Monday, December 26, 2011


A memoir is the story of your life, as you saw it, as you understood it. It is less formal than an autobiography or a biography. Reasons for writing a memoir include: self-understanding and self-expression, explanations to others, history-preserving, giving thanks. In an earlier blog entry, I have discussed these motivations more fully.

Helping would-be authors is for me a hobby that may become a business. I have decided to charge $25 per week [or $100 per month] for several reasons:

1. People often value what they pay for more than they value what they get for free.

2. Would-be authors who are serious about their writing should be willing to pay this small fee. Those who want more than the initial consultation for free are not as serious and could be wasting my time [and theirs].

3. My setting aside an hour or two a week [consultations, meetings, proofing, related research] for each author at this price is something I am willing to do. Payment by the hour or by the word or by the page or by some other measure did not seem as feasible.

4. A would-be author who is spending $25 per week on my coaching now hears the clock ticking. [“But at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near….“] It is time to get serious and get going.

5. Some day, I will be in enough demand to charge more.


For a free initial consultation, call me at (845) 778-4204 or write to me at or at 264 East Drive, Walden, NY 12586. Today.

Write on!

Monday, December 19, 2011


The first image in Rob Garber’s presentation at the Orange County (NY) Business Accelerator (OCBA) on Thursday, December 15th, was of a man with his face mostly covered by a low-slung hat and a high-rise collar, staring inquisitively at the audience. You knew he was a spy. Not necessarily. He might have been a curious man out on a cold day. Then again, he might have been a consultant involved in some competitive intelligence acquisition.

Competitive intelligence [CI] is not exactly business-to-business expionage, but it sometimes approaches it. Rob Garber, “marketing and sales consulting” expert [], formerly involved in CI with IBM, Dell, and Computer Associates, emphasized that tactical and strategic CI is more than serving as a clipping service for selecting information from the open literature treasure trove. To be most valuable, facts have got to be followed with analysis that tells the significance of the facts. What do they mean? Why should you care?

Introduced to some thirty-odd attendees by Peter Gregory of OCBA
[] , Garber emphasized the importance of CI for understanding important questions in competitive strategizing:

1. How strong is the competition? How many? How entrenched? What barriers to entry? How differentiated? How will they react to you and you to them?

2. What is your strategy? Low-cost producer? Unique product or service? Niche marketing?

In his book Competitive Strategy. Michael E. Porter, as summarized by Garber, listed five forces that drive industry competition:

1. Potential entrants.

2. Bargaining power of suppliers.

3. Threat of substitute products or services.

4 .Bargaining power of buyers.

5. Rivalry among existing firms.

Competitive intelligence seeks to uncover information and make accurate analysis and predictions relating to these five elements. To do so, it is useful to have:

1. Company profiles in detail.

2. Monthly trend analyses.

3. Quarterly trend reports.

Competitive intelligence with a strategic focus usually goes to executives. The day-to-day sales battles are influenced by CI with a tactical focus, looking for ways to differentiate one’s product or services and to answer questions raised by competitors.

For qualitative information about the marketplace, focus groups are often used. Quantitative information can be gathered from publicly available statistics or from surveys conducted with specific information goals. There is so much public information -- you can “Google” it -- that such secondary information often obviates working to get first-hand, “primary,” data.

A dramatic visual representation of a company’s approaches to the marketplace can be obtained by using the program from that takes the information posted on a company’s web site and creates a mosaic of relevant words in different colors and orientations, the size of each word indicating its relative importance in the material analyzed. Garber’s site was big on “market” and “sales” and related words, on “intelligence” and “competitive,“ with little emphasis on “productivity” or “planning” or “image.”

Competitive analysis can help one keep watch on one’s competition, develop a winning strategy, and better communicate with one’s customers by undestanding their motivations, thus sending them the appropriate messages.

In closing, Peter Gregory, OCBA Enterprise Development Director, noted that in its two years of presentations, there have been more than 2000 attendees who have benefited from the Accelerator’s business education programs. The spirited discussions at the end of this CI talk indicated that it, too, was well received.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is an author, freelance writer, and retired scientist, currently serving as a professional writing coach and collaborator. []











Thursday, December 15, 2011


Recently, Orange County [NY] Chamber Consultants Committee member, advertising and marketing expert Edison Guzman
[] educated an audience of a score of business folk with his seminar, “How to Promote Your Business with Mobile Apps.” “App" is short for “applet,“ which is short for “application.” . Even if the new smart phones seem smarter than we are, we will want to, perhaps need to, learn how to attract customers to our web sites or businesses by using mobile apps.

