Monday, December 26, 2011

New Blog

I will now be posting on Mysterious Musings every second and fourth Mondays. Join me there as well with a fine list of mystery authors including Ben Small, Beth Terrell, Bill Kirton, Carola Dunn, Chester Campbell, Earl Staggs, Jean Henry Mead, Jonathan Quist, June Shaw, Leighton Gage, Mark Danielson and Susan Santangelo

Monday, December 19, 2011


I’ve had a good year giving talks to various organizations that are looking for speakers. I’ve been to numerous Rotary, Optimist, Kiwanis and Sertoma meetings as well as retirement homes. My objective is to provide an informative and entertaining speech, and I also bring books along for anyone wanting an author signed copy. So now I’m off for the rest of the year and will resume in January. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year to everyone.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


One of the things that keeps our country going is volunteering. As I give presentations to service organizations, I’m amazed at the work that is done in supporting young, elders and those in need. This morning I helped assemble holiday gift baskets for older people in our city and then delivered some of them this afternoon. It was a worthwhile activity, and the people receiving them seemed genuinely grateful.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I just finished reading a fascinating book titled, Generations: The History of America’s Future from 1594 to 2069 by William Strauss and Neil Howe (written in 1991). Like a number of books I’ve read lately, this was recommended to me by a person in the audience when I gave my presentation, “How to Survive Retirement.” When I speak on aging and writing, I get some great reading recommendations. This book shows evidence of four repeating generation cohorts over the course of American history. The four types are idealist, reactive, civic and adaptive. The authors demonstrate that these four have occurred in order except for one glitch during the Civil War. I’m in an idealist generation, labeled Boom, of people born between 1943 and 1960. Although I’m reluctant to agree with a sweeping generalization that all generations fit this four bucket rotating pattern, the evidence provided by the authors is compelling. They make some interesting predictions for the future some of which has occurred in the last twenty years and some of which has not. Well worth reading.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Games Kind of World

When our kids were younger, we periodically invited a large group of people over for a New Games festival in our backyard. People of all ages, sizes and shapes would mix together and play a wide variety of unique games. We enjoyed many variations of tag: Octopus--where once people are tagged they become stationary octopuses, waving their arms and providing more obstacles to avoid; Flamingo--you’re only safe if you stand on one leg with your arm under your other leg and the hand of that arm touching your nose; Snake-in-the-grass--everyone gathers around the snake who on the count of three reaches out to touch as many people as possible who all in turn become snakes slithering around catching other people. We held races. An ameba race between teams of about ten people half of whom faced outward and linked arms while the others stood inside the cell wall with a nucleus of one person on top of their shoulders. Knots--groups of about six people would grab hands (couldn’t be two hands of the same person and couldn’t be a person standing next to you). The objective was to get untangled. When people first encountered New Games, many would roll their eyes, thinking the games silly or beneath them. Then after about ten minutes they would be enthusiastically involved and encouraging others to join. New Games provided an enjoyable release from the normal burdens of the day. Who could help but smile when an eight-year old explained the subtle strategy of “Killer” to a forty-year old. In Killer people walk around staring into each others’ eyes. The killer has been secretly selected by the gamekeeper and is unknown to everyone else. The killer kills by winking. When a victim has been “killed” she counts to three, then lets out a blood-curdling scream and falls onto the grass. The objective is to locate the killer, before everyone else is killed. At least three people must simultaneously say, “I accuse,” and point to the correct killer. New Games also provides a good model for life. There are only three rules: Play hard, play fair, nobody hurt. If we could only bring these rules into government, business, academia and use them for how we deal with people throughout the day. Think what we could accomplish and the fun we’d have along the way.