Dave's Column

Dave Richards for January 30th...........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for January 30th…………….

 

 --I want to thank Bob Billington, the founder and President of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council for volunteering to play the part of King Jace XXIV, the Mysterious Monarch of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras.  Bob was unmasked last Friday right after Joyce LaPerle was crowned the Queen of the Mardi Gras and, together with Princess Kim Blais and Princess Tami Irwin, will reign over the Woonsocket Mardi Gras this coming Saturday.

 Bob was a delight to work with, he’s so enthusiastic about the Mardi Gras.  He has always attended and expressed to me a great admiration for the members of the committee and their work every year.  To be brought in closer and be a part of the celebration itself really meant a lot to him, and he wanted me to tell everyone how happy he was.  He’s also a bit relieved he doesn’t need to pick out a costume for the ball, since his has already been provided. 

 If you’re the kind of person who likes to cut loose and have a good time, gather your friends and go to the Mardi Gras this Saturday.  Tickets are still available as I write this from Lorraine Cloutier, 401-762-9072.  It’s $30 per person which includes a huge Cajun Buffet, two bands, and a costume contest.  If there are any tickets left at the door, they’ll be $35, so don’t tempt disappointment, call Lorraine today. 

 

--And now for this week’s rant.  Don’t you think the cost of running our public schools is just too high?  I do.  Heck, I’ve heard the people who run the schools bemoan the cost themselves.  But I believe it’s not as much the fault of the professional educators as much as it is the fault of our Rhode Island General Assembly.  The continuously escalating costs of complying with every law and regulation our reps and senators can get passed increases every year.

 Get ready to see your school costs rise again.  From the State House news service, the public relations agency paid for by taxpayers to make us like our General Assembly better, comes word of a new law proposed by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) which would effectively require every school building in this state to install and maintain Carbon Monoxide detectors.    

 There is no indication in the press release how much this will cost  taxpayers.  That’s probably because this is one of those “it’s not about the money, it’s about saving children’s lives!” pieces of ‘feel-good’ bills which legislators who support it can pound the campaign podium about, showing the voters they “really care” about their kids.

 I want kids to be safe.  But I think I know a snow job when I see one. 

 Please don’t misunderstand.  Carbon Monoxide detectors are marvelous instruments.  They save lives.  Rhode Island has already, wisely, I think, mandated them in homes.  This is because homes have non-professionally vented kitchens where food is cooked, they have various types of heating systems like wood stoves, and they have no janitors watching to see that all is in good working order.  Unlike schools, you sleep in your home, so it may happen that you would not notice the initial effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning before it was too late.  None of those common activities which put people at risk for Carbon Monoxide poisoning happen in schools.

 In fact, even in the promotional press release which announced the bill there was only one case where one little girl had a headache and her mom said the child was diagnosed with Carbon Monoxide poisoning which the mom claims happened in the girl’s school, even though no other children seemed affected.     

 Consider this.  When the City of Woonsocket found itself in a terrible financial bind a few years ago, the professional educators stepped up and made the sacrifice, doing their part to help.  In 2018, their contract is up for renewal and they’d like to get back a portion of what they gave up last time.  Understandable, but money is still tight and it will be difficult to afford doing the right thing by them.  However, the cost of new forced regulations like the one proposed here will make it all the more difficult to do the right thing. 

 I understand you are not a “Law-maker” unless you are making laws.  But for Pete’s sake, can’t we be a bit more careful about which laws we make?  Let’s protect our children.  But let us also set a good example of civic responsibility for them to emulate when their time comes to lead.

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  

Thanks for reading. 

Go Pats! 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for January 23rd............

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for January 23rd…………….

 

--You know there are often-repeated quotes which seem to be accepted as truth by most people when, in fact, their truth is debatable.  One such quote came to my attention the other day which I completely disagree with.  I disagree with it because it is being used to validate mean and disagreeable behavior.  It seems to be empowering weak people to be selfish and to not care about the rights or feelings of other people.  

  The quote I refer to is attributed to founding father and former President of the United States Thomas Jefferson, though scholars have failed to verify that he actually said it.  Here it is………..”Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”. 

  Whether actually uttered by Mr. Jefferson or not, that quote is being used today to justify bad and disrespectful public behavior.  Of course, it doesn’t matter to these people what I think.  The fact that I disagree only brings these people further satisfaction.  Well, I can tell you it brings me no satisfaction at all to think of what careless harm to others these people will be answerable for when the final accounting takes place before their maker.  But I suppose even that comment will be laughed at by them. 

  For those blessed with reason who might be reading, I will put forward this comment to illustrate my position. 

