Real-Life Causes of Workplace Stress

Don’t be a Dwight

I had a boss once brag that, “I don’t have stress – I’m a carrier.”  When he boasted that, it took a monumental amount of restraint to not say, “Actually, you’re a douchebag.”  Stress is a reality of work.  As such, it was finally time for me to tackle the subject…in my usually snarky fashion.  Strap in and prepare for the ride…

I was going to lead off with the traditional causes of stress at work… you know the usual culprits:

  • Things I want to do but can’t.
  • People’s values and actions clash with my own.
  • Things don’t meet my expectations.

Yawn.  I almost put myself to sleep.  While quasi-accurate, these reasons are too high level and lack the kick necessary to detail true sources of workplace stress.  As such, here is my attempt at a comprehensive list – in an unranked order.   These have come from a lot of different sources, friends in other organizations, etc.  Don’t try and attribute these to my current employer…

Project managers with no sense of reality. “Seriously, do you own a calendar?”

Deadlines that are just pulled out of someone’s ass.  “Why November 13th?”  “Why not?”  “It’s a Sunday.”  “I don’t care, that’s the date I chose.”  “I understand, you’re a dick.”

Colleagues that cook food that reeks in the office kitchenette.   “What is that smell, garlic roasted lizard scrotum?”

Mandatory social events after hours.  In fact, mandatory-anything contributes to my stress level.

When IT staff uses technical lingo for the sake of using technical lingo.  “Stop creating acronyms to sound intelligent!”

People that use shared workspaces and leave it in a mess.  “What did you do here – surgery?”

Individuals that swap out a defective office chair for mine.

Anyone involved with stocking office supplies.  “Are you a time traveler from the past?  A dozen three-hole punches?  Three-ring binders?  Ledger sheets?  I need a binder maybe once every ten years.  How about stocking some pens, paper, and maybe a thumb-drive?”

Technology people that blame problems on end-user ignorance.  “It works fine, you’re just too stupid to use it or realize how great it really is.”

Any conversation about internally branding anything.  “I could seriously go the rest of my life without hearing the word ‘branding.’

Project teams deliberately set up in five different global time zones.  “Our team call is at 5am because we don’t own a globe or access the internet.”

Co-workers who schedule meetings without consideration for anything I have in my calendar.  “You do see that I am not available in that time slot, don’t you—moron?”

Managers who make arbitrary decisions about people’s careers without discussing it with them. “I’m moving you to Dawn’s team – surprise!”

Leaders who reorganize more than twice a year.  “You know, after fifteen of these, it might dawn on you that the problem isn’t how the team is structured – it’s the fact you keep shuffling them around that is the problem.”

Individuals that say, “You own your own career.”

People that only try and put a positive spin on things.  “Some honesty would go a long way here.”

Any steering group.  “That’s all I need, another group giving me conflicting directions…”

Budgeting.  “I resent you asking me what I need, then cutting it by 34.8%.  It’s not ironic, it’s irritating.”

Anyone asking for my feedback and ignoring it.

Smoking areas that are the entrance to buildings where we non-smoker’s must wade through.

People who think Sharepoint is a solution to any problem.   “Sharepoint is the origin of many problems.”

People who ignore me when I say, “I wouldn’t do that shit if I were you…”

(This one is totally mine.)  People who critique my business writing.  I’m not perfect, but I’ve had a little bit more writing experience than you.

IFAC—Idiots from another company.  Consultants or brand new employees who brag about knowing a great deal on a subject, but have no idea how your organization works. This makes their expertise less-than-useful.

Anyone exposing leadership to a buzzword/acronym program.  Management is drawn to a buzzword program like vultures to dead possums. I still have scars from TQM in the 1990’s.

Anyone with unpredictable explosive temper.  “Seriously, that was the thing that set you off?”

Any implemented improvement that makes it ten times worse.

Coworkers that take up smoking to avoid spending time at work.

Performance review discussions where we are going to talk about my career.

A mandatory meeting that doesn’t have to be mandatory at all.

Required learning with a test at the end that no human could pass.   “Please pick the second least desirable or inaccurate response…”

People who are off sick, but posting images of themselves out having fun on Facebook.  “Gee, you don’t look feverish at the amusement park.”

Processes put in place just to make a team seem more important than they are.

