Dave's Column

Dave Richards for February 26th..............

--Today is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten season for those who observe.  You know what that means, of course, yesterday was Fat Tuesday or the actual Mardi Gras Day.  Our Woonsocket Mardi Gras Ball last Saturday was the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen them all except for the ones the Jaycees put on in the 1950s.  Congratulations to the Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts for a really fun time.

  Down in the city where Mardi Gras is best known, New Orleans, the crowds were huge, as expected.  The French Quarter parties were non-stop, and a few blocks away the parades drew capacity crowds. 

  I was disturbed by the news that the Mayor of New Orleans banned all tandem parade floats after two spectators died.  For the uninitiated, a tandem float is one which is so large it is divided onto two flatbed trailers which are hooked together like train cars and pulled by one truck.  Well, first a woman last Thursday and then a man on Saturday tried to cross the street while the parade was passing by trying to jump between the two floats, tripping, and being run over by the second trailer.

  I don’t know if the victims had been drinking.  Of course a lot of that goes on in The Big Easy during the Mardi Gras celebration, so it wouldn’t surprise me.  Regardless, it’s a horrible way to go.

 

--Some say I’m tempting fate by even discussing this out in the open, but I just can’t get over how lucky we’ve been here in the Blackstone Valley this winter.  Today and tomorrow the folks up north of us are getting a whopper of a snow storm and we’re only getting grazed by the southern edge and it’s all rain. 

  Global warming?  Probably.  But I’m not getting into the political guilt game.  I will point out that although we sometimes get clobbered by bad weather here in the Blackstone Valley, more often than not Mother Nature give us here an easy pass.

 

--Speaking of Easy Pass.  It was recently announced that Governor Raimondo’s plan to charge a toll on all big trucks just isn’t bringing in the dough she promised the general assembly it would when they voted to back her on the proposal.  When you deduct the legal fees she’s had to pay to defend her plan, that’s probably even less money raised to plug the budget deficits. 

  Okay, it happens.  Sometimes plans just don’t work out.  But it seems to be happening regularly.  Like when they put sports betting into Twin River and the revenue just didn’t match what they said we’d take in. 

  If I were a member of the legislature, I’d never believe the income estimates proponents of new revenue plans offer.  Better to be surprised if it happens than to be disappointed (and responsible to make up the difference) when it doesn’t.

  Getting back to the tolls.  The way I understand it, this whole plan to toll the truckers is going so poorly, and the money being taken in is so far below estimates that they are making a change.  Well, that makes sense, if a plan isn’t working, I think we should make a change.  But they change they’re making just doesn’t make sense to me.  They’ve built only about half the gantries which will charge the tolls.  But instead of making efforts to build the rest of the planned gantries quickly so they can go online and get the money rolling in, they’re going to cancel building them at all to “save money”. 

  I hate to be negative, but the whole idea just smells to me.  Everybody makes mistakes.  When you get caught in one, at least be honest about it, admit it, apologize, and try to make it right.  This whole thing hasn’t seemed honest from the start.

  But I’m not complaining.  With fewer toll gantries, when they finally decide to toll other types of vehicles, it will be easier to dodge 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 February 19th.............

Dave Richards for February 19th….…………

 

--We’ll start with a quick reminder to you and a hearty congratulations to King Jace XXVI, Dominique Doiron, his Queen Lori Thuot, and Princesses Tabitha Westerhuis and Ashley Robitaille, the Royal Court for this Saturday’s Woonsocket Mardi Gras Ball to prepare for a Great Party. 

  Great food, Great music, Great memories!

  Thanks to the Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts for continuing this yearly event and great tradition!  We’ll see you at the Mardi Gras!

 

--Last week I commented on my hopes that the race for the presidential endorsement by the major political parties might be getting a bit more serious-minded.  No sooner had these thoughts been put to paper and then to print did I receive unsolicited emails from Democrats and Republicans alike which were rude and pushy.  One was even accusatory.  It claimed I was standing by and doing nothing while President Trump personally marked her for defeat at the hands of her Republican opponent.

  Firstly, I don’t contribute to political campaigns.  In my position, it just is too complicated a matter.  So the question gets to be, “how did these people get my email address?”  I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. 

  Secondly, if I were asking a stranger for financial help, would I send an email with these words (all CAPS) in the Subject Line?.....“FINAL NOTICE”

  The message in that email didn’t impress me much, either.  I’ve redacted response email addresses and “click to donate” buttons.  Otherwise, these words are copied directly from the email sent to me……..

"This is your final notice to activate your membership to show Speaker Pelosi and our women candidates in tough races support by contributing to our Spread the Love Fund. We haven’t seen your donation come through yet.