  All last week we were spectators to the events leading up to the AFL Championship Game in which the New England Patriots and the Jacksonville Jaguars battled each other to be one of the two teams in the 52nd NFL Super Bowl game.  Each day we heard the boasts and trash-talk of the Jacksonville players claiming they were already assured a place in NFL’s Ultimate Contest.  From the Patriots we heard none of that.  They would talk about how they planned to play the game and if they referred to their opponents at all it was only with a respectful comment that they were a good team whose many talents should be respected.  

  Even after the Patriots won the hard-fought game they had nothing but praise for their opponents.  I was proud to be from New England and have my general geographic area represented by these gentlemen who acted with class in every respect.

 Trash-talk, as it is called, is a distraction at best.  It does not win games or give players who engage in it any edge.  It is founded in hate and disrespect, and neither of those two things are good for human beings in any level of life.

  

--This brings me to my disappointment over the many protests seen across the country over the weekend.  We heard a lot of people say that if women ruled the world, it would be a better world.  Such words are divisive and destructive to progress.  Some think women are better than men.  I think some women ARE better than some men at SOME things.  All people are individuals with incalculable worth, even though some choose to degrade themselves by joining others in a self-destructive mob mentality. 

  I also think most women, in general, are smarter than the comments made by many of the hateful protesters.  I think most women and most men know that separating the sexes is great fun for those attempting the separating, but that it has never improved society before and it likely never will.  

  Dividing people into groups which offend each other NEVER moves society forward, it only slows down the progress we would all enjoy if we would work together on the problems we all face.

 

--I’ve told this story before, but I feel I must tell it again.  When my paternal grandmother died, she was a retired Master Carpenter.  Her husband, my grandfather, raised my father.  Yet, there was no feminism in our family, no sexism at all.  No jokes.  It was what ‘worked’ and readily accepted by all, even in the shop where she had worked.  My grandmother had a skill others didn’t have and she made a good living with it.  My point is I can tell you from experience that it can and does happen, and it works, despite what the protesters would have you believe.  

  It worked because serious people tended to the serious business of life and not the entertainment of public discourse.  The serious business of life is contributing your talents to society and raising a family.  Putting food on the table and voting for leaders.  And once those leaders are elected, let them do their jobs without having to duck words and obstacles you are throwing at them.  Yes, even if you don’t agree with their decisions.  

  Have women been oppressed?  Yes.  Have men been oppressed?  Yes.  The cry should be, “Shame on those who oppress!”  The call should NOT be, “Shame on all of our opponents because some in that group have oppressed”.  Let’s get it right, folks. 

  My grandmother learned her trade as a carpenter during World War Two.  When the war ended, she was kept on to work because of her skill, not because of her gender.  THAT is the way it is supposed to work.  I submit that it WILL work that way if men and women together are allowed to act as equals without one side trying to beat the other. 

 

 --That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for January 16th.......

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for January 16th…………….

 

--Cigarette smoking in America is at an all-time low since we started paying attention to such things.  New laws over the past 50 years, plus the passing away of smokers from previous generations have contributed to this.  There are still many who are addicted to nicotine.  Some smoke.  But more of them have adopted the e-cigarette, which doesn’t deliver the nicotine in smoke, but rather a vapor, hence the nickname “Vaping”. 

  Most public places you go Vaping and Smoking are treated as one in the same.  In restaurants and stores they don’t differentiate. 

  But now researchers at New York University have announced that, while complete abstanance is best, e-cigarettes, nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges are a worthwhile replacement, because, while they are not harmless themselves, they all cause LESS harm than smoking does. 

  The numbers they give are impressive.  They say that if all smoking ceased and was replaced by one of the above, more than six and-a-half million early deaths would be avoided.  That’s a lot of people.

  I bring this up because there is still some controversy over vaping.  I think this study may serve to quiet the controversy somewhat.

 

--I received word this past weekend that Mr. Joseph G. Hyder has passed away.  I last saw Joe this past fall at the breakfast to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at the Par-X Club.  Joe seemed a bit frail to me at that time.  Weeks later, I was informed that Joe was in a nursing home, but he didn’t want it known by the general public.  I honored that wish and kept my information to myself.  

  Joe was a remarkable man.  Not just because he had shaken Danny Thomas’ hand, or even that Mr. Thomas, the patron of St. Jude’s Hospital, personally asked Joe to serve on its board of directors.  From that time on Joe Hyder dedicated himself to conducting fundraisers to help St. Jude’s fight childhood cancers.  So it is somewhat fitting, now that I think of it, that the last time I would see him would be at such a fundraiser. 

  In over forty years of broadcasting, Joe’s resume was equally remarkable.  Though he chose to spend the last part of his career here in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, he spent an equal number of years as a radio personality in Boston and on stations coast-to-coast as one of the friendly voices of the Monitor program heard over hundreds of NBC radio network stations. 

