October and Fall Leaves! Lovely!

Good Morning! Last day of September makes me think of once again thanking everybody who visited either BRH of JMPO Blogs last month! Many may be returning readers, which I'm not able to differentiate, but I certainly appreciated the 10,582, stops to read about all the wonderful books, and a few not so wonderful, that I've read...

Taiwan joined me this month and I was interested to read that they are supporting the Hong Kong protests. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29422233
I think in these days we must speak out for what we believe in, so hope those who visit from that country may find some words that are important to them, here, through these books, in some way...

I'm already backlogged into next year! LOL but do try to continue to accommodate as many requests as I can. Remember if you haven't seen your review, I appreciate being reminded and try to fit it in quickly. There really is no way to do first-come, first serve anymore. Mainly due to the continued overwhelming number of requests, but more, now, because I try to review as many books a week as possible and so pick out books based upon the length, as well as trying to accommodate some blog tours to keep things interesting...

Do take care of yourself and come back...tomorrow! LOL Leaves will soon start turning and falling in my area... God's beauty awaits our appreciation!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Web of Betrayal by Clare F. Price Takes Readers to Historical Power Struggles As World Wide Web Began!

Clare Price is a former technology reporter, technology marketing vice president, and author of five books on marketing; Five Easy Pages: The Essential Marketing System.
Clare saw the birth of the commercial Internet firsthand as a research director with the Gartner Group, the global leader in information technology consulting. As a principle analyst in Gartner’s Internet Strategies Service, Clare assisted many of the world’s biggest technology companies (IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle) in their bid to make the information highway a reality.
Clare began writing at age five with her short story, “My Dog Nicky.” In her career she has been a business journalist, tech industry journalist, Internet industry analyst and a VP of marketing for several software startups.
In addition to The 5 Easy Pages Essential Marketing System, Clare has written more than 700+ articles in the areas of information technology, marketing and business strategies and growth.
She has been a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, SARTA, the California Society of Association Executives, Women in Technology International (WITI), eWomen Network, uLinkNetwork, and the U.C. Davis Graduate School of Management.
Clare is an Ohio native and a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. degree in Rhetoric. She currently lives in Sacramento, California with her two Shetland Sheepdogs, Dan and Toby. This is her first novel.

~~~

Heading into the historical background for the Internet is an important activity, so immediately I checked out the author's background... Nearly all of my professional career involved the use of, or development of computer systems, so I wanted to also learn from this book about what I personally saw happening... I got a little more than I bargained for, because I spent the first pages trying to figure out who the companies actually were in the battle... LOL

In any event, the author's credentials were out there loud and clear for me and after I got passed her not using real company names, I sunk deep into the story and loved it!  One ingenious action the author provided in the book is the inclusion of  QR codes to pull part of the time period directly to the reader... I cheated and brought some of those here as I usually do...


Web of Betrayal
By Clare F. Price


It only took the prologue to point out that Toby Eastman is a very dangerous man. Note that it is 1993 and he's in Colombia, due to his impending connection to drug lord Enrique Valdez. The fact that Arno, who had made the arrangements for the meet, was burned that night, slowly, was not part of the plan. You'd think that would have made him just a little concerned, wouldn't you?

Toby Eastman is a man you enjoy hating... He's willing to do anything to finish what he's started and a main revenge plan is what he's involved in now... It was ironic to me that what began to happen was due to his own actions. He'd sent a disk to a former colleague who he trusted, with only a statement that it was confidential. The man had thought it was a puzzle like they had always worked on! So when the man received it, he sent it on to several others of his "boys..." Individuals who had been working with him for quite some time.

Soon, they all started dying, seemingly accidentally...

"Henry, that disk wasn't just another puzzle,"
Toby said vehemently. "That disk has
information on it that belongs to some very
powerful men."
Henry's eyes blinked rapidly. He looked at Toby
as if he'd never seen him before. "Toby what
have you gotten yourself into? I'm sorry...
You're sorry? Toby queried silently. It's
too late for sorry...
"I'm sorry, old friend. I truly am," he
whispered, his lips brushing against Henry's
ear. "But if it hadn't been me, it would
have been them."
~~~
The fire crackled. A tongue of flame broke free, reigniting dying embers, warming the room. Toby leaned back in his chair, took a small sip of his brandy and glanced around the tight space.
Henry Rhodes's bachelor's quarters held the same comfortable clutter that Toby remembered...Henry sat in the other armchair, his feet barely reaching the floor. Like his home, Toby thought, enjoying the constancy, Henry hadn't changed much in the last eighteen years...
Despite the warmth of the fire and the brandy coursing through his veins, Toby knew he couldn't afford to relax; not until he had the computer disk back safely in his possession...
"And how are your boys?" Toby asked.
"I've got a couple of boys who are real crypto-wizards. Give even you a run for the money," Henry said, chuckling mildly as he set down the empty glass.
Henry referred to all the young engineers he'd shepherded through the company as "his boys," even the women. Although Henry had been a talented software programmer in his own right, his company soon recognized he had an even greater ability to mentor the young college recruits they hired...
"No more for me, Henry. I have to go," he said, rising. "I really just came to pick up that disk I sent you a few weeks ago."
Henry looked up at Toby embarrassed, his smile sheepish.
"I know you told me to keep that one strictly confidential, Toby. But your puzzles are always the best. It was just too tempting."
"What do you mean?" Toby asked, forcing a casualness he did not feel.
Sliding into a velveteen seat, Peter took
in the scene. The Hilton's gaudy bar, so
reminiscent of the 1970s, with its hot-
pink chairs and, red glow-in-the-dark
carpet... was proudly pretentious in a
way that only the leisure suit crowd
could truly appreciate...
Expectation, excitement and urgency
pulsed through the crowd's chatter...
~~~
"I couldn't crack it. I tried, but it was beyond me...When I couldn't solve it, I sent it to the boys to see what they could do with it." Henry's tone was mildly irritated, as if Toby had forgotten who was the student, and who the master.
                    ~~~

It was January, 1994, when Peter Ellis hits Las Vegas and immediately realized how much he hated the town, thinking it was going to be a long three days!

He was struggling after a fiasco had occurred the previous year. That it happened was bad enough...

That it involved his sister was worse...



I'm not saying anything more about
Margaret turned back to
Adam and issued her
demands. "We want a
complete retraction, a new
accurate story written by
someone else on your
staff, and a personal
apology in writing from Mr.
Ellis here, or we will file a
multimillion dollar law suit
against the Valley Tribune
this afternoon."
~~~
this one--she doesn't deserve it! LOL! You'll quickly find out more about her and Peter during their early years... and find out just how cruel she is!

