Beautiful people

Last weekend I watched the beautiful people, athletes of the NFL Playoffs vying against one another on a football field, and stars of the Golden Globes. The thing that hit me was most of them are not what they seem. The straight teeth, smooth skin, perfect bodies, eyes without glasses, it all gives us the illusion that they are real, perfect, and what we should all aspire to be. But really, do we all want to be those beautiful people on the outside? Or is it what’s inside that counts?

Every day there are people with crooked teeth, glasses, bad skin, built like pears who make businesses run, families flourish, lives grow, all because they care, they try. Sure, they worry about what others say, but they just keep going. They don’t get accolades from newspapers, million dollar contracts to play a game, or pretend to be someone else. They have to live in their own skin every day and they do it and keep doing it. Without them, our businesses, our military, our country, our families would be lost. In addition to the Golden Globes (for they will never go away) we should have a Golden Person award. But we don’t. So here are a few. If you get a chance, e-mail them and tell them how much they mean to you, to us, to the world.

I attended a charity party for the High Park Fire last summer and met Erin Mounsey. He’s a burn victim who turned his life around, and became leader of local Red Cross.

There are leaders in the world who have Asperger’s syndrome. Yes, you would be surprised. And they don’t shoot people, or dogs, or kids.

I have Asperger’s; I am just like you

By Michael Ryan, CNN
updated 5:40 AM EST, Thu December 20, 2012

Find a mentor, write and be brave, says one man who has Asperger's syndrome.
Find a mentor, write and be brave, says one man who has Asperger’s syndrome.
Ever wonder how a woman, much less and Asian woman could make it in the US Marines? Esther did.
FOR COUNTRY: I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

John lost his son Sean to suicide, and ever since has campaigned tirelessly to promote both Pieta House and the idea of talking with and supporting those who feel suicidal. Pieta House is Ireland’s first community based centre for the prevention and intervention of suicide or self-harm.

Mr. Kinsman, who is now in his eighties, helped establish a cultural exchange in the early 1970s between black children from Mississippi and white children from Wisconsin called Project Self-Help and Awareness (PSA)

These are the opposite of perfect, the imperfect people of everyday life that make the world a place we are proud to call our own.

I’m sure you know people like this, or may actually be one of them. Give them a hug, pat yourself on the back and keep going. You are what makes this world a better place every day. Thanks.


PS. Next week I will come back to the gun theme. You might be surprised.


Fathers and sons.

These excerpts from “Dan’s War” witness a soliloquy by Dan Trotter, the main protagonist, a man who has a hard time with emotion, sees prime numbers the same way he sees his loved ones, in pastel colors. Yet, he does feel for his son, Jeff, as you will read.
I’ve included this video again as I think it is so powerful and adds so much to the book.

[This is Dan speaking.]
“What is a father’s love for a son? I’ve had some time to think about this … ”
“You might say it is, at first blush, the love of a name–my name, carried past death; a celebration of his birth realizing the continuance of a line, a pedigree. How stupid is that, right? It’s only a name.”
[Then Dan watches a little boy (whose name I will keep secret here) fall, not cry, but push up and run and smile at Dan.]
Dan grinned. “Yep, the boy-things I loved next. We were both guys, so we did rough and tumble things, testosterone-enhanced, like football, rugby, baseball–pitting strength, one against another.”

It was a long hike, but we got there! Lawn Lake

[Dan follows the little boy around a garden, a garden that is special to Dan and this book.]
“The next part is a bit complicated, but bear with me.”
[The little boy gazes in an open-mouthed smile, dimples and all.]
“I hoped he would be better–in the areas I failed, he would excel. So I pushed to make sure that my failures did not become his, that his life abounded in new opportunities. Then it happened, he grew into himself. I had to accept him as his own person: a different contribution, not only to the daily human conundrum and the DNA of life, but to the future. Whether I liked it or not, he traveled in his own direction; he was the future, and he would do it his way.
[The little boy does some things that make Dan cry, something he has done maybe twice in his life. The toddler then shows how smart he is.]
“You’re as smart as he was. After I accepted Jeff him as Jeff, not Dan’s son, it was cool to see him puzzle a scenario in Resident Evil, show Katie how to solve an algebra problem, and feel his strong arms hug me. I didn’t always lik hugs, you know. Or him caring enough to show affection in public.”