Team leaders who attempt to apply Agile or Six Sigma principles on teams that have no idea what they are talking about. “No one cares about your black belt.  In fact, we may strangle you with it.  We have a plan…”

Individuals that trash the office bathroom.  “Seriously do you just throw paper on the floor at home?  And what you did to the toilet could only be described with the phrase, ‘war crime.’”

Any theme day in the cafeteria.  “I just want a hamburger for God’s sake.  I don’t care that it is Festival of Bolivian Afternoon Snacks Day.”

Rules that only seem to apply to me.

Requests for feedback from people I barely know.  “I don’t even remember you being on that project.  In fact, who are you?”

People that invite the entire world to every conference call.

Managers that think learning, all by itself, is a solution to a managerial issue (or lack of leadership).  “You presume that I am ignorant.  I am not.  I’m just ignoring you.  Big difference.”

Skype for Business.

When someone asks for my opinion then spends an hour trying to tell me that I am wrong to have that opinion.  “You lost me at the word ‘wrong’…”

Assigning me a task when I wasn’t even invited to the meeting.  “Really?  What if I say, ‘no’?”

Status reports for people who won’t or can’t read.

Contributing to any dashboard.

Namedroppers that think I care.  “You’ve mentioned Bob’s name three times.  I know who he is.  I’m not just impressed with your argument.”

When someone randomly insists on using video conferencing and I’m wearing my Captain America tee-shirt at home.  Honestly, I don’t even try and explain it anymore. One person asked me once, “what’s that you’re wearing?”  My response:  “My uniform.  I fight crime starting at 5pm.”

Any PowerPoint slide that uses more than five conflicting graphic elements or is so confusing that it disrupts space-time one foot from the computer where it is being shown.  “Go to the next slide – holy crap – you’re warping the space here in the conference room!”

Any solution involving, “throwing more bodies at it.”  “You can’t put nine pregnant women in the room and have a baby in a month.”

Not starting meetings on time.  “So, you don’t respect my time.”

Not ending meetings on time. “So, you don’t respect other people’s time too.  What a douche!”

Scheduling a meeting for something that could have been handled in a short email.

Forced volunteer work aimed at making your organization seen more hip.  “So, you want me to go and plant trees?  So mental and emotional punishment isn’t enough, you want the physical kind too?”

Any business trip through Newark International Airport.  “EWR’s Motto:  We top 3% on-time arrivals and departures most months of the year!”

When my manager refers to me as “evil.”  True story.  “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

Team building activities after hours. “If it is so important we all get along, why not do it during work hours?”

Anyone asking for a deliverable that requires time travel.  “My time machine is for personal use, not because you can’t manage your project.”

Coworkers that, by default, assume everyone is more stupid than they are.  “That sir, is my job!”

Fear and speculation of layoffs, RIF’s, right-sizing, people being made redundant, etc.

Any project that has a misleading code-name.  Example:  Streak, Lightning Bolt, Fast & Furious, Slam Dunk.

Anytime the company seeks to “improve” the employee benefits.

People that show up late to the meetings and stop the gathering so that they can be brought up to speed.

When a new technology tool is implemented that really doesn’t solve a problem.

When everything at work is a high priority or “Priority One.”  “You do realize that when you do that, you’re not really setting priorities – right?”

Co-workers that text during meetings.  “Put the fuc*ing phone away.”

When management says one thing and does another.

Email message addressed to everyone that should be addressed to a handful people.

People whose entire job is to enforce pointless rules.

People who take meeting calls from Starbucks or Panera.  “Dude, I can hear the Barista in the background.”

Leaders who add requirements to a project three weeks before the unrealistic deadline.  “You are not being ironic, you’re being an ass.”

Any crisis that isn’t.  I learned how to identify real crisis’s early in my career.  Apparently I am on my own in that regard.

When routine technology fails.

When someone assumes a level of ignorance on my part that isn’t there.

Security overkill. “Why do I have to change my password every two weeks?”  “Why not?  Are you hiding something?”

When a leader tries to force a new technology on you because they think it’s trendy.

The annual performance review process.

When management sends out a message to save money by cutting travel costs – while they are at an out-of-the-country meeting.  “Clearly I am the problem…”

When I volunteer to do something and am told no.  “Why did you ask for volunteers in the first place?”

Managers who get survey results and spend hours tearing them apart attempting to invalidate them or convince me that a low number is actually a good thing.

The battery on any device.  “Crap – my Bluetooth just died.”

Weekend or late-night meetings.

Any meeting that kicks off with the person who called the meeting saying, “So why did I schedule this meeting?”