That she was involved in Peter's being accused of a fabricated story was, in my opinion,  due to her, even if the book really didn't say so... And now Peter was back to square one, rebuilding his reputation as a news reporter. Fortunately, his immediate supervisor was doing as much as he could to support him...

But then his girlfriend dumped him. She had tried to stick by him, but he had started to drink and Jessica had decided to move on... Only to become involved with an important player in the major stories he was soon to be following! Because he's been placed back on covering the CES trade show. David Lockwood was the keynote speaker and why he was here...

It may sound like Peter is on the way out, but, far from it! While you watch him, he picks up pieces of information and ultimately learns about three deaths that are linked to the activities that were now happening. Then, at this show, he was the only individual who pieced together Lockwood's presentation. Tracked him down and broke the lead story on 
his work!

Ellis to Lockwood:
"I got the message. I know what you're doing."
"I got it from the Holograms...
"Three points." Peter responded, fighting to keep his voice calm...
"First message you sent: all of those holograms illustrated firsts...
"Second message: those holograms moved out over the heads of the audience...
I liked the third message the best...Each of those holograms was more than a technical breakthrough, though that was impressive enough...They also opened up a new universe...
...One question. Mr. Lockwood, just one. Am I right? Yes or no?"
"Sapphire. Internet streaming video. Yes or no?" Peter asked again...


Lockwood turned toward Peter, his brow eyes so intense Peter felt as if they were boring a hole in his skull. "I'll give you some free advice. Follow the old saying and write about what you know." Capping the statement with a cryptic smile, Lockwood existed without another word.