The next bit will give away too much, so you’ll have to read it in the book.

The love a father for a son can be as strong as any emotion on the planet. Of course the love of a daughter is just as strong, only different. And yet we still send our sons and daughters into battles to save our asses.
Why is that?

Two days old.

I remember singing this song to my son, my daughters. That was way before Cat Stevens became Muslim. But it still applies. Maybe more so after 9/11 and so much hate has erupted between us and Muslim countries. Now I sing it to my grandson.

Hug your loved ones, today, now. DO IT! They may not be here tomorrow.


On Kindle Prime now–Amazon:


$1 of each book goes to Veterans

I will not forget today

Foothills south with wisps of Fern Lake fire far right.

Some days you could stick on the highest shelf, close the door and not come back. Not today. It will rest on my arm, warm; touch my breath, with rhythm; cradle my eyes, in colors; but mostly sing my heart a song.

(double click on each photo for larger and clearer)

It started with love. I woke remembering last night and my grandson’s birthday bash, a costume Halloween party. He loved it. Then I got up and watched the end of a movie, Medicine Man, about one man’s love for the land, love of a people ignored by the world and trampled by progress, and love of a woman who peeled away his shields and made him believe again. Believe enough to save the world from cancer.(If you haven’t seen the movie, the teaser is below. It’s worth it. I watch it every few months just to remind me of ideals wew should strive for.)


Then I ate breakfast with my love, at a restaurant named after my mother, Lucile’s. Not quite the spelling, but still weird.

Then I came home and wrote. That by itself heals wounds. To create a story from nothing is like painting with words. But to write a sequel to a story about a man’s love for his son, love of his grandson, lost love, new love, and love found? These are things that make me want to cure the world of wars, if not at least love a bit more.

So I had the main course, now it was time for desert. I went for a walk. Not an ordinary, trudging: one-step, two-step, repeat, repeat, ad nauseam, forever and ever. This was with music. Pandora played my favorites while fall filled my other senses. I had rhythm, color, song and dance. (click on the Youtube videos of the songs and listen while you read)

Fall aspen

Fall reds
So few people were out on such a wonderful fall day: not a cloud, without wind, low 70’s, the foliage past peak but still bright. What a shame. They were inside watching football, or snoozing, or playing a video game. I hoped not. I hoped they were fishing, or hiking in the hills, or painting people as they meandered through downtown. Or maybe getting ready for Halloween. That was the reason I didn’t see them. Surely.

Halloween is coming

It didn’t matter, though. You can’t take this day away. It’s there, etched in me the way a good song stays with you for a week.

Fern Lake fire sunset 10/20/12

I hope you find your day like today. Not hope, I KNOW you will. Love it. Keep it close. Let it breathe inside you. You deserve it.

Get outside and enjoy the wilderness soon. The fires may destroy your favorite area. And, winter is coming.

Winter is coming. Some leaves are already gone.

On Sale now–Amazon:


$1 of each book goes to Veterans


New Short Story only a buck! All proceeds go to US Veterans More at my Facebook Author Page:

Contact me at

A Little Thing

Three years ago and some change, something happened.

Two days old.

It was a little thing. Good things sometimes start small. And, this was definitely good.

You live your life thinking, Someday, maybe. Then, that someday comes and it’s better than what you thought it would be. And worse.

It’s better because it is real. It’s now. It’s here. No kidding!

Worse because of all those stupid thoughts about what could happen.

I’ve been a father for over thirty years. That’s if you count the age of my oldest child. But, really, you’re a father when you find out your love is pregnant.

The same holds for being a grandfather.

It happens something like this:
The longing beforehand—Will it ever happen?
Disbelief when it actually happens.
Realization and celebration that a piece of you is going to live beyond.

There is a saying, perhaps Native American, perhaps just a Michenerism from Centennial: “Only the rocks live forever.” That might be true in regard to individual humans. And I certainly don’t want to live forever if I have to live like a rock. But, in reality, you live forever (and not like a rock) as long as your children have children.

When I say it was a little thing, I mean little. A little strip of paper that has a little line that turned blue when she peed on it. Mind you, I wasn’t there for the actual viewing. I just heard the story.

My daughter said, “I didn’t believe it the first time, so I did it again, the next morning because I’d heard that was the best time. And, well, there it was.”
And, I thought, Yeah, there it was. And, soon it will be.