 With all that notable success, Joe Hyder didn’t wear it on his sleeve.  He just quietly went about his business and lived a life with purpose, helping people he will never meet.  Can any man ask for more?

  

--I also learned this past weekend of the passing of a man who didn’t have a national career, as Joe Hyder had, but he was a remarkably talented and funny man who cared for other people nonetheless.  He spent mostly all his years locally and he was my closest friend in the radio and TV business ever.  

  Mike McInnis was born in North Sydney, Cape Bretton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada in August of 1951.  In the early 1960s his family moved south to Bellingham, Massachusetts.  When we met each other in June of 1972, a magic which will happen to a lucky man perhaps twice of three times in his entire lifetime happened to me that day.  We just hit it off perfectly and became truly close friends. 

  Mike was responsible for the first time I ever appeared on a live stage.  It was community theater.  He had been cast in a character part, Mike was great at playing characters.  He told me I’d be perfect for the male lead and bugged me until I tried out for the part.  I still cannot believe they cast me, a complete novice, in the main role, but Michael was right it worked.  He and I and a handful of other very talented amateurs pulled off a great show.  Boy, that was fun. 

  There were many other times.  Over the years Mike got into directing and writing and producing theater.  The radio and TV work continued and we spent many happy years working together.  When we couldn’t work together, Mike would seek out and help others be their best.  One such already talented person was Gloria Jean “The Radio Queen” Roy.  Listening to the two of them on the radio was pure joy.  

  I’m going to miss him terribly.  We were just beginning work on a new project when he passed.   It would be natural to feel a sense of loss, but I choose to be grateful instead for the time we did have together and the special gift of his friendship. 

  Mike McInnis had a special talent of being able to enhance the talents of other people.  I can honestly say I doubt I would have had the success I’ve had in my career if I hadn’t met him all those years ago.

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 Thanks for reading. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for January 9th...........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for January 9th…………….

 

 --This week you’ll begin hearing about Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras celebration.  The ten clues to the true identity of King Jace XXIV have been assembled and are now being broadcast.  To give you a preview, I’ve included them here in this week’s column. 

King Jace XXIV Clues: 

1--King Jace has never met a fish he liked. 

2--King Jace is an Outdoors Man. 

3--King Jace often says "Pasta Bucatini" 

4--King Jace has ridden the rails. 

5--King Jace has a trashy side. 

6--King Jace has sailed the seas. 

7--King Jace might ticket you when you travel. 

8--King Jace gets down to Rock n Roll. 

9--King Jace is happy when he's Blue. 

10-When King Jace is here "The Doctor Is In".

  King Jace will be unmasked at the Queen’s coronation on Friday January 26th at Savini’s Pomodoro Restaurant on Rathbun Street.  Then, both the King and Queen will reign over the Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday February 3rd at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.  Study the clues.  If you think you know who is playing King Jace this year, take a guess.  One person who guesses correctly will win a $50 prize.

  

--If you pay a lot of attention to the news you may know the name Leigh Corfman.  If you are like most people, you don’t.  I’ll help.  Leigh Corfman is the woman who accused former Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexually abusing her when she was 14 years old.  

  Most folks will remember that Mr. Moore denied the accusation and in the course of the continuing campaign said some very nasty things against the now-grown woman.  Well, I guess even in Alabama you can’t call women those kinds of names so Ms. Corfman is now suing Moore for defamation of character.  In the legal papers obtained by The Washington Post, Corfman says she doesn’t want money.  Instead, she wants a public apology from Moore and a legally-binding agreement that he will not criticize her again. 

 No word yet on Moore’s response to the legal action.

 

--Don’t you just love people who predict the obvious and then take a bow for it?  Some website which forecasts future gasoline prices is predicting they will rise in 2018.  How do they know this?  Must be clairvoyance.  After a brutal few months above $4 per gallon years ago, the average price of a gallon has been in the lower half of $2 for better than a year.  How long do you think the proverbial ‘they’ will leave the price that low?  Yes, of course.  Gas prices at the pump will rise.  Amazing prediction! 

 

--I suppose you can get a survey to say just about anything you want it to say, but sometimes they just make sense.  It doesn’t mean it’s the truth, but it makes sense.  This study in the publication “Psychological Bulletin” suggests that young people, those we call the “Millennial Generation”, have an “irrational desire” to reach achievement goals and an unhealthy expectation of perfection.  In fact, the study says there has never been a generation in recorded history which expected such perfection from itself.  The magazine attributes this to Social Media, as the young people take on the impossible task of solving their own problems and those of all their “friends” in their social media circle.  They hold themselves up to be perfect in front of others and then try to live it. 

