Review on

January 22, 2011


Author interview

October 19, 2010

 Ted Pittman  interviewed at the studio of Ms. Kimberly Johnson:

Book review by African American Literature Book Club

February 10, 2010

Please see: 

for a review of  The Monkeybars of Life.

Casting choices for a movie.

November 24, 2009

The website  now includes a Slide Show of movie stars could play characters from The Monkeybars of Life.

They were chosen because their appearance and personality closely match those of the actual characters.

ESP/Psychic topics portrayed in The Monkeybars of Life

November 22, 2009

In chapter 1 Nate and two others meet and discuss an isolation tank experiment that Ted Ray performed on some unwitting women.

Chapter 3 shows Nate and a coworker learning about Mind Control and using it to diagnose computer problems. Later, Nate uses some of the techniques to help people who are ill.

In chapter 3 Nate visualizes a solution to the experiments he’s conducting with his engine.

Nate’s mother’s cancer scans show up clear, in chapter 4, then disbelief returns and alters reality again.

In chapter 4 Lena and Nate discuss authors of ESP books and later have a telepathic experience.

Lena has a prophetic dream chapter 8.

Nate comes face-to-face with evil in chapter 10.

In chapter 10 Nate suspects his son has inherited psychic abilities.

Can the Race Track or The Lottery be beaten?

November 21, 2009

These and other questions about gambling are explored in The Monkeybars of Life.

In chapter-1, Ernest DuPree tells a group of speculators:  “The Daily Racing Form is all that’s needed to review each horse’s past performances and then to reduce the Value-Field to no more than three contenders. Once these contenders are identified, you only need to wait for the odds to be in your favor and then you bet all contenders. The spread guarantees a return on your money most of the time.”

Moving around the table, Ernest continued, “Now, don’t be mistaken – handicapping horse races is like gambling. You are guaranteed to lose some time. Most people lose most of the time. Some fools lose all the time. A few people win most of the time. Nobody wins all the time. But a black man who knows what he’s doing, can make just as much money as anybody on any day or night at the track.”

Back at the head of the table, Ernest flipped the chart page and drew a huge dollar sign and a percentage sign. “Right here, tonight, I’m going to show you how you can minimize your losses and maximize your wins. You can start taking notes if you want.””

In chapter-7 Douglas begs Nate to write a computer program for the illegal lottery.
“What about a TRS-80 Model-II?” Douglas asked.
“What about it?”
“Could you do the numbers program on it?”
Nate rolled his eyes at the ceiling. “Doug, any computer can crunch numbers. But, it would take a very long time for some of them to run a program like the one you want.”
Douglas poured more coffee. “Think about what it would mean. We’d have enough money to do whatever we want.”
Douglas spoke softly, “You could finish your Gamma engine.”
“Douglas. Douglas!” Nate grabbed his brother’s arm, “You have got to get it through your head that, even if we find patterns in the past, it won’t mean they will be the same in the future.”
Douglas looked his brother in the eyes, “And you’ve got to get it through your head that I KNOW patterns repeat every year. I’ve seen it too many times.”

When Douglas showed up with an old Radio Shack computer, Nate got started programming the numbers project. The work went fast since he had already thought the project through. He created an input screen for the user to specify what dates to be analyzed. The program, then, sorted all the numbers that came out during the time period and displayed the frequency of their occurrence.

For weeks, two of Douglas’ girlfriends had been recording lotto numbers onto diskettes. So, Nate and Douglas tested the program with the data they had. The results convinced Douglas that the program could not make predictions; his disappointment was obvious.

“Nate, what would it take for a program to make predictions? And don’t say it’s impossible; they do it with the weather every day.”
Nate laughed, “Okay, there are neural-network programs that can find patterns and make predictions. But their results are only a probability – not a certainty.”
Douglas’s eyes bulged behind his glasses. “How much is the cheapest one of those programs?”
“There’s one called BrainMaker that sells for $200”, Nate said “But it might take weeks to run it on that old Radio Shack computer.”
Douglas put his hand on Nate’s shoulder, “You just tell me what you need and I’ll find a way to get it.”
Nate wrote the name of the software company, and then said, “And the fastest PC you can get.”

Nate’s Gravity-Engine

November 20, 2009

Nate believed centrifugal force could be used to counteract gravity. While in High School, one of his experiments made an unbalanced gyroscope climb up a dowel stick. For the rest of his life, Nate experimented with increasing the lifting power of gyroscopes; always with the goal of lifting a craft off the ground.

