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Mother’s Day Memories 2016

Posted by on May 7, 2016 in Family, Featured | 0 comments

Mother’s Day Memories 2016

There were two sides of the coin with my mother. She was alternately the most warm and generous person and sometime something else — like all of us I suppose. I could tell you about the dozens of people that she took off the street, including the drunk Indian couple and their kids, but today I’m going to reveal an incident that reveals her more mischievous side. In the mid 60’s we were living in Fairfax Virginia and we were all piled in the back of the family station wagon and things were starting to get a bit out of hand. I was torturing Mike, who was beating on Bob and so on down the family food chain. Mom was screeching (Mike said that her exact words were, “You kids better quiet down or I’ll drive this car off a cliff!”.) at the top of her lungs and that was not stabilizing the situation, so she started going faster and faster and soon, we were all flying weightless and crying and begging here to slow down. She did and it was quiet for the rest of the trip....

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Mom and Dad’s Wedding License Story

Posted by on Oct 13, 2012 in Family, Family History, Featured | 0 comments

Mom and Dad’s Wedding License Story

by Robert Morel Dad was stationed on the destroyer, USS Rooks (DD-804) from June 1951 to July 1953. He reported to her as a LTJG in June 1951 at San Diego, CA, they went via the Panama Canal to Newport, RI, where they operated up and down the East coast until April 1952, when they went back down to the Panama Canal and on to Korea where he spent four or five months operating in and around Korea.  They went into the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, and back to Newport, RI in April 1953 During that deployment, he proposed to my mom in a letter, and the wedding date was set for May 9th, 1953.  When my dad’s ship came in just a couple of weeks before the wedding, he was able to finally get off and head up to Massachusetts for the wedding that was to take place in the next few days. He realized he had forgotten his dress shoes and the marriage license in his rack after he arrived home. He drove all the way back to the ship in Newport got his shoes and license, but when he got back up the Massachusetts, he couldn’t find the wedding license.  He went back down again and went aboard the ship where he scoured the compartment and his rack, to no avail.  Crestfallen, he had to go back without the license, but the office was closed for the weekend and he was unable to get another one.  Someone he knew pulled a few strings, got the guy to come back in and he got a license, so the wedding went ahead as planned. In the early Eighties, my mother got a call from South Korea and the person on the line said they were breaking up a ship for scrap, and they had found a wedding license with her and my dad’s name on it.  They were scrapping the USS Rooks, and when they were tearing the compartment apart, they found it in a bulkhead.  Apparently what had happened, was my dad got the certificate, put it on his rack, raised the mattress up to get the shoes underneath, and when he did, the license must have slid down a gap into the bottom of a dark bulkhead where it lay for 30 years until they tore it down.  They offered to send it to her, but they declined for some...

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The Carnage of War on a Paper Route

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Culture, Death and dying, Featured, Heroes, Inpirational People, Living life | 0 comments

The Carnage of War on a Paper Route

I never served in Vietnam, but I saw the carnage of that war firsthand on my paper route. It was not on the pages of the paper, where most of my generation saw it, but in the wards of the Yokosuka Naval Hospital in Yokosuka Japan where the Navy and Marine wounded from that war, came to recover, and sometimes die. That was my paper route. It was the best job I ever had. I would sell the ‘Stars and Stripes’ bed to bed in the hospital each day after school. After my route was done, I would hang in the rec room and play pool and ping pong until it was time to go home for dinner. And the message that my new friends told me there was always the same: “Kid, don’t EVER join the service and get mixed up in this war.” I decided to take their advice. Although I grew up in a military family — my father was a career naval officer – and I considered military service an honorable path, I had seen firsthand the carnage of war. One time was especially memorable in the hospital. There were so many boys on stretchers in the hallways waiting for operations that you couldn’t pass someone without sliding sideways. I suspect it was during the Tet Offensive back in 1968. A couple of years ago, I was down in Washington D.C. to visit my parents’ gravesite, at Arlington National Cemetery. I got up early and went down to the Mall before the sun came up. There was nobody else around.  I went over to the Vietnam Memorial and walked slowly down and ran my hand across the whole length of wall and thought about all those young men that I had seen there. I don’t remember any of their names, but on this Memorial Day,  I’ll think about their sacrifice — again.  ...