  The reason this study seems to ring a bell with me is probably because since I didn’t grow up with social media, I have a different view on life.  I’m more concerned with whether I think I’m right than whether others do.  And I really don’t find it entertaining to look deeply into the lives of others.  Beyond that, I can imagine what it takes out of a person’s life to keep up with all that stuff.  More than I have to spare.  But the kids…….well, the kids got caught up in it before they assumed the responsibilities of life.  Maybe they are in trouble.  I prefer to think they will figure a way out of it for themselves.  People have always risen to the adversity which confronts them.

  

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

Thanks for reading. 

  

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Dave Richards for December 26th...........

 Dave Richards for December 26th

 

--When I was a young boy, I thought the whole world stopped on Christmas Day.  Hey, what did I know?  Since I’ve worked on December 25th most of my adult life, I know better now.  Hundreds of millions of people may not be participating, but the more than a billion others are finding it just another day. 

  This week we’ll comment on a few items which came across the news wire on Christmas Day……..

 

--Thank your lucky stars you went to church in Woonsocket yesterday instead of New York.  The security measures to protect the venerable St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan were unprecedented.  Worshipers had to navigate barricades, blocker trucks, bomb-sniffing dogs and heavily armed police to get inside.  They even checked everyone for radiation, in case you might be smuggling in a dirty nuclear bomb inside the church.  To go to these lengths when there is no direct threat is nothing short of remarkable.  Imagine what it would be like if someone actually received a credible threat against the landmark or its faithful? 

  Security was also stepped up around the tree at Rockefeller Center, but I would not want that job.  Can you imagine sniffing people’s old ice skates?

 

--Here’s an item which tells us that thousands of people on the island of Puerto Rico are still without electric power as the year draws to an end.  I don’t even know what to say about that, except I seem to remember there was trouble in the summertime when a contractor which was hired to restore power after the hurricane essentially destroyed their entire grid work of wiring was demanding three times the going rate to do it and they were fired.  I can understand that, but where is the most harm going to come from?  Paying too much to get it turned back on fast, or waiting many more months to get the juice.  I don’t know.  But it makes you understand why so many Puerto Rican people are moving to the mainland.

 

--Here’s one from our “You’ve Got To Be Kidding!” Department.  This guy from Canada refused to open one of the gifts under his tree this year.  The gift was wrapped in blue paper and was given to him by a girl when he was 17 years old some 47 years ago.  The two of them broke up and he never opened it then, just didn’t want to.  What’s strange is that he still doesn’t want to.  Even his children ask him why he won’t open it and they are told “too many bad memories”.  Then why doesn’t he throw it away?  He can’t answer that one either.  He keeps it, still fully wrapped, and even sees it is placed under the Christmas Tree in case he changes his mind one year, but he never has.  “Maybe after 50 years…….”, he says, quietly.

 

--This next item suggests a number of jokes……..all bad.  You know how so many people have been saying rotten things about Russian President Vladimir Putin?  They say he’s a criminal.  I don’t know myself if that is true, because after all, they say that about everybody they don’t like.  President Trump has been called a criminal and he’s called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a criminal, and lots of people called President Obama a criminal.  The only one I am satisfied was really a criminal was Mr. Nixon.  The rest is rhetoric, I say. 

  There’s a man in Russia who wants to run for President this March against Mr. Putin but they won’t let Alexei Navalny on the ballot because they say he is a criminal.  His offense, according to the Reuters wire story, is that he organized protests against certain government policies, which, I guess, really is a crime in Russia.  Ironic, though isn’t it?  

  I can just hear the comics now, “They won’t let a criminal run for elected office……….they don’t want the competition.”  

  By the way, the polls say things in Russia are pretty much as expected.  The incumbent has a sizable lead and is expected to win.

 

--Before I go, I need to remind those of you who have made pledges or won items in the Milk Fund Auction that we need you to settle up by the end of this week so we can put these donations to work buying milk for those who need it next year.  I am grateful to all who have stepped forward over the last month to help.  You are all part of what makes Woonsocket great!

  

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  

Thanks for reading, and thank you for remembering The Milk Fund. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for December 19th

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for December 19th

  

--From our “Sometimes You Just Have To Break The Rules” Department:  You have to admire a business person who takes a stand on principle regardless of the financial consequences.  A lot of people thought that way when our own CVS Health corporation decided they would no longer sell tobacco products in any of their stores.  But one of them, for sure, is the guy who owns the Chick-Fil-A chain of chicken restaurants.  Like many in business, he feels personally there should be one day of rest each week.  Many of us may feel that way, but he makes it stick with his slogan “Never On Sunday.”.  

