FROM MY FILES : Sex In The Saddle, A Story From My Past

This year, I will celebrate my fortieth anniversary as a journalist/author.  Here is a blog that recounts a story from my early days as a reporter in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I hope it makes you smile!

FROM MY FILES: SEX AND THE SADDLE  published April 30, 2010

“Why don’t you reporters simply publish the truth?” a frustrated public official once asked me.

Whenever I hear a question like that, I think about an incident that happened when I was a young reporter at The Tulsa Tribune in Oklahoma and a woman called, asking for my help. She explained that her husband was in prison and that she was being sexually harassed by an assistant warden. He had threatened to have her husband beaten unless she had sex with him.

Click to continue…

Another Parent’s Sad Story, a Good Movie, Tweets, and Kudos to a Housing Activist

Silver Lining Playbook: Well Worth Seeing

A big thank you from me to Dinah Miller, Xavier Amador, Chrisa Hickey, Tracey Skale, and Erika for offering advice last week to A Concerned Parent during my week-long WE’VE LOST HOPE series. Each of them did an excellent job. I devoted a week to answering a single letter because it was representative of the heart-breaking emails that are sent to me. On the same Monday when the series began, I received this email:

“Son had a psychotic break in 2010 stabbed step-father. found not guilty by reason of insanity due to phentermine and chantix given to him by a general practitioner who knew he was bipolar and on meds. after jail stay of 2 years, son  put in transition home where he sat and did nothing. psychiatrist saw him for 15 minutes while talking on the phone the entire time. changed meds that worked to cheaper drugs that didn’t work. sent to hospital, discharged to street with no money or id. case manager from transitional home “forgot” to take son to medicare appointments or inform them of his hospitilization. all benefits cancelled. case manager fired. son no benefits at all. in shelter, mandated court order states he must have supervision for meds, he doesn’t,
cannot live with parents, attorney doesn’t want judge or da to know. son had never been violent. had benefits for 10 years, now gone. living in a violent area told not to leave the property because of drug dealers, murderers, prostitutes. Click to continue…

My Parents: 69th Wedding Anniversary Today!

My parents, Elmer and Jean, were married 69 years ago today.  For health reasons, my father took his bride after the wedding and headed west to Colorado from Pennsylvania. He had no job, only a few dollars in a checking account, and a car that couldn’t be driven at night because the  headlights didn’t work. If I had been their parents, I would have been horrified.

But they made it, just like so many of the Greatest Generation.  My mother has taken a photo every anniversary. I posted a blog about their 67th anniversary along with their scrapbook. You can view it here. I need to update it.

Or maybe I will just wait until they hit 70 years!

What I Learned About Homelessness: Walking the Streets of Georgetown

After I wrote CRAZY, I wanted to write a book about homelessness so I contacted Gunther Stern, the Executive Director of the Georgetown Ministry Center [GMC} in Washington D.C. and asked if I could spend some time with him and his staff. Georgetown is one of the wealthiest sections of the nation’s capital. It attracts the homeless because it is a fertile place to panhandle and it is one of the safer areas in the city to sleep outside at night.

Georgetown’s wealthy residents have always been adamantly opposed to having a homeless shelter operate inside their exclusive neighborhood. But after an elderly homeless man died from exposure in 1984 while  sleeping in a Georgetown telephone booth, the community was shamed into action.  Several churches agreed to open their sanctuaries at night to homeless individuals.   Between November and March, churches take turns. For two weeks, a congregation will provide an evening meal and overnight shelter to persons who are in need of lodging. When that congregation’s two-week stint ends, the homeless group moves to the next church. This alleviates the need for a full time shelter by taking care of the homeless during the winter months.

Click to continue…

Out of the Mouths of Children: Accepting Differences Is The American Way

Out of the Mouths of Children Accepting Differences Is The American Way

My sister-in-law, Dana Davis, was deaf but she never let her lack of hearing slow her down. When she was a teenager, the local swimming pool said she couldn’t be a lifeguard. My wife, Patti, who was two years older than her sister, and Dana demanded an audience with the pool’s board of directors and convinced its members to give Dana a shot.

She got the job and did great at it.

Click to continue…

Storm Disrupts — But Doesn’t Ruin — My Weekend

Broken Tree Limb

Fallen tree limb over gate to Pete’s Office

My weekend plans got scuttled when a violent thunderstorm swept through the Washington D.C. area Friday night leaving several hundred thousand residents without electricity. Power was knocked-out at both my house and office. Two huge tree limbs fell on my office roof.  Officials announced the next morning that it might be as long as five days before power could be restored.

On Saturday, temperatures hit a sweltering 101 degrees, according to the thermometer outside our kitchen window. Our house felt like an oven.

Click to continue…