When that thing you have worked on for the last year of your life is cancelled three weeks before it was to be completed.

Anyone who says, “We don’t need to get the senior leaders on-board with this concept.”

When my routine business expense that I have submitted the same way a dozen times is rejected.  “This is Einstein’s definition of insanity.”

People who misuse the word “risk.”  “You keep using that word – I do not think it means what you think it means.”

When real life clashes with work life.  Technically it is when work attempts to override my real life.  “Oddly enough I do not live to work – I work to live.”  In my case, couple this with, “My life outside of this place is infinitely more interesting and entertaining than this cubicle-padded mental hospital.”

Leaders that make up facts.  “Our people are buried in surveys.”  “Um, we do two a year.  How exactly does that constitute buried?”

When the annual promotion list is put out.  Three letters and a question mark sum up my reaction to at least 20% of promotions…WTF?

When individuals misuse the word “strategy.”  “If you change it every six months, it isn’t strategic – it’s tactical.”

When someone ignores my expertise, experience, and skills because they perceive themselves as smarter.  “You don’t want to go there and force me to explain why you are less-intelligent or experienced as I am.”

The cancellation of meetings with no notice – even worse when they are at 7am or earlier.  “There is a special hell for you robbing me of 20 minutes of sleep.  It is dark, deep and filled with evil…”

The annual goal setting ritual.  “Light the candles and put on the robes…it’s time to make some stuff up.”

Watching someone else kiss butt with upper management.  “Why don’t you two get a room?”

People with no sense of humor.  If you made it this far, I think you qualify with having a sense of humor.

I’m sure you have some of your own – so add them to the comments list.  And don’t forget to purchase my book – Business Rules.  

Review – Star Trek Attack Wing – USS Enterprise B

Silver?  Really?  Ugh! 

I haven’t written about Star Trek Attack Wing in a while – and with good reason.  Re-releases of existing models with new paint just doesn’t excite me.  I buy miniatures to play, not to collect.  Ever hopeful to have all of the starships named Enterprise, I had to pick up the Enterprise B

First – the mini.  It is silver.  Literally dipped in silver with two spots of red on the impulse engines, some black stripes on the nancelles, and some blue on the warp drive and deflector dish.  I could have painted this mini in less than two minutes, and most of that would have been me searching for my paints.  This mini reflects light it is so shiny. 

The NX class ships were silverish WizKids, but that ended there. What the hell?  Was your factory out of florescent orange or purple? Was there some sort of sale on silver paint?   To be kind, the paint job on the Enterprise B sucks dead lizard-ass.  You get the impression here that Wizkids is deliberately flipping off its customers when they release product like this.  It is a massive disappointment of Chinese molded plastic and likely lead-based paints put on by forced child-labor.  You can almost smell the painter’s tears of shame and sadness on this model.  Sniff. 

I calmed myself momentarily.  “Chill Blaine.  Be cool.  There are bound to be some good cards here.  I mean we can get another Captain Kirk or Scotty.  They were in Generations.   Maybe there will be an enchanced transporters card or a rescue card of some sort. It will be okay dude – just relax.” 

Fuc* a duck.  Even as I type this I pause and do a face plant.  Some cards are useful  Deflector Control – the ability to repair a shield is always welcome. Demora Sulu gives you an extra emergency move – which could be a lifesaver.  The improved phasers seem good – but with the timer…I wonder if they are even worth the points.  Resonance Burst is good but only has a range of one.  This could be something useful if it had longer range – mostly for decloaking enemy ships.  At a range of one, why bother. 

There’s a holo-communicator that lets you “borrow” another Captain’s skills within a range of 1-2.  That could be good for fleet engagements though frankly, this card seems to be just tossed in – we never saw this on the Enterprise B in Star Trek Generations.  Could you at least pick cards that have some relationship to the starship?  Apparently I’m asking too much.

Beating a dead horse, the cards that show the ship show it as white – not silver.

Captain Harriman is rated a two (which seems a tad high based on the film) and gets a free action.  His card barely warrants a yawn. 

No Kirk, Scotty, or Checkov cards.  Another wasted opportunity on the part of Wizkids.

While I await the Enterprise C miniature, I found this release of the B to be lacking.  I get the feeling Wizkids isn’t even trying any more.   Here’s a tip for not inciting your fans:  Don’t slap a sticker commemorating the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and put out a crappy product.   I give the Enterprise B a whopping one star.  

