Sunday, December 18, 2016


This morning, I stepped out onto my porch in the early half light, with a five pound Maltese Dog in each arm, and proceeded to execute a double Lutz, half twist on the ice. In the nano-seconds I was airborne, the thought, “Don’t kill the dogs,” rang out loud and clear in my mind. Fortunately, the more athletic of the two Maltese abandoned ship. He spun off gracefully, landed on the porch and proceeded down the steps. The other held on for dear life.
I stuck the landing. By that, I mean it was a full kiester, flat on my back. But the second dog was safely in the crook of my arm and unharmed. Whereupon, he scrambled over to the corner railing post, and pee’d on it. I don’t blame him. For a moment, I thought I might have done the same.
Once I was sure nothing was broken, with some help from my wife, I ungracefully rose to a sitting position, and crawled on hands and knees back into the house-—behind the dogs, I might add. Ice packs and NSAIDs were mellowed out with a cup of Kenyan coffee, and the thought that much worse things might have occurred.
Tonight, the errant, slick-soled shoes--one must have a villain besides one’s own stupidity—-which were entirely too old and worn, and should not have been anywhere near ice and snow, found their way into the trash, and a pair of lug-soled lace ups took position near the porch door.

It seems I should draw a moral from this. “Look before you leap?” Nope. “Only execute ice skating moves on ice skates?” Appropriate, but unhelpful. “You have to re-learn your winter skills every year? And black ice doesn’t give you fair warning?” Probably. “Be thankful for the blessings you do have?” Now you have it. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Decline and Fall

In 1928, when England was laboring under the delusion it was still a great empire, Evelyn Waugh published his novel, Decline and Fall. It is a social satire that employs Waugh's trademark black humor to lampoon various features of British society in the 1920s. The title alludes to Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and Spengler's The Decline of the West, which argued that the rise of nations and cultures is inevitably followed by their eclipse.
In Waugh’s novel, theology student Paul Pennyfeather falls down the slippery slope of the drunken antics of his club and is expelled from Oxford for running through the grounds without his trousers.
Because of this, he loses his inheritance, takes a job teaching at an obscure public school, where he becomes engaged to the wealthy mother of one of his pupils. Pennyfeather is unaware that the source of her income is a number of high-class brothels in South America. Arrested on the morning of the wedding, after running a business-related errand for her, he takes the fall to protect his fiancée's honor and is sentenced to seven years in prison for traffic in prostitution. She marries another man with ties to the high government who arranges for Paul to fake his own death and escape from prison. In the end, Pennyfeather returns to where he started at Oxford. He convinces the college he is the distant cousin of the Paul Pennyfeather who was sent down previously. The novel ends as it began, with him sitting in his room listening to the distant shouts of the same club that proved to be his downfall.
Now, laboring under the delusion that we are still a great empire, as the images of our Black Friday debacle and presidential election have shown us running through the grounds without our trousers, we can only hope that we will not be expelled from the college of civilized nations, entangle ourselves with a brothel owner, find ourselves in solitary confinement, and escape, to begin anew where we began before.

But hope is not a method, is it?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Supermoon November 14th

If you only see one astronomical event this year, make it the November supermoon, when the Moon will be the closest to Earth it’s been since January 1948.
During the event, which will happen on the eve of November 14, the Moon will appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an average full moon. This is the closest the Moon will get to Earth until 25 November 2034, so you really don’t want to miss this one.
"The full moon of November 14 is not only the closest full moon of 2016, but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century," says NASA. "The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until 25 November 2034."
"When the moon is near the horizon, it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects," says NASA. "The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience."

So get outside around when the moon is just climbing over the horizon for a visual treat.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Great Leap Backwards

Once again, we enter into our semi-annual lunacy here on the east coast. Tomorrow morning at 2:00 AM DST, will become 1:00 AM, EST. 
New Zealander, George Hudson whose shift work job gave him leisure time to collect insects, and led him to value after-hours daylight, proposed the idea in 1895. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary did the first nationwide implementation, on April 30, 1916. 

