My Friend

Q Nov. 2011 008 

 We usually tend to think of best friends as being the same gender, but, alas, that notion is a fallacy. One of my best friends (other than my wife) is female. Unfortunately, she moved away from Arizona to California after the big market collapse and I lost touch with her for over four years.

You could have blown me away with a feather when I receive a voice mail from her a couple of days ago telling me she would be in northern Arizona for a few days…in fact, she is arriving today. I expect to meet up with her in Sedona for a visit and catch up on what she has been up to in the forests of northern California. Not much I suspect, the trees are huge and she is a tiny woman.

I have always admired beauty and this lady has that in abundance. More importantly, I also admire hardworking folks and she and her daughter are at the top of the class. When I needed work done on a custom home, she was Johnny on the spot – each time…every time. There is nothing more important than making a property shine for a client. I also respect leadership – it is a birthright that cannot be learned. You can hone it during a lifetime, but you either have it or you don’t. She has it in spades!

I could post her picture and name on this blog, but she is also a very private person. I am sure that has not changed. My wife has met her and thinks she and her daughter are adorable. When my wife thinks you are beautiful…you are beautiful. She should know; she has the patent on beauty.

I have always maintained that you can’t have too many friends, male or female. Unlike Sandra Bullock, I am referring to people who do have your back, no matter the circumstances. True friendship is not hearing from or seeing a friend for years and then suddenly they are back in your life as if no time had lapsed during their absence. This is the definition of real and lasting love.

Write on,



The Secret is Out



OK, what I am about to tell you must be kept in confidence. My wife and I watch two soap operas together most week days. There, I have said it and I am proud. The programs, you ask? The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful, I would answer back.

You now have to be wondering why Mittster (the biker dude) would divulge such information – it could ruin his reputation in the Harley world. I am also an author, I would again answer back. I like studying the characters on soaps; the writers surely use the Hollywood lifestyle as background for the outlandish behavior of their casts.

I like to compare what I see happening on the program to what I see happening in real life. If you take away all the money, huge mansions, fancy cars and time constraints for programming…I see real life. In the world we live in, life is no different – it just takes much longer to live it.

Once I understood this, my guilt for watching vanished. I also began to understand why millions of people watch soaps to begin with. It is said that everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame; sometime in our lifetime we are going to live an episode from our favorite soap. Why wait, you can live it within an hour on television. This also works if you are elderly and already had your fifteen minutes – you get to do it again vicariously through actors…such a deal.

I do take issue with the fact that the population of Beverly Hills and Malibu has been shrunk to a handful of men and women in The Bold and the Beautiful. In their world, they have to swap the same partners over and over again to keep it interesting. I hope I live long enough to see a couple of bikers from Riverside allowed into the restricted zone. That should perk things up for a week or two.

I’m just saying,


No Mushrooms Please



I started writing a scathing report on the condition of our country this morning and found myself getting more depressed by the moment. All the things I was writing about were not exactly government secrets. We all know what is happening to our freedoms due to government failures and corruption. It was as if I were writing a blog for mushrooms instead of intelligent Americans who are just as well-informed as I.

After finishing four paragraphs and feeling like I wanted to vomit, I got up and went into the kitchen for a fresh cup of Joe. While there, I was reminded of a cartoon I once saw that showed a picture of a WWII soldier holding a cup of coffee in his canteen. The caption read: “How about a cup of shut the hell up!” By the time I returned to my office computer, I knew what I had written was idiotic to say the least.

I started thinking about all the positive things in the world, our country and my life. I read wonderful articles daily about people who make a difference worldwide. Selfless acts of heroism, people feeding the less fortunate, animal rescues, gifts of kindness and charity, relief organizations that help when governments can’t or won’t because of bureaucratic red tape or corruption.

I also started thinking about Americans and their generosity. It’s hard to believe how much money and time we donate to others while so many are out of work or only working part-time. Most Americans would give you the shirt off their backs if need be after a disaster. Even when money is tight, we give all we can to help others. I like us and I am proud to be an American.

How fortunate am I? I have a wonderful wife, decent roof over my head and food on the table. We have two cars that are paid for even if we can’t afford to drive them much. It’s fun to carpool with Mother-In-Law (Mum) and family to eat out occasionally when Denny’s has a special. We are concerned about the economy and our government failures just like everyone else, but we still manage to laugh a lot at each other and ourselves because of memory loss, doing or saying something stupid (I would really not like to elaborate – thank you very much).