Our new true crime project – The Colonial Parkway Murders


As some of you know, I tend to focus on writing true crimes – specifically those tied to cold cases. I try and alternate between cold cases and other books (or closed cases) because of the incredible emotional investment you make with cold cases as an author.  Also, when you write about a cold case you are putting yourself out there, physically and personally.  Killers are often not fond of having their dirty deeds brought back into the spotlight – or their own involvement exposed. Also there’s the time you spend with families and friends of the victims.  If you don’t become emotionally engaged with them, then you’re not doing your job correctly as a writer.

On my true crime books for the last three years I partner with my daughter Victoria Hester as a co-author.  It helps greatly to have another set of eyes and hands work on a book – and our writing styles are similar.  We review ideas for books constantly.  It isn’t your garden-variety father-daughter relationship.  Yes, I haul her out to crime scenes.  For us, that’s oddly normal.

Many readers send clippings or emails with suggestions.  It’s part of being a true crime author.  Everyone’s murder is a potential book.

When we look at cold cases as possible subjects for a book there are things we look for that are more gut instinct than science.  People come to us all of the time with, “You have to look into the murder of X.”  In many cases we do just that, pulling newspaper articles and seeing if there is indeed something interesting there, something that catches our attention.

Ninety-nine percent of the time it is a tragic crime but not one that would compel us to spend 8-15 months of research and write.  That isn’t us downplaying the sadness of that loss, but a harsh reality – not all murders are worth the incredible investment of time.  Not every crime warrants a book about it.  I know people don’t like to hear that, especially if it is their friend or loved one – but that is often the truth of the matter.

Sometimes I do cursory research into a subject to write a magazine article about it – before jumping in and doing a book.  This allows me to test the waters.  This allows me to validate my assumptions about the case(s).

So what do we look for?

Is there a story to be told – one that will engage and captivate the reader?  We are not detectives; we are story tellers.  I say this often with people so their expectations are managed.   We investigate cases – that is true.  There has to be a narrative that is going to grab the reader. While it sounds cruel to say that some crimes are boring, a better choice of description might be “routine.”  People have to want to read the story.  In some ways they have to identify with the characters and events surrounding the crime(s).

Did the crime leave an imprint on the community where it happened?  People want to read about things their friends and family know or talk about.   Events of significance to a community often resonate with readers outside of that community.  I want to write books that people will talk about because they are already talking about them.

Is there a twist – something that will capture the reader’s attention?  This usually takes the form of something new that we can introduce to the story.  Are there misperceptions that can be set straight?  Are there new facts we can present readers?  We always want to be more than a regurgitation of what has appeared already in the newspaper accounts.  This is always hard to gauge at the start of a project – you don’t know what you don’t know.  Intuition plays a big part here.

Does the story speak to us as writers?  Do we feel any sort of connection with the victims?  We like writing about people that readers can identify with.  That first step is for us to feel some sort of connection with the victims and/or their families.  For us to write about people, we have to in some way have to empathize with where they were in life, what they were doing, what they were achieving.  It doesn’t have to be substantive or tangible – just a feeling.  Sometimes those connections are generational (I was a child of the 70’s and 80’s) sometimes it is geographical.

One reader/far keeps asking me to look into the death of a friend who was involved with drugs who had an abusive relationship with her boyfriend (who allegedly killed her).  While I am sympathetic; this victim did not lead a life that most people can connect with.  While her death was tragic, it is simply not relatable enough for most readers.

Do we have the support of law enforcement?  In most cases we strive to have a positive relationship with law enforcement.  It is never our intention to create problems for the successful prosecution of a cold case.  We’re not tools for the police, we operate independently.  Sometimes those connections are pretty strong, sometimes they are one-way doors where we share information and never hear the results.

Has enough time come to pass on the case?  Emotional wounds never heal completely, which is one reason we don’t go after current cases.  It is important for some time to have passed, so that the case is indeed truly cold.  Personally I like the older cases because they allow us to bake in some historical context to the book.  It is one thing to give a reader a mental picture of a place; it is another to give them a picture of that place in a different time.  It adds to the challenges and fun in the writing.

Is there intrigue?  Will the readers be curious about the case still?  Will they want more?  Will the readers care – either about the victims or the crimes themselves?  Cold cases are great for this because they have an element of mystery.  The reader is a detective, piecing together the information too. We simply provide the journey for the reader.