I think George has long since collected enough insects and gone to his heavenly reward. But the "bugs" still seem to want to do this. The practice benefits retailing, and professional sports club owners, whose businesses exploit sunlight after working hours. But it causes problems for outdoor entertainment and other activities tied to sunlight, such as farming.
Though it has been touted as reducing evening use of incadescent lighting, --which has now been largely replaced by more energy efficient lighting--today's heating and cooling usage patterns and methods differ greatly and the research about how DST affects energy use is limited and contradictory.
DST time changes complicates timekeeping, disrupts travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment and normal human sleep patterns.  

The biggest supermoon in seventy years will be visible on November 14th. Maybe it's nature's way of telling us it's time to stop the lunacy. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Special Limited Time Promotion

Triple Award Winner.  Dancing With The Dead  

Special E-book Promotion: 
Oct 19-22 $.0.99 
Oct 23-25 $1.99

This topical and visionary tale of a brilliant astrophysicist, whose entire life has been about becoming a "martyr for truth," will challenge your perception of death, life after death and the quest for truth that continues after the change called death. Detailed world building, a human-alien love story, and a fast-paced conflict between the forces of progress, faith, revenge and greed, among the living and the dead on three worlds, make it an intriguing read.

Monday, October 10, 2016

This Too, Shall Pass

It appears that the 2016 presidential race will go down as one of the craziest ever. And we’ve had our share of belligerent campaigns. The pundits seem to agree that the worst, most contentious, elections were: 1800, 1824, 1860, 1876, 1912, 1948, and 2000. So American democracy has survived a number of elections that would have torn any other country apart.
The vitriol of this one reminds me of another, not on the list: 1968. Then, it was the Vietnam War that tore us apart. Now, it is the ever-widening gap between the rich and the rest. But, like the other nastiest presidential contests, our democracy survived.  “What does not kill us makes us stronger.”
We know that this circus spectacle that has hurled Americans into a vitriolic and hurtful media vortex will culminate in a vote in less than thirty days. Deprived of its food source: ratings and the money they bring, the media circus will wind down and finally, end.
We can hope that things will change after that.
But hope is not a method. So if we fit what Alexis DeTocqueville called us, “the great American experiment,” and remain “the hope of the world,” it is incumbent on us to actively seek out ways to correct the underlying problems that have led to this debacle. To confront the issues, work to fix them, or face the inevitable consequences.

This kerfuffle will pass. But what remains is “if you want peace, seek justice.”

Monday, August 22, 2016

Okay, I'm Bragging, But. . .

Dancing With the Dead has won a CIPA EVVY MERIT AWARD in the 22nd annual competition. So please allow me a moment’s celebration.
Here’s how CIPA describes the competition:
“The CIPA EVVY awards is one of the longest-running book awards competition on the Indie publishing scene. It is sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF).
The CIPA EVVYS are open to all types of independently published books. The EVVYS recognize achievement across a diverse range of genres and technical categories. It is international with entries from all over the world, including England, Belgium, South Africa, Russia and Dubai. 
The judging is tough—the way a book competition should be. Judges are selected through CIPA’s competition judging qualification process and include teachers, business leaders, authors, critics, editors, readers and others.
CIPA EVVY entries are judged and scored according to established minimum acceptable criteria. Only those entries that attain the minimum acceptable score become finalists with the highest scores in each category used by the judges to help determine each category’s winners, if any.”
You can get your copy by clicking on the book cover to the right.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Progress and Change

Progress is something we like, that the other guy has to adapt to. Change is something we have to adapt to. We all like progress. We all dislike change. People are wondering what’s going on in American politics this year. Don’t click off: I am not going there. I will not discuss politics on a public forum. What I will do is talk about why we see so much anger—even rage, everywhere.
Change = Pain. That’s a psychological fact. Having to adapt to something new is stressful. Consider how much change the world has seen in just the past half century and you will understand how much pain people all over the world have been going through. It might just make them a bit cranky. Possibly angry. Maybe even outraged. Let's look at change from a specific point of view--language. The pace of change, what some people have called "the collapse of time," is reflected in our language, To see just how much things have changed ,let's bring this home. Imagine your grandmother. Let’s say she was born in 1945—a lot of people were. Imagine her at about five years old, in 1950. And imagine what she’d say if someone asked her what the following words meant:
Click on
Day care
Information overload
Indie Pub
Micro chip
Video conference
Women’s liberation 

