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-You may be one of the readers who find this weekly missive via LinkedIn, and if so I sincerely hope that you still came to tomkielty.com after the link to last week’s installment, which took a legitimate stand against the NRA and their endlessly heartless role in countless American tragedies, was deemed inappropriate and (I love this) “bullying.” I won’t rehash my opinions further (they are easily accessed here) but I would like to clarify two things. First, people have asked why I post on a “Business Specific Networking” site. Quite simply, because writing is my business, and if a potential employer has access to my work they may touch base, as a few have. Secondly, a freelance writer with his limited audience (for which I am immensely grateful) can be seen as breaking the site’s “policy on bullying and harassment” against a behemoth billion-dollar lobbying machine? Me, against the NRA, and they feel bullied? The absurdity of that idea is nearly as stupid as Americans’ easy accessibility to assault rifles.

-If you have ever found yourself thoughtlessly fixated on a television cooking show or if you’re a loyal devotee to one there is one person you owe a debt of thanks and that is Julia Child. Her remarkable tale from her upbringing as Julia Carolyn McWilliams, an impressively tall (6-3) Pasadena debutante who after meeting her husband, Paul Child, while serving in intelligence for the United States during World War II relocated with him to France where she found her passion in cooking is delivered marvelously in, “Julia: The Delicious Life of America’s First Celebrity Chef,” currently airing on CNN. While living abroad she penned the pioneering cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” a collaboration with French cooks, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. This led to her PBS program, “The French Chef,” which could strongly be posited defined Boston’s WGBH roster at a time when their content consisted largely of Harvard faculty members discussing esoteric subjects. Child’s unlikely telegenic charisma was groundbreaking and opened up the American palate to culinary discovery at a time when the culinary emphasis was on speed and convenience (think TV dinners). Absolutely every celebrity chef who has penned a cookbook or appeared on television should raise their heads to the sky in gratitude to her each time they cash a check. One need not be a foodie to enjoy, “Julia!,” but do eat before viewing, your mouth will be watering. Bon appetite!

-I have fought a battle against cynicism for almost as long as I have loved the Red Sox and struggled with math but the marketing tie-in of releasing, “Top Gun: Maverick,” on Memorial Day just smells of rancid opportunism to me. I stand in awe and gratitude of all the brave men and women who have served in the service of this great nation but I find the act of exceedingly glamorizing military service as a promotional device - on a weekend dedicated to memorializing those who paid the highest cost - in the poorest of taste. I suppose cost is inconsequential for the all-time box office champion but this is just slimy, right down to the sequel casting omission of Kelly McGillis. To her credit she pulled no punches, admitting seemingly without malice, “I’m old and I’m fat, and I look age-appropriate for what my age is, and that is not what that whole scene is about.” I oddly enough once shared a flight to the Bahama’s with McGillis (she commented in the restroom queue that we were wearing the same sneakers, Jack Purcell's), and the fact that my traveling companion didn’t recognize her speaks to her honesty, a trait that rarely plays or pays anywhere but is worthy of a salute.

-I will preface this entry by stating that I have never played a hole of golf in my life. For that matter, I have also never been on snow skis and when it comes to waterskis I “jumped the shark” long before the Fonz. So, I am not quite sure why I dialed up, “The Match,” a televised round of golf between NFL quarterbacks, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes, this past Wednesday in Vegas. Maybe, I wanted to see how the other half lives, a foursome of millionaires out for a mid-week walk. Maybe, it was for the commentary from Charles Barkley, who was surprisingly disappointing with his reverence for the game and lack of wisecracks. Maybe, I wanted a peek at the personalities of guys I see most often wearing helmets (Brady acquitted himself as a regular guy by dropping an uncensored, “Let’s go fuck ‘em up,” to Rodgers at the first tee and Mahomes cracking a beer on the third seemed legit). Or, maybe I wanted to see a Wynn Casino golf course since its namesake, casino mogul Steve Wynn, was chased out of Boston and this week was sued by the Justice Department, so this was very likely my only chance. In any case by the 5th hole I was heading for the clubhouse wondering what else my television remote had in store for me and where I could apply for the kind of job that would allow me the personal and financial freedom to be one of the countless members of the gallery in the middle of the day in the middle of the work week (many of whom were dodging errant shots). Fore!

-It is not an understatement to say that an Arkansas local legend taking a fellow Razorback and four Canadians under his prominent wing changed rock n’ roll music forever. “The story of The Band began with Ronnie Hawkins,” said Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer, Robbie Roberston, one of those impressionable young lads from the Great White North who learned from the legend who passed away on Sunday. “He was our mentor. He taught us the rules of the road.” A fledgling musician would be hard-pressed to find a better mentor than Hawkins who had authentically-earned dexterity with rockabilly, blues, jazz, and country imbued with the regional taste of the traveling minstrel and medicine shows of the time. Hawkins went to Canada in the 1960’s and established himself as “Toronto’s Elvis” (as well as hosting John Lennon and Yoko Ono on his ranch outside Toronto where they recorded this interview), but his life was decidedly American: a college dropout who did a stint in the Army before barnstorming through a roadhouse regime as an enthralling frontman. The head of his label, Morris Levy of Roulette Records once remarked that Hawkins “moved better than Elvis, he looked better than Elvis, and he sang better than Elvis.” Under his tutelage, the Hawks (Robertson; Garth Hudson, Rick Dando; Richard Manuel and Levon Helm) blossomed into legends, The Band, making history with Bob Dylan and on their own. They always held the “Hawk” dear though and his appearance at “The Last Waltz” was a highlight in a night filled with stars. “After the Hawks left Ron and went out on our own, we joined up with Bob Dylan. Next the Hawks became The Band and the rest is history, as they say," Robertson eulogized. "All starting out with Ronnie Hawkins." 

  “Ninety percent of what I made went to women, whiskey, drugs, and cars,” Hawkins recalled. “I guess I just wasted the other 10 percent.” A true one of a kind, Ronnie Hawkins was 87.

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