What a Time it Was!

On October 3, 2019 my cousin Dave Moreau passed away.  https://www.williamsbergeykoffel.com/obituary/david-moreau

Dave, Joe Szpila, another cousin, and I spent uncountable hours together playing music on our way to rock stardom.  Those moments growing up undoubtedly changed us all. We never became rock stars, but we forged a lifetime of memories.

David was a masterful writer with a gift for words and an infectious sense of humor. During those many days spent together, Joe and Dave would torture me over various preferences, particularly mayonnaise vs. mustard. 

This is a piece I wrote several years ago about those times. Despite the torture I endured at their hands, they were magical moments I have cherished all these years.

Travel well, my friend. The echoes of Bookends lives on.

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you.

Tormented by Choice

All of us face choices in our lifetime. Some of these can affect a moment, a day, or a lifetime. Often, we face ridicule and torment from those who follow a different path.

Does the toilet paper roll go over or under?

Peanut butter first, then Jelly or vice versa?

Yankees or Red Sox? (This one’s is easy for me. I like pinstripes and World Series Flags.)

Does anyone really know what time it is?

However, there is one choice I have consistently made which subjected me to a lifetime of torment and terror. One that every time I make the choice I have instant flashbacks to the taunts and the torments.

Tortures visited upon me by two people I looked up to, admired, tried to emulate.

After all these years, I am ready to face my darkest fears. Ready to confront the demons of the past.

You see, from the moment I was able to choose, I always picked mayonnaise over mustard.

There was no other way to go.

Yet I faced the ridicule, nay bullying, of my two cousins who shall remain nameless (Dave Moreau and Joe Szpila.)

They made sport of my choice. Sniffing the mayonnaise coated knife as if covered with the excrement of demons. Insinuating I was insane to so choose. Madness, they implied, it must be madness.

Oh how they tortured me. Their haughty superiority as mustard men hung over me like the Sword of Damocles.

To this day, I cannot enjoy a sandwich with my beloved mayonnaise without the demons of the past laughing in my mind. Even now, as I try to enjoy my sandwich, the torments continue.

A lifetime of torment for a simple choice. As Shakespeare said in As You Like It, “How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes!”

Reaching for the Stars with Old Technology

Here’s the random thought for the day.

In 1977, NASA launched two (then) state-of-the-art spacecraft called Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. After a grand tour of the outer planets, both spacecraft became the first man-made objects to leave the solar system.

Voyager 1 is currently 13,700,972,396 miles from the earth (which was accurate when I wrote this) but the probe is accelerating and adding approximately twenty-five miles per second to that total. Voyager 2 is a bit further behind.

Just as an aside, twenty-five miles per second sounds fast, but to put inter-stellar travel in perspective, light travels at 186,000 (give or take a few) miles per second. Voyager has been traveling for 42 years. If we fired a beam of light at it, the light would overtake the craft in twenty hours. We’ve a bit to go before we “reach for the stars.”

But I digress as I am wont to do.

Attached aboard each craft are these objects with items selected by Carl Sagan and a committee of scientists, philosophers, political figures, and others.

Sagan and his associates assembled 115 images and a variety of natural sounds, such as those made by surf, wind, thunder and animals (including the songs of birds and whales). To this they added musical selections from different cultures and eras, spoken greetings in 55 ancient and modern languages, other human sounds, like footsteps and laughter (Sagan’s) and printed messages from U.S. president Jimmy Carter and U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. The record also includes the inspirational message Per aspera ad astra (“through hardship to the stars”) in Morse code.

It occurred to me that a majority of people on Earth right now might not instantly recognize what these objects are, or how significant a part they played in our culture.

In just a few more years, these items might be considered evidence of alien technology. Alien in the sense that they came from a time long ago and fading away…

We’ve sent something out into space that no longer enjoys the widespread use it once did.

I can imagine, on a planet far, far way, an advanced life form examining the object and concluding that whoever sent it must be a technologically inferior species. Yet they would find a way to extract the information and copy it to their Beta tapes for distribution in their world.

Arthur C. Clark once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” But what is also true, is that any sufficiently advanced technology will soon be replaced by better magic.

The Poisoning of American Discourse

Perhaps we’ve something to learn from this poem by William Blake about the cost of anger.

While vigorous and enthusiastic discourse on differing ways to accomplish things in this country have always brought great benefit, the polarization of extremes does not bode well. We can, we must, always have disparate opinions and methods of accomplishing things yet we also need remember our common goal.

The President’s biggest failure, in my opinion, lies not in what he may be trying to accomplish, but in his methods and manner. Mocking, dismissing out of hand, or ignoring differing opinions from some very intelligent and accomplished Americans who have much to offer is his biggest failure, and the greatest risk to America.