You have a cell phone. Your competitors have cell phones You have a web site. Your competitors have web sites. You’ve bought a smart phone [Android, iPhone, Blackberry] and so have your competitors. Once you’ve gotten past playing “Angry Birds” on the thing, you notice it does lots of “tricks,” such as giving you the weather anywhere, helping you find your way home or find a bargain, update you an the news, etc. You may discover it allows your potential customers to shop at your competitors, on-line. Time to saddle up your own app.

What is an app? A mobile app is a little program that resides in your mobile phone and performs a specific task. A web app gets partially or wholly downloaded to your mobile phone each time you want to do what it facilitates. The price for obtaining the app is generally a couple of dollars or less.

I have a dumb mobile phone, but half of the 4 billion mobile phones in use are smart phones. It is predicted that by 2014 internet usage over mobile phones will dominate internet usage by desktop computers. Already, half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. Your customers are often on their mobile phones: 86% of users have used them while watching TV! [Statistics are from E. Guzman, courtesy of Microsoft.]

Mobile devices are being used for games, weather reports, maps, social networking, music, news, entertainment, dining, video, and more, in descending order of frequency. Occasionally, a phone call is made. They are also using them to shop. A business can supply a useful app that also sells, advertises, demonstrates or gives away information about the products or services; captures names, email addresses, cell phone numbers; advertises someone else’s product or service [for a small fee or favor].

The latter part of Mr. Guzman’s seminar showed the participants what goes into making an app. For most of us, the message boiled down to, “don’t try this at home.” There are, as he showed, programs available to ease your making your “killer app,” but there are complexities better left to the professional, such as Mr. G., my own go-to guru.

The future? Over one trillion dollars in mobile commerce (m-commerce) by 2015, world-wide, led by Japan, then Europe, then the U.S. Get on board!

Submitted 12.15.11 for publication in the OCCC Business Viewpoint

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and retired environmental scientist, author of Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, published September 2011, available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or his Web site. He has been reporting on his first year with the Chamber.
His email address is

Monday, December 12, 2011


The Dedication page of our book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love,
Courage, and Devotion
has two quotations that describe almost contradictory aspects of romantic love:

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

–Khalil Gibran, The Prophet


All that we love deeply becomes part of us.

–Helen Keller


Gibran would have us let each other go free. Keller knows that having deeply loved, we are changed and cannot be wholly free.

John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” assures us that even when separated, we are connected, our love stretches. Toward the middle of his poem, Donne likens the connection between separated lovers’ souls to “gold to airy thinness beat.” The thin gold foil may expand and attenuate, but it does not break. He ends with the metaphor of a circle-drawing compass, with its moving foot representing the lover who must travel away, while the central “fixed foot” always leans and “hearkens after it.” The poem ends,

Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end where I begun.


Sometimes, Gibran's “hand of life” is controlled by Keller's love that has become “part of us.” Or does fate control? This song became appropriate for us twenty years after parting, when Tina and I married:

You were meant for me.

And I was meant for you.

You’re like a plaintive melody

That never, ever, never, ever let me free,

And I’m content

The angels must have sent you

And they meant you

Just for me.

[written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown].

We say, we sometimes believe, that we were “fated to be mated.”


The last poem in this brief treatise was called to my attention by Bonnie, a young woman I dated shortly after losing Tina. For my last hundred days in the U.S. Army, she gave me a desk calendar with a quotation, written in her elegant penmanship, for each day. One I never forgot ran:

Much that I sought, I could not find.

Much that I found, I could not bind.

Much that I bound, I could not free.

Much that I freed, returned to me.

—Lee Wilson Dodd

Bonnie and I freed each other; neither returned. Tina and I freed each other; both returned.

Poets are not infallible.



Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a freelance writer, a writing coach, a retired physicist. His book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, was published in September 2011 by Outskirts Press (Parker, CO) and is available through Amazon [], Barnes and Noble [], or .


Friday, December 9, 2011


Darcie Chan's MILL RIVER RECLUSE  self-published ebook a big success despite its having no conventional publishing house:

John Locke had similar results, from his series of novels.