We’re living in an age of the most rapid change the world has ever seen. People are being asked to adapt to more and more change, more and more quickly, or be left behind. Change=Pain. Very few of us like pain. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

On Reading "On Writing"

Okay, I’m late to the party. I don’t read horror stories. Well, almost never. But Stephen King’s On Writing has been recommended by so many people that I couldn’t resist it. And it was a revelation. I would add my small recommendation to anyone who writes. Or anyone who reads Stephen King. Either way, you’ll find it hard to put this book down.

Why? Well, in a word, Stephen King is iconoclastic. He enjoys breaking the mold, shattering the myth, making his reader think in new ways. Besides giving you a glimpse into his life, he tells you “everything I know about how to write good fiction.” And the man can write. If you want to write, and write well, this book is invaluable. It’s not a typical how-to book, Strunk and White, (as he recommends) covers that. But King’s freethinking approach to what works and what doesn’t, his debunking of myth and “what everyone knows” that turns out to be wrong, and his razor-sharp comments on the craft of writing are gems. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Get 'Em While The Gettin's Good

Only two days left--today and tomorrow--to check out the gigantic free and discount book bash and pick up some summer reads. Here's the link.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Trouble with a capital T

Today I received a letter from my bank. It was a long letter. Legal size paper. My attitude is, when I do get a letter from just about anyone official, the longer the letter, the less I’m going to like it. The bank, the credit card company, the water department, the electric company, the gas company—they all fall into this category.

And when the letter begins “Exciting new news,” or “Exciting new benefits,” I know beyond the shadow of a doubt, there’s trouble with a capital T, and it rhymes with P, and that’s probably what I will want to do with the letter when I finish reading it.

I was not incorrect. My bank was about to “upgrade” (another word that means Trouble) my checking account. It was not going to cost me anything, and I was going to get a whole slew of wonderful “new benefits” (yet another trigger word). So many new, exciting benefits that they had to use legal size paper just to list them. There was just one eeentsy, teenstsy problem: I did not want these new benefits. I especially did not want to have anyone notify me of shopping, dining, travel, hotel, recreation, entertainment, prescription, vision and hearing aid deals. I get more than enough junk and spam emails, letters and phone calls right now, thank you.

So I called the customer service department. And I “just said no.”  While I was at it, I not only did not upgrade my checking account, I downgraded it to a no-interest, minimum balance of $100 account.  Currently, I get a whopping .01, that’s one tenth of one percent, interest if I maintain a $1,000 balance. If my balance falls below that for a nano-second, I get charged $8.00 for the month. The interest averages about $8.00 a year—on which I pay Federal and State taxes. You can do the math. I told the nice young man on the phone that I was simplifying my life.

Do you wonder why Bernie Sanders has the appeal he has? I don’t.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Multisensory Humans and Science Fiction

Multisensory humans are people who use more than the five senses to perceive the world. There have always been multisensory human beings. All of us have this intuitive sixth sense. But we are now in an era when large numbers of human beings are developing their sixth sense.
The five senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste) are useful for perceiving the physical world around us. The sixth sense is useful for perceiving the non-physical. It’s been called intuition. But too many people associate that word with “hunches” or “guessing” or other dismissive associations. The medical definition is: intuition. 1: immediate apprehension or cognition without reasoning or inferring. 2: knowledge or conviction gained by intuition. 3: the power or faculty of gaining direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference.
Multisensory perception is more than what is commonly thought of as intuition, even medical intuition. It’s an awareness from a soul level. It’s a recognition that you are more than a mind and a body, and that your personality is not your soul. Your soul is that part of you that existed before you were born and that will exist after you die. Your soul is the real you.
From the perspective of a multisensory personality, you can see your life in the context of a larger, unfolding picture. You can see that your life is attempting to lead you in the direction your soul wants you to move – expanding your horizon toward greater awareness and freedom. You can see that the experiences in your life are not random. As the psychiatrist Carl Jung has stated, there are no coincidences, your experiences are purposeful and meaningful.
Science fiction has always been about expanding horizons and wondering about what the future may hold. Some science fiction writers have demonstrated remarkable sixth sense development in what they’ve written. We should expect more in the very near future.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Changing One Being's World