When the world seems on the verge of some mighty disaster, I like to be in the moment with my family and life. We only have the here and now in any case. “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not ours to hold.” I feel good writing this and I hope some of you feel good reading it. Maybe this blog represents a neat moment in time when you were free of worries and frets; fleeting, yes, but neat all the same.

Write on,


PS: Since the first time I posted this blog, Mum has moved into a nursing home for dementia/Alzheimer’s sufferers. Now we only have a third of a brain between us…it sucks!



The Erie World of Dreamscapes


Last night was a horrible experience. My dream was one I could not escape; you know, the kind of dream that returns even after you have woken up and gone to the restroom while hoping the whole time when you get back into bed the dream will change, but alas, you wake up later involved in the same idiotic and frightening dreamscape.

This occurrence is so rare with me that it stands out even now, hours after I have dragged my tired body out of bed. Usually I am up very early to work on my blog and Website, but the service is down and there was no real reason to get up. Now I wish I had anyway because my mood is grim and sour. I can’t get the damn dream out of my skull.

Like most dreams that scare or disturb us, this one was no different. It’s hard to describe really – I was always trying to find my way back to the city where I lived, but the trip kept leading me into dark, foreboding places that housed even darker people. They were not monsters, but instead, people lost like me, and all heading for somewhere they could not reach. They reminded me of Zombies, but not the brain eating kind.

It started out with me looking for a job outside the city; why I was on foot escapes me. Nor was I dressed warmly, only a shirt, pants and work boots. The boots I remember distinctly because several times I was trekking through mud and gunk in a refinery of some kind. I hopped on a train that ran through a huge complex and found myself climbing higher on the train structure trying to get a better hold for the ride that unfortunately ended up going the wrong way. At times I could see the freeway to the city in the distance, but always I was going in the wrong direction, either walking or riding.

What made the dream even worse was that it was getting dark and cold and there was no shelter in this dark and damp structure. Even if I could have managed to get outside, I would have nowhere to escape the night. Just that thought alone kept me reaching for blankets and pulling them practically over my head and at the same time praying that the dream would go away.

I would wake for brief moments during my dream feeling totally alone and desolate, even with my wife and two dogs sleeping soundly next to me. The feeling was one of dread that this scenario could be real and that I would wander aimlessly for eternity never finding home and the security it represented. I found it interesting that the home I was dreaming of was when I was a younger man; in fact, I think in the dream I was in my late twenties.

I know nothing of dream interpretations, but this I do know. Our lives can end up just like my dream in a heartbeat. Natural and other disasters rip apart lives and people become wanderers in the same kind of grim dreamscapes like in my dream. Only this time it is for real, and the huge, damp and dark structure you are walking through is what is left of your town.

No place in our country is exempt from disaster. Thank God we Americans are always willing to help each other in times of need. After my dream I now see why help is so very important. It’s not just physical needs; it also includes companionship with others so the feelings of aloneness and desolation are minimized. God bless our fellow Americans and God bless America!

Write on,


Bully for You!


Here’s the deal; do you really think that getting an award from your POD publisher equates into book sales? I would bet that you are close to completing a new novel and they are foaming at the bit to publish it too, for a price.

Strictly publish on demand publishers stay in business by being paid big bucks to publish your hard work. I know one POD publisher in New York City who wanted $10,000 for one book! I laughed just before I hung up the phone – the norm is somewhere around $2,500.

There is not one self-published author out there that doesn’t know the ropes concerning traditional publishers. Unless you are connected…forget it. Self-published authors also know that we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Even if you have written a masterpiece, the chances of your work being picked up by Simon and Schuster or Dream Works are as remote as Pluto…maybe even more so.

I hear this question a lot; why do you continue to write novels if success cannot be achieved? The answer is really quite simple. Once a person sits down, writes a novel, selects a jacket design, has it proofed and edited and then pays to see it in print on Amazon, the die is cast. You might as well have stuck a needle in your arm filled with addictive drugs because you are hooked, baby, and I mean really hooked! Passion to write + Seeing your book on Amazon = Goner.

There is one slim hope for salvation. There are a few POD publishers out there that are also traditional. If you publish with them and sell 2,000 books, they will pick up the tab from that point on and become your traditional publisher. Whoa – if you think selling 2,000 units is easy…think again; especially if you are already working on your second novel and planning a third.

My goal was a trilogy and I have reached my goal. Now I am sitting here picking my nose wondering which way to go. I do know that whatever direction I take, it is going to cost even more money. There is solace in the fact that I reached my goal, but the big enchilada still evades me. I know that I am not alone in this dilemma…my fellow authors and I are book rich and money poor.