Can we do some good by writing the book (generating new tips or leads – righting a wrong)?  We do not solve cases.  We’re writers.  Our job is to take the facts and weave a good readable story.   Our readers will solve the cases – most likely one of them knows a tip or clue that could help resolve a case.  For us, what is important is an ability to generate tips.  Don’t kid yourself – I get a tip or so every month on one of the cases we’ve written about.  We turn them over to the police to act on.  Why?  Simply put, we want to write the last chapters on the cold case books – the arrest and conviction of the killers.

All of this criteria is entirely subjective on our part.

The Colonial Parkway Murders was an easy choice for us. 

I wrote an article about the case for Real Crime magazine last summer on the cases and became hooked.  I got Victoria in the loop and we’ve been diligently doing research on these murders for months now.  I’ve been holding back on revealing too much what we’ve been working on until we had some degree of contact with all of the victim’s families.  Also, in just a few hours, we are coming up on the anniversary of the first the string of murders and disappearances coined as the Colonial Parkway Murders.

Our weekends have been burned and churned with trips all across the state, especially the Tidewater region.  We have met some truly remarkable people – and the stories we have gathered are heart-wrenching and even inspiring.

It is a huge project and we have been helped by many fantastic people along the way so far.   We’ve had a fantastic publisher lined up for this for months now, Wild Blue Press.  They seem excited about the book, as are we. To be honest, this project is daunting.  It is hard enough to capture a single murder – and in this case we are dealing with six victims and two victims that are missing.

Folks, I have never written about a case this incredible.  There are stories here, compelling, tragic, and much more.  This book is forcing us to up our game, so to speak.

I’ll be writing more about these cases and what we’ve learned in our own long investigation into these crimes.  The working title for the book is A Special Kind of Evil – because for any one or any group of people to inflict this kind of horror on innocent victims and their families – they must possess a special kind of dark, twisted evil in their souls. I say working title, because publishers love to change things.

For now, I want to offer a moment of reflection as we approach this dark anniversary of the first of these murders.

If you have any good stories or memories about these cases or the victims, please reach out to me at  If you have any tips for law enforcement, please contact the Virginia State Police or the FBI.

For more information – please check out these newly released articles from the Daily Press.

As my friend David Schock once said, “Somebody out there knows something…”

Review of Fallout by Harry Turtledove


I’m going to try and keep this a spoiler-free review of this novel, so it will be relatively short.  In his first novel in this series, Bombs Away, Turtledove laid an intriguing twist…what if we had used nuclear weapons in the Korean War? How could that have played out?

The answer is a world where B-29’s drop bombs fresh from the factory.  This is not Wargames version of global thermonuclear war…it is slow, grinding, ponderous and painful. It is a bomber war.

In book two, Fallout, we see the results of this war lumbering forward.  There is no quick victory here for the characters.  As with all Turtledove novels I’ve read, he’s got multiple story lines and perspectives in play.  The nature of the war shifts in Fallout, bringing rise to the use of nukes on the battlefields.  Several of the story line characters are on those fields of war and experience first-hand the kind of war we only speculated as children.

Both sides start to break out their WWII surplus tanks and weapons to replace losses.  I know some readers found that far-fetched but in reality, up through the 1960’s, the Soviets maintained a large stockpile of T34/85’s from WWII, just for such an eventuality.  I learned that in my research for my own military history book, The Fires of October.

Personally, I would have enjoyed more battle scenes.  There are some story lines I found myself drawn to.  The woman sent off to the gulags is an angle that is proving interesting and is something of a departure for typical Turtledove characters.  I also love the cliffhanger moments with the English woman who owned a bar in Bombs Away.  I came away from the book thinking about how cursed some people are to having bad things happen to them.

The politics of the war and the rise of Joe McCarthy get some reader-time, but don’t seem to add much to the novel.  I wish that had been explored more as a source of tension.  Then again, knowing Turtledove, he could be holding back an “October Surprise” for us fans.

The book does have a big escalation moment near the end – which I won’t spoil.  It was good – damned good.  It could have been more – but it was still pretty awesome.

People love to take shots at Harry Turtledove’s work, as one of the fathers of contemporary alternate history.  Going after his style, his repetition, his character arcs, etc., is almost cliché at this point.  I won’t go there.  People like to take shots at the people at the top of their game – there’s something very American about it.  I won’t.  I’m enjoying the series.

If you liked Bombs Away, you’ll find Fallout as a good solid novel.  Four out of five stars in my opinion.