When you rescue a dog, you’re not changing the world, but you are changing that dog’s world. So true. We have three Maltese. Two were from an outstanding breeder who showered them with love. They are the friendliest four-legged persons you will ever meet. And yes, because they have strong personalities—that makes them, in my mind, persons.

And then, there’s our third, youngest person. Whose origins we shall not discuss, save to say he’s incredibly athletic and extremely intelligent. But. . . the fact that he was never socialized is the least of his issues.
He’s been a trial. He bit us; he bit other dogs; he bit other people. If you touched him and woke him when he was sleeping he’d come up biting. But we stuck with him—-had him for two years now. He’s loving, totally affectionate, wants to be in our laps, or curled up at our feet, cuddles up next to the two older dogs (with whom he fought when he first arrived), dances for joy and rolls on his back to have his belly rubbed when I come downstairs in the morning, loves to go for runs in the woods, has learned to obey (most) voice commands, all good things.
He still has a terrible fear of other humans and other dogs, both of whom he attacks, and will bite—--hard enough to draw blood and leave puncture wounds. He’s a Maltese, a ratter by his genetics, is lightning fast and can jump as high as a man’s belt, so even though he weighs six pounds and stands seven inches at the shoulder, he has to be confined when someone comes into the house, and then gradually introduced into their company with a harness and leash to compensate for his hair-trigger attack response if a sudden move is made.
But his world has changed, and continues to change.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

An Evening at the Downtown Chess Club

I don’t know what your image of a chess club is, but chances are, it’s erroneous. For one thing, it’s not overstuffed leather chairs and brandy. Most chess clubs manage to scrape a meeting location together thanks to a local school, service club or business. And not all chess players are geniuses. But, chances are, you will probably meet a bunch of local characters, male and female, young, old and in-between. And it’s not stodgy. Unless you come into a rated tournament, when silence and concentration are the rule, you’ll encounter some interesting conversations, behaviors and some very interesting chess moves.

Like "The Screw" --screwing the piece firmly into the square which gives the impression of great scientific solidity--as practiced by the past World Champion Smyslov. Or the "La Delicatesse" move, where, pinky in the air, the piece is not lifted at all, nor touched with the forefinger, but delicately slid with the two middle fingers into a crushing mating position guaranteed to make strong men weep. Or its antithesis, "The Sledgehammer" gambit, where you have a hopelessly lost game, so you lift a piece high in the air and bring it down on the board with such force that all the other pieces are sent flying and you hope your opponent cannot reconstruct the position so you have to start over. You may witness "The Sucker Punch", where one player maintains a constant patter of comment on the game, suggesting better moves for his opponent, and ultimately suggesting a worse, in fact, a terrible move, after which he sweeps the piece off the board with a loud chuckle. Maybe you will encounter one of my favorites to watch: "The Whirling Dervish", where a piece--preferably a Knight--is lifted from the board and flown around in circles through the air, finally coming to rest on a square it could never have reached from its original position and forking your King and Rook.

Or maybe, you'll just have some fun and play a few games of chess with some new friends.

Friday, April 1, 2016

YES! It's On. Don't Miss Out.

As part of the SUPPORT INDIE AUTHORS APRIL FIRST e-book extravaganza, along with nearly sixty other free or discounted books. Dancing With The Dead, INDIEFAB BOOK OF THE YEAR FINALIST, is available for free today (and tomorrow for those of you who are perennially a tad late to the party).