Peter's story on David Lockwood's Sapphire Project scooped everyone...
~~~

The forty-by-sixty-foot, three-story
high Draco booth was one of the
largest and allest on the trade show
floor. In a nod to Law Vegas itself,
the Draco logo, a green and yellow
abstract of the Dragon constellation
blinked in neon boldness at the top
of the towering booth structure. Peter
had to crane his neck to see it.
~~~
Peter was Back! But that was only the beginning...and there were enemies out to see him fail!

His sister was watching every move he made for her own personal reasons. Jessica's new lover was a major player at Draco Communications who was slowly moving to a top position...

And let's not forget our major villain...he's got it in for Peter because he picked up on the murders and is following a trail...

But then there is MediaBuilders who are fighting to be at the top against Draco and some are fighting for both sides. In fact, you'll have a hard time keeping track of who may be involved because the players are, or have been, involved during previous activities. The one thing that comes out, of course, is that those who are honest move to make things right! And that's what readers will enjoy watching and trying to decide in advance what will happen!

Peter was there to meet Alex Kavanaugh. He already knew Alex knew little about the actual technological advances now underway...but...this was the guy who Jessica was now involved with, apparently pretty seriously. Alex was loving, and didn't mind, showing, that he enjoyed having Peter in the position of the jilted lover... Peter was still trying to get Jessica back at that point...

The booth contained four rooms divided by thermoform vinyl partitions. The one closet to the walkway, meant to draw in curious passersby, was styled as a tribute to Route 66 and hung with photographs taken along the venerated route. A video clip from the 1960s TV show of the same name ran in a loop in the background with Nat King Cole's recording of the famous theme song. A classic blue 1966 Corvette convertible roadster parked in the center of the display would be raffled off for charity at the close of the show. Peter made a mental note to buy a ticket for that one...
The screen faded to black. Peter turned to Kavanagh. "Impressive, Alex. I want it. So when can I have it?"
"It's 1994, Peter," Alex replied. "You'll have it before you know it."
"You want to be a little more specific," Peter said, knowing full well that most of the applications Draco was touting here were years if not decades away. "Realistically, you guys are laying pipe."
"If by laying pipe you meant creating the fiber optic backbone we need to send digital signals across the country, then yes, we're laying pipe. We've got about half our SONET backbone finished and it'll be completed by the end of the year," Alex agreed...
Anything else I can answer for you?" he asked
..."Just one more thing. Let's say, just for kicks, that you do get some cable partners. They the key question is how are you going to get those applications to the consumer? They need a way to access all those goodies on the information highway. And I'm hearing access is through Horizon."
Alex's jaw clenched briefly. He relaxed it and smiled  a little too broadly. His face took on the expression of an indulgent uncle humoring a bright but confused child...
Peter was throwing the technology at Alex fast, hoping to catch him off-balance. From the cautious expression on Alex's face, Peter thought he was succeeding...
Alex refused to take the bait. "I'd help you if I could, Peter," he said, standing. "But really, that is a question for our engineers.  As I said, I'm happy to arrange an interview..."
~~~

And then Peter met Jordan and he found himself falling in love for the first time, but of course there were also issues between them to be solved... Such as her love of music...
"David Sanborn," Jordan said, rejoining him on the sofa. "What do you think?"
"Nice."
The disheartened look on her face surprised him. "Very nice," He tried again, but her expression didn't change.
"Why don't you play some more?" he asked, buy time to discern her mood.
"Really?" That seemed to cheer her up. At least he was heading in the right direction.
"Yeah."
"Okay, this is a classic," She pulled an old vinyl record from her shelf, put it on the turntable and turned toward him. "Tell me how it makes you feel."
Peter leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes. He had no idea why this exercise was so important to Jordan, only that it was for the moment, that was enough for him. He focused on the sounds and let him mind do what it did best: parse and analyze the data his senses were collecting.
"I'm on a city street, urban, kids are throwing coins in a gutter. Somewhere where stuff should be happening, maybe in the past, but not now. Like Hollywood and Fine."
"Are you serious? You got that from this song?" Jordan sounded incredulous.
Peter opened his eyes. "Yeah, why?"
"Because that's actually what that song is about, "It's Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin' on Sunset."
~~~

Lots going on in this one--a thriller that will entice you from many directions to both enjoy and watch as corporate deals play a deadly part in bringing the World Wide Wed to all of us to enjoy! Check this one out! You'll be glad you did...


