PleaseReadMyBookBeforeIDie.com
The website of Andrew Hessel and Old Dog Publishing

Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

January 24, 2017

WOMEN’S MARCH GREATEST PROTEST IN WORLD HISTORY

Peaceful. Purposeful. And a Real Movement.

Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

What took place around the world on Saturday, January 21st, may have been nothing less than the first salvo of something extraordinary. An explosive and heartfelt outpouring of protest. Like a 21st Century Fort Sumter and the beginning of a non-violent Second Civil War for justice and equality and human dignity.

Here’s why.

women's march

Hundreds of marches, tens of millions, peaceful and purposeful.

The signficance of this real people juggernaut of a protest is dwarfed only by what it’s not.

The protest isn’t sour grapes about the outcome.

DJT’s the prez, but the story will be a long time unfolding as truth is separated from fiction, and reality from delusion.

The impact of Putin from the outside and Comey from within will be assessed, debated and perhaps even litigated ad nauseum. Of course it mattered, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Saturday’s Women’s Marches across the country and around the world were the authentic outpouring of heartfelt rejection of the man in the office; his heart, his character, his brain.

And his policies, however vague, thin, shifting and conveniently tuned to each audience.

And his values, if we ever really find out what they are, and aren’t.

The marches were the for real grassroots eruption signaling that the “fight” is on. Beyond politics for the soul of a nation.

Mitch McConnell had his way – obstruction, opposition and in the case of the High Court, refusal.

The opposition has found the genesis of a better way. I’m sure they’ll obstruct as they can, it’s the most immediate political policy weapon.

Added to that, is the people talking in a way we’ve never seen before. Mobilizing, getting involved and their activism can reengineer the political landscape, maybe at hyper-speed.

The real people. All ages, colors, genders across the demographic spectrum around the world.

Okay, here’s why they’re talking.

Because the new president is a flavor we’ve never been served before. His lack of most every tool to do the job is scary, not funny. Hey, Big League he ain’t.

The reality showman, grand promoter, con man huckster, rich man’s son and business bully, world class liar, serial kisser and privates grabber whose greatest skill is the ability to magically reduce the most complex and critical issues facing mankind to 140 characters.

In tweets always ending with an exclamation point in self-aggrandizing self-congratulation.

They’re tremendous and the best ever.

Worst of all, is a quality never seen in any previous occupant of the office he now holds, which is beyond frightening:

There is and never will be a dissenter, however small, he’s too busy to attack.

The prez can’t rise above anything, can’t let anything go, and the collateral damage is a savage attack upon the dignity of the office. A self-inflicted character flaw that could be potentially critically fatal at the wrong time with the wrong enemy.

The job is to lead the world not preach to the choir, guided and defined by our values not personal delusions.

Drain the swamp? He’s restocked it with billionaires, cronies and insiders.

The Elite, baby. The United States of Goldman Sachs.

During the campaign, everyone that opposed him was a liar and a crook.

In the end, he’d out-lied ‘and out crooked ‘em all. That’s who he’s always been.

2018 may be the most entertaining and crucial off-year election ever.

What will his newbie base do when promises he made are broken, as they inevitably will be, because he never meant them?

He never really believed any of it because Donald J. Trump only believes in Donald J. Trump, and couldn’t care less about folks he snookered into voting against their own best interests.

And as he’d end a tweet with that statement: SAD!!!!

Losing by nearly 3,000,000 popular votes isn’t a mandate, except in his mind, where if he says it, it’s true.

Like George Costanza told Jerry: “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

The popular tally aside, it was less than 80,000 votes that cost his opponent Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and the White House.

The ‘movement’ he boasts carried him to his ‘tremendous’ victory was no movement at all.

The for real movement was out walkin’ January 21st around the world. Sending a message that it’s not okay, we won’t just take it, and the fight is on.

If only this could be the beginning of the new beginning.

The tens of millions around the world*, like the hundred thousand plus in the January Portland, Oregon rain spoke loudly and clearly today; they are the real movement.

And the Second Civil War for justice, equality and opportunity for all has peacefully, but oh so admirably, begun.

A little post on Facebook started it all.

If what I’ve written has resonated with you at all, I ask that you share it.

I’ve been a lazy blogger. Writing for clients, neglected my blog. Sat out the campaign and the most recent sports seasons, but what happened yesterday called to me.

Doing nothing is not okay.

Share this with others – together, let’s make a difference.