  But even a man with high ideals can find himself in an unexpected situation where it becomes clear that more harm will come from upholding the rules than from making an exception.  Such a time came this past Sunday at the Atlanta airport down in Georgia.  Fire caused a power outage for 12 hours, stranding many thousands of air travelers in the airport for hours.  People got hungry.  The other restaurants began to run out of food.  The Chick-Fil-A restaurant had plenty of food in its storage area but was closed because it was a Sunday. 

   Well, they can’t literally say “Never” on a Sunday anymore.  But I think that shows the kind of company they are.  They seem to genuinely care, not just about a church doctrine, but in the balance and health of people’s lives.  And when that health and balance was threatened, even though it was a Sunday, they opened and fed the hungry.  

  This is a great example of good human judgement and free will, and why I am totally against “mandatory minimum sentencing” in our criminal justice system.   I believe this world was never meant to be perfect.  I believe The Creator meant for the next world to be perfect and for we humans to learn the difference here.  But still so many persist to pass laws to legislate morality and remove free will from the equation.  It is widely accepted that to do so is folly.  But we still keep passing laws when something bad happens……….laws which create new problems and never eliminate the original wrong.

  I believe The Creator expected we would make use of our free will and not legislate against it.  Whether I am right on that point or not can be argued.  But I submit as proof that it was common sense and free will which enabled hundreds of trapped and hungry travelers to be fed last Sunday.  Sometimes you just gotta know when to break ‘the rules’.

 

 --This is our last meeting on these pages before Christmas Day 2017, so I want to talk about Christmas Wishes.  The Fabulous Denise loves to watch what I call those “weepy wonders” on The Hallmark Channel.  Each one is another romantic tale of ‘A Christmas Miracle or Wish’.  There’s nothing wrong with that stuff, of course.  It’s certainly better than watching the ever-increasing insanity of reality shows or serial dramas.  I might just miss them next spring.  Maybe.

 I wouldn’t confess this to just anyone, but I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps I am being affected by these shows. 

 The other day I was sitting and thinking.  Planning for work to be done and projects to start after the holidays.  After a time I noticed that my mind had wandered to thoughts of Christmas Miracles I’d like to see happen.  I fantasized for a moment what it might be like to see a sick friend recover from a terrible illness.  Or, if my Mom could see my late father again.  You know…….really big stuff.  

  As I caught myself being impractical about the use of my time I returned to my deliberations but I just couldn’t get the idea of a Christmas Miracle out of my head completely.  “What if?”, I asked myself, “What if members of our city council and our Mayor exchanged greeting cards…………..”  “And what if those cards touched each of their hearts and they looked at each other less as adversaries and more like team members working to invigorate our city and take the next steps in our recovery?” 

 Then, as I shook my head back to reality I remembered the words my friend, entertainer Manny Brandao, spoke in one of his stories.  “Friend, if there’s somebody out there you have had words with and maybe your feelings were hurt and you hurt them, too.  Go to them.  Take the first step.  Shake their hand and start your relationship again.  Life is too short to be fighting among ourselves.”  You never know, but you could create your own Christmas Miracle…………….. 

  Merry Christmas!

  

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  

Thanks for reading, and thank you for remembering The Milk Fund. 

  

 

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Dave Richards for December 12th........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for December 12th

 

--Here we are in the heart of the Holiday Season.  I hope you’re getting enough rest between the busy days.  I know I’ll need to be careful myself to keep my things in balance because the next eight days are, by sheer happenstance, the busiest of my year.  

  Tonight I will be at Burrillville High School to record the music department’s annual Holiday Concert there.  I have 5 TV shows to record for a commercial customer tomorrow evening, then Thursday I’ll be at Woonsocket High School to record the Holiday Concert there.   I’ll be up to my neck in editing on Friday and Saturday, then Sunday afternoon it’s off to Mount St. Charles to record their concert.  Finally, our friends in North Smithfield have figured out what to do about their auditorium’s capacity problem.  With so many students in their music program and a very nice auditorium which just isn’t big enough to hold everyone at once, they’ve decided to cut the concert into two halves and have one on Monday night and the second on Tuesday night.  I hope that works out for them, but it means two nights out for me and my crew to record them instead of just one.   

  Add to this our daily Milk Fund Radio Auction each morning, and the usual business of the day and I’ll likely be meeting myself in the hall coming back the other way! 

  After that there’s all the editing of all the shows to get them ready for the radio and TV broadcast on Christmas Day.  But let me tell you, I love it!  Watching the concerts, seeing the students, and seeing how excited they get when they and their families and friends watch the concert or listen to them being broadcast makes all the work completely worth it and brings me a satisfaction I cannot describe.   