Speaker Pelosi is counting on you to help her defend her majority this year.

we’re running out of time.

Our deadline for the Spread the Love Fund is at MIDNIGHT.

  End quote.  I spared you the long list of politically-charged accusations against the president which ended the email.”

  Not to be outdone by the Democrats, I received this email purporting to be from Republican Whip Steve Scalise…………..again, I quote.

“Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m disappointed. I emailed you last week. I emailed you over the weekend. I emailed you yesterday. We’re short of our mid-month goal and House Democrats raised a ground shaking $137,6OO,OOO this cycle AND just broke another fundraising record...

Sorry to be so blunt, but I’m disappointed, Friend.

I emailed you last week. I emailed you over the weekend. I emailed you yesterday.

I’m asking you personally to contribute before midnight -- if you help in the next 2 hours, I’ll even guarantee that it’s 5OO% matched: Believe me, I wouldn’t be coming to you for a FOURTH AND FINAL time unless it was absolutely critical.”

  End Quote.  As you can see, both sides are acting like they are at war.  Besides politeness, I can’t help but feel that honesty is also a casualty of this ‘war’.  And it is in this attitude I find fault on both sides.

  We are not at war.  We are in the peaceful process of selecting a temporary occupant of a very powerful government office.  We should not be acting like little children at play, pretending the fate of all the world hangs on the success or failure of our mission. 

  Only grown-ups can vote in this election.  That is because it is presumed that grown-ups will, unlike children at play, treat a situation with the seriousness and respect for reality it truly deserves, and not, like children at play, make believe that we must win at all costs, just for the thrill and entertainment of it.

  Is there any question why the presidential candidates themselves sometimes act like children at play when party operatives act just that way?

 

--On a far more serious subject, today is the 38th anniversary of the murder of Doreen Picard and the brutal beating of Susan Laferte in the laundry room of their home on Front Street in Woonsocket.  Few of us who were alive and in Woonsocket at that time will forget the emotions and frustration resulting from this horrible crime.

  I think about this dark time in our city now and then and I wonder.  This kind of event always makes people wonder, and I’m no different.  The “what-ifs”, and the threats over the telephone.  I know members Doreen’s family say they were threatened and I believe it because even I was threatened over news coverage our station broadcast….and also what we refused to broadcast. 

  This case divided the Woonsocket Police Department into two factions at a time we needed them most.  It was not a good time to be on the force for anyone.  The WPD is no longer divided.  I have to believe that if this murder took place today that a lot of bad things which happened after the murder wouldn’t happen now.  I hold on to that one bit of positivity very tightly.

  There is much more I could say, but I won’t.  Re-living it won’t help anyone.  I do, however, want to say this, hoping it may help.  If Susan or Nicole or the rest of Doreen’s family read these words, I pray you have found peace in your hearts and I want you to know that I have not forgotten the terrible injustices you have suffered. 

 

--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 February 13th...............

Dave Richards for February 13th….…………

 

--I am forming a new opinion of how this country is changing.  Looking back at the recent presidential preference voting, I continue to see the battle between young and old developing.  And between those who act sensibly and those who do not.

  I have the distinct impression after seeing the results of the New Hampshire primary that quiet, sensible people are coming back into fashion, while loud and ‘entertaining’ people may be going out of style. 

  Look at the strong showings of Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.  Now look at the less-than-expected results for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  Conventional wisdom would have indicated that Bernie and Liz should walk away with very strong showings in New Hampshire since they  both come from the states which border The Granite State.  Yet, Liz just didn’t appeal to them, and Bernie’s early appeal is flagging. 

  Is it possible that people who don’t yell and pound the table and call their political adversaries names are a breath of fresh air?  Maybe.  But, of course it is too early to tell.  I can hope, can’t I?

  If it turns out to be a trend, then won’t Mr. Trump be at a disadvantage in the fall?  Could be.  But I still haven’t changed my mind that if Trump behaves like a president, he will be re-elected.  That, however, is a tall order for this president.

 

--You may recall my observations in past writings that the great civil unrest we see today reminds me of a similar condition in the 1960s.  I’ve done some further studying of the history books.  For those who subscribe to the notion that social sentiment is cyclical, as I do, I offer this observation.

  About every 50 to 60 years a wave of ‘hyper-liberalism’ seems to occur.  This intense craving for ‘change’ of any kind can be seen today.  We also saw it in the 1960s.  Searching further back, the years immediately before the turn of the 20th century were the same.  That general era brought the downfall of the trusts and the establishment of the middle class.  You know, many people don’t remember President Theodore Roosevelt as a ‘flaming liberal’, but he was just that in his day, and for his entire political career going all the way back to his early days as a Customs Collector in New York City.