*So maybe it was only five or ten million – only. Besides, if Donald can tell the CIA and the world that his Inaugural crowd ‘was the biggest ever’ and insist that 3-5 million illegals cost him the popular vote, I feel ‘empowered’ to offer a few alternative facts of my own.

All the best to you and yours.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Uncategorized

June 29, 2015

OUR WEATHERMAN CALLS IT ‘HOTTER THAN BISCUITS’

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Political naysayers scoff at climate change as one of those liberal myths without scientific basis, and I’ll confess that for once I’d like to believe them. Otherwise, those of us that call the great Northwest home should be preparing to become the ‘New California’ – dry as dirt.

hotter than biscuits

We’re on our way to driest April through June on record.

Hot, too with as many 90 degree days before summer starts, as we get in a year.

The ‘D’ word is being used – a lot.

The evidence is all around us and I think grey, rainy days would be welcomed and celebrated by practically everyone.

Lawns are being watered for grass to survive and not curb appeal.

There is no fear of a Green Tomato Summer – they’re ripening on the vines already and may be ready for the Fourth of July.
Like everything else, we’re a month or two ahead of schedule with no idea what it means or what to expect in the summer just getting under way.

Matt Zaffino, my personal favorite weatherman, calls it Hotter than Biscuits.

The past weekend gave a taste of humidity, too, reminding me why I fled the Midwest.

With apologies to the Most Interesting Man in the World: Stay Cool, My Friends.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles

December 13, 2014

HUMANE SOCIETY DONATION: HALF OF DECEMBER ROYALTIES

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Greetings from Portland, OR –

A great gift for any dog lover, anyone really, and a way to support the Humane Society. I’m donating half of Paw Prints in My Heart’s December royalties.

A nice way this Old Dog to honor and remember Mac, the four-legged love of my life at Christmas time.

Happy Holidays – May the pages turn!

Paw Prints in My Heart

Paperback and eBooks at Amazon

And one more thing –

Monique Balas, The Oregonian’s talented pet columnist, graciously reviewed Paw Prints and posted it on OregonLive.com.

Here’s the link:

http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2014/12/portland_mans_book_a_great_gif.html

Rants and Rambles

November 13, 2014

IN OREGON WE HAVE SERIOUS WEATHER DUES TO PAY

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

The past two years have graced us with the most wonderful weather I’ve seen since moving to Oregon. A summer equaled only by my very first, 42 years ago. But here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather scales always balance. We have hellacious weather dues to pay.

Which means that ark-building time cometh. Yikes! I think it may already be here!

images

October was the second rainiest on record and we’re seeing wintry weather in mid-November.

Growing up in the Midwest I hated the rain. Meteorologically speaking, that made moving to Oregon more than a little scary. Northwest winter, or what we think of more as the rainy season, is of uncertain and varying length uniquely determined each year. It’s called the Water Year – October–September.

Don’t know if other places have anything like it. But Oregon weather does and for good reason.

Oregon rain brought Lewis and Clark to their knees and they certainly had their fair share of hardships exploring the Louisiana Territory more than two centuries ago.

In the more than four decades I’ve lived here, we’ve seen some soul-crushing winters that pre-empted spring and stunted summer, leaving us locals to feel cheated, weather-wise. Summer is near perfection. It’s hard to feel short-changed when it’s MIA and the rainy season returns without apology and is insatiably hungry and cruel as ever.

There were years that were more than a little tough to handle. Back in the day as relative newbies we wondered if it was worth worth it and if we could take it. But Oregon does have a way of making it hard to seriously consider living anywhere else, and when the sun shines on a bright summer day in the land of heat without humidity, it’s truly glorious.

Thinking of the past weather year it may have been the greatest weather year ever.

Last fall was a spectacle of color, cold and crisp days, and winter arrived with colder than typical weather, a shot of early snow that was no big deal but gave everyone an excuse to play in it, and politely went away in time for the Holidays.

January, and the months that followed, can be harder than hard because they’re so often wetter than wet, relentlessly and depressingly so.

Except the last couple of years it wasn’t. An odd thing happened, that I’d never seen before.

Every time the rain appeared to be really settling in, we’d get a day or two’s break from it. Often when it did rain, it was overnight. Uglier than imaginable mornings saw afternoon drying and clearing up. I began to apply an adjective to Oregon winter weather I never thought I’d use.

Polite.

We even had a stretch of sunny, warm and dry days … in January.

And it was repeated in February. March was monsoon-like, the wettest ever – efficiently balancing the scales. But then April was wonderful, so un-Oregon-like and summer came earlier than most any year I can remember.