 

--I received a number of agreeable comments on my praise in these pages for those who continue to work hard to make our city a better place and who have never given up on making our downtown area the best it can be.  I also received one very scolding and harsh comment telling me I am a fool for not recognizing that “all Main Streets are dead and they’re never coming back”.  This reader was either so convinced or so dedicated to convincing me of what he said that he repeated the thought over and over.  While I do appreciate hearing from everybody, I’m not buying what he is selling. 

  I think we should take an example from those who live everyday with physical handicaps.  They may have parts which don’t work, or are missing.  There’s nothing they can do about what they can do except to concentrate on what they still CAN do.  They work hard to make their lives as useful to themselves and others as they can under the circumstances they face.  We admire them for that, and I think we should do no less for our downtown areas. 

  True, they’ll probably never be the center of commerce they once were, the circumstances which made them that way no longer exist in the present day and age.  But they CAN be transformed into something else which is useful.  And They Are!  They are working very hard to build something useful out of what we have there.  I think we should all help these public-spirited citizens, but if we cannot physically help them, then the least we can all do is to not talk against their efforts.  Words can be a power tool for building and support or they can be a powerful weapon for destruction.  Let’s be thoughtful about how we use them!

  And while I’m here, I think I’d be remiss if I failed to remind everyone during of the dangers presented by social media this holiday season.  It is natural to have disagreements with people.  However, we must remember that a word spoken (or written in social media) can hurt someone badly.  We must never post to social media when we are angry or hurt.  Calm down, take a deep breath, and above all…………….read what you wrote BEFORE you press the button to post!  Think of how you would feel if the words you wrote were about YOU.  You may still post that comment tomorrow, but at least you’d have been careful and deliberate in your actions.  Mistake or no mistake as it may turn out to be, please give yourself a chance to calm down before taking actions you may later regret. 

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

Thanks for reading, and thank you for remembering The Milk Fund. 

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Dave Richards for December 5th.....

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for December 5th

 

--We’ll start this week by dispelling a rumor.  There is no truth to the rumor that the City of Woonsocket is in the Christmas Tree business.  The attractive fir trees standing in a row where the municipal incinerator used to be are merely for decoration.  The same with the Poinsettias lined up on the side. 

  I must say the downtown of the old city is really looking very seasonal.  The window decorations inspired by the very successful Main Street Holiday Stroll last Saturday, combined with the nice decorations the City has hung upon the street light poles, and the excited bustle the Polar Express train visits bring to the Depot all contribute to a scene I wish some of my friends who grew up with me in the 1970s here could come back and see for themselves.  We had a rather negative opinion of Downtown Woonsocket back then.  We had reason to, there had been such a decline just in our short lifetimes.  But with consistent and prolonged toil from many people who care, the downtown area shows a future which would be the envy of many an old mill city.  Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on our success and then push on for more!

 

 --I’m going to talk next about a national issue which I think will affect every American as time goes along.  You’ve heard people talking about “Net Neutrality”.  It is more important to you than you may think, because it will change the way you are allowed to use the Internet for many years to come.  Yes, I said “allowed”.

 Like most things which are valuable, the Internet has been fought over for some time.  Every large corporation would like to own it.  The fact is it is owned by no one entity right now, but the largest of the companies which provide connections to the Internet want to make as much money from it as they can. 

  On the face of things this does not sound like a bad thing until you realize what they want to do to make money.  They want to get the money from you.  They want to have deals with certain websites to force them and you to pay more, a kind of “protection payment” to allow all the people they connect to the Internet to access those websites.  These payments are always passed down to the customer.  Always.  It’s not very much different from when the mob ran the shipping ports.  If payments weren’t made……..well, that lettuce would just sit on the pallets until it spoiled.  

  Realizing that this negative form of capitalism was in the works, the concept of Net Neutrality was devised by the government to protect us.  It was an extension of the Common Carrier laws which prevented the telephone company allowing or not allowing calls to be sent or received based upon how much money the parties paid the phone company.   Initially the Internet was treated as a Common Carrier and in the years Mr. Obama was president that status was continued.  

  Mr. Trump’s administration seems to despise anything Mr. Obama did and wants to reverse it.  I think he’s making a big mistake this time.

  If it’s not simply because Obama liked it, I don’t know why Mr. Trump wants to abolish the rules of fairness and treat all who use the Internet equally by law.  I’d hate to think he’s selling us out, really.  But each time I’ve heard opponents of Net Neutrality asked, they all say it’s un-American to prevent companies from making as much profit as they can.  Hmmm.  There’s still something wrong with this.