GABixlerReviews

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Deadly Odds Author, Allen Wyler, Here on Blog Tour - Paperback Available Tomorrow!


Arnold is under 40, but when you start reading Deadly Odds, you may indeed think of Steve Carrell in the movie...  Except this isn't a comedy. When his best friend, Howard, convinced him to seek out a prospective companion and meet her, he did exactly that...

And now Howard was dead...

"What exactly was your relationship with the deceased?" Detective Wendy Elliott asked. She was sitting on an aluminum chair opposite him, a small metal desk separating them. She seemed to be studying him with a freaky detached curiosity he found unnerving.
The deceased.  The words reverberated through his mind and decayed like the ring of a bell as they vanished into heavy silence.
Howard's dead. Howard is the deceased. Then the words finally began to sink in, his muscles going lax. He slumped against the hard cinderblock wall. Blowing through pursed lips, he scrambled to grasp the full reality of those words. Until this very moment he'd desperately held onto a threat of irrational hope that the detonation he assumed to be a gunshop had been something entirely different--although he had no idea what that might be. Or if it was a gunshot, it had served as only a warning, a threat, anything but a defenseless senseless murder.
His best friend shot dead.
Guilt engulfed him.
Had he not gone for pizza, this awful senseless act of violence would never had happened. Meaning, in a perverse way, he was directly responsible for this friend's death...
He blew another deep breath and rocked forward, elbows on his knees, fingers knitted together as an anxious storm of butterflies fought to escape his stomach. The metal chair suddenly became too hard to bear but fear of moving was paralyzing and he was too afraid to say a damn word. The acoustical-tile walls began squeezing his shoulders together and this room's air--smelling of sweat and fear permanently embedded in the cinderblock walls--had become too warm and stuffy to cat one satisfying breath...
"Mr. Gold?"

Deadly Odds
By Allen Wyler

"We're best friends. Have
been since grade school."
More than friends...brothers.
Having grown up together,
Bar mitzah's only a month
apart. Shared their
fantasies, dreams, fears...
He flashed on the countless
hours spent together linked
by a love of all things digital,
sharing copies of WIRED
when other kids passed
around comics, building
outrageous computers from
junked equipment, reading
operating manuals and books
on languages like C++
just for fun...
~~~
I certainly enjoyed the two earlier books by Allen Wyler that I've had the chance to read; however, I really loved the main character in this book... You can actually see him evolving in personality and character as the book proceeds. A wonderful accomplishment by the author in my opinion... And it wasn't because he was no longer a virgin... 

Arnold was a nerd, geek, hacker...whatever you want to call an individual who is brilliant in the use of computers. Arnold was rarely far away from this computer lab that he'd set up in his basement. It was only Howard who was close enough to worry about and urge Arnold to "get a life" beyond the computers...  For Howard, he thought that Arnold needed to find someone and enjoy what he'd never experienced...sex... He urged him to hit Vegas and
do nothing but enjoy some time away...with a girl...

A sad little story was that Arnold had always had feelings for Howard's sister, but had never done anything to forward that relationship until... now it was too late, for so many reasons...

Arnold was drilled by the police but had refused to talk. But when he got a lawyer, who was another main character who had been developed so wonderfully, a kind and caring man which is not the usual image for a lawyer, do we begin to hear all that had happened, there in Vegas...

It could only happen in fiction, I hope... But, let's just say that picking out a beautiful girl from so many choices, who happens to be a terrorist??? Wow!
Firouz let Karim drive, giving him more time to
think, regroup, strategize, always his responsibility
because that was the way things  needed to be with
Karim. If it weren't for being brothers he would
never bother using him. On the other hand, he was
a devoted believer, a good Sunni, which, in the end
stood for something. But the needless killing now
drew attention to them they could ill afford. Not
with what was at stake. But there was no sense
saying anything more. They now had to deal with
what they had, and, God willing, would still
succeed.
"The Jew say you?"
Karim said, "Yes."
Firouz silently shook his head and bit his tongue
because the mission was not a total failure. They
did, after all, have the computer...Gjayoor was a
true believer as well as a brilliant computer expert.
He would be the one to examine the extract
information from the Jew's computer,
determine how he was able to see into the future
and predict events as Naseem had explained.
~~~
He had, though, in a personal way, chosen a lovely girl who did much to help Arnold... His request to her had been to explain and teach him what women wanted...