Summer had arrived, and it was sunny and warm. At its hottest we only flirted with triple digits, and the wonderful, warm and sunny days stayed around through September and into October.

Weather so perfect you almost felt guilty about it.

We didn’t, of course, because while very extra day was a gift, it only added to the tab that would soon come due.

Now we’re paying for all that gorgeous summer weather.

Thanksgiving is still two weeks away and we’re getting a wintry mix that looks to be serious.

Few of us believe the rainy season will be so polite this time around, or that next summer will arrive so early and stay so long.

We know better. More likely that last year was an aberration and there are serious weather dues to pay.

Thanks for reading. May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Politics and Sports,Rants and Rambles

October 22, 2014

NOTES ON A GRINDING BASEBALL SEASON

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A great yet painful but inspiring baseball season. My Cardinals made it to the NLCS for the fourth straight year, but exited on a three game losing streak for the third straight year. A fitting end to a season that was predictably unpredictable but painfully so. A season of grinders.

Jeter

Youth Ruled
The number of terrific young talent across baseball was unprecedented and suggest the game’s best days – at least between the lines – are ahead.

Money Didn’t
The Dodgers, Tigers, Yankees, Angels and others proved that spending the dough for a great fantasy team isn’t a sure path to success.

Streaks Ruled
Getting hot at the right time was never such a critical ingredient to success. Look at the sweeps, and tip your hat to the Royals for theirs. And to the Giants that seem to know what October is all about … again.

Starters Didn’t
Spotty results from most every #1, but more and more games became bullpen games and teams with the deepest relief corps survived and thrived.

Injuries Ruled
The Rangers, Reds, Rays and many others got hammered, ridden hard and put away wet. Tommy John injuries at a historic level. I’ll have more on this later.

Power Didn’t
Only Nelson Cruz cracked 40 HRs, speed and defense made a comeback, and small ball returned to the baseball lexicon.

Trades Ruled
Except when they didn’t. The A’s big deadline deals weren’t enough, but the Royals trade for Shields and Davis a few years ago sure looks good.

Class Ruled
Thanks to Derek Jeter for a career that exemplified all that is wonderful about the game I love above all others. If he’s not a unanimous first ballot HOFer, it’s just wrong.

Flawed Cards
I saw the Cardinals as a flawed team in April. Injuries, under-performing core players, bullpen issues and perplexing managerial moves proved it.

Better Days
This time of year the reality is 29 of 30 fan base watch the Champs, whoever they are, celebrate. But hope springs eternal and pitchers and catchers report in April.

The Royals and Giants weren’t expected to represent their leagues this year.

Both should be commended for grinding it out.

Thanks for reading. May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Self-Publishing

August 4, 2014

GREAT REVIEWS – I’D LIKE TO READ YOURS!

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Amazon reviews of Paw Prints in My Heart are simply wonderful. I’m not only grateful, but truly moved that so many readers got what the book is all about, and wrote such wonderful things. Dog lover or not, I hope you read it and then review it.

As a novelist I never planned to write a dog book, but set out to write one about an amazing friend of mine that happened to have four legs. It was only after finishing that I realized I’d written a book about all the great dogs out there and the how they impact our lives and can teach us so much without saying a word.

Paw Prints in My Heart

Paperback and eBooks at Amazon

I’m truly touched that for so many it brought back memories.

And for more than a few it helped heal, often long after having to say goodbye.

As one reviewer said, Do yourself a favor … you’ll thank me later.

Download the $2.99 eBook or order a paperback at Amazon. Know that my royalty will buy me half a cup of coffee at Starbucks … if I get a small. Links on my website will take you to Amazon.

If you like it, please review it and tell you friends.

If you don’t, I hope you’re too busy!

Thanks for reading, and may the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles

June 23, 2014

UNBELIEVABLE HAPPY ENDING DOG STORY

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Greeting from Portland, Oregon –

One of my sons sent me this link today. The story of ‘Murphy’, a dog lost in the Sierras for nearly TWO YEARS and recently recovered by her owners. He pointed out the back-story similarities to ‘Weller’, the old lab that became a recurring character in my novels.

Happy endings like this are pet owners’ dreams coming true. The heroic details of their dog’s survival we’ll never know, but it’s hard not to tear-up and then stand-up and cheer.