 The concept of capitalism, like most things on this planet, has its positive and its negative aspects.  The robber barons of the 19th Century fought each other with no regard to the innocent citizens they victimized.  Then the trusts were busted by the government and we entered an era of more fairness.  With the loss of Net Neutrality laws so that Internet Service Providers were no longer mandated to connect everyone to everywhere equally, I believe we will return to a time when the innocent are once again victimized daily for profit.  While a free market economy IS the American way…………victimizing the American public is not.

 What I don’t understand is that the U.S. Government has work tirelessly over the past quarter century to connect all its parts and the American public via the Internet.  Why would they now turn the controls for connectivity over to a few publicly-traded companies for their profit?

 Fixing a system which wasn’t broken is not only ill advised, but very suspicious, if you ask me.  And I think it is suspicious, even if you didn’t ask me.    

 

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  

Thanks for reading, and thank you for remembering The Milk Fund. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for November 28th........

 ­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for November 28th

 

 --The Milk Fund Radio Auction is in full swing for another year each weekday morning from 8am to 9am on our radio station, our streaming TV channel and also live social media.  I am more grateful than I can adequately express here for the generosity displayed in the variety and quality of the items which have been donated to our auction.  There’s a child’s bike, a baseball autographed by Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski, household appliances, holiday decorations and boxes full of gift certificates of all denominations.  This year’s first auction yesterday morning brought in more than twice the phone calls and more than four times the dollars than the first auction day has in past years.  We are very encouraged by this strong show of support.  I hope you’ll tune in and help us raise money to buy milk for local families next year. 

  Milk Fund Appeal Chair Lisa Carcifero got a late start last year, joining the effort in November 2016, but this year she’s had months to ramp up the effort and she’s seeing immediate positive effects.  In a visit to the first Milk Fund Radio Auction yesterday, Lisa was delighted to stand up and accept two $1,000 donation checks from the Pawtucket Royal Arch Chapter #4 and the Holy Sepulchre Commandery # 8, all Masons, when Rick Picard dropped by the radio studio.  Additional checks totaling $70 plus the proceeds from the “Walk-Run-Drive” event put on earlier in the month by The Gym, LLC totaling $900 were also received.  Wow.  I hope we can keep this pace for the entire Milk Fund Appeal.

    

--I know this is a busy time of year, but some things I think you just have to make time for.  One such event is the Main Street Holiday Stroll this Saturday from 2pm to 7pm.  The committee has been very hard at work to stage this 9th Annual Stroll for many months and the early weather forecasts predict perfect weather for “Strolling” this Saturday.  There are more events going on at one end of Main Street, Woonsocket, or the other than I can mention here.  It is safe to say The Holiday Stroll rivals the venerable Autumnfest celebration for its far-reaching community participation.  From our elementary school students to our local business community, everyone is pitching in to make it a memorable break for all who come.  I hope you do. 

 

--Before we get too far into the holiday season and I get all bubbly with the Christmas Spirit, I just want to get something off my chest.  That’s right, it’s time for this week’s rant.  I’d love to spout off on the ‘all Christmas Hallmark pay-cable channel’, but the Fabulous Denise loves those tear-jerkers so I’d better be careful what I say.  Instead I will zero in on something which bothers me year ‘round………Half-hour TV shows that occupy one whole hour of time to broadcast.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  They come back from a three to six minute commercial break and literally spend the next two to four minutes repeating word for word what happened in the segment before the break.  Then they’ll give you a few minutes of new material and then repeat that stuff after the next break.  The result is if you’re interested in the subject matter, you are becoming increasingly frustrated with the constant repetition and the slow pace of the program. I think you are lucky to get 25 minutes of actual information out of a one hour TV show.  Ugh!

  This phenomena of ‘watering down the content’ started years ago with the daytime dramas, commonly called “soap operas”.  They needed to make their plot lines last for months, so they had different characters repeat what happened to other characters.  A lot.  Then the reality shows found they failed to shoot enough footage to fill up their time slot.  No problem.  THEY started repeating.  Before you knew it, even scripted shows were repeating their material to cut expenses and increase profits because, “hey, people are used to it, right”?  It’s a shame, but they know that people like me who want that 25 minutes of material will be forced to record the whole show and fast-forward through the repeating of old information.  

  But what you do if you want to watch the show without recording it?  You, friend, are out of luck.  I found myself in this same situation this past weekend.  The Fabulous Denise was recording another of her two hour ‘weepy wonders’ on Hallmark Channel and I wanted to watch an historical show.  Double UGH!  And, in case you are wondering or in case TV producers are reading my words……….. yes, I did shut off the TV and I did do something more productive with my time. 

   The last words of the late singer/actor David Cassidy, according to his daughter were, “So much time wasted……….”.  I refuse to waste my time here on earth.  And, I call upon TV producers to respect the time of the people in their audiences.

  

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.  

Thanks for reading, and thank you for remembering The Milk Fund. 