Book Tour Dates – The Original Battle Creek King of Crime


People have been asking if we are coming to Michigan to do any speaking or signing events for our latest true crime book…The Original Battle Creek Crime King: Adam “Pump” Arnold’s Vile Reign.  There’s no doubt that Arnold was a devious and despicable character – and a murderer of his own son.  This book provides a Victorian-era glimpse into the nefarious dealings with a kingpin of crime – some humorous, some deadly.

Here’s the one’s we know at this time:

Thursday, Oct. 13, 7pm

Heritage Battle Creek


Friday, Oct. 14, 3-5pm

Books & More of Albion


Friday, Oct. 14, 8:10am



Friday, Oct. 14, 6:30-8pm

Willard Library


We hope to see you there if you are in the area.

Clash – The Unofficial and Completely Unsanctioned 2016 Presidential Debate Drinking Game


Downloadable (with the adult options feature enabled) from

I am pleased to announce that a game that I was one of the designers of is finally available as a downloadable printable PDF.  Yes – you will need to print your own deck.  Clash is the first product of Shock Monkey Games (which I’m a proud team member).  Working with Brent Evans (of BattleTech and Shadowrun fame) and Ryan Zimbelman and the rest of the Shock Monkey team, we put together something that is quick, easy and fun.  We had to keep the rules easy – because you may be consuming alcohol.  

Let’s be honest – this year’s Presidential debates are going to be the most watched in US history.  They are destined to outshine even the Lincoln Douglas debates in terms of outright debauchery (by both candidates).  You know you’re going to be watching the debate, much like a slow-motion train wreck.  And if you’re going to watch the debates, getting drunk during the process seemed as American as apple pie – especially given the two debaters.  Alcohol and politics go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Drinking and politicians are the foundation on which the US has thrived for centuries (which explains a lot I might add.) 

Some Sample Cards…  Kinda cool eh?

You can play clash without watching the debates too.  Just turn on Fox News or MSNBC — every night until November is a new session.

So I crafted a very simple (since people will be drinking) card game based on key words or phrases that are destined to come up in the debate.   Of course with each passing day, new phrases are coming up.  Who would have thought that “pneumonia” or “deplorables” might be possible words to pop-up?  So we made some expansion packs – which we add to every other week or so. 

The first three expansions are up too – 18 cards each.  Expansion one – Post Convention Blues; Expansion two – This time it’s personal…; Expansion three – Basket of pneumonia. If you haven’t figured out – this is a sarcastic/snarky game you can play.

We did a few high quality decks just for our friends.  Because of the constant change, we ‘re doing these as printable PDF files available through  Note:  The game is listed as adult content (hello…there’s booze involved), so you have to set up an account first and make sure you are approved for adult content.  All you have to do is give them your email and password – and enable “Adult Content.”  

Hey, it’s cheap ($4.99 for the starter set and rules and $1.99 for each expansion) and

bound help kill the painful and highly entertaining moments during the Presidential Debates.  I encourage folks to go out and download the game – and share the news with your friends. 

In a blatant bit of self-promotion, I encourage you to share this with your politically charged friends – regardless of their party.


Movie Review – Sully

“Houston we have a…oh, wait, wrong film…”

Tom Hanks finally shakes his string of travel films gone awry – having nearly died in Apollo 13 and being stranded on an island in Castaway.  Hanks, playing Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, does what we all expected in the film – making a water landing on the Hudson and saving the lives of all his passengers and crew.

We all think we know the story.  We don’t.  This film does an absolutely fantastic job of opening the curtain and taking us behind the hell of a man suddenly thrust into the media spotlight while being drawn into the bureaucratic scrutiny of his peers.  What we see, when the curtain is pulled back, is an outstanding acting performance by a seasoned veteran, well worthy of Oscar consideration.

What makes this movie work is that we all know the story.  Rather than lead off with the 208 seconds that made Sullenberger and his co-pilot heroes, this film tells that story throughout.  The viewer is given many different perspectives of this crisis, each one rewarding and satisfying on a whole new level.

When the movie was over – there was applause in the theater.  Seriously.  Not since Joy have I heard that in a theater.

In a summer where Hollywood has struggled to get our attention and keep it – with retreads of old films, Sully is a solid feel-good film.  There are moments of humor that shatter the thick underlying tension of the movie.  We are sucked into one man’s personal hell, and he emerges on the other side an even greater hero.

Sully is a five out of five stars.  Go to it.  Take your kids.  You’ll be gripping your hand-rests and your eyes will water at all of the right times.  #Sully