Here’s the link:

http://www.news10.net/story/news/local/eldorado-hills/2014/06/20/family-confirms-id-of-miracle-dog/11141803/

The character of ‘Weller’ was introduced in The Old Dog’s New Trick, and inspired by Mac, my old Lab that passed away a little over a year ago.

I just published Mac’s story, Paw Prints in My Heart, and am thrilled by the first reviews.

If you’re interested in checking it out and I know you’ll be glad you read it – here’s the link:

http://www.amazon.com/PAW-PRINTS-MY-HEART-lessons-ebook/dp/B00KRPTWFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403559939&sr=1-1&keywords=andrew+hessel

Great dogs are wonders when they share their lives with us, and miracles, when lost they become found.

All the best to you and yours –

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles,Self-Publishing,Writing Process Random Thoughts

June 5, 2014

The SELF in Self-Publishing Explained

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

Paw Prints In My Heart brings my total to five books; four novels and now a dog book I never planned to write but had to write. I’m fiercely proud of this unexpected non-fiction offering, as well the novels.

Writing the story of the dog of my life’s improbably wonderful long life was a labor of love. Great personal therapy, too.

At the same time, I’m all too aware of what the ‘Self’ in Self-Publishing really means. Ouch.

There is no agent to encourage, guide, and help to persevere. I had a NYC literary agent once and still scratch my head at all he did – and didn’t – do. In fairness, our relationship was born during the early days of the manic self-publishing explosion that redefined the conventional book business and led to the demise of publishers and retail stores, et al.

And our relationship was seasoned during the darkest days of the economic meltdown.

Timing is everything – or nothing – depending upon your point of view.

So I self-published my crime thriller trilogy, then another novel, The Do-Over, with a 21 year-old college girl as a hero, and just now the story of the dog of my life and how he changed my life and taught me so much without ever saying a word.

But self-publishing means there is precious little help and even less support.

No editor catching the typos and wayward commas I can’t see.

No promotional department to help get it out there.

And no agent urging me on.

Only my wife to wipe my fevered brow, pat my back and tell me it was all worthwhile. Thank you, my love!

Like all the writers like me, we depend upon you.

Reading it.

Enjoying it.

Telling others about it.

All part of the dream of someday, somehow, catching lightning in a bottle.

I’m hoping to live long enough to become an overnight success.

So check out Paw Prints in My Heart. Paperbacks and Kindle eBooks at amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Andrew+Hessel&search-alias=books&text=Andrew+Hessel&sort=relevancerank

If you like it, please review it. And then share it with folks that might get comfort from it during times of grieving for dearly departed furry four-legged friends.

My hope is that dog lovers will see a bit of their dog in my beloved old Lab, Mac.

And that non-dog lovers read it and reconsider.

And that everyone has a dog of their life at least once in their life.

Thanks for reading.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Self-Publishing,Uncategorized,Writing Process Random Thoughts

May 6, 2014

PAW PRINTS IN MY HEART – AVAILABLE JUNE 2014

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

I never planned to write a dog book, but Paw Prints in My Heart isn’t a My Dog book, it’s a Great Dogs book I hope you’ll read and enjoy. It’s Mac’s story and chronicles an improbably wonderful life, our friendship, and the remarkable lessons an old dog taught me. Writing it helped me heal after losing the dog of my life, my best friend and my writing partner.

E-books and paperbacks will available through Amazon by the second week of June, and cyber-gods willing, links on the site, too. I’ll just make my self-imposed deadline of publishing by the first anniversary of Mac’s passing by a whisker – sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Available June 2014

Available June 2014

I called Mac my writing partner, and he really was. He inspired the name of my publishing company, Old Dog Publishing; a character, ‘Weller’, and the title of my second novel, The Old Dog’s New Trick. He also graces its cover, became a recurring character in Imperfect Resolution. I was bringing him back in the next book in the series when he died. When that happened, I put the novel aside; I had unfinished business.

As I wrote Paw Prints, my hopes for it fundamentally changed. More than a story sure to summon laughs and tears, I saw a chance to help grieving pet owners like me transition through painful loss. When Mac passed, I was truly touched when my vet sent flowers. Now, on this side of it, I can’t help but feel a book like this may have helped me heal.
Here’s the brief Foreword to Paw Prints.

Paw Prints in My Heart is Mac’s story.

I think of it as my gift to our family and all of his friends, two and four-legged, that had the pleasure and the privilege of knowing and being loved by this magnificent old Labrador retriever. It’s my best attempt to capture and chronicle a remarkable life, the pain and sadness of his passing, but most of all, his joyful impact upon us over what truly was a most improbable life of fourteen years and a day. A reverent and grateful tribute to a gentle and pure spirit that for me will always be a living reminder of a loving friend in the very truest sense.