  50 to 60 years before that there was the great tumult regarding slavery and State’s Rights.  The result was the U.S. Civil War, touched off by the election of another man we don’t generally think of as a liberal, Abraham Lincoln.  But he was a political liberal, have no doubt about it, and his newly-minted Republican Party was the party of ‘change’ in the mid-19th Century. 

  60 or so years before Mr. Lincoln there was the American Revolution, and the establishing of our Republic.  If you don’t think the founding fathers were liberal thinkers and people of ‘change’, you’d better take another look at them.

  So, in light of this observation, and in further light observing the men and women of today at the local, state, and federal levels of government who also crave ‘change’, what comfort can conservatives and moderates take in the upcoming election?  Perhaps only that as surely as these cycles have repeated in history, this cycle will also pass. 

 

--There’s a song I play on the radio in which an old man sings to a young man,  “I know what it’s like to be young……..but you don’t what it’s like to be old.”  It’s the age old battle between youthful exuberance and mature experience.   The last time this cycle came around I was a young man who wanted to change the world.  This time I am a man of experience who cautions the young, as I was once cautioned, to subdue their passions and push on into the future with measured steps and a concern for avoiding unintended consequences. 

  I think I’m in for as rough a ride as I gave the elders of my day. 

  But if we all play our roles sincerely and with conviction, we will all have done our best work on this earth.

 

--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 February 5th...............

Dave Richards for February 5th….…………

 

--With the Super Bowl behind us, it’s full speed ahead to Valentine’s Day and, in Woonsocket……..Mardi Gras!

  Yes, those fun-loving folks at the Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts are at it again with Woonsocket’s version of New Orleans’ (a.k.a Party City U.S.A.) winter festival.  We have a few comments to make about Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras history, but before that, let’s look at the 2020 edition.  Here are the facts, directly from the script of the radio announcements heard on all Woonsocket frequencies.

“Do You Know King Jace?

King Jace the 26th, the Mysterious Monarch of The Woonsocket Mardi Gras is a man from the area who is well known.  Here's are the clues to the King's true identity.

King Jace XXVI Clues

1.  2 degrees separate him from others.

2.  Is Woonsocket born and raised.

3.  Is a cruiser who loves opera.

4.  Is impatient with impatient people.

5.  Supports those who support their community.

6.  Hates seafood, loves the big apple.

7.  Loves it when he and ‘things’ work out.

8.  Serves those he works with.

9.  Will someday return to Paris.

10. Not used to this much hair.

If you think you know the name of the man playing King Jace, place a dollar in an official King Jace Quest envelope, available at both Woonsocket radio stations, and The Woonsocket Call newspaper offices on Main Street.

King Jace will be unmasked by the Queen of the Mardi Gras right after she is crowned at Savini's Pomadoro Restaurant on Sunday February 16th. 

After the unmasking, a drawing will be held from all correct guesses and the winner will receive 2 free tickets to the Mardi Gras Ball on the following Saturday, February 22nd, at the St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center Hall.  Tickets for the Coronation, Unmasking and Ball are available by calling Lorraine Cloutier at 762-9072 or from any Mardi Gras Queen contestant.

Do you know King Jace?”

 

--Public Service Announcement over.  Now a few words on how Mardi Gras has changed over the years.

  In 1954, the Woonsocket Jaycees thought it would be a great idea to put on a Mardi Gras celebration here.  After all, at that time there were more French-speaking people per capita in Woonsocket than any other city in North America.  The first year it was a wonderful, fun time.  But the second year, 1955, was completely ‘over-the-top’ and out of control. 

  Now, if you’re working your tail off to have a great event it is hard to believe there could be a down-side to it being a great success.  But, as the Jaycees of 1955 learned, there is a down-side.

  Reading from newspaper coverage in the February 17, 1955 edition of The Call, not only were the various events well attended, but several had to be broadcast over our local radio station because venues were at full capacity and more people still wanted to attend.  Now that is a good definition of success for sure, but then………….

    Four days later, as Woonsocket’s Mardi Gras wrapped up it is reported in The Call that more than 150,000 people watched the half-mile Mardi-Gras parade.  Yes, you are correct, it is virtually impossible to fit that many people into a half-mile stretch of downtown Woonsocket.  They were on top of buildings, hanging out of windows, clinging to fire escapes, and using any vantage point to see the parade, which was a ‘hum-dinger’ by all accounts.  But there was a ‘story behind the story’.

  A similar number of people never saw the parade because they were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on all roads leading into the city.  Woonsocket’s police force (of 36 members in 1955) was augmented by civilian auxiliary members within the city, but pandemonium was developing in the outskirts.  The Rhode Island State Police were called and dispatched from the Lincoln barracks to assist.  But the “Staties” couldn’t get to Woonsocket due to the miles of traffic jams and were forced to drive north to Woonsocket in the southbound lanes of Louisquisset Pike (Rt. 146) to reach their deliver their assistance. 

