Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Here are some topics I have been meaning to blog about:

  1. Falling in love at 74, really for the first time, is amazing, so different from anything I ever experienced before. I have gone through a dozen profound emotional changes. Feel like a character in an ancient myth about a traveler who has to slay his own demons to get to the Garden of Bliss. Fortunately, my GF is very patient and understanding.  
  2. Am about to finish a new draft of my novel "The Prince of Newport," a mainstream novel with thriller elements set in Newport Beach. An idealistic young reporter tries to stop a killer/con-man.
  3. I plan to enter a contest for a literary blockbuster, exactly the kind of novel I am trying to write:
  4. Am working on a short story called "Alien Love" about a man who finds love and death and a mystery at the border with Mexico.
  5. I thank my lucky stars every day that Mitt Romney didn't win the election for president of the USA. What a total disaster that would have been. There are enough lies and deceit already in the world. He and Paul Ryan never told the truth about anything. They live in a parallel universe that most resembles "The Hunger Games."
  6. The stupid "War on Drugs" is utterly and profoundly misdirected. Why don't we outlaw belching and farting and bad TV shows? How about junk food, which is much worse than marijuana, for Christ's sake. Where did our politicians get the idea that the way to stop addiction is to throw people in jail? There is an anti-drug industrial complex like the military-industrial complex. Billions of dollars wasted. So dumb. Much like these insane, punitive foreign wars -- Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. Oh, let's gear up, spend tons of money, and send in people with guns. That'll fix the problem. Yeah, right. No, no, no, that is the problem. Reminds me of a quote from Will Rogers: “If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?”  
-- Roger

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, February 3, 2013


When you get older, you don't have a lot of time in your future--you don't know how much time, it could be decades or years or minutes--so you tend to focus partly on the past.

Today, I was thinking about an old friend, Stephanie Eve Bernstein. She was one of my best friends in graduate school, at UC Irvine, 1970-72. We got our MFAs at the same time, and she gave the commencement address for master's degrees that year.

We hung out together a lot, and she was one of our rising stars in the literary world. The prestigious Paris Review published one of her short stories, and she met George Plimpton and Gina Berriault and other literary lights.

She was smart and funny and fun to know. I loved her as a friend and wondered if we should be romantic together. One time, sitting outside at UCI, I asked her to marry me, knowing she would say no.

She did, and suddenly the world came into sharper focus. The trees looked like cardboard cutouts, like a stage set, and I was relieved. Nothing focuses the mind, they say, like that.

After graduate school, she moved to L.A. and then New York, as I recall, then back to L.A. She worked for Jeremy Tarcher and I think she worked for Harper & Row (now Harper Collins).

She got New Agey and dragged me to a couple of events involving some guru with a name like Swami Satchidananda or something. I said, "Didn't he play third base for the Brooklyn Dodgers?"

She laughed, but we never saw eye-to-eye on that stuff.

Anyway, I loved her, and the world lost her on April 23, 1990, when she was brutally raped and murdered in her Venice apartment, apparently by a guy who was out on parole for rape and robbery.

The cops arrested a suspect, and the newspaper printed his name, Kermis Taffy Thompson Jr., 29, of Venice. I tried off and on for years to find out what happened to him, but I never was able to. (See note below.)

If he was guilty--and there seemed little doubt--I hope he was executed. I know that is barbaric and all, but she was my friend, and she didn't deserve to die.

Anyway, over the years, I think about her once in a while, maybe once or twice a week, and wish she could have lived to fulfill the promise of her life.

It's too bad she didn't. I wish she had. I miss her, even now.

-- Roger

PS: Two friends, Phil and J.B., found Kermis Taffy Thompson Jr. for me. He was convicted of Stephanie's murder on May 22, 1991, and sentenced on June 13, 1991. He is currently serving life without parole in Calipatria State Prison, in the desert south of the Salton Sea. His prison number is C17112.

Copyright © 2013, Roger R. Angle