 

 

 

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Dave Richards for November 21st............

 

­­­­­­­­­Dave Richards for November 21st 

 

--With Thanksgiving just days away, I’m getting excited for this, my favorite of all the holidays.  Thanksgiving has everything I love in a holiday.  It has the annual Woonsocket High vs. Cumberland High School football game, which we broadcast each year, (and I LOVE live remote broadcasting).  It has family.  It has food.  And it usually has good memories.  What more could you ask for from a day?  All my favorite things!  So, even if you don’t come from Woonsocket or Cumberland, please consider going to the high school football game in your home town and make a day of it.

  

--I’m not happy with my opinions on Black Friday.  I’m not happy because I see only one positive thing in it, really.  And I also think the day which started off as an inside thing within the retail industry has become diluted and ineffective and, well, worse than a cliché’.  It has become a joke.  I mean, really.  How many people do you know will wait for weeks to buy that Honda Accord on the day after Thanksgiving to save a “ton of money”? 

 Now, the one positive thing I’ve seen come out of the so-called “Black Friday” phenomenon is Small Business Saturday.  Yes, it did start as a promotion by the American Express credit card company to offer some balance to the consumer gluttony of Black Friday.  But the idea behind Small Business Saturday is essentially a good one.  There are more small merchants in this country than there are big box stores.  And, I can personally attest to having the nightmare in my head of what would happen if “Goliath” really did beat “David” in the retail wars.  It would just be so wrong.  

  So please make your plans now to walk calmly and purposefully to your local merchant this Saturday.  You’ll know who they are.  They’re the stores which don’t have idiots camping out in front of them for days, and who advertise in the local newspaper and on local radio instead of the national TV outlets.  You can’t miss them.  They’re real nice people who treat you like a friend and a neighbor because…………..you are one.

 

--By the time we get together next week our 2017 Milk Fund Radio Auction will have begun.  For the first time ever, we are actually starting in November.  This is because the way the days of the week play out this year, with Christmas Day falling on a Monday, we would lose 4 auction days if we waited to December 1st.  We hope you understand, and that you will tune in both on radio and on the internet and bid to support our favorite Christmastime charity, The Milk Fund.  It’s what Greater Woonsocket does to help ourselves each year. 

 

--Here’s a Rhode Island trivia question for you.  “Name the real life Rhode Island family band that the 1970s network TV show The Partridge Family was based upon………….”   If you said Newport’s The Cowsills, you get an extra quahog with calamari and coffee milk! 

 I was thinking about that this past weekend when I heard that one of the singers and actors of The Partridge Family TV show, David Cassidy, was hospitalized with worsening health problems.  By the time you read this he may have actually passed, since he was listed in critical condition as I wrote these words.  The reports tell us he was surrounded by family and friends while several of his internal organs continue to fail.  This is sad. 

 It made me think of a member of my own family.  My loved one had a very difficult childhood which over time grew into a very difficult early adulthood.  To the horror of our family, drugs were involved.  She just couldn’t choose good friends or spouses which were good for her and she got into a lot of trouble.  Our prayers were eventually answered when she finally met a good man and straightened her life out.  But serious damage had been done. As the years passed, she ended up with a lot, and I mean a lot of internal health problems. 

 Growing up in the 60s and 70s, we always heard about the dangers of drug use.  When you’re very young, it doesn’t hit home.  But later in life it can hit you very hard when damage which was caused to internal organs you didn’t notice when you were young becomes damage you cannot ignore…..and, in some cases, damage you cannot overcome. 

 We were told that David Cassidy needs both a liver and a kidney transplant.  But considering his self-announced dementia, I’m not sure if he would be a candidate for such a life-saving operation, since doctors may feel other patients may make better use of the transplanted organs.  It’s all just sad, really sad. 

 But let it be known that the warnings of future consequences we give young people today about the effects of recreational drug use are not just “Boogie Man Stories”.  People are really dying younger than they need to die as a result of their ‘youthful indiscretions’.  And that’s what really bothers me about the current movement to decriminalize marijuana.   

  

 

--On the lighter side, sometimes you just gotta laugh at the timing of certain events.  Two weeks ago I wrote in these pages that I thought the Commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, was the wrong man for the job and that he should find work elsewhere.  Then, last week, as if he had read my column, Goodell made national headlines when his demands for severance were made public.  How would you like to have $50 million, your own private jet, and paid healthcare insurance for you and your family for life, just for leaving your job?  Remember, I never said the man was stupid, just the wrong man for the job and he must go.  But if that’s what it costs to make him go away…………..I’m not sure it’s worth it. 

  

--That’s what I think.  What do you think?  Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332. 

 Thanks for reading! 

 

 

 

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