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Christmas scenes at the Morels 2011

Posted by on Dec 18, 2011 in Culture, Family, Family History, Featured, Living life | 0 comments

Christmas scenes at the Morels 2011

Here’s a video of the Christmas decorations around the house.

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The AMAZING Story of the Making of Rocky

Posted by on Nov 24, 2011 in Creativity, Culture, Featured, Heroes, Inpirational People, Living life | 0 comments

The AMAZING Story of the Making of Rocky

Perhaps you’ve head some of the backstory of the making of the motion picture Rocky, written and starring Sylvester Stallone. I had heard whiffs of this but I stumbled on a series of videos that interviewed Stallone and when I dug down a little more, found an incredible story of perseverance and determination. The videos are assembled at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in hearing it right from the horse’s mouth. In the early 70’s Sylvester Stallone wanted to be an actor and was striking out. He was broke, no money and living in New York. Times were so desperate that he hocked his (first) wife’s jewelry. (Something that he advises that you never do. Duh!) One day he went to the library just to get warm and stumbled on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and was inspired to start writing. He moved out to California with his dog and best friend, Butkus, and ends up living in one room where he could open the window and door while sitting on the bed. California is not going much better and he’s so destitute he couldn’t feed his dog. He went down to the local liquor store tried to sell for him $50. Someone beats him down to $25 and he took it. Then one night he saw the heavyweight boxing match: Muhammad Ali vs. Chuck Wepner. Wepner was a boxing ‘stumblebum’ brought out to fight the champ, and heavy underdog. But the fight lasted all 15 rounds and he actually knocked Ali down. Stallone was inspired by the story and wrote the whole movie screenplay for Rocky in just a couple of days. A few weeks after, Stallone was at a casting call for an acting part. He did not get the part, as usual, and as going out the door he mentioned that he had a script that he was working on. He asked if they’d be interested in taking a look. They consented. Well, after reading the script, they liked what they saw, and they offered him $25,000. So, here’s someone who sold his dog for $25 and is offered this seemingly huge sum. There was one condition Stallone had: he had to play Rocky. There was no way. The producers had Ryan O’Neil, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, or James Caan in mind to play Rocky. From there, they sweetened the offer until they reached $375,000. Stallone still refused! Frustrated, their final offer was that he could star in the movie but he would only get $35,000 for the script and less than a million to produce. He took it. His first step was to go back to liquor store to buy back his dog. He staked it out for 3 straight days and the dog and his new owner finally showed. He explained how much the dog meant to him and offered $100. Nope. $500? $1000? Nope. They settled on $15,000 and a part in the movie. The dog is back and actually appeared in the movie! So even in 1976 $1M is not allot of money for a full feature film. They worked on site in Philadelphia, with a hand held camera and many members of his family had bit parts in the movie. The movie gets done in less than...

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30+ Years of Volleyball: Time to do other things

Posted by on Jul 17, 2011 in Coaching, Featured, Living life, Sports | 0 comments

30+ Years of Volleyball: Time to do other things

It has been nearly 30 consecutive years, on this weekend that I have played, coached and organized volleyball at the Bay State Games (Massachusetts State Olympics). This is the first year in its history that I have not participated and I do miss seeing some of the friends that I’ve made over the years, but it was kind of nice not be be in a gym on a beautiful summer day. I have quite a few stories from this tournament as a player and a coach, but my favorite is from the perspective as an organizer. For a few years in the 90’s I served as the tournament director for the event and part of my responsibility was to set up the nets and make sure everything was in place for the weekend’s competition. My contact at MIT was really excited when she told me that they had purchased brand new nets for us. So when I got there Friday evening to set up, they were new allright — new tennis nets! (Of course, they threw away the old nets.) After a mad scramble and a revised set up time on Saturday morning before the sun came up, the games came off without a hitch. Another is the time I was hit in the face so hard by a spike that I saw stars. The team was celebrating at the facial so exuberantly, that they didn’t see the ball bounce off my face and drop on their side of the net for a point! Too bad I didn’t get to see the whole play! 😉...

