Category Archives: Current Events / News Commentary

The horror as school shootings become “routine”

candle
By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 10/2015

Once again, a school shooting.  This time, in Oregon.   The facts come in. This many dead. This many wounded. Shooter is dead. Details about the shooter come in. President speaks. Candlelight vigils held. Grief counselors sent to the school. Politicians tweet prayers (Wow. Just wow.) National dialogue is all about guns for a week or two.

And nothing changes. We move on.

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Finding hope through the darkness of shootings — National Night Out (Rescheduled due to Thunderstorms)

03-Christmas-Still-Life---CandlesBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reorter 7/2015

Last week, for the first time in many years, I wrote a full column for this space, and then proceeded to, as they say in the newspaper business, “kill it.” – The reason? It was so dark, and so sad, that it was – uncharacteristically for me – completely bereft of hope.

The impetus for the column came when I was asked to add the announcement of the candlelight vigil — for the four Marines and one sailor who were murdered — to be held the following Sunday on Foxboro Common — to several Facebook pages.

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Musings on the latest blizzard of the 2014-2015 snowpocalypse season

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 2/2015

This past Valentine’s Day weekend, depending on where you live, yet another blizzard dropped anywhere between 8 to 20 inches of snow on the already impossibly high snow banks in your neighborhood.

As I write this, it’s Sunday afternoon, around 230 or so, and I am taking a break from the second round of snow shoveling, snow blowing, snow cursing, to share some observations on the latest blizzard.

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Robin Williams, 1951-2014

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 8/2014

In September 1978, at one of the most depressing and lonely times in my life, a new actor burst onto the scene in a hilarious show called “Mork and Mindy.”

Robin Williams weekly comedic insanity was a gift to a very sad and lonely boy — he helped me find my joy again. Every Thursday night, I knew I’d be laughing.

Back in those pre-VCR, pre-DVR days, I used my cassette recorder and audio-taped episodes of Mork & Mindy every week.

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Remembering the fallen Boston fire fighters, and thanking all our courageous protectors

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 4/2014

This past week, less than one year after the Marathon bombing and its horrible aftermath, the city of Boston is grieving again.

As you all know, a nine alarm fire on Beacon Street in Boston claimed the lives of two firefighters. There have been memorials, tributes, and by the time this column runs, these two fallen heroes will be laid to rest. Their families and friends lives will never be the same.

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Regarding CVS/Caremark’s decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products: THANK YOU!

CVSBy Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 2/2014

“Cigarettes are the only product, that if used as directed, will kill you.” – George Carlin

Full disclosure: no one asked me to write this, and this is not a paid endorsement nor advertisement.

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a fan of the CVS here in Foxboro. While I do patronize other pharmacies, there’s something about our CVS that it awesome — the people.

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“Open on Thanksgiving!”

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 11/2013

T’was a few days before Christmas, some years back, when a company called Blockbuster still rented what we used to call video tapes. I’d picked up a few choice movies for holiday viewing and asked what the late fee would be for returning the films after Christmas, since they’d be closed. The young teen behind the counter replied, “Oh, you can return then on Christmas, we’re open all day.”

And that was when I expressed my sincere condolences to him that he had to work at a VIDEO STORE on Christmas day.

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Boston Red Sox prove we are BOSTON STRONG with World Series win at Fenway

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 11/2013

“This is for you, Boston. You guys deserve it… We’ve been through a lot this year and this is for all of you and all those families who struggled.” — David Ortiz, MVP 2013 after the Red Sox World Series win.

The story goes that a few days after the September 11 attacks, singer/songwriter (and my personal hero) Bruce Springsteen walked along a bridge in New York City and stared where the twin towers had stood.

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Where can I pick up the Boston City paper?

The Boston City Paper is a terrific weekly newspaper and I am grateful to editor Paul Feeney for allowing me to be an unpaid contributor since 2006. His generosity with space in his newspaper allows my writing to not only reach a larger audience, but for stories centered on my Dorchester home of twenty-five years, an opportunity to connect with the people who live there!  many thanks Paul!

You can pick up the paper for free at any of these locations:

PAGE_1_091915Dorchester

  • Uphams Corner House of Pizza.
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Reevaluating what makes a hero and a role model

George Washington Statueby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and The Boston City Paper, 6/2013

Last week, in light of the events in the Aaron Hernandez case, the New England Patriots organization announced that anyone who wanted to return their Hernandez jersey for another jersey would be welcome to do so. The reasoning is sound and it’s a nice thing for the organization to do. I applaud it.

And it got me thinking — as a culture we love wearing team jerseys with our favorite players on them — I have a few myself — And yet, isn’t it strange that we wear jerseys of these sports “role models” and “heroes,” and want to be just like them, then disassociate immediately when they do something unspeakably evil, or illegal, or immoral.

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A Christmas prayer for the victims of Sandy Hook

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper 12/2012

All I want to write this week is a goofy op/ed piece making fun of the 12/21/2012 Apocalypse that wasn’t. I want to be funny and have a little Christmas cheer.

But the world DID end last week for a lot of people in Newtown Connecticut.

And last Friday evening, in a Wal-Mart parking lot, I did something somewhat uncharacteristic for me: I burst into tears, listening to the news reports coming in from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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Super Storm Sandy’s aftermath, for this region, a time to be grateful, and to help those affected

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City paper 11/2012

Tuesday morning, 11:00am; still no power at home; I am off from work for the day and at Foxboro Cable Access – command central for FCA-TV, grateful to my friends here to let me borrow a computer for an hour. I wanted to get these words out for this post-Sandy edition.

Along with most of the town, I lost electricity on Monday around 3:45pm .

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Grieving the Saint Kevin’s Property

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper 7/2012 and the Foxboro Reporter 8/2012

ived my first 25 years in Dorchester, and while I have moved away, I am still OFD down to my DNA and wanted to share some thoughts about the Saint Kevin property.

As an overview: The church and school were created in the 1940s or so and were kept alive and flourishing by its most famous pastor, the late Father J.

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Why are we so angry?

Electric sparks on metal wireby Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and Boston City Paper, 3/2011
 
Why are we so angry?
 
One of the magazines I read featured a recent editorial on that very subject. The author was trying to come up with a label to define the decade of 2000-2009, and he suggested, “The anger decade.” And it resonated with me. It seemed to fit.

We are so angry these days. Elected officials — both local and national — argue in very public forums, arguments that often become quite personal..

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The customer, most assuredly, is NOT always right: A cashier’s bill of rights

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter and the Boston City Paper, 8/2010

All of us have cashier and store clerk horror stories and instances where “customer service” was anything but. We’ve all dealt with disinterested teen cashiers and surly seasonal clerks who chat with friends as they count our change. We’ve tolerated rude clerks and cashiers for whom social politeness is a nebulous concept. We’ve each faced people behind that counter who make it very clear they are not interested in us, or our business.

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