And she did, including helping him select non-geek clothes, about fine wines, where to dine...as well as all about sex.  If she had not discovered what Arnold was capable of, perhaps he could have benefited from their time together and just gone home...

But Arnold had developed a system...

He was good at analyzing issues and pulling in what type of information should be considered in evaluating how to proceed. He used it mostly for gambling--but, of course, that was part of the problem since he'd never paid taxes on any of his income...in other words, once he started talking to his lawyer, he had to realize that he was no longer the little boy that loved computers... He was now a man who was known as a "hacker..."

In fact it was his ego that first got him in trouble. For, of course, if you are going to be spending time with a woman day and night, she's going to start asking personal questions... Arnold had grown to like her so much that he wanted to appear special to her...

They first went to horse racing...where he made an impression on what he'd picked... But as she asked more questions and he wanted to impress her, he shared that the system could work on anything... When she expressed surprise, he told her more--too much more.

Soon, she had scheduled a meeting with her two friends, Karim and Firouz...

When later a bomb went off, Arnold knew he was in deep trouble, because that bomb was exactly where his system had said it should go... This was not really a game anymore... 

It wasn't long before the FBI was involved and Arnold was right in the middle... Afraid of getting killed by Firouz and afraid to be jailed by the FBI...

The strange but intriguing decisions made by Arnold is what makes this book far more exciting that the action of a good thriller. Arnold blamed himself for Howard's death and that was the most important thing--he wanted revenge even if he was killed in getting it. In deciding that, though, he put into action all of that hacker brilliance he had access to and that results in an unbelievably enticing look into a hacker's genius doing what he does best! Ok, my personal disclaimer that I hate all things illegal through use of computer, but I've got to say that Wyler's creation of Arnold results in one very cool novel! Highly recommended!