According to the Wall Street Journal this September 15th, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to delay issuing more regulations concerning the emission of “greenhouse gases” by power plants. Perhaps coincidentally, a New York Times + CBS poll has found that a minority of those surveyed (42%) thought both that global warming was occurring and that it is caused by mankind. That poll indicates global warming was not among the issues of greatest concern, either. As I describe below, scientists are having second thoughts about the models that claim to show that human activities threaten the planet’s climate. Emails exchanged by a coterie of climate researchers have disclosed that some of the “warmist” climate modelers violated scientific mores in order to suppress scrutiny and criticism of their work. The ten-year period 1999-2009 showed no global temperature increase, leading the magazine SCIENCE to ask in a headline, “What Happened to Global Warming? Scientists Say Just Wait a Bit.” Many are still waiting. Meanwhile, global warming alarm-sounder Al Gore recently purchased a California home by the Pacific Ocean shore, indicating little fear about the rising sea levels that he and his followers have been predicting.

Tens of thousands of years ago, ice covered much of the land we now inhabit. Wholly natural causes warmed the earth, melted the ice, allowed plants and animals to thrive where once they were excluded. Within our recorded history, we have had periods significantly warmer (Medieval Warm Period, 900-1300 A.D.) and periods significantly colder (Little Ice Age, 1300-1500) than the modern era, none of these changes being attributable to human activity. Some climate researchers believe that there is a 1500-year climate warming / cooling pattern due to the overlapping of several solar cycles of shorter periods. Recently, the prevailing “scientific consensus” has been that humans have been contributing somewhat to a general global warming by their emissions of carbon dioxide, primarily due to industrial and agricultural development. United Nations’ scientific panels have concluded that if we do not drastically reduce such industrial activity and emissions, the atmosphere will become dangerously warm; the polar ice caps will melt; the seas will rise; widespread destruction will ensue. A set of agreements reached in Kyoto (1997) called for emissions control limits subsequently found to be impractical, with some of the more egregiously emitting nations exempted for economic and political reasons.

In the past few years, ardor for control of “greenhouse gases,” principally carbon dioxide and methane, has cooled, at least among the public, as reflected in public opinion polls. Some notable scientists have called the global warming modeling and warnings into question, as well. This September, the 1973 Nobel Laureate physicist Ivar Giaever resigned as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in protest against the Society’s, to him dogmatic, position that the evidence for global warming is so strong that it is “incontrovertible” that global warming due to these emissions is occurring and that therefore we “must reduce emissions of these greenhouse gases starting now.” In his resignation letter, Dr. Giaever noted that the claimed change in the average temperture of the earth (a tricky measurement indeed) was less than two degrees Farenheit over the last 150 years, while human well-being has clearly improved.

This year a dissenting panel of scientists, including some eminent atmosphere and climate specialists, issued the report “Climate Change Reconsidered,” casting doubt on the accuracy of the predictions of dire consequences in the absence of stringent carbon dioxide emissions controls. The data on which the predictions had been based are spotty. Temperature measurements are missing over much of the globe. Those made on land can be corrupted by local effects. Despite their sophisticalion, the models used in predicting climate change cannot capture many crucial phenomena, including the influence and variability of clouds. The report concluded that we do not have the kind of information yet on which to base sweeping economic and political changes to limit further industrialization.

Why is it so hard to predict the impact of “greenhouse gases” on climate? In short, because there are so many potentially important factors still inadequately understood. A simple model of the Earth-Sun system would be a rotating, dry planet, lacking an atmosphere, heated by the Sun, reflecting some of that energy, but radiating more and more of it as the planet gets warmer, until the outgoing reflected and radiated energy match, on average, the incoming energy. The mean global temperature of this model Earth would still vary, as the Earth’s position with respect to the Sun varies and as the output of the Sun itself varies. If we were to add an atmosphere of just oxygen and nitrogen, the energy balance would be much the same, and the temperature of the atmosphere near the surface would match that of the surface. Adding “greenhouse gases” in significant amounts negligibly changes the energy received at the surface of the Earth from the Sun, but they would absorb some of the energy radiated by the warmed surface, due to the longer wavelengths of this primarily infrared radiation, some of which wavelengths are absorbed preferentially by the “greenhouse gases.” Compared to the situation without the “greenhouse gases,“ the Earth’s surface will be somewhat higher, thus the air temperture will be somewhat higher due to this blanketing effect, the partial absorption of the outgoing radiation. This is the “greenhouse effect.”