  Additional help was even requested from the Civil Air Patrol, whose airborne members reported the automobile grid-lock extended more than 8 miles out from the city. 

  Reading the actual accounts reported at the time in the local newspaper clearly give one a sense of utter…………….WOW. 

  The explanation for this huge problem was simply that February 21, 1955 was an abnormally warm and nice weather day with a high temperature around 50 degrees.  The weather was so nice that on that day over 300,000 people thought it would be a lovely day to take in a parade.

  In subsequent years, normally cold weather for the month put an end to the reveling until the Centennial Committee brought it back in 1988 with native son Noel Pincince serving as King Jace.  Noel will be at this year’s ball, greeting attendees, by the way.

  It’s funny how when we reminisce about “The Good Old Days” we forget what they were “really” like, isn’t it?  So, to those who say……..”it ain’t like it used to be”…….I say…GOOD!

 

--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 22nd...........

Dave Richards for January 22nd….…………

 

--I’ve fielded a number of questions from listeners and readers asking me to comment on the recent news that thousands of people have been let go by one of the huge corporate broadcasting companies.  I’ll repeat my answer here.

  It’s true.  One of the two largest publicly-traded radio companies having just emerged from court-supervised re-organization under federal bankruptcy laws has taken advantage of recently-passed FCC rule changes to cut human staffing of their radio “properties”, as they call them.

  To explain, with the advancement of computer-controlled equipment we use in radio these days, the FCC, the folks who regulate the broadcasting industry, were persuaded that maybe nothing bad would happen if we broadcasters were allowed to run our stations by machine and not even have someone in the office to answer the phones when staffing was tight.  After all, phone calls could be forwarded to another phone electronically. 

  It made sense for small broadcasters who had small staffs and who had to visit with advertisers during the business day, that maybe the door could be locked for part of the business day to allow staff to tend to out-of-station business if they were short-handed due to sickness or such as that. 

  But to our large corporate broadcaster with thousands of radio stations, it meant that five or six of their stations could run with no staff at all and be controlled by a seventh station group in a large city hundreds of miles away.  The temptation of that kind of cost savings was just too much to ignore for them.  The result as we have seen is thousands of hard-working people, some who have worked at their stations for decades, are now unemployed.

  While the actions of one greedy and selfish radio owner seems to give all broadcasters a ‘black eye’, and while some have pounced upon the opportunity to predict that ‘radio is dead’, the truth is radio is still doing just fine.  I am happy to report that both Woonsocket radio stations are serving their audiences with fully-staffed studios and fully-staffed offices.  While we don’t speak to each other directly of such things, I feel confident in saying that neither of us have any intention of failing in our service to the community we are licensed to serve. ……

  Because we are broadcasters. 

  There are many differences between Woonsocket’s two radio companies.  But the one thing that we share is that we are radio broadcasters.  Professionals, all our lives in this business because we love it.  We are not stock manipulators.  We are not impersonal corporations who accumulate hundreds and thousands of radio stations.  We are local people who love our neighbors and are grateful to serve them in the craft we’ve loved since we were kids.  And, may I say, this difference is precisely why we are here today and why we both have staffs who have been with us for decades.  And audiences who have been with us just as long.

  I’m proud of what I do for a living.  I’m grateful I can do it.  Please, don’t paint lifelong family broadcasters with the same brush as huge publicly-traded corporations who just happen to work in the same business. 

  Do you remember the corner drug store?  Wouldn’t it be a shame if your local radio station disappeared the way they did?  We are in this business for a different reason than the large, corporate broadcaster. 

  We are here for you.

 

--Up to now I have never been a fan of large, sweeping changes in public governance.  I was concerned that experience is a valuable thing and we shouldn’t change out too much of it at one time.  I’m more of an “evolution” instead of “revolution” guy.  But recently I’ve been persuaded that even in a revolution…….little actually changes in the long run because the people who actually do the work of government, the bureaucrats, just keep things going in SPITE of changes in leadership. 

  If you elect a good leader who can get along and govern with care and concern for all, things go along great.  If you elect a jerk who has drunk their own Kool-Aid and cares little for anyone else but themselves, the bureaucrats will keep the place stumbling along until another choice is made.  In this respect, I have great faith in the ability of our republic to survive well beyond our own years.  And with that faith comes a new perspective.

  I noticed yesterday that a friend of mine is becoming stressed-out about the impeachment drama now unfolding in Washington.  I tried to calm him, but I don’t know how successful I was.

