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The Samurai's Heart by Walt Mussell

The Samurai's Heart

by Walt Mussell

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Driving Dad Crazy





This afternoon, while I was driving on Peachtree Industrial, I reached a point where the road forks, with two lanes going right and another two lanes going left. As I was about to continue along in one of the lanes going right, a moron driving a pick-up in the far right lane realized he/she was going the wrong way.  This person, without signaling, cut across all lanes, including a short drive on the grass between the two tines of the fork.

I heaved a sigh. Thankfully, I was far enough away that I could put on my brakes in time.

And then part of me realized that my older son is fifteen.

When my son rides with me and is in the front passenger seat, I often point out things that he needs to think about. He’s still a long way from getting behind the wheel. He hasn’t even taken driver’s education yet. Still, it’s in the back of my mind, approaching like a freight train sliding on grease.

My wife and I have talked about what restrictions we’ll set on him. We plan on making him keep his permit. We’re already having discussions with his younger brother, who we know will try to irritate his older brother, regardless of the situation. We know we will set limitations on where he can drive as well as to the vehicle. We’re thinking a mini-tank on wheels.

Will it be enough?

My older sister discovered the shoulder of a road (and beyond) within two days of getting her license. It snowed on the day I got my license. I was thankful that I remembered my lessons on skidding when I hit that ice patch.

When your kids start driving, what restrictions do you put on them? I’d appreciate a few suggestions.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Turkey Day to Remember





“Dad, are you coming to my school for Thanksgiving dinner on Friday?”

My 10-year old’s eyes held hope as he asked the question. I had already told him yes twice on the subject. His mother had also told him I was coming. Still, he wanted reassurance and he was going to ask the question again and again until the moment I showed up.

“Yes, I’ll be there.”

“Good, bring money. You’ll need to pay for your meal.”

My son went back to what he was doing, content for now. I wonder if he knew what I was thinking.

That he was in fifth grade and that this Friday would be my last chance to visit his school for a turkey day. They don’t have turkey days in middle school. As a parent, I know I mark milestones as they happen. However, when I can mark them in advance, it makes me more determined to be there on those days. There are no more kids after him.

My older son, a high school freshman, is already showing signs of his independence. We went to the Georgia Dome recently to watch his high school marching band perform in a competition. Though it was all day program, we only stayed for the morning session. Before we left, my wife went over to see him and make sure he had enough money to buy himself dinner. She came back a few minutes later.

“You didn’t need to go down there,” I said.

She gave a half smile. “Well, I didn’t want him to go hungry tonight.”

“Didn’t you see his hand gestures waving you off?”

“Yes.”

“Didn’t you see that he was sitting between two cute blonde girls?”

My wife ignored me after that, which 1% of the time means I’m right and the other 99% of the time means that I’m in trouble. (It’s so rare that I’m part of the 1%.) However, at least she accepted our son telling her that he was fine.

And so, with Friday approaching, I look forward to my last turkey day with my younger son. It’s come too soon.

So how about you? Do you feel differently as you watch milestones approach vs. not seeing them until they happen? What are your favorite moments?

Special thanks to all the blog visitors from American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). My blog traffic has more than doubled since the beginning of ACFW’s First Impressions writing contest. I’m enjoying serving as coordinator for the Young Adult/Children’s category.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Don't Touch Our Quarterback




My 10-year old’s football season ended recently. After a 6-2 fall, they made the playoffs but lost in the first round. It was his third season of great memories and he’s already excited about next fall. 

However, there is one bad memory from his first season that he’ll never forget. During his first season, when my son was playing defense in an away game, a referee walked up to him and uttered the following words: “Don’t touch our quarterback.” To my son, the intent of the referee’s comments was clear. The ref favored the other team.

I thought about this incident recently as I was discussing the election with my older son. My 15-year old son has a language disability. Because of this, he has difficulty understanding abstract concepts and often asks me about them. With the election in the news, my son asked me about “media bias.”

I started with the football example above. The media are like referees calling an athletic event. There are two teams, the Democrats and Republicans. The referees are supposed to be fair. However, most people who choose news media for their career tend to support Democrats over Republicans. Because of this, many of them tend to write the news so it helps Democrats and hurts Republicans.

As an example, I reminded my son of the 2nd presidential debate. As I told my son, CNN’s Candy Crowley criticized Governor Romney’s comments on Libya during the debate. Later, after the debate, Crowley admitted that Romney got it right.

“Shouldn’t the apology be good,” my son asked.
“Think about it,” I said. “How would you feel if someone lied about you in front of your class and then admitted later just to you that he/she was wrong?”
He agreed that it wouldn’t be good.
“That’s what Crowley did,” I said. “She lied about Governor Romney in front of millions of people and then corrected himself in front of a much smaller group. “Everyone heard her criticize Romney. Few heard her apology.” (Click here to see Crowley admit she got it wrong.)

I told him that something similar happened on a recent episode of an NBC Sunday news show called Meet the Press (October 28). On MTP, the guests debated the trustworthiness of presidential candidates and criticizing Governor Romney. When one guest brought up the Administration’s recent stories about Libya as an example of President Obama’s lack of trustworthiness, MTP’s moderator, David Gregory, shut the guest down, saying that they would talk about it later. The subject never came up again. (Click here for the transcript.)

My older son gave his opinion on these examples, saying it wasn’t fair. I told him I agreed, but also told him the truth: nothing could be done. Most news media tend to be support Democrats.  Unfortunately, like the referee that told my younger son, “Don’t touch our quarterback,” media types like Crowley and Gregory use their positions to convey their belief: “Don’t touch our President.”

It’s interesting to note that on Sunday evening, CBS’s 60 Minutes released a clip they edited from an interview they did with President Obama a few weeks ago. (Click here.) The clip supports the position Governor Romney made in the 2nd debate. Media bias explains why they hid it. Why it was released now suggests one thing. The next abstract concept I may have to explain to my teenager is CYA. 

The blogger contacted both Meet the Press, State of the Union (Crowley’s show), and 60 Minutes, but received no response prior to publication.

Clipart from www.primoclipart.com