Most of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, primarily the oceans. As the wet (or merely moist, as for land) surfaces heat up, water evaporates, rises thorugh the atmosphere, cools, condenses, forms clouds, and precipitates as rain, hail, snow. This is where modeling becomes more difficult. Clouds reflect some of the sunlight, lessening the energy reaching the Earth. If the Earth were wholly covered by clouds, as in the “Nuclear Winter” scenarios associated with nuclear war, the temperature of the Earth’s surface and of the air would fall drastically, leading to widespread plant and animal extinction. If the clouds were primarily dust, as in the Nuclear Winter scenario, they would dissipate in time due to precipitation and settling (“fallout“). If the clouds were primarily water, they would produce rain and snow, etc., and become diminished in total weight, in thickness, in extent. As the clouds diminished, their cooling effect would diminish and the Earth would heat up, leading to more evaporation and the replenishment of the clouds, eventually restoring the former temperature equilibrium..

This tendency of clouds to correct over-heating or over-cooling is “negative feedback,” an important feature of the atmosphere as yet to be successfully modeled. The impacts on cloud formation due to cosmic rays, micrometeors, volcanoes, sea spray salt, and other open sources like deserts and quarries and unpaved roads, etc., complicate the physical situation greatly and make modeling extremely difficult. As Science News of December 4, 2010, noted, there is little known about “how tiny particles called aerosols influence climate.” A retired expert in aerosol science myself, I believe that these airborne particles are likely to be quite important and yet difficult to model correctly.

Often the modelers must introduce adjustable parameters, “fudge factors,” in laymen’s terms, to “account” for all that cannot be carefully described. The models are “tuned” by comparing with past data and adjusting these factors. As we are warned with respect to investing, “the past is no guarantee of the future.” A model that fails to match the past is certainly suspect, but even one that is tuned successfully to match the past may not be reliable for prediction.

The past ten years have shown no unambiguous global warming. Since there are myriad possible measurements, by “cherry picking” the data the “warmists” can make the case for warming and the “deniers” can make the opposite case. Currently, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is nearly 400 ppm. The 2 to 4 ppm per year of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere that is attributed to human activity (is “anthropogenic”) is unlikely to become a problem in the next few decades. Doubling the CO2 level in the atmosphere is predicted to increase mean global temperature by roughly two degrees Farenheit. Doubling the carbon dioxide level would require roughly a hundred-fold increase in mankind’s “contribution,” not impossible, but unlikely, especially as energy technology continues to improve. The impact would be warmer nights, with relatively unchanged days, the modelers predict. Plants should grow more rapidly. A somewhat greater fraction of the Earth’s surface will become temperate, suitable for plants and animals, the biosphere. Recently, sea levels have been rising at a rate close to 1 foot per century, certainly manageable. Granted, any changes produce winners and losers. There are reasons to believe that the scariest consequences will not result, but there are too many issues to analyze them all here.

We will likely not see calamitous results from “global warming” in the next few decades. Meanwhile, we will learn to adapt to those changes that do result. Unfortunately, there is no way to prove this, so the debates between “alarmists” and “deniers” can be expected to continue. As more is known about the impacts of man and nature on our climate, one can hope that the temperature of these debate will lessen.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a freelance writer and retired physicist, author of Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, available from Outskirts Press and His email address is .

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Should you write a book? Quite possibly so.

Your life is a story that has both triumphs and tragedies, tears and laughter, lessons learned and a few of them re-learned. Family, friends, neighbors, and associates might find your story valuable. You can praise some and criticize others, as appropriate. You can promote values you hold dear.

Through modern publishing techniques, a high-quality book can be published more rapidly and less expensively than ever before. Furthermore, the Internet can broadcast your writing to the world, if you choose.

How did you start? Where have you gone? Why? What has your family done, enjoyed, endured? If you have traced your ancestry, who were your ancestors and what did they do? How has your past shaped your present? These are possible avenues to explore in your book. Once finished, it will be available not only to this generation but others to follow.

A second type of book you could write would be one about your business or profession. Your book can be even more impressive than the best of business cards, helping to confirm you as one having real expertise.