  My advice is if all this impeachment foolishness is getting you down, just ignore it.  Impeachment, trial, conviction or not, it’s just a lot of people who think they are important mis-behaving.  The people who really count and who really keep this world spinning are the so-called ‘working stiffs’ who keep the all essential systems working in SPITE of the leaders. 

  I think in actual fact, government leaders have very little to do with whether you’re happy or not.  You do.  Remember, life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how you take it.  So, impeachment?  Take it with a grain of salt…….

  Will it matter if every member of the RI General Assembly, the Governor, and all the other state government officers are replaced?  Nope.

  Not one little bit…………….Have a nice day!

 

--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 15th............

Dave Richards for January 15th….…………

 

--Now that we are firmly set into the new year, let’s have a holiday!  Yes, nobody planned it this way, but Monday is the holiday we commemorate the birthday of a man who sacrificed much to change much.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

  A dedicated committee of caring individuals has been working to put on four full days of events, beginning this Friday the 17th and concluding on Monday the 20th.  For a full listing, check the news section on the front page of our website, www.WoonsocketRadio.com.

 

--After MLK Day is Superbowl Sunday.  And though our Patriots will be watching the game along with us, you just know whichever teams are playing will be the top teams in the league.  Yes, they say that on ‘any given Sunday’ any team can beat any other team.  But the teams who actually do it, (win) can only be described as ‘special’.  Or, in this case, “Super”. 

  My pick?  Well, I don’t really know enough about the game to have a real pick, but I know I want the Tennessee Titans to win.  The reason is simple.  The Titans beat the Patriots.  And I don’t want my team to have been beaten by just another team.  No, if I have my way and if my team loses, I would much rather to have been beaten by the best team in the league.  There’s no shame being beaten in the early rounds by the team who takes the Championship Crown.

 

--Right after the big football game will come Mardi Gras festivities in Woonsocket.  The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts is hard at work organizing two great events in February.  King Jace, the Mysterious Monarch of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras, has been selected and you’ll be seeing clues within the week and getting your chance to take a guess which well-known man is playing the part this year.  The prize is different this year, the winner will receive two free tickets to the Mardi Gras Ball on the 22nd at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.

  But right now as King Jace romps around the valley taking pictures at familiar landmarks to go along with the clues we’ll publish, the real heavy-lifting is being done by a group of young women who are selling hundreds of tickets to everyone they meet.  These are the women competing to become Queen of the Mardi Gras in a ceremony to be held the Sunday before the Ball, February 16th at Savini’s Pomodoro restaurant in Woonsocket.  There are prizes to be won, and in addition to reigning over the Mardi Gras with King Jace and riding with him in the Autumnfest Parade this fall, the Queen’s first duty after being crowned that day will be to unmask King Jace and find out who he really is.

  It’s all great fun!

 

--We certainly have enough going on to distract us from the vicissitudes of winter weather, that’s for sure.  Speaking of which, an increasing number of my friends and neighbors are wintering in warmer climates like Florida these days.  But the winters here in Rhode Island are becoming more and more tolerable, in my view.  Really.  Don’t you seem to remember who we lost sight of the grass sometime in December and the storms just kept coming and coming until Spring came in March when ‘mud season’ began.  I’m certainly not complaining that we’ve had a number of comparatively mild winters in this century.  I’m just hoping Mother Nature doesn’t try to make up for lost time over the next couple of months.

 

--Regardless of what the weather brings, I can always recharge myself with my Winter Mantra……….

C’mon, April!

 

--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 15th............

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Dave Richards for January 15th….…………

 

 

--Now that we are firmly set into the new year, let’s have a holiday!  Yes, nobody planned it this way, but Monday is the holiday we commemorate the birthday of a man who sacrificed much to change much.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

  A dedicated committee of caring individuals has been working to put on four full days of events, beginning this Friday the 17th and concluding on Monday the 20th.  For a full listing, check the news section on the front page of our website, www.WoonsocketRadio.com.

 

 

--After MLK Day is Superbowl Sunday.  And though our Patriots will be watching the game along with us, you just know whichever teams are playing will be the top teams in the league.  Yes, they say that on ‘any given Sunday’ any team can beat any other team.  But the teams who actually do it, (win) can only be described as ‘special’.  Or, in this case, “Super”. 

 

  My pick?  Well, I don’t really know enough about the game to have a real pick, but I know I want the Tennessee Titans to win.  The reason is simple.  The Titans beat the Patriots.  And I don’t want my team to have been beaten by just another team.  No, if I have my way and if my team loses, I would much rather to have been beaten by the best team in the league.  There’s no shame being beaten in the early rounds by the team who takes the Championship Crown.