Write on,


Last First Date



20 years ago, I went on my last first date. The week had started out OK, but it suddenly turned really bright when I received a telephone message that there was a lady who wanted to meet me from the dating service I belonged to.

I was getting a divorce, lonely as hell, and I thought maybe the service could find me someone to date. I had dreams of going out to dinner, dancing and maybe even meeting someone I could get to know as a steady girlfriend.

The date was set for the following Saturday night and I was so excited. Dinner reservations were made at Red Lobster in Saginaw, Michigan, which was a short drive from Midland where we both lived. There would be rock and roll dancing afterward at a club. The stage was set and I wanted everything to be perfect.

I drove to her house and found myself in the driveway of the quaintest house I had ever seen. Although I drove past her house everyday for months, I had never really noticed just how beautiful it was. It struck me odd that I only lived a few blocks away, but light years from the people I was to meet inside.

After taking a deep breath, I headed for the door bell and pushed it with great trepidation. The woman who answered the door was a vision of beauty and grace. I was stunned while gazing, mouth agape, at the tall, slender and absolutely gorgeous woman before me. There had to be a mistake. Am I at the wrong address? Fortunately for me, it was not a mistake and I was invited in to meet her officially and her two sons.

Jay & Chris

The boys were polite, well-groomed and I liked them right off. The youngest, in his late teens looked like his mother and the oldest, in his early twenties, did not have his mother’s blond hair, but instead had dark hair and I assumed he looked like his father – which was the case. Both guys were handsome young men and a delight to be around. She did have two Chihuahuas that were not as friendly, but cute little rascals never-the-less. That is another story….

After getting to know all three a little better, we finally decided it was time to go on our first (and I hoped not our last) date. We headed for Saginaw talking and learning more about each other. I remember I was so enamored by her beauty and she had the most fantastic hands. Her fingers were long, sensuous and so expressive. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the fact that she had the body of Venus and I tried so hard not to stare and slobber on myself like the idiot that men can be.

Dinner was good and I learned that she did not drink or smoke which was fine with me. I was anxious to go dancing so I could hold this woman in my arms while slow dancing to music, any music would do – just let me hold her! We danced to a slow tune and then started dancing to some lively rock and roll. I started to rock out and proceeded to twirl her around several times. I lost my balance and grabbed her breast halfway through a twirl and ended with grabbing her butt, just before she yelled at me, “What are you doing?”

I was mortified and starting apologizing profusely, while totally understanding I had just committed the first deadly sin of the first date…it was all over but the crying now. We went back to our table, which had it been any bigger I would have gladly hidden under rather than face her wrath. While she could clearly see that I was horrified and started laughing about the incident, all I wanted to do was disappear like a wisp of smoke.

I told her it would be better if we left now in spite of her insistence that everything was fine and we should stay. I could not face her beautiful face and smile while I was dying inside knowing I was destined to live a solitary life of shame and humiliation – to say nothing of the wrath of her two sons who would surely want revenge.

I took her home and retreated to my place in total shock with the knowledge that I had just met and lost an angel all in one fell swoop. Way to go jackass! Sleep came hard and my dreams were of lost love and being whipped on by two young men defending their mother’s honor.

Early Sunday evening I was jolted from a sound sleep by the ringing of my phone. Oh, my God, it was her! She asked if I would mind looking at a house her oldest wanted to buy. He didn’t want to purchase it without an inspection and she knew I was in construction. I asked when she would like me to see it. “How about now?” was her reply.

I threw on some clothes, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, and was waiting in the yard for her and her son when they pulled in five minutes after her call. After the inspection, while her son was in the house talking to the real estate salesman, I found myself sitting alone with my dream girl in the truck. I again apologized in earnest and she just smiled and then to my utter amazement, kissed me full on the mouth. She pulled back and said with the most wonderful tone in her voice, “Don’t worry, this will be something we can kid you about for many years to come.”

Executive Secretary to the President and C.E.O. of Dow Chemical.

Executive Secretary to the President and C.E.O. of Dow Chemical.

My wife and I have been together ever since and she is still my angel and I have come to love her sons as my own. As for the two Chihuahuas, they have passed, but not before they taught me how to love dogs as our children. I was, and still am, the luckiest man on the planet!

Write on,


Sunday Funnies

I want to thank all the Facebook folks who post cartoons so that I can re-cap them for Sunday Funnies. A good laugh on Sunday can make Monday a better place to visit – I think.

I’m just saying,