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Showing posts from June, 2011

Report on Old Doug: Health, Theater, eBook, and More

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Normally on my blog I try and write little essays about various topics, but I thought it was time to furnish a few updates on various personal matters for those readers who know me well. Let's start with my novels.

1. eBook. At the height of the recent recession, I tried to publish what was in reality my second novel (see Related Posts below, "Frightening the Horses" which explains the first), called "Imaginary Friend." Unlike the first experience, where I had no trouble finding an agent, I couldn't get the new work read by even one of the 125 agents I sent it to (they were swamped by unsolicited manuscripts), so I eventually published the book myself on Amazon.com. It sold well enough in the beginning, and all of the reviewers were very complementary about my atheist thriller (a new genre). I even put the first three chapters on the blog (see below, starting with "Explosion at Ohi…

The World's Greatest Game [Bridge] Needs You

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Are you the sort of person who likes challenging intellectual games? If so, the best game in the world is calling you to learn to play bridge. Why is bridge the best game in the world? Because it combines a basic card game with complex rules, an artificial bidding system that can be as complicated as you want to make it (including adding your own inventions), a play of the cards requiring concentrated analysis and application of skill, all of this combined with the fact that you and your partner must be in perfect sync to make it all work. Daunting? Sure? But rewarding, even at a the beginner's level? Oh yes. Take a few lessons at your local bridge center and you'll be hooked for life. Pick up the hand in the photo below and you can take all the tricks (a "Grand Slam").

Alas, this wonderful game is dying out. Why is that? The truth is that it was once very popular, but when young people discovered video games and other entertainment possibilities, the quaintnes…

The Puppet Party

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In my life I've thrown some strange parties, a few of which have been described previously on this blog, but surely one of the oddest was the April 20, 1985 Puppet Party. Jerry and I had begun our twelve year relationship that previous January, so this was probably our first social event with my closest friends: Art and Lorri Greenbaum-Latek, Mary Bush, Ann Matheson, Barbara Shipek, Lynn Brown, and a few others. The conceit of the party was this: everyone was to furnish his/her own puppet, and only the puppets were invited to the party. The puppet owners had to come, of course, but were not allowed to talk as real people; only the puppets could speak to one another. This was a party for puppets only.

Amazingly, this nuttiness worked very well, and everyone entered into the spirit of the event with great brio. There was good food, lots of drinking, and (I suspect, but don't specifically remember) probably some marijuana to help a few of the puppets relax. Lorri, ever creati…

A Mormon Loses His Faith

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The most incredible email I've ever received took me by surprise this spring. I've omitted the sender's name for obvious reasons. The email follows, dated March 24, 2011.
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My Dear Professor Whaley,

I have been meaning to write you for some time, but after finding your blog (and thoroughly enjoying every word of it) I feel obliged to share a few thoughts with you. I'm not sure where to begin. First, I need to thank you for being such a great professor. Your knowledge of the material, wit, and compassion made learning truly enjoyable. I know many of your former students, and I can tell you my appreciation for you is shared by all.

You may not remember, but you also helped my wife and me with a payment-in-full check dispute involving her dentist while I was still in school. It was successfully resolved and the dentist's attorney was flabbergasted. Thank you for your assistance.

As your student you had no reason to know this, bu…

Bob Whaley Goes to Law School

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As I've explained before in this blog [see Related Posts below], my father Robert Whaley dreamed of being a lawyer since he was a little boy. However World War II sent him into the Air Force, and the necessity of keeping a family (and his own considerable skills as a pilot and squadron commander) kept him there. In 1949 he was tranferred to St. Louis University where he taught ROTC for two years. Interestingly, St. Louis offered an evening law school, and Dad, excited, promptly signed up. He loved taking the courses, and by the time he was transferred two years later, he'd amassed 40 credit hour and was second in his class.

Fast forward to 1967. I was about to graduate from the University of Texas Law School the following spring, and Dad, age 49, was retiring from the Air Force at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He told me that he was going to sell real estate or insurance, but mostly just play golf with my mother. I vetoed that immediately. "Nonsense, you're going ba…