The problem is that it can be Good or it can be Bad, depending on where your standing.

Sometimes life can be so putrid that you don’t want to have the kid. I mean your life is completely whacked-out. There seems to be no hope for the kid to have even close to a good life and it’s going to screw up your already stinking fried life even more. At least that’s what you think.

But, on the other side of that fence, you see that if you just keep pluggin’ away and hoping for the best, working hard and taking time out for those little things—you know, like children and families—it will all work out. You just gotta have…I guess you gotta have faith.

You have to believe in yourself and your ability to overcome and that you can raise a child that will contribute something to the world. He might be another Einstein, or Lincoln, or maybe just be a great guy and a great father. Maybe she will be another Indira Gandhi, Rosa Parks, or maybe just a wonderful loving woman, mother and sister.

However it works out, as long as you perpetuate that love, it will be okay.

Probably John Denver, or Jimmy Buffet

That’s where I come in. Me, well really I should say We. Me and my wife. That’s where we come in. She’ll probably be there more than I will. Always has been. Rescuing and helping and patient and loving. Sometimes all I am is sleepy and grumpy and demanding.

But, every now and then I Get It, too.

I Got It that day. I’m gonna’ be grandfather!
We’re going to be grandparents. Gonna have another baby around. It had been awhile. Twenty five years. A quarter of a century. Since the last baby we had.

You know what? You never forget.

There’s that baby smell—fresh, new. Even if they’ve pooped their pants, all you’ve gotta do is move your nose up to the crease between their chin and neck and take a deep sniff.

Just thinking about it brings it right back.

I’m there, with my wife, in the hospital, three days after out first baby, realizing that a new part of our life has begun.

Even now, over thirty four years after that first one, still, thinking about it, makes me cry.

People say, Life is Hard, Life is Crap, Life is a Bummer and then You Die.

People say a lot of things. But when it comes right down to it, what we feel is Thankful.

Thankful for those moments when things have turned around on us from a bummer, the shits, the crappiest day of our life. When that little miracle is presented to us, after nine months of hope and anticipation, we realize—we’re just thankful to be there.

So, I’m gonna revel in this moment…I mean roll around in it, get it everywhere. Down deep.

For no one knows what comes in the future. Time is an elusive, uncontrollable, happy-sad enemy of hope. The best way to combat it is to forget about it. It can’t beat you if you ignore it.

Enjoy the little things.

Watching the hot air balloons go up


Who Would You Be?

I guess we all, at one time or other, maybe every minute, want to be someone else. You don’t like your body, your mind, your job, your very being. Maybe you could be as svelte and smooth-skinned as J Lo,

as rich as Buffet (Jimmy or Warren-who cares? Well, I like Jimmy),

as witty as Jimmy Kimmel (especially with kids)

have a job that you love, and you were always happy. Or maybe you just want a pet bullfrog that tap dances on ice. Oh yeah, in the middle of winter at Vail. There are ways, you know. You just have to be persistent. So I’m told.


I always wanted to write stories that people loved. I wanted them to get away from this difficult, sometimes depressing world, and have fun, while at the same time learning something new. Then I had an eighth-grade English teacher who told me I could not write, and would never grasp the English language, or something to that effect. So what do I do? There was a favorite class at Annapolis called Underwater Basket Weaving. No, I didn’t take that, though it sounded tempting. I took Creative Writing. Yeah, you can guess how many guys were in that class. In a trade school for boat drivers—not many. Who wants to spend time writing a journal when you have to study for EEE exam? That’s when the stories started, though. And they are still going.


You can become a different person, change your brain power, your body, your job, even save the world—in fiction. There’s a lot of serious shit that goes down every day, every place, so why not escape. At least for a few hours. It’s not like you’re going to end global warming or start world war three or something. Then again . . .

Dan’s War is an award-winning techno-thriller with literary heart, about the end of world oil . . . in two weeks. Cajuns and one lone computer geek try to save us against an ecofanatic and his army. There’s love between a geek and a hottie Marine, a father trying to save a son, nanobacteria eating oil, and weird characters that will take you on an adventure to far away lands, and keep you turning pages wanting more.

On sale now–Amazon:


$1 of each book goes to Veterans

Barnes and Noble:

Smashwords for all other e-book formats:

New Short Story only a buck! All proceeds go to US Veterans More at my Facebook Author Page:

Contact me at


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email