Ask Luke’s Mother-in-Law: Villains, Ghosts, UFOs and Yin-Yang Kittens


Martha Boyd is not just Luke’s mother-in-law – she’s also an ex-cop, a landlord, a self-described crazy cat lady, a major Star Trek geek and the widow of a green beret. So go ahead: ask her anything. And we mean anything.

Hi all – are we sitting down and ready for another installment of the Crazy Cat Lady of Joshua Tree? Oh well, ready or not, here I come. Thursday afternoon is volunteer orientation for Contact in the Desert. This should be very interesting; we’ll get more information on just what we will be doing – but even better yet, how we use the half-pass we are getting.

This last week we had a couple of days of really nice rain in Joshua Tree. At my place, it was fairly gentle and soaked in; however, over in 29 Palms they had more flash floods. Currently the road out of 29 Palms to Blythe is closed due to the mud. This weekend is supposed to be nice, not humid, and in the low 100’s. August is monsoon season in the desert, and a year ago we were keeping our fingers crossed that Luke and Julia’s wedding was going to be dry. So it looks like the second weekend in August is lucky in Joshua Tree.

So enough of my babbling for now; let’s see what brain twisters you are tossing my way this week.

William C B:
Why is Star Trek so different then Star Wars?

Well, seems to me Star Trek came first and then Star Wars was trying to ride the coattails of a good thing. Which worked quite well. Both are great franchises. I know there are loyal fans of each and then some of us who like both products. They are not really all that different. Both have aliens, strange worlds, aliens interacting with humans, handsome leading men, etc. Star Trek does have more worlds to explore – a different one each week – whereas Star Wars has fewer worlds.

Paul F:
How many roads must a man walk down?

As many as he needs to until he finds his true and right path.

Abe Pat:
For who are girl scouts scouting for?

Boy scouts.

Paul F:
When is it appropriate to be a grammar nazi?

Well if you are an English nerd and editor ………what can I say – always. No, seriously. Luke (not to name names) is a taskmaster on grammar, punctuation etc with his writing and he expects quality from his writers. I, however, am an exception to this rule – he does very little mucking with my work. It is not because I know where he lives or that I am his mom in law. He likes my style. But I have seen him beating his head against the wall over some things that get submitted for publication. Then there are those fan fics, people…really?

I can remember when I was going through school there were important things like knowing how to spell words in full and correctly, plus grammar and hopefully not sounding like a total fool when you were writing. Penmenship was also expected. But then came texting, Facebook, etc now we are BFFs and are LOLing. Sentences are no longer full – but chopped to fit a text, etc.

Jason Helton:
At what age do you feel a person is committed to a career? If there is something they would rather be doing instead of their current profession, is there a cutoff period or other factors?

This could go in several different directions. A lot depends on your life: are you single or married with a family? Two situations with different things to consider. It would be different to made a career change if you only have to take care of yourself. However, if you have a family there are others to consider so you may have to stick with something for the stability of the family.

I have had two different careers from high school on. The first was law enforcement. That was really fun when I was 18 to about 27. Cops have a lot of fun with a lot of hard work. But after I got married and we wanted to start a family, getting shot at was not quite so exciting anymore. So my husband retired and we started the appraisal business which has been up and running for 30 yrs. Then we have also had a concert lighting business and were rehabbing houses and doing property management. So several different hats.

It helps to enjoy your job, but I know sometimes it is a means to an end and you have to keep a roof over the family and food on the table. Like right now I can think of lots of things I would rather be doing – but I also enjoy my house, eating etc. – so I am very glad that I have a job. I have to fit my acting in around my real job. Acting is really what I would love to do full time, but that is not reality at this time.

So no, I don’t think there is any age that you have to be totally committed to a career; you can change at any age as long as you have thought things fully out and can make the change and still be comfortable.

Paul F:
If a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long will it take for a monkey with a wooden leg to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle?

How do you get a 1/2 hen and 1/2 egg? The monkey is smarter then to kick out seeds from a dill pickle as that would squish the pickle – he is just going to eat the yummy pickle.

Lea B:
Am I a horrible person for watching the Jeopardy Teen tournament and being smug? “Ha, I got more right than you high school freshman with little life experience! In your face!”

I’m not sure – how old are you? If you are younger or about the same age, then probably no. On the other hand, if you are a senior citizen then maybe, as they are just teenagers. And hey, they got on Jeopardy. That says something right there – the test to get on that show is pretty hard.

Luke’s Mother-in-Law, love your column.

I was wondering how you feel about the paranormal shows on television. Specifically, shows such as Ghost Adventures on Travel Channel and Ghost Hunters on SyFy. Do they interest you or do they elicit mostly eye rolls from you?

I’ve had some strange occurrences in my life, including seeing an “apparition” when I was really young, but I’m still not sold on the paranormal. Make no mistake, I’d like to think there’s something after death. I’ve lost both parents within the past decade and it’d be nice to think they’re off somewhere enjoying themselves. I just have my doubts that they’re hanging around producing EVPs (electronic voice phenomena) and materializing as orbs, which are some of the theories these shows put forth.

Thanks in advance! 🙂

Hi and thanks for the like. It is fun to do. For the first question on the paranormal TV shows: love ’em. Yes, sometimes they are a bit far-fetched, but overall I find them pretty interesting and they give you things to ponder. I listen every night to Coast to Coast on the radio. After all, I am going to Contact in the Desert this weekend. I believe in ghosts as I have seen things that I can’t explain otherwise.

Part 2: I believe in reincarnation and past lives. I think those who have crossed over can come back if they feel the need or be able to send an angel to help or protect us when necessary. I think that both people and animals go to heaven and that we will hopefully be together again with loved ones. I guess how they choose to present themselves is up to them.

Wait, we hate cyberpunk now? I have fond memories of Snow Crash and Neuromancer. Also, Johnny Mnemonic is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Never said we hate cyberpunk. I said I guess it was still going to be around.

I have noticed a trend where in order to make a villain or anti hero sympathetic they either give them a tragic back story or have a even worse person than them do something bad to them

I get why its used so much as our natural empathy makes us feel bad for someone being hurt even if they have done terrible things and have been shown to have no empathy or remorse for what they have done to others

I see this done badly more and more where the villain or anti hero will treat some character terribly and not be called out on it due to the tragic back story or some other worse big bad doing something bad to them even though what happened to them isn’t as bad as what the villain just did to the character and a lot of the time they don’t even apologize

my long rambling prologue to my question is this
Are they any good stories that explain why the villain or anti hero are the way they are or the person they become like a hero in the future without relying on the tragic back story or having a worse villain than them do something to them

None that I can think of offhand. You are so correct in your analysis of this. I think sometimes writers get lazy and just use the fallback, rather than finding a new creative twist.

Well that’s it for this week. I have to get ready to go to orientation. I will be sending Luke stuff from the event if I get anything good. I’m not good enough to send things in real time so it will be after I get home and can download my camera. Have attached a couple fo cute kitty pics. I especially love the one at the top of this column of Pirate Luke and Sweet Pea – they look like Yin Yang. They sleep like that a lot. Two peas in a pod. Anyway, as always be good to each other this next week. Keep the questions moving along and Huggs.

You heard her, folks – keep those questions coming! Any questions submitted in comments below will be included in future columns.

You wouldn’t want to disappoint this kitten, would you?