In every way, this book was a labor of love and joy to write. Parts will make you laugh, and others may bring you to tears, so a tissue at times may be advised. But I have the highest hopes that you’ll read it, enjoy it, and connect in ways that only you can understand. Maybe even share it with friends that might understand and pass it along, as a comfort for a true friend they’ve lost, and for what they’ve experienced, and a way for them to remember the laughter and happy times through their tears.

I hope dog lovers everywhere read this book and see a bit of their dog in Mac.

I hope that the non-dog lovers amongst us read this book and reconsider.

I hope that everyone has at least one dog of their life in their life.

My first novel Rush to Dawn, was, in many ways a love letter to my wife, Lynne.

This book, I’d like to believe, is a love letter from Mac to all of us.

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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Rants and Rambles,Uncategorized

March 18, 2014

MY FRIEND THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY LEPRICAUN

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon –

A dear friend is a true original in every way. The guest that became the star of our oldest son’s wedding video. Tough to do. For the past 25 years, my friend Steve, and his wife, Julie have hosted a truly incredible St. Patrick’s Day party and next day parade.

Julie is pure Irish; the guy we call Coach Steve not at all. No matter, no one I’ve ever known immerses himself in the blarney with greater gusto and pulls it off with such high style. No one is simultaneously more Irish and less Irish.

shamrocks

What began small has morphed into a major neighborhood Portland event. A parade on Sunday morning, after the Saturday night party, has earned the city’s attention. Fire trucks and police are on hand to help, and the media sometimes gives it a little play. He even names a Grand Marshall for the parade each year – right after we all sing – and dance – the Hokey Pokey played on an old phonograph in his living room. A classic touch.

For weeks before the much anticipated event, an impressive banner – Portland loves the Irish – is hung between stately old trees in his front yard. It’s Coach Steve’s way of ensuring that no one that passes by overlooks St. Paddy’s day. Few did; this year’s party was the best yet.

Every year, as is Steve’s way, something is added. You could say Steve’s mission is to make the event as feature-rich as possible.

Perhaps in honor of Year 25, this year it was two things.

First, Steve’s friend built what I can only describe as a Viewing or Judge’s stand on the sidewalk in front of his house. When I stopped laughing I commended him on its genius and noted the solid construction.

And second, and this is kind of high tech in Steve’s classically obsolete way, a Countdown Clock that had to be six feet tall was mounted in the front yard.

01 Days to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade it beamed at us as we made our way up the walk to his house.

“I wonder where he found this?” I said when I saw it, impressed with the style so classically Coach Steve; thumbing his nose at the latest, in favor of the unusual and forgotten.

“Maybe the same friend,” I added,” so low-tech and so totally cool.”

For years Steve’s relationship with technology was best described as an uneasy truce.

He was the last cell phone holdout. Didn’t have one, never had one and didn’t want one.

But while he didn’t have a cell phone, he proudly showed off his Phone Cell.

“What the hell is a phone cell?” I asked one summer night after dinner.

He led me to his back yard and showed me.

Steve’s phone cell is an old Pay Phone kiosk – not a full blown phone booth, the space-saver version we used to find mounted to walls. A little cover in case it rains and a shelf where phone books used hung before they were ripped-off.

This is in his back yard.

And it works.

There’s dial tone and everything. And calls are free!

Last Christmas, Steve’s kids got him his first cell phone.

Now Coach Steve has a cell phone and a phone cell.

That’s my friend, Coach Steve, for you – always ahead of the curve – eventually.

Thanks for reading.

All the best to all of you and all of yours – but before I go, one more thing –

If you enjoy the blog, please check out my books.

Paw Prints in My Heart, will be available in a couple of months. I’m very excited about telling the story of Mac, the Labrador retriever that didn’t retrieve, my writing partner, the better half of Old Dog Publishing, and the dog of my life.

If you’re a crime thriller aficionado, Rush to Dawn is the first in the Cups Drayton Series and Part I of The Mirano Trilogy. Like the other books in the series The Old Dog’s New Trick and Imperfect Resolution, available in paperback and Kindle eBooks.

My newest novel, The Do-Over, is a hoot. Different by design from my thrillers, I hope you enjoy it.

To get the books click: To get the books click: Get the Books!

To learn about the books click: About the Books!

May the pages keep turning and deprive you of sleep!

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