On page 75  Nate explains to Bill:
“The engine works by pulsing the gyro. Right?”
“Yeah, but the pulses are so small.”
“Right. But, when the gyros are at resonance, the pulses can build up.”
“I don’t see what you mean.” Bill said, “A pulse comes and then it’s gone.”
“True, but-.” Nate pointed one finger upward, “Think about when you’re in a tub of water. Have you ever swayed back and forth to make waves?”
“Sure, when I was a kid.”
“And what did you do?”
“I used to see how big a wave I could make.”
“Exactly, you were amplifying the wave, even though you didn’t sway any harder each time. If you did it just right, you built up a lot of wave power with a small steady rocking motion.”

Page 152:  “We’ve opened a new door, Bill. What I saw was a yellow glow in there before the engine broke apart and I think I know what it was.”
“What, Nate, what was it?”
“Some sort of a plasma.”
Bill sat for a moment, thinking, then asked, “But, why haven’t we seen it before?”
“All the conditions must have been just right tonight. That Russian guy, Kozyrev, reported that his gyroscopes behaved differently at odd times too.”

Page 400:  Brandon asked, “Granddad, is Sandy Kidd’s engine faster than yours?”
“I don’t think so, Brandon. And it’s not a matter of speed with that type engine. It’s not like a rocket. If you can takeoff at all, then you can just keep going faster and faster for a very long time.”
“Can your engine take off , Granddad?”
“No, we didn’t generate enough lift to take off . But everybody thought it was impossible to generate any lift at all with my kind of engine.”

Page 405:  Nate’s mind was back in its creative mode. Sandy Kidd was right; he couldn’t give up on his engine. He thought about where he and Bill had left off. Nate realized he now had 15 years more technical expertise, faster computers, better mathematical software and cheaper interface hardware. Everything can be miniaturized too, he thought as he finished a sketch of a new teststand and titled it Gamma-Max.

He paid different machine shops to build the components and the Gamma-Max teststand came together quickly. Nate became obsessed again. Even, the wobbling of a ceiling fan, in a restaurant, reminded him of gyroscopic principles.

Why I wrote The Monkeybars of Life

November 18, 2009

I’m often asked why I wrote The Monkeybars of Life and why it has so many pages.  I felt it was time to tell the story of some of the extraordinary people I’ve known and some of the unbelievable situations we’ve encountered. There are three themes explored in the book (1) innate creativity, (2) creativity in the workplace, and (3) estranged fatherhood. 

In chapter-3  Nate LaChae says:   “Some friends came over and they brought an African student with them. I asked him whether he felt there would ever be an African space program. When he said he didn’t think so, I asked why not. then I went OFF when he said he felt the White Man had something special in his head that allowed him to invent things and go to the moon.

The reason I was so upset is that I believe the greatness of our race will not be in the USA. It will be in Africa one day. And to hear that African student say what he said just set me off. I got up and said “Anybody that fills a thirty-five story rocket with liquid oxygen and hydrogen can go to the moon.” I told him the laws of physics work the same for everybody. Then I told him not to ever think or say what he said again. Even I was surprised at how I went off. But we’ll never even try things with the kind of thinking he had. I just want to show that God doesn’t play favorites.”

At another point, in chapter-3, Nate relates a High School  experience: “I remember how I made my first science fair rocket by soldering tin cans together. And I’ll never forget there was a kid named Rob Strom who exhibited right next to me at the fair. He had gotten permission to run his experiment at a real nuclear reactor lab. I won a third prize that year and he won a first prize. I never got over the fact that he had access to such equipment to compete with.”

In chapter-4 Nate struggles with being separated from his family and attempts to have an alternate family. “Maybe this is the way life really is, Nate thought as he sipped his wine. I had a stepfather and my mother and father didn’t know their real Dads either. I guess, we’re suppose to take care of the kids under our roof – wherever we are. I hope my kids’ stepfather is doing his job like I am.”

In chapter-5   Nate takes on more mundane projects at work and still encounters  resistance and disbelief. He is told by the IT department manager: “Who the hell do you think you’re fooling with all this talk about AI? Even at Carnige-Mellon, it took us two years to get our Expert System running and we had the resources. You can’t possibly accomplish even half the goals in that contract using HP-Basic. That’s why I’m not wasting my time with your silly project.”

The Monkeybars of Life

November 13, 2009

“The uniqueness of the book is that the protagonist is from the inner city and yet the book is not about drugs or sex. Rather, it tells about a technically talented man’s struggles at work and at home.

One thread of the story deals with the protagonist (Nate LaChae) passion to complete his gravity-engine, which he accidentally invented. Later in the story, he discovers an identical engine is being developed by an inventor in Scotland.

A second thread shows Nate’s feelings of anger and guilt over his failed marriage. The readers get to experience the inner life of a man who feels he was unjustly separated from his family. 

The Monkeybars of Life goes beyond racism and explores some of the obstacles to creativity and the consequences of a lack of formal education.

It is my sincere hope that the book will serve as a guide to life choices young people may face if they are creative and have uncompromising minds.”