Thursday, June 23, 2016

Advice I Gave to My Two Sons When They Got Married


When my two sons got married, this is the advice I gave them:

Commitment to the relationship is paramount.

Acceptance is next to Godliness.

Listen.

Stay free of expectations.

People and relationships grow and change, but always maintain a core of integrity and commitment.

Focus on how the relationship wins, not proving you’re right.

Two together is better than one in victory.

Never leave angry.  Resolve it first.

Be the first to apologize.

Accept emotions.  Don’t try to combat them with logic.

Respect both intimacy and space.

Little things that irritate you can become endearing qualities.

If conflicts arise between your mother and your wife, support your wife.

Never make love with cold hands.

Just love her.

Today is the 48th anniversary of my marriage. I have to remember to follow my own advice. As they say, the first 48 years are the hardest.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Terrorism and Gun Control


As a mystery writer I’m interested in topics that relate to crime—its cause, effect and methods employed. With the most recent horrendous event in Orlando, I have to agree with President Obama that we need to fight terrorism but also address the ease with which terrorists can obtain assault weapons in the United States. Whether someone is an international terrorist, a self-radicalized loner or an angry person with mental problems, the results are the same. All these people need to be dealt with. Then there is the ease with which someone can obtain semi-automatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. This needs to be stopped. Hunters, people wanting handguns to defend themselves and gun range enthusiasts can still have their rights without access to these types of weapons. Like any crime, it is impossible to eliminate all of it, but we must take action to make it difficult for those committing criminal terrorist acts to render so much damage to citizens in our country.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Geezers


Since I write geezer-lit mystery novels, I’m always interested in geezer-related activities. When we lived in Colorado, I often hiked with two friends and a West Highland Terrier named Mac.  The three of us old guys were over sixty and got out regularly on Sundays to hike in the summer and snowshoe in the winter.  Along the trail, invariably, women stopped when they saw Mac and said, “Oh, what a cute puppy.”  They never looked at us and said, “Oh what cute geezers.”

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Publishers Weekly review of Court Trouble: A Platform Tennis Mystery

This review by Publishers Weekly of my mystery novel, Court Trouble, recently appeared: Set in Boulder, Colo., this solid series launch from Befeler (Murder on the Switzerland Trail) introduces an unlikely amateur sleuth, platform tennis buff Mark Yeager. Mark, who has recently recovered from cancer surgery, spots his friend Manny Grimes enter an adjoining court one night and get into an argument with the four men already there. Then all the lights go out. When the lights come back on, Manny is lying dead on the court with a gash in his head. Mark, who feels he owes Manny for persuading him to go to the doctor in the first place, resolves to find Manny’s killer. As he digs into his friend’s past, Mark discovers that Manny was involved with some highly unsavory characters. Mark’s wife, his friends, and the police warn him to back off when the attempts on his life begin. But Mark, possessed by a “drive to be alive” again, won’t quit until he catches the culprit. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this determined tennis enthusiast and cancer survivor.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cats I've Known


We had three cats when I was growing up.  Pocohantis or Poki was a black and white outdoor cat.  He was scared of people and lived under the house.  Malahini or Mali was a female Siamese.  I have a picture of her with a baby bonnet on her head and intense glaring eyes.  She raised three litters of kittens.  If a dog wandered into our yard, she would chase it off.

We kept one of the male kittens out of Mali’s first litter.  Nebbechadnezer or Nebbie had a kink in his tail.  We sold the other kittens, but no one wanted a kinky cat.

Cats have distinct personalities.  One of the cats we had in Boulder, Opus, would all of a sudden charge around the house like his synapses were misfiring.  Tammy, was very motherly.  When we yelled at one of our kids, Tammy would get worried and come sit with the disgraced child.  When one of us was sick, Tammy would be on the bed, consoling the invalid.  She purred so loudly you could hear it from the next room.  She liked people and wasn’t phased by any party or gathering.  She’d saunter through the house undaunted by any commotion.

Our current cat, Athena, is just the opposite.  For fifteen years, she only accepted three people in the world:  My wife, my daughter and me.  If anyone else approached or entered the house, she streaked off whatever perch she was on and hid under one of the beds.  When the plumber replaced the furnace, Athena stayed under the bed all day for two days, only venturing out after he had left.

Athena purrs, but has it set on vibrate.  You can’t hear a sound, but can feel it if you place your hand on her throat.

Athena is very self-centered.  She’s out for herself.  She used to try to eat all of Tammy’s food as well as her own.

But she likes to sleep on legs.  The moment I lie on my back in bed, she jumps up on the bed and snuggles down on my legs.  I can’t image that that would be comfortable, but that’s her place.

Athena likes to chase string, bat around play mice, toss them in the air and do flips.  Then she’ll get wild-eyed and streak across the rug.

When we lived in Colorado, she only ventured outside when it was dark for a brief foray before charging back to hide in the garage as if a pack of wolves were after her.  As soon as the door was opened she shot inside with her afterburners blazing.  She is the original wussy pussy.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Threats on Both Ends of the Political Spectrum


You have to hand it to both political parties this election year. The followers of both extremes exhibit a tendency to issue threats. Rather than listening to opposing views, the reaction is to drown out or threaten someone who expresses a different opinion. What happened to the perspective of listening to a different viewpoint, discussing the issues and then making a decision? True believers on the left and the right have all the answers and aren’t open to civilized exchange of differences. It must be reassuring to have all the answers, but it’s not reality. Too many issues have shades of gray. I have no problem with people changing their position if it is based on thoughtful consideration. We can all learn as we gather more information. But let’s hope we can openly debate issues and not resort to personal attacks and threats.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Decisions Made at the Federal, State or Local Level


In this political season, I’ve been intrigued by various issues that have been debated at the federal, state or local level. I’ve always held by the saying of think globally and act locally. In the United States, powers are defined for the federal government and remaining powers go to the states. This in itself leads to many different interpretations. Added to this we have cities now passing statutes that go against state mandates. Whether the topic is fracking or the use of bathrooms we currently have much discussion and dissent on where these issues should be decided. What do you think?