 

 

--Right after the big football game will come Mardi Gras festivities in Woonsocket.  The Northern Rhode Island Council of the Arts is hard at work organizing two great events in February.  King Jace, the Mysterious Monarch of the Woonsocket Mardi Gras, has been selected and you’ll be seeing clues within the week and getting your chance to take a guess which well-known man is playing the part this year.  The prize is different this year, the winner will receive two free tickets to the Mardi Gras Ball on the 22nd at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center.

 

  But right now as King Jace romps around the valley taking pictures at familiar landmarks to go along with the clues we’ll publish, the real heavy-lifting is being done by a group of young women who are selling hundreds of tickets to everyone they meet.  These are the women competing to become Queen of the Mardi Gras in a ceremony to be held the Sunday before the Ball, February 16th at Savini’s Pomodoro restaurant in Woonsocket.  There are prizes to be won, and in addition to reigning over the Mardi Gras with King Jace and riding with him in the Autumnfest Parade this fall, the Queen’s first duty after being crowned that day will be to unmask King Jace and find out who he really is.

 

  It’s all great fun!

 

 

--We certainly have enough going on to distract us from the vicissitudes of winter weather, that’s for sure.  Speaking of which, an increasing number of my friends and neighbors are wintering in warmer climates like Florida these days.  But the winters here in Rhode Island are becoming more and more tolerable, in my view.  Really.  Don’t you seem to remember who we lost sight of the grass sometime in December and the storms just kept coming and coming until Spring came in March when ‘mud season’ began.  I’m certainly not complaining that we’ve had a number of comparatively mild winters in this century.  I’m just hoping Mother Nature doesn’t try to make up for lost time over the next couple of months.

 

 

--Regardless of what the weather brings, I can always recharge myself with my Winter Mantra……….

 

C’mon, April!

 

 

--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 8th...........2020.........

Dave Richards for January 8th….…………

 

--It’s been awhile, my friend.  With the major holidays occurring on a Wednesday, I’ve been absent, sorry.  Let’s see if I can start the new year with something to think about.

--A day or so ago I read this news headline, “President Trump made the first move of his re-election campaign Saturday when he launched “Evangelicals For Trump” in Miami.”  Huh?  Are these reporters so close to the drama and nonsense of national politics that they cannot see that the first move of Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign happened a very long time ago?

  Here’s one example.  I am sure the president knew he could not trust North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to simply capitulate on the offensive missile issue.  Still, the president ‘made nice’ with him and received a sizable dollop of criticism at home.  It seems clear now to both sides that his demeanor was all a negotiating tactic.  He knew eventually Kim would pull a temper tantrum and North Korea would look like the bad guy and he the good guy for trying to be nice.

  Trump also knew he could afford to tick-off anybody in the House of Representatives because he wouldn’t lose an impeachment trial in the Senate.  He had Speaker Pelosi right where he wanted her and she knew it.  That’s why she wanted to wait on impeachment when other Dems were crying for the president’s head on a pike.  Pelosi rightly figured a failed impeachment could be the downfall of her party and lead to the loss of seats in the House in an election year.

  Pelosi also knew that she’d already probably lost because her party was already being torn apart by the radical elements which had infiltrated it.  She’s still dragging her feet today on impeachment, which I don’t quite understand because it only makes the Dems look even worse in the public eye.

  There are so many other examples, but for the sake of brevity let’s look at the latest ‘outrage’ the Democrats are accusing the president of, the recent fatal drone air-strike. 

 The so-called “Gang of Eight”, the people in congress who previous presidents have taken into their confidence before using their Commander-In-Chief powers to launch military actions, are outraged that they were not taken into Mr. Trump’s confidence this time.  I shake my head.  The fools.

  First of all, the over-used word ‘outrage’ is getting a little thin when these people each day consider it an ‘outrage’ that Mr. Trump is still president for one more day.  But word choice aside, no sane leader will confide their plans to their enemies.  And the Democrats in Congress have clearly chosen to make themselves an enemy of this president.  Further, why would any president give his sworn enemies the sensitive information they need to propel themselves from “fool” to “traitor”?

  The members of the opposition party should have known this would be a consequence of their partisan actions, but they proceeded as if it were not important to them.  Okay.  But now it’s too late to take back that partisan impeachment vote.  Consequences. 

  We can all wish these ‘leaders-in-title-only’ would work together for the good of us all.  But that is not reality, apparently.  The reality is that pettiness and political gamesmanship have always been a tool of people in high office.  Used correctly, they are a way of being ‘passive-aggressive’ and affecting the behavior of others without really controlling them.  But today’s politician, unskilled in the art of compromise and as selfish as a two-year-old rejects the fine art of leadership and makes it a death sport. 