Don’t miss this opportunity to get books you will want to read. Here’s the website:

Monday, March 28, 2016

Free and Bargain Books- Some by Award-Winning Authors

This Friday, on the most foolish of April days, more than forty authors from the Support Indie Authors Goodreads group present the Spring Into Indie Free and Bargain Book Event. Over 65 books in a variety of genres will be available to download for free or on sale for just 99¢. Best of all, we've gathered all of the links on one conveniently located website. Bookmark and get ready to load up your kindle with these great deals.
Until then, you can learn more about these talented authors and the books they are offering by clicking on the links below:


Sunday, March 20, 2016


There’s an old vaudeville joke about the guy who goes to the doctor, raises his arm above his head, and says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do that!”  To which the doctor replies, “So don’t do that!” Ba-da-boom. Drum bump.
Some years ago, I was conducting a stress reduction seminar and an administrator I knew personally rose and said, “No matter what I do, I toss and turn for an hour before I can get to sleep.”
“Do you go to bed roughly the same time every night?” I asked
“Right after the eleven o’clock news.”  
“How does it make you feel?” I asked
“So don’t do that,” I told him. “Take a week off. Avoid negative stimulating activities like TV news, work-related reading, and watching or reading thrillers just before bed. Fill the time with a relaxing bedtime routine, like a warm bath or shower, light reading, pleasant music or a sound spa. Don’t worry,” I said when he furrowed his brow, “I sure there are plenty of people who will make sure you’re aware of the daily disasters.” Ba-da-boom. The entire seminar group laughed. We all knew about that.
A week later he called me. “I can’t believe the difference,” he said, and asked me to put on the seminar for his staff.
We’re surrounded by negative news. And TV news is a crushing load of highly charged, negative stimulation in full color and high definition, designed to disturb you emotionally. Awful stuff that you really have no control over. Can you change what’s happening somewhere across the world?  Bring that murdered person back to life? Undo that house fire? But now you’ve been made an eyewitness! You’re involved! And you’re upset. Ba-da-boom.
Research shows that allowing yourself to continually get upset about something you have no control over is a proven path to clinical depression. 
Focusing on what you can control is a way out.
You can take control: laugh more; depress yourself less. You can laugh your way to physical and mental health improvements. Laughter increases key immune system components and reduces stress hormones. In a University of California, (where else?) study, immediately after viewing a self-chosen funny video, subjects’ depression and anger both dropped 98 percent, fatigue fell by 87 percent, confusion was down 75 percent, and tension decreased by 61 percent. But wait, there’s more: two days before viewing the video, levels of depression among the subjects dropped 51 percent, confusion went down 36 percent, anger fell 19 percent, fatigue 15 percent, and tension 9 percent!
Depressed? Angry? Fatigued? Confused? Tense? Try taking a news vacation for a week. Change your pre-bed habits for a week Ba-da-boom.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Killing In Bananas

I was able to find some red bananas at the supermarket about a week ago. Red bananas are small and very sweet. But of course, these were shipped unripe and so I put them out on the table for about four days and tried one. Nope. Two days later, well. . .  Today, okay, but not really there.

And it reminded me of when we lived in West Africa. We arrived in the rainy season, their winter. And it rained 24 hours a day, rain as hard as anything I’d ever seen. Some of the expats went around the bend during the rainy season. We were all joyful when it ended. And shortly after that, I got my first lesson in what a ripe banana was. A ripe banana, our houseman explained, was not that hard yellow thing we somehow (it was beyond him how we could) peeled and bit into. That was like eating a piece of wood. A ripe banana was brown and soft, and you cut the top off it and squeezed it out into your mouth one delectable, sugary glob at a time. I tried it. I was unable to change my habits, though I will admit to letting bananas get quite a bit softer and sweeter since then.