Mr. Trump would be well served to step away from Twitter, put aside his skepticism of the value of others, and listen. His failure to do that is the single best argument against his re-election. The noise of impeachment will be silenced by the politics of the Senate majority who will ignore any evidence to ensure continuity of their power. Waste no more time trying to overturn an election (absent, of course, more evidence) and focus on the next election.

This country has succeeded because of our differences, not in spite of them. The anger engendered by President Trump and many of his most virulent supporters, as well as those who stand in obtuse opposition to him, are a cancer growing on the very heart of this country.

The result of that malignancy may be the destruction of the America we all love.

A Poison Tree

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

I was angry with my friend; 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow. 

And I waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles

And it grew both day and night. 
Till it bore an apple bright. 
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine. 

And into my garden stole, 
When the night had veild the pole; 
In the morning glad I see; 
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

“People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists.” G.K. Chesterton (Eugenics and other Evils)

At War Against the Mob

It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories

Order your copy in today! Available in print or Kindle version

In this remarkable new book, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

“Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow’s new book “ It’s Just the Way It Was ” is a gripping, in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order, decided with the barrel of a gun, will never be told better… “
 
Joe Pantoliano
Ralphie Cifaretto from 
The Soprano’s. 

“It’s Just the Way it Was tells the inspiring story of a principled young man who resisted the pressure of delinquency, played a crucial role in dismantling the Rhode Island mob, and rose to lead one of the finest state police organizations in the country.”

Col. Rick Fuentes, ret.
NJ State Police
(Served as Superintendent of NJSP for 16 years)

Book signings:
October 11th   Barrington Books Retold, Cranston, RI  6:00 p.m.

October 17th   MCTs Tavern, Cumberland, RI 5:00 p.m.

October 19th   Brewed Awakenings, 60 South County Commons, Wakefield, RI 10:00 a.m.

It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob

Here is why you should buy this book…

“Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow’s new book “ It’s just the way it was “ a gripping in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order were decided with the barrel of a gun,  will never be told better… “

Joe Pantoliano

(Ralphie Cifaretto in The Sopranos)

Here’s where…

Measure of a Life

One of my daughter’s close friends, who she met back in Pre-K, passed away recently. David Francazio was barely thirty years old when he died, but he managed a lifetime in those years.

David died while surgeons tried to replace his ailing heart, a condition he had endured his entire life yet never let it interfere with living. The surgery failed, David’s heart as a caring young man never did.

His days were few but full. And there is no better way to live.

While life is short, we should never measure it by the number of our days but by who we’ve touched with the days we have. There is no better yardstick of life than the advice given by the Wizard of Oz to the Tinman

“Remember, my sentimental friend we are not judged by how much we love but by how much we are loved by others.”

There are two things every living creature shares: birth and death. While it may seem counterintuitive, there is nothing more natural than dying. The duration of our lives is never one of certainty, but it is one of opportunity. David used that opportunity to its fullest extent. There is no better tribute to achieve than Living life.

Death is not the end; it is the beginning of a new phase. Whatever lies beyond this life, I find it hard to believe there is nothing. We won’t know until each of us makes that transition, but people like David are the best example of how important life can be. Not in how long we live, but how well we use those moments.

People die and those who knew them are saddened by the void left behind. Yet, for as long as you want, any time you want, you can recall their moments of life in your mind. The memories remind us that one who once was, lives on in our hearts.

At War Against The Mob

In It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

Order your copy today!

“Brendan Doherty & Joe Broadmeadow’s new book “ It’s Just the Way It Was ”  is a gripping in-depth, insider point of view from the lawman who saw it all. The Federal Hill politics of the street law & order, decided with the barrel of a gun, will never be told better…”

Joe  Pantoliano
Ralphie Cifaretto from 
TheSoprano’s. 

Book Signings

October 11th   Barrington Books Retold, Cranston, RI  6:00 p.m

October 17th   MCTs Tavern, Cumberland, RI 5:00 p.m.

Read an excerpt https://joebroadmeadowblog.com/2019/09/02/excerpt-its-just-the-way-it-was-inside-the-war-on-the-new-england-mob-and-other-stories/

Excerpt “It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories”

Read an except from the upcoming book by Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty. Go inside with investigators who infiltrated the mob. Sit with the detectives as they monitor wiretaps. Come face to face with some of the most notorious mobsters who stalked the streets of Providence, Boston, and New York.

Release Date October 9, 2019 JEBWizard Publishing

Pre-order the Kindle version here, before the release date price increase.

Chapter 3 Grundy’s Gym

In 1978, Brendan walked in the door of Grundy’s Gym in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The experience here would have a lifelong impact on Brendan. Something he could never imagine when he first went in.

It was a real boxing gym, not a studio with mirrors where guys hit the bag and brag to girls that they’re fighters. Like most hard-core boxing gyms, it didn’t have the luxury of a quality cleaning service.