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A Trip to Mount Holyoke with Charlie Whitcomb

Posted by on Jul 10, 2011 in Featured, Living life, Travel | 0 comments

A Trip to Mount Holyoke with Charlie Whitcomb

Yesterday, I took a trip out to Mount Holyoke with college friend, Charlie Whitcomb.  No, not the college, but the nearly 1000 foot hillside that the college is named after! Mount Holyoke is the western-most peak of the Mount Holyoke Range located in the Connecticut River Valley out in western Massachusetts.  At the top are the remnants of an old hotel first opened in 1800’s. Unfortunately, the hotel structure is need of repairs and you can’t access the porch that goes completely around the hotel and used to give a 360 view of the entire valley. Below are: A panoramic photo looking at Northampton from Mt. Holyoke, spliced together by my brother, Mike. A photo of Charlie and I (and some other friends) on the way up the mountain, back when we were dorm-mates at Greenough at UMass. (Photo by Chip Herzog) And, a short video of Charlie yesterday.      ...

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Still, THE Most Incredible July 4 Story…EVAH

Posted by on Jul 3, 2011 in Culture, Featured, Heroes, History, Inpirational People | 0 comments

Still, THE Most Incredible July 4 Story…EVAH

Perhaps you’ve heard the tale: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day,  July 4th. It was also on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1826.  But did you know that James Monroe also died on July 4th and Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4th? The Adams and Jefferson story is really quite a tale. They were collaborators on writing a great majority of the Declaration, with Benjamin Franklin. Jefferson was actually JA’s vice president after Washington retired, but they disagreed strongly on many things and became bitter rivals. In the history that I was taught, Jefferson is held up as some amazing character, while Adams was portrayed as an abject failure as president.  Now that we see them both in the lens of over 200 years, the real strengths and weakness of both men are a bit clearer. The good news is that these men were able to bury the hatchet and become friends again later in life. Supposedly, JA’s last words were: “Thomas Jefferson survives.” He was wrong. Jefferson passed away just a few hours before Adams — on July 4, a few years...

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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 25 Years Later

Posted by on Jun 26, 2011 in Creativity, Culture, Featured, Movies, Music | 0 comments

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: 25 Years Later

It’s possible that you have only bits and pieces of the theme song from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This song was also use on Michael J. Fox’s movie: The Secret of My Success.  Here’s the entire song: Oh Yeah! This month, 25 years ago, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was released.  There was some wonderful and prophetic casting (Charlie Sheen as a druggie, Ben Stein as the economics teacher) and some of great and memorable lines. Here’s a bit of FBDO history and trivia from Wikipedia: Economic lecture Ben Stein’s famous monotonic lecture about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act was not originally in Hughes’s script. Stein, by happenstance, was lecturing off-camera to the amusement of the student cast. “I was just going to do it off camera, but the student extras laughed so hard when they heard my voice that (Hughes) said do it on camera, improvise, something you know a lot about. When I gave the lecture about supply side economics, I thought they were applauding. Everybody on the set applauded. I thought they were applauding because they had learned something about supply side economics. But they were applauding because they thought I was boring…It was the best day of my life,” Stein said....

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Sports, and life, can hinge on one moment

Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 in Coaching, Featured, Heroes, Inpirational People, Living life, Sports | 0 comments

Sports, and life, can hinge on one moment

Sometimes in sports (and life) everything can hinge on just one moment. For the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Finals it was the late hit on Nathan Horton in game three  that knocked him out of the series and propelled the Bruins to win 4 out of the next five games as they rallied to win. It was truly amazing because the team had lost two gut wrenching games to start the series and were able to come back and pretty much crush the Canucks.  It all hinged on that one play–one moment. I can remember a few other times watching and playing sports where there was a similar experience. OK, this is not nearly for the Stanley Cup, but the first year we had a team at Saint John’s we were able to make the state tournament and were matched up against the top seed, Xaverian High, in the first round.  We were down 2 games to 1 and were 4 points away from elimination, 11-5, and then something miraculous happened. To take that big lead, their big hitter blocked our middle rather savagely — straight down. He then proceeded to posture and dance around the court and gesture to the home crowd, which responded enthusiastically.  We did not appreciate that quite as much, and proceeded to win that game and the deciding 5th game to close it out. That act sparked the team and it all hinged on that one moment. Lesson: Be humble; don’t count your chickens before they hatch; let sleeping dogs lie, and so on… I am not a huge hockey fan normally. I do follow the local sports here in Boston and I follow hockey more to hear the interviews with the coaches and players. I find them the most thoughtful, humble and toughest athletes out there. Compare and contrast an interview with any hockey player and just about any NBA hoop-god — no contest. So congrats to the Bruins and for the lesson that life can hinge on that one...

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