And in due course, I decided that buying bananas a bunch at a time at the market was not as efficient as buying a whole stalk. So I asked our houseman what a whole stalk would cost. What he told me was that I could obtain one for about the price of four or five bunches. What a deal! How could I refuse? A few days later, he and I traipsed over to the house of a friend of his and the man cut a huge stalk of bananas from a tree for us. It was almost all we could do to lug the thing into the passenger seat of my Volkswagen and get it home. I gave my houseman a very large bunch and we put the stalk (it was big stalk, almost as tall as I was) into the pantry inside the house. For about two weeks, I reveled in making a killing in bananas. In a few days, we took some and made Pina Coladas.  Then a few more and we made banana pudding, and bananas Foster. But then, they all began to ripen at the same time. Did I say it was a very big stalk? We made banana bread, which my houseman loved (he took quite a few loaves of banana bread home with him). Finally, we gave away as many bananas as we could to whomever would take them. And I learned a lesson about getting too much of a good thing.

But tomorrow, those red bananas on the table should be delicious.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

When Life Gives You Snow, Build a Snow Maze

In a strange winter, when there is not anywhere as much snow as usual, but it’s been too cold for your Maltese dogs to take long walks, even if you know it’s going to melt in a day or two, make a snow maze, and let your three Maltese loose to chase each other all around.
That’s what I did yesterday. We had a little over a foot of snow behind the house, so after I finished snow blowing the driveway, I took my snow blower to the back and made a maze that ran in a curvy line about a hundred feet south, then turned east and ran about another fifty feet, turned north towards the house, but this time, looped around west in about twenty feet to join the original trail, then, another twenty or so feet down, turned east again and ran the length of the west cut, linked the two, then looped back once more around the whole thing to finish the job.
Once I got the snow blower put away, I built a wall of snow about two feet high at the point where the driveway and the maze met. (I learned from last winter, when the rascally one decided if a maze was fun, then running down the driveway into the road would be even more fun. I chased him. He thought this was even more fun—what great games daddy knows!  Never underestimate how fast a Maltese can run or how high it can jump ! Finally, I made an attempt at a shoestring tackle, but, of course, he evaded my grasp and I landed flat on my belly, convinced I was about to witness the end of one dog, squished by a car. Next thing I knew, HE WAS LICKING MY FACE. I grabbed him and decided I should have fallen down as soon as he got out of the maze.
But this year would be different. The great wall would see to that. I was now ready to get the dogs. We put hoodies on them, and turned them loose. We have three Maltese, one five and half pounds, one six and a half pounds, and one eight and a half pounds. Obviously, these are not big dogs. The snow was about twice their height. They ran like the wind, ears flapping, tails flying like white flags in the wind, overjoyed to be completely free of leashes, collars, any restraints. They barked to announce to the world this was their maze. Of course, the boys especially, pee’d everywhere. We just laughed and laughed at their total expressions of joy. And, of course, the feisty female tried to climb her way over the wall and get onto the driveway where we did not want her to go, but got caught up before she could reach the summit. The same rascally boy that made his getaway last winter tried to leap out of the middle of the maze and wound up floundering like a fish in a foot of powdery snow. And the well behaved one, well, he just ran and ran (and pee'd and pee'd). Finally, they decided they were cold and it was time to go back inside, get wrapped in a cozy blanket and fall asleep on the couch.
This morning, we all went out again. But the dew was off the punkin’. Yes, they ran. Yes, they pee’d. And yes, it was fun. But it was not the sheer joie de vivre of yesterday.  By afternoon, despite the cold temperatures, the sun had begun to melt things. Tomorrow it will be 45 degrees and the maze will be history. And yesterday, ah, yesterday, will be a wonderful memory.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What We Know For Sure About Things That Are False.

