Raves and (Minor-Key) Rants

I’m fond of a show that appears on Public television on Friday nights that comes out of WGBH Boston. It’s called Beat the Press and does quick hits on various journalism stories of the week. I’m particularly fond of a segment they do called Raves and Rants and thought about stealing that format for this month’s segment of my own, except that I have too many rants to enumerate here, as I’m sure you do, so I will endeavor to stick to some things I found to rave about this month.

First: Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Naomi Wadler, et al. Seriously. No words. Regardless of your political bent, if you cannot be impressed by the clarity, power, and purpose of these young people, you are blind. Unlike many of us who feel like we’re doing all we can, or that we have no voice, or that nothing will change anyway, these kids are charging forward. For the first time in some time, I feel as if I can allow myself a little hope.

Second: The Begathon weeks of WMPG, the radio voice of USM, just concluded. If you don’t already listen to WMPG, you’re missing out on some of the most eclectic and interesting local radio I’ve ever experienced. It’s not aural wallpaper, like so many commercial radio stations, and it will challenge you at times, but it is my belief that the most important cultural and artistic moments happen locally and WMPG is as local as it gets. It’s great radio and I urge you to check it out.

Third: Yes, spring is coming and none too soon. My third rave is on behalf of the sheer pleasure of living where we do, where I can live ten minutes from downtown Portland and still have the benefit of trees, sand, and salt water any time I choose. The specific thing that made me grateful this month was sitting in my kitchen with a cup of coffee watching the red-tail hawk who resides in the trees behind the house stalk one of the billions of gray squirrels who share space with my vegetable garden.

Around the tree, the squirrel coils, trying to get out of sight. Flap of the wings and—oops—there’s that hawk again. Around the tree again. Son of a bitch, he gets around. (Side note: I rarely see a hawk perching in brush four or five feet off the ground.)

And the game goes on like this for five or ten (long, for the squirrel) minutes, until the hawk tires of the game and pounces, drags the limp corpse off into the woods, and starts to pull it to pieces. Nature red in tooth and claw, as we like to say in our house. (And not just about the publishing business . . .)

And fourth, I want to rave for a program I think does splendid work: Project Healing Waters, which is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing. In 2017, Project    Healing Waters grew to over two hundred programs nationwide that served 3.8 million disabled active service men and woman and veterans. If you bought one of my books this year, you contributed to this very important work. So thank you.

Okay, maybe just a couple rants: beer that tastes like orange and grapefruit, challenging the outcome of plays in baseball, and solemn articles in writers’ magazines about curtailing your expectations if you publish your first novel after 50 (or 30, or 25). See this for Neil Gaiman’s perfect riposte.

That is all, as long as yon little buggers stay off my lawn. Spring forward!

About Richard Cass

Dick is the author of the Elder Darrow Jazz Mystery series, the story of an alcoholic who walks into a dive bar in Boston . . . and buys it. Solo Act was a Finalist for the Maine Literary Award in Crime Fiction in 2017 and In Solo Time won the award in 2018. The third book in the series, Burton's Solo, came out in 2018 and Last Call at the Esposito in 2019. Sweetie Bogan's Sorrow was published in 2020, to thunderous pandemic acclaim. The sixth book in the series, Mickey's Mayhem, will come out in 2021. Dick lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth.
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3 Responses to Raves and (Minor-Key) Rants

  1. Nicely ranted. Is the hawk available for rent?

  2. Richard Cass says:

    Many of my neighbors have asked. I’m thinking of taking up falconry . . .

  3. Yes, yes, yes and yes on the raves. WMPG has an analogue downeast (WERU) that is similarly fabulous, and not just because its call letters are meant to be read We R U. The hawk stalking the squirrel story is intense. We have a zillion squirrels that pillage our feeders on a regular basis, but no neighborhood hawk.

    I need more facts on the beer 🙂

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