GABixlerReviews




A Seattle native, Wyler’s parents died early,leaving him on his own by the time he entered college. He supported himself with various jobs including being a fry cook at a drive-in and a professional musician playing drums for various local blues and jazz groups. In his first year of medical school, he knew he wanted to specialize in neurosurgery. Upon graduating from residency he started on the faculty of the University of Washington and then the University of Tennessee where he developed an international reputation for pioneering surgical techniques to record brain activity. In 1992 the prestigious Swedish Medical Center recruited him back to Seattle to develop a neuroscience institute.
Wyler’s love of thrillers began in 1974 on his way to Cincinnati to take the oral boards in neurosurgery. At SeaTac airport he picked up a copy of William Goldman’s Marathon Man to read on the flight. He became so engrossed he stayed up all night to finish it before stoking up on coffee and meeting with the examiners. He aced the exam.
Wyler develops plots from actual events in his practice. While serving on a committee charged with selecting the medical center’s new computerized medical record system he wondered what might happen if the software had a random bug. From this came the story line for Deadly Errors, his 2005 thriller that has been subsequently translated into several foreign languages, including Russian. Crime Spree Magazine wrote:
“There is a grand tradition of medical thrillers in the suspense field – hardly surprising since medicine is one place where life’s rubber really meets the road. A new entry, Deadly Errors, by a new author, Allen Wyler, is right up there with the best.”
Much of the background for Dead Head, a story about keeping a detached head alive for the information in the brain, was derived from Wyler’s own research on recording the brain’s electrical activity. As Adam Woog (Seattle Times) wrote:
“Wyler’s premise is deliriously over-the-top… (You’ll notice I’m avoiding any cracks about how fiction writing ain’t brain surgery.) But the story barrels right along, and, as Wyler points out in an afterword, the science of maintaining a disembodied head is already chillingly close to reality.”
Wyler’s third thriller, DEAD END DEAL, originated a few years ago, he was a guest lecturer at a medical center in Seoul, South Korea. He wondered what it would be like to be trapped in a foreign country hunted by police because of being framed for a murder.
In 2002 he left active practice to become Medical Director for a start-up medical technology company, Northstar Neuroscience, which went public (NSTR) in 2006. At the end of 2007 he retired to devote full time to writing.
~~~

http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2012/12/allen-wyler-goes-beyond-medical.html in Dead Ringer
http://gabixlerreviews-bookreadersheaven.blogspot.com/2014/07/dead-wrong-by-allen-wyler-heavy-on.html

     Amazon: http://amzn.to/1xh54PS  
·         Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1sZrIy1
·         A+B (Publisher): http://bit.ly/1uspcim

Friday, October 17, 2014

Adolfo's Latest Poetry Dedicated to Moi! You'll See Why! 'Cause. Of Course, I'm Sharing! Come Meet Tallia...




The Entrapment of Tillia


By Adolph Caso

(Dedicated to Glenda Bixler)

1.


After having casually observed Pauline
Two or three times in front of her house,
For whatever reason, I needed to meet her,
For, my summer neighbor was more than attractive,
And the days remaining were few indeed.
On seeing her alone on her steps,
I went on a fast errand.
“Good morning,” I said, cheerfully;
“My name is Al”--never Adolph;
With the latter, I never stood a chance!
On hearing, Pauline,
I immediately told her she was beautiful
The following day, as the sun was setting
And the beach waters reflecting crimson,
There she was again.
With a single rose secretly preserved in the refrigerator,
I climbed her stairs in one leap.
“This is for you!” I exclaimed, exuberantly.
A smile on her face,
Taking the flower into her hand,
She gently brought it to her nose.
Un-hesitant, I clutched her wrist.
Bringing her hand down to one side,
I placed my lips on her receptive mouth,
And,
                There:
                                     The kiss!
The kiss is a moment of inebriation
That comes about without the consequences
Of a bonding Matrix, that assures re-generative life--
As opposed to Destiny, that assures death;
And, in between, Evolvement, which assures potentials of living.
The next day, Pauline was gone,
But that moment of a sweet, gentle, and innocent kiss,
Wherein, the body and soul come together,
Continues to reverberate in my being
To this very day!
The rose made it possible.


2.

Outside, from my breakfast table,
This striped cat cautiously approached the door.
“Vieni, vieni, pussymao. Come, come,” I beseeched phonemically,
Feeling sure she had understood my feline lingo.
To no avail, she took off toward the bushes,
Stopped, looked back, and,
With a quirky little jump,
She disappeared into the bushes.
(All cats are females.)
Mornings later, there she was again.
Cautiously approaching the door,
She finally came to a sitting position.
Her head directly in front of the door,
She stared into the kitchen,
Un-aware I was hiding behind the wall.
After a few seconds, I gently opened the door:
“Miao-miao, putthimao,”
I said in a low, soothing voice.