  Back to re-election talk, the other thing nobody seems to be saying out loud is that this air-strike and the loss of human life it caused could easily be seen to be a part of Mr. Trump’s re-election strategy.  To my knowledge, no sitting president has ever been replaced by election during an actual ‘shooting war’.  I don’t mean a symbolic ‘war’, like the “War on Drugs” or the “War on Terrorism”.  I’m talking about the kind of war where if you lose ‘you and your family will be killed by your enemy with pleasure’ war.  Only a very few of us have ever lived through one of those.  And the few who have are all in their 80’s and 90’s now and nobody seems to be listening to them anymore.

  We should be.  It sometimes seems that few of our leaders have ever cracked open a history book.  You cannot change the past.  You can only change the future.  The wise leader should seek the advice of those who erred in the past.

  And let me say just one more thing.  Some of what we’ve discussed up to now can be accepted regrettably as “business as usual”.  But one thing disturbed me more than all the other horrible details about last Friday’s air-strike.  Afterward, a high-ranking member of our own federal government was quoted on the radio as saying, “nobody should shed a tear over the death of this man”, referring to the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.  I say this to you and to all the world’s people, “this official does not represent me”.

  I do shed a tear over the death of all humans, even my enemies.  If I must kill to defend myself or my family or my country, I will do what I must do.  But I will never rejoice in the death of another.  I may be relieved the threat is over.  It may have to have been done.  But to be happy my enemy is dead is, to me, absolutely and always wrong.  And that, I believe, is what differentiates me from my enemies.  I’m good with that.

 

--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 11th...........

Dave Richards for December 11th….…………

 

--You’d have to be about my age, I think, to appreciate just how amazingly beautiful Woonsocket was last Saturday evening.  You’d have to remember how it was in this former mill city between the time the mills shut down, or left town, and now. 

  You see, I was very young in the days when the crowds clogged the sidewalks on Main Street.  I vaguely remember pushing through with my parents to get inside McCarthy’s Department Store or waiting to get a counter seat for a bite to eat across the street.  When I came ‘of age’, the whole place was in decline.  But now!

  Almost any Saturday night of the year when I drive down Social Street and through Monument Square I take a deep breath and sigh with great pride at the lights, the people, and the activity around our Stadium Theatre, Ciro’s Tavern, and Chans.  But this particular Saturday, as I passed by in front of Chans I looked up to see the Polar Express locomotive and all its shiny silver cars parked on the tracks which pass above Main Street and I know good memories are being made there.  People are coming to our city to have a good time.  But it doesn’t stop there……….

  In seconds I’ve driven up to the traffic light at Flynn/ Depot Square where I see a Woonsocket Police cruiser with lights flashing turning around to follow the horse-drawn wagon carrying visitors from one end of upper Main Street to the other during the Holiday Stroll.  The cruiser is there for the safety of the people on the wagon, of course, and though it’s driving very slowly, I decide to follow them both as they meander down Main Street.

  My first impression?  The lights are on!.  Not just on the street poles, but in all the shops!.  Even the Museum of Broadcast History, and I hardly ever see that place lit up!  At the Mullins Parking Lot there are the decorated Christmas Trees the school children decorate all lined up, the recreation of the famous McCarthy’s Talking Christmas Tree, and lots of people and activity.  Even Timmy’s New York Lunch is packed with patrons a little farther down.

  Across Young/Market Square I see the municipal parking lot is full, River Falls, Ye Old English, the new Christophers Kitchen and Bar, Millrace, and even the Museum of Work and Culture are all busselling.  But the best is yet to come……….

  Turning left onto Bernon Street I look to my right into River Island Art Park…..it is ablaze with countless multi-colored lights and Santa’s house!  So beautiful, it truly is a Winter Wonderland…….

  I’m sure you get my point.  What I saw in my city last Saturday was the best representation of what hard work, imagination, and ignoring the negative comments of others can bring.  Those who said years ago what Woonsocket needed was an atom bomb and a bulldozer, well, they were just plain wrong.  What we’ve built is the good that can happen when forward-thinking leaders and many good citizens get together to do the impossible. 

  Indeed, we have.  If I’d have told anyone 30, 40, or even 20 years ago that what happened here last Saturday could happen…….they’d have laughed me out of the room.

  Friend, there is no limit to what we can do if we work together.  Let us reject the hate and devicsiveness we see in our country.  Let us improve what we can improve and let us resolve to work on what we can’t improve today in the days and years ahead. 

  That’s how we got to where we are today.

  And by the way, if you believe in the power of prayer, and you are so inclined, in 10 days the Levitt Foundation will announce their decision of whether Woonsocket will again have Friday night free concerts in the park next summer.  This is a pivotal year for our participation.  We put in a good application, and we showed great community support with online voting.  There is nothing left for us to do now but to hope.  And pray.  We have competition this year.  “They” got our baseball team last year.  Please, God, let us keep our concerts next year.

