where he was specifically targeted by a sadistic overseer.
But that's just part of the story. If I say more, I might ruin it for you. Never have I heard of someone experiencing so much tribulation in his life. It's not surprising that Universal has bought the movie rights and plans on making it into a major motion picture. Here's the real Louis Zamperini.
This was not an easy read. It's almost painful, at times, trying to imagine all he went through. It's heavy material, but well worth it. Click here to find out more.
One Second After, by William R. Forstchen
This may be one of the best books I have ever read. I completed it in just two nights over the Christmas holiday. I just couldn't put it down. It's a work of fiction, with the possibility of the fantasy becoming reality, which is one of the things that makes is so compelling.
Imagine that all at once, everything stopped working. Cars, lights, phones, power plants, you name it. No more refrigeration, no more transportation, nothing. And the worst part? You have no idea why.
One Second After is a riveting and chilling tale of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States. It is a thrilling page turner, but is also so much more. The danger it illustrates is so great and so real that leaders in our government are now reading this book. Let's hope they take it seriously. To make sure they do, read this book today and get the word out.
One of the gripping aspects of this book for me is its relatability, as it is based in Black Mountain (where the author currently lives and works, as a professor at Montreat), and references many local landmarks and roads. It's not difficult to imagine the events unfolding as if they really were...just down the street from where you live.
Warner Bros. has purchased the rights, and it will soon be seen on the big screen. Read the book first, now. And click here to learn more.