“Be true to your teeth and they’ll never be false to you,” my uncle used to tell me. I never understood that until…oh, a certain age. Now I do.
We’re coming up on George Washington’s birthday, which we Americans seem to celebrate ten or so days ahead of the actual date with mattress sales. Don’t ask me why. 
George Washington is famous for never telling a falsehood, at least according to popular mythology. He started losing his teeth in his twenties, owned several sets of false teeth - none of which were wooden, myth to that effect notwithstanding. One set was from gold, hippopotamus teeth and ivory, another from human teeth set in ivory. Human teeth? Yep. Forward thinking man, George Washington. Always looking for something new.  
Speaking of which, in 1882, the first patent for false teeth was issued to another American, Charles Graham. Nobody had thought of this before? Well, yes. Those hardy eaters the Etruscans had made the first set out of animal teeth about 700 BC. This remained the false tooth of choice for nearly 2500 years. But they wore out quickly, and needed constant replacement. (Your animals did not have durable teeth.) However, Charles Graham questioned what everyone “knew” about dentures and changed the lives of millions. His were the first truly durable and reusable dentures and they caught on, wobbly or not. Soon American bedrooms sported a pair or two of teeth soaking away in a bedside glass. As did the rest of the world. And in 2012, British researchers developed a procedure that might eliminate that creepy, smiling bedside glass of water. Doctors take stem cells capable of growing into a new tooth from the patient and implant them. Depending on the type of cell, it grows a specific type of tooth. What? Stem cells? Yes. However, not all stem cell research involves human embryos. (But you knew that, didn’t you?) 
The British research holds out the promise that no one will ever have to lose his uppers with that bite of an apple, and nursing home residents will no longer have the facility laundry mangle that pair of choppers that somehow lodged in a shirt pocket. More importantly, the nutritional deficiencies and diseases that come with losing one’s own teeth may become a thing of the past. All because of the stem cell research that was so nearly stopped in the 1990s.  
Science without ethics produces horrific things, but ethics without science prevents wonderful things. Just as most of us “knew” that Washington had wooden teeth, in 1490 some “knew” that the world was flat, and in 1615 that the sun revolved around the earth. So hoorah for Charles Graham, British researchers, and everyone who realizes that it’s not what we don’t know that hurts us, it’s what we know for sure that isn’t.


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Enter for a chance to win a print copy of Dancing With The Dead

Don’t you love the feel of a book in your hands: the heft, the texture, the sheer tactile pleasure? We all agree, e-books are handy, dandy, economical, green, neatly collected in one accessible hand-held reader, but still, there’s a sensual pleasure that only a bound book can provide.So I’m giving away three bound copies of Dancing With The Dead, the science fiction novel that readers have said is “visionary as well as topical”, “fascinating and unique”, “profoundly moving”, and “both gripping and philosophical at the same time”
Some readers have said, “shades of the great SF writer, Isaac Asimov, appear”, “his concepts surrounding the dead are fascinating,” and "the interaction of various sentient alien races gives the narrative a C.J. Cherryh vibe"
Find out for yourself what the buzz is about. , Enter for a chance to win a bound copy at the Amazon giveaway,  No purchase is necessary. Ends the earlier of Feb 06, 2015 11:59PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules for Amazon Giveaway at

Friday, January 8, 2016

Shazam, the Tavak

Tavak: An all-white wolf-cat, native to the Sacred Yarr-Tun mountain, home of the Va-Tor Masters of the planet Narr. It has a long, plumed tail, large black eyes, 40-50 cm in length, 30-40 cm at the shoulder, 4-7 kilos weight.  Telepathic, solitary, long-legged predator that barks like a dog and howls like a wolf, but is capable of great cat-like leaps to bring down prey, has fangs both fore and mid jaw, retractable razor-sharp cat-claws on all four feet. On the rarest of occasions, chooses to “adopt” and look after a being of another species. Ferocious when aroused, capable of killing humans but also hopelessly cute, and it knows that.
Vice Marshal Natil gazed down at the wolfcat. “May I,” she asked, inquiring if she could pet it.
“Certainly, vice marshal,” Val responded, gently stroking the tavak’s back and taking its long white plumed tail in his hand to assure it everything was all right.
Natil stretched down and tickled Shazam’s white head with her claws. Shazam did not move away, but neither did he sheath his claws nor take his eyes off the Krieg warrior’s throat. “I have had the good fortune to behold a Yarr-Tun tavak in action. It tore the throats out of two Kuldorian assassins faster than I could have dispatched them with my Kuldai. I did not wish to give it cause to mistrust me.” 
The telepathic tavak has a habit of referring to itself in the third person.
Quote: “It will always protect you and the Terran boy and wishes to always remain with you,” the wolfcat telepathized.