Pungent sweat, punctuated by the snap of leather on leather, engulfed you. Grunts, groans, and the shouts of trainers added to the mix. Marinated in the blood, sweat, and tears from years of boxers chasing glory, the building held the echoes of dreams, despair, and determination.

It was where the thrill of victory rarely interrupted the agony of defeat. Most guys were just happy to survive. It was all part of the less glamorous reality of the boxing world.

Old fight promotion posters and pictures of boxers covered the walls. Fighters who never made it to the main bout yet showed enough heart to earn a place on that wall. Making the wall was an accomplishment, perhaps their only one, but here it meant something.

Dried blood stains covered the floor of the ring, known as the canvas, serving as reminders of bouts that went beyond sparring. There was no Rocky-style soundtrack to underscore the punishing pain. The dingy walls, gray shades of age, echoed and amplified the sounds. It wasn’t music, but it held a certain charm to those immersed in the sport. The only color, besides the boxing trunks, was the purplish-red splotches on bruised bodies.

This place was the real deal.

The owner, Bob Grundy, who later became like an uncle to Brendan, was a character out of central casting for a tough guy movie. He was a Marine Raider in World War II, fighting in the extended operation on Guadalcanal, considered the turning point of the war in the Pacific. He came up the hard way, born and raised in a one-room, cold-water flat in the Darlington section of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

He worked hard, opened his own construction company, and did well. He was a generous man who gave back to his community. He started his gym after the Notre Dame Boxing Club closed. Bob understood the gym was the only thing between jail and the streets for some young men.

 Bob charged no one for membership. The gym was free if you comported yourself like a gentleman. It was an exciting mix of characters, including ex-cons, pro fighters, cops, and con men.

If Grundy’s gym was the real deal, the authenticity came from Bob Grundy. Bob’s son, Peter, a football star at Bishop Feehan who later became one hell of a fighter, introduced Brendan to the place…

ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY https://amzn.to/2UjTkP8

BOOK SIGNINGS

October 11, 2019 6:00 p.m.
Barrington Books Retold
Garden City
Cranston, RI

October 17, 2019 5:00 p.m.
McTs Tavern
940 Mendon Rd.
Cumberland, RI

Pre-Release Sale: It’s Just the Way It Was

Now available for pre-release order for Kindle.

In It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

Make no mistake about it, it was a war targeting the insidious nature of the mob and their detrimental effect on Rhode Island and throughout New England.

Indeed, the book reveals the extensive nature of Organized Crime throughout the United States.

From the opening moments detailing a mob enforcer’s near death in a hail of gunfire to the potentially deadly confrontation between then Detective Brendan Doherty and a notorious mob associate, Gerard Ouimette, this book puts you right there in the middle.

Most books on the mob tell a sanitized story of guys who relished their time as mobsters. As Nicholas Pileggi, author of “Wiseguys,” put it, “most mob books are the egomaniacal ravings of an illiterate hood masquerading as a benevolent godfather.”

This is not that kind of book. This is the story of the good guys.

It’s just the way it was.

Order your Kindle pre-release copy here and check back for information on the release of the print version,

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WV49RGX

Book Signings

October 11, 6:00 p.m. Barrington Books Retold, Garden City Shopping Center, Cranston, RI

October 17, 5:00 p.m. McTs Tavern, Mendon Rd., Cumberland, RI

It’s Just the Way It Was…

On March 14, 1986, a dark, cold, and quiet night in Providence, Rhode Island, an ex-con with a penchant for violence, dropped into a local bar. He didn’t realize he’d just entered lion territory, and the lions were hunting…”

It’s Just the Way It Was by Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty

Thus begins the opening lines of a soon to be released book, It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, by Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty.

Coming this Fall

In It’s Just the Way It Was: Inside the War on the New England Mob and other stories, Joe Broadmeadow and Brendan Doherty take you inside the investigations, covert surveillances, and murky world of informants in the war against Organized Crime.

Make no mistake about it, it was a war targeting the insidious nature of the mob and their detrimental effect on Rhode Island and throughout New England.

Indeed, the book reveals the extensive nature of Organized Crime throughout the United States.

From the opening moments detailing a mob enforcer’s near death in a hail of gunfire to the potentially deadly confrontation between then Detective Brendan Doherty and a notorious mob associate, Gerard Ouimette, this book puts you right there in the middle.

Most books on the mob tell a sanitized story from the point of view of guys who relished their time as mobsters. As Nicholas Pileggi, author of “Wiseguys,” put it, “most mob books are the egomaniacal ravings of an illiterate hood masquerading as a benevolent godfather.”

This is not that kind of book. This is just the way it was.

Check out the video preview here https://youtu.be/n_eEP01PkMM

Signup for information on book release date and book signings here https://mailchi.mp/53bba54494da/authorjoebroadmeadow