My name is Douglas Winslow Cooper. I wrote a book in 2011 as a gift to my wife. The title is Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion. We have been in love for nearly half a century. We have faced her increasing disability due to multiple sclerosis with courage and devotion. Our memoir is a tribute to her, to our doctors and nurses, and to the power of love and the value of life. Writing the book took several months and getting it self-published another several. It is available on,, and through our Web site, I have already given hundreds of the paperback and ebook versions as thank-you gifts to those who have helped us, and I have even sold a few.

Although I had published over a hundred articles, this was my first book. I was afraid of the challenge at first, but soon became enthusiastic. To follow up on this successful book-writing experience, I am planning to serve others as a paid coach, editor, co-author, or “ghost-writer.” I am working with two such would-be authors already.

I will give you up to an hour of free telephone consultation about your book. If we decide to meet, I will give you a copy of Ting and I: A Memoir, so you can see it for yourself.

Interested? Give me a call [845-778-4204] or write to me at or by regular mail at Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., 264 East Drive, Walden, NY, 12586.

By next year, you could be the author of your book, with my help.


David Dirks's talk at Orange County Business Accelerator, 12.08.11, summarized:

Even in a recession, innovation can give a small business the edge it needs to succeed, as long as the business is basically sound. Business consultant David E. Dirks [Focus Media] captivated an audience of a score of individuals involved in small businesses (less than $1 million per year) with his lecture, “How to Manage Innovation in Small and Early Companies,” presented at the Orange County Business Accelerator on Thursday, December 8th. He was introduced by Michael J. DiTullo, O.C.B.A. Managing Director [].

Dirks [who writes a bi-weekly column for the Record] outlined five myths surrounding innovation:

Myth #1 -- Innovation is for big companies only. Not so. For example, James Dyson developed his revolutionary cyclonic-action vacuum cleaner on his own.

Myth #2 -- Innovation requires lots of money. Money is useful, of course, but Apple Computer’s $4 billion per year Research and Development budget has brought forth far more innovative products than Sony’s or Microsoft’s, at twice and three times as much yearly expenditure, respectively. Often small businesses are acquired by larger ones just for their innovative technology.

Myth #3 -- Customers will innovate for you. No, they bring problems. You must create solutions.

Myth #4 -- Innovation comes in flashes, “epiphanies.” Rather, new solutions more often come from careful, almost tedious, inspection of the facts, “connecting the dots.”

Myth #5 -- Innovation comes from luck, randomly. Edison said he had ten thousand failures, along with his one thousand patents. Dyson tried 5,127 different attempts before getting a successful vacuum cleaner. Pluck, not luck, prevails.

“If you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door” is not strictly true, either. Dyson presented his innovative vacuum cleaner to all the existing vacuum cleaner manufacturers. They were not interested, partly because it was so different, partly because they made a significant fraction of their profit by selling the replacement filter bags. Customers, on the other hand, have made Dyson’s machines big commercial successes.

Dirks emphasized that small businesses can innovate well if they focus on solving problems for customers. New ideas can either remove constraints, thus producing “incremental” change, such as Wal-Mart’s highly efficient supply chain or can produce “disruptive” change, bringing to life a product consumers did not know they needed until they saw it, such as Apple’s iPod.

After the meeting, the attendees coalesced into several small groups for further discussion. This reporter acquired a client for his book-coaching business in one such a get-together.

The Orange County Business Accelerator celebrated its 110th week in operation with this highly successful seminar by Focus Media business consultant Dirks, whose former Marine Corp experience was evident from his making such presentations clearly, authoritatively, and concisely.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a scientist, freelance writer and author of Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, available as an ebook or paperback, from Outskirts Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. His email address is .

Thursday, December 1, 2011


“Don’t get married, unless…” I told my son, now 30, handsome, smart, tall, successful, considerate, a prize. I’ll get to the “unless” part later.

Men and women have different priorities for marriage, generally, and I will make lots of generalizations in this piece, so be forewarned: this is not the Gospel According to Doug, but it does reflect what I’ve observed or learned in sixty-eight years on the planet, including a dozen romances, three engagements, two marriages, this last, glorious one for 27 years so far. Don’t ask for footnotes. Believe my opinions or not, as you will.