Notwithstanding my slight phonemic rhyme,
I reached out with one extended hand;
Turning her head upward,
She jumped to her right and ran to the edge of the lawn.
Once again, she stopped.
After looking back one more time,
She disappeared into the underbrush.
I knew she’d be back!


3.

My plan was twofold:
To entice—really, to entrap her into the kitchen;
If successful,
To tell my wife: What?
What did I know about this animal?
Margaret knows my secrets even if I don’t have one.
I needed a surrogate!


4.

The solution came at supper:
After Margaret put away the left-over spaghetti
With its delicious marinara sauce,
Undetected, I placed two fork-full in a bowl.
Next morning,
Pre-destination coincidentally made Tillia re-appear
Just as Margaret left to go shopping.
Quietly opening the screen door,
Bowl in hand, I extended it forthwith.
Suddenly, Tillia paused; took a whiff; paused again.
“Miao-miao, putthimao,” I begged, shaking the bowl.
The sauce’s aroma having reached her nose,
She began to move toward the bowl.
As she came close, I pulled the bowl back into the kitchen.
But at the threshold, she stopped--
Moved her head from one side to the other,
Neither coming into the kitchen nor retreating from her position—

Just as with the rose,
The spaghetti’s aroma had taken control.
“Miao-miao, putthimao,” I repeated.
A sense of imminent victory surged within my body.
“Vieni, vieni, pussymao. Come,” I beseeched.
I immediately placed the bowl right under her mouth.
As she plunged to take a bite,
I pulled it further back, with Tillia in hot pursuit.
Unable to resist,
She finally walked over the threshold and into the kitchen.
Taking no chances, I pushed the screen door shut.
Instinctively, she lunged into the screen head-on.
To assuage the betrayal, I pleaded for forgiveness.
“Va bene, va bene, puttimiao! Not to worry!” I exclaimed.
I brought the bowl to her mouth and placed it on the floor.
She sniffed, looked side to side, and quickly devoured Margaret’s pasta.
Before I knew it, she was licking the bowl clean.
With that, I knew she was mine (if possession were possible)—
A real surrogate.


5.

It took Tillia no time to respond to her new name,
And even less time to acclimate.
She followed me everywhere:
To the living room,
To the family room,
To my office—her favorite place.
In the back yard, she felt full freedom;
And in no time, she began to sit on my lap,
Watching programs made for sleepy heads.
“Where did she come from?” Margaret asked in awe.
“And, what’s her name, anyway?”
“I don’t know where she comes from,
And her name is Tillia.”
“Tilia, Tilla! You don’t know where she’s from,
But you know her name?” She asked in bountiful sarcasm.
“I just made it up,” I said softly,
For,
She could have said Pauline.
To Margaret’s happiness, Tillia was an outside cat,
Prompting us to get a screen door
With a trap door designed just for her.
With one gentle push from the inside,
And a similar one from the outside,
I helped her learn to move in and out with ease,
Rejoicing in the freedom to come and go at will.
What was my second big benefit?
Chipmunks, which had been eating my bountiful tomatoes,
Served themselves up as Tillia’s special meals--
Second only to Margaret’s spaghetti!
Not long thereafter,
Margaret learned
That Tillia belonged to a neighbor down the street.
“She abandoned us--typical female!”
The woman admitted, sadly specifying gender.
So much for surrogate role reversal.


6.

My inability to converse with Tillia
Made me wonder about the claims of those
Postulating that evolution exists
Between and within species;
Yet, evolution has
Neither affected the communicative apparatus
Of a single individual of a species
Nor any cross-over from one species to another.
Yet, Tillia, although always walking one step behind me--
Never emitted a sound having intelligence,
No matter how many times I said:
“Dimmi--Tell me what you’re thinking;
Tell me what you’re feeling.”
Like Leonardo, never loathing to divine secrets
From anyone or anything,
I engaged her in numerous conversations
Especially in my office, her favorite place.
Depending on her mood,
Tillia would jump either
Onto the computer table to stare into my face,
Or jump onto the desk and stare into my head.
Whether I was keyboarding or writing,
She stared into my face or head compelling me to stop.
“Dimmi. Tell me: What do you want?” I asked.
Her eyes beaming with intensity, I continued:
“Do you want me to recite my version of Shakespearean?
Or do you prefer Petrarch’s sonnet to Laura?
Her stare retaining its intensity, I began:
“To be or not to be: that is the question.
To live and be embroiled in life’s vicissitudes,
Or die, at one’s own hands.
Thus, by shortening life,
One fulfills the primal goal of destiny?”
Noticing some tension on her face,
I wondered about its cause:
Was it the heavy rhythm in the English verse?
Or, was it the message of a doomed man
Battling his brethrens and God at the same time?
“Would you prefer the English lyrics of Coleridge?”--
I asked rhetorically--
I never understood his emphasis on rhythm and rhyme.
“Or, would you rather hear the lyrics of Petrarch?”
Eliciting no response other than her constant stare,
I chose to read Petrarch,
Not so much for the imagined perfection of his enthroned Laura
But because of his sweet new style
Wherein the poet imbues perfection unto a Laura,
Who, by remaining alive in his poetry,
She continues to defy destiny,
At the expense of Petrarch’s constant despairing anguish