 

--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 4th.....

Dave Richards for December 4th….…………

 

--The 2019 Milk Fund Appeal is now officially under way.  Auction, events, and the coupons to accompany your donation printed in The Call.  Look for paper Milk Bottles to appear in your local restaurants and stores in a few days.  Our daily Milk Fund Radio Auction has taken to its new afternoon timeslot (4 to 5pm) like a duck to water.  Bid calls are more than double the numbers seen in the previous morning time slot.  We are grateful and enthused.  Stay tuned for further developments……

 

--Just to finish up on a common topic of the last two weeks, I mentioned that nobody had contacted me to tell me they disagreed with my position on the proposed Massachusetts law, now passed by the state senate, which would outlaw plastic shopping bags and force shoppers to pay a 10 cent per bag tax on all paper bags.  Well, one email did arrive after I wrote those words.

  A well-spoken lady referred me to some videos which show graphically how destructive carelessly discarded plastic can be, bags or otherwise.  I’ve seen them.  Heck I know one of the producers.  And from my work aboard ship sailing the seas, I’ve seen the damage first hand, too.  But I think the point was missed. 

  My point is you can make a case on either side of the issue.  But as usual, the truth lies between the two extremes.  And I am against extremism.  I was taught, and I truly believe that a moderate course will engage more people to act together in a unified effort to solve the really big problems all of us face.  Facing them together is the best way, I say.  Dividing people with extremism is not the most effective way to success.

  Think of it this way.  You’re driving down the road at average highway speed.  Your car naturally drifts a little to the left and a little to the right.  You gently apply a mild corrective pressure on the steering wheel and the result is you appear to be moving in a perfect line with no loss of fuel or time.  But suppose you twisted the steering wheel to the right sharply when you drifted to the left.  Overcorrection, right?  Right.

  It’s the same way with people.  If you want to correct societal errors and you apply to radical a push in the opposite direction you will increase push-back from those who disagree with you and you’ll fail to gain the assistance of those who might have been persuaded by your cause, but not your rhetoric.  Here’s an example.

  Global warming.  It’s been going on since the Ice Age, thank goodness, otherwise Rhode Island would still be under a huge sheet of ice.  Scientists know the planet is warming up too fast.  They are correct.  But they just cannot get the general public to be as concerned about the negative effects of global warming because they just can’t make enough regular people believe that it’s an emergency.  So they waste time yelling “we’re all gonna die!”

  It’s not that we don’t see or don’t care, it’s that scientists just cannot sell us on working together by clanging the ‘bell of doom’.  Well, most people, anyway.  The people they CAN sell are the radical political people.  It didn’t take much persuasion to get alarmists to join in clanging the alarm.  But most of us regular folks know a con when we see it.  And when radical political people and professional activists get going on any topic, they know no limits of sensibility. 

  And they seem to forget, or never were around to experience the ‘cons’ we’ve had hoisted upon us in the past.  We remember the alarmist movement  of the 1960s and 70s declaring the over-population of the world was at crisis point and will be our short term doom if we didn’t change our lives and follow the activist leaders. 

  Then there was the one where the world was nearly completely out of oil.  Remember that one?  There’s “no more oil in the ground and we’re all gonna die”.  Right.  This time its ‘global warming’ and “we’re all gonna die.”

  Spoiler alert.  We ARE all gonna die.  Sooner or later.  I’m tired of everyone’s political agenda being dramatized as “the end of the world and we’re all gonna die if you don’t agree with me and do what I say”.  That’s where they lose me.  They also lose me when they start pasting labels on me as a retaliation for expressing myself for not agreeing with them. 

  There are answers out there.  Let’s gather them, vet them, debate them, and choose a course of action the majority of us can support and help implement without the activist political drama.  We don’t need drama, we need calm and deliberate action.

  And in case you hadn’t noticed………. 

  The population of the world is no longer at crisis point.  Advances in food production and the general increases in the cost of raising a family have done their work naturally.  The increases in cost of fossil fuels has made it financially viable to harvest the oil which was always there but not cheap.  And the cost of renewable energy is now coming into line with reality.  The masses are embracing it.  Without the drama.

  We will find an answer to global warming.  We’re already on our way.  Emissions limits in cars and manufacturing are already making a difference.  There’s an acceptance and enthusiasm for reusing and recycling materials which can continue their existence in another form or for another purpose.

   Be smart, be engaged, and care.  And remember, the ‘sky really wasn’t falling’, but there really was a ‘wolf’.

   Keep up the good work, America.  And don’t stop now. 

 

 --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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