Having issued my disclaimer, I continue. Men mainly marry for romance and sex or sex and romance. They are not looking for a wonderfully clean and neat house and delicious meals, though they will accept them as long as they themselves are not required to pitch in and make the place much nicer than a bachelor pad or have meals a lot better than Chinese or Italian take-out or Wendy’s or McDonald’s. A minority of men marry so as to have children, but most see kids as what their wives want and as a cost of being married to the woman they want. Some men marry for the benefits of partnership, including financial partnership, as do some women, but that situation is likely to change when the kids come along, going from a net positive to a net negative. Who’s watching the kids? Men would rather not. Some attention to doing guy things with a son or being Dad to Daddy’s Girl is appealing, but not when it conflicts with the Super Bowl or playing softball or basketball or a night out with the guys.

Occasionally, men like to talk with their wives. Occasionally. At home, I have a staff of ten women who supply around-the-clock nursing care for my beloved quadriplegic wife, Tina Su Cooper. I listen to them talk among themselves, and talk with Tina, and I remain amazed at how much they have to say. I married a quiet woman, a blessing for me. She does like to hear me talk with her and joke with her--- or so I believe --- but I quickly run out of stuff to say, beyond variations on “I love you.” At times I do miss having the longer conversations we once had. One of our nurses follows behind whoever is home, like a duckling behind its mother, talking non-stop. Another nurse gives T.L.C., “Tina Loving Care,” with continuous commentary, and Tina thrives on it. I wish I could, but I can’t. My supply of small talk is too small.

Men do like their wives to be pretty. It’s like a scenic view. Some use this as a status symbol, having the “trophy wife.”. Recently, a woman columnist gave the following advice for girls in their twenties for succeeding at work: be as pretty as you can; be assertive; be warm. My advice is: pretty and warm are great; save “assertive” for the workplace; don’t bring it home. Don’t be challenging your man unless absolutely necessary. Don’t talk to your man in a way that would start a fist-fight if another man did so. That does not mean allowing yourself to be pushed around, taken advantage of, but choose your battles and make them few. Men do not want to marry a competitor, but rather a companion.

Opposites may attract, but similarities help keep you together. Although not deal-breakers, these are problematic: spender vs. saver, rich vs. poor, educated vs. not, drinker vs. abstainer, vegan vs. carnivore, believer vs. atheist, sportsman vs. fashionista, merciful vs. just, conservative vs. liberal, thinker vs. feeler, judgmental vs. tolerant, party animal vs. party pooper, doer vs. watcher, striver vs. enjoyer, other-directed vs. inner-directed,. With mutual respect, some of these differences can be bridged. Different perspectives and values can lead to better decisions sometimes, but at the expense of harmony. Rocky and Adrian may well have “filled gaps,” but that’s Hollywood. Wives of retirees have been known to complain that they married “for better or worse” but not “for lunch.“ There’s a reason birds of a feather flock together. Can’t have half flying north for the winter. My precious wife and I are very similar in many ways, and it has helped us understand each other and agree on goals and methods. Although she is Asian American, she would agree that our “mixed marriage” is less “mixed” due to race or ethnicity than it is because of gender. Men and women are different. Get over it … if you can.

I live in New York State. Discussing marriage law with my own family lawyer, we agreed that currently the laws, rules, and judges here tend to favor women over men. This represents a change from fifty years ago, in some ways warranted, but it makes marriage in this state less attractive for men than previously.

Then, there are the horror stories: The marriages for money, celebrity, fame, looks, status. The birth control not practiced so a pregnancy would occur. Marriage “on the rebound” from a broken prior romance. The bait and switch of a courtship that promises what the marriage forsakes. The homosexual or bi-sexual who uses the marriage as cover. The clashes with in-laws hostile to the marriage. The pitfalls are many and deep.

If we had a daughter, I might tell her much the same things I would tell our son: Happily married is better than single, which is better than unhappily married. Marry for love but consider practicality, as both will be needed. Each partner will seem to give more than get, as each values somewhat differently the inputs and the results. Have a small, pretty wedding, and put what you saved in the bank. Don’t talk about your marriage with others, except when truly necessary. Don’t demean your partner. Live up to all your marriage vows. Marriage can be wonderful, often is, but love and marriage are both fragile.

In fact, I have been married twice. The first brought me eight happy years, a shock [my wife’s affair] and an unhappy two years separating and divorcing. The second marriage has brought me twenty-seven love-filled years and two special sons, from my wife’s first marriage. I consider myself fortunate.

I told my younger son not to get married unless he really wants children or is madly in love---uxorious---as I am with his mother, my most precious Ting.


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is an author, caregiver, and retired environmental physicist. Dr. Cooper’s book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage and Devotion, is available at,, and their web site .