Over this un-attainable and un-consummating love:
To be or not to be!
“E allora! What then?” I protested.
Unexpectedly, Tillia emitted a single but weak, Miao.
To my disappointment,
I will never know, from any analysis of evolution,
Whether Tillia understood the meaning,
Let alone appreciate the sound of those verses.
If human beings do not understand man-made things,
How can animals understand anything invented or created by man?
As for Tillia, the only man-made thing she enjoyed
Was Margaret’s pasta--by far;
As for me, she became my secret confidant,
Always needing and demanding my attention.
One afternoon, sitting patiently on the desk behind me,
Staring into my head while I worked on data processing,
She leaped onto my shoulders and wrapped her body around my neck.
“Cosa vuoi? What do you want?” I asked, looking into her eyes.
“Dai! Come on; come down.”
With her walking behind me, we went out into the yard--
A paradise of grass, trees, and flowers,
Surrounding a vernal pool filled with frogs!



7.

Every living thing, organic or not,
Is doomed to one and only one destiny of death,
With no predestination of any kind
Except for wishful thinking and hoping:
To be endowed with pre-disposed love
Between two beings or two souls,
Whether a love be fleeting as that with Pauline
Or be more permanent as that with Margaret.
Life is also full of un-redemptive degrees of hate—
The antidote to love and to fortune
In which a person like Pauline and Margaret cannot exist,
Love being the highest most meaningful attribute
Of the human being,
Both in the world of nature, with its bountiful living forms,
Or, in the man-made world of Petrarch,
With his transformation of a real woman
Into an imagined Laura,
Her ethereal image
Constantly haunting every cell of his body.
On returning from one of many walks into the woods,
I noticed a slight limp on Tillia’s hind legs.
“Sei stanca? Are you tired?” I asked--a sign of alarm in my voice.
Over the several years wherein she and I bonded,
I considered destiny applying to me only.
As soon as I saw, that her limping was not due to fatigue,
I took her to the veterinarian: deterioration of the spine!
Follow-up visits confirmed it.
Jolted, I remembered the same reaction
On hearing the doctor confirming my mother’s imminent death--
I realized the consequences of Destiny;
It also applied to all other organisms,
And by extension, to this earth, and to this sun,
And to all other universes in space,
Knowing 
That this space
Has never been
Nor will it ever be
Empty!
Thus I gave meaningful substance to the adjective: Everlasting.
Tillia slept on the couch next to me.
At a point, she got up and went toward the door.
Dragging her legs in obvious pain, she passed through the opening;
She made her way to the grass without looking back.
Shortly thereafter, she reappeared,
Came to the couch and snuggled next to me.
My hand on her back, she fell asleep.
Soon after, she awoke, crawled to the door and stopped.
She turned toward me and meowed.
After her second call, I responded:
“Dimmi! Tell me Tillia; what do you want?”
As soon as I stood up, she slipped through the screen,
Stopping outside where she waited for me to open the door.
She stood up and glanced into my eyes.
After meowing one more time
She turned and made her way to the grass.
Pausing, to look back, she slid in to the underbrush
And never came back!
As I am writing, I cannot hold back the tears.


8.

Did Tillia become prey to the Fischer Cat?
Or, was she prey to cubs of the Red Fox?
Did she die as prescribed by Destiny?
John, my cousin, provided the answer
On discovering Tillia’s body by the boulder:
I noticed that bit by bit the water was already carrying them
To, who knows what destination?
Or, to, who knows what other form of life?
Upon my recommendation,
John dug a grave right under the imposing boulder
From which all life forms emanate.
After choosing a triangular rock, shed from its mother boulder,
We placed Tillia down gently and solemnly.
Then we placed the stone against the boulder
With its angled top aimed towards the sky
So that once, each day,
She will be connected directly to the Sun.

~~~


Dear Adolfo...

How could you know? But, you didn't really... I know that! What you shared with Tillia does not happen with every cat. Count yourself as Tillia's best friend and know that you were loved. As I write this, I cry for you, but, more, I cry for my Keithie who died many years ago... But did exactly what Tallia had done...

Keithie had been an inside cat until we moved to the cabin where I now live. He would go out for short trips but would always return...until the day he didn't come back... I called and called for him until one time, I saw him walk out of the woods and I rejoiced and called to him... But I  quickly saw that he didn't look well, then noticed blood at his mouth. He stood there for awhile looking at me...I don't remember what I said, but it must have let him know that I realized he had just come to say goodbye... He turned and walked back into the woods and I remained there, crying, knowing he wouldn't come back home again...

Special connections do not occur with cats often, but when they do, and you lose them, it is just the same as you feel when a friend dies... 

My sympathies, Adolfo, for losing your beloved Tillia... But, she's laughing and enjoying where she is now...that place where there is no pain...no more pain... Maybe she'll even meet Keithie!