Monday, September 28, 2015

My Memory of Michael Spiegel

I was too shocked to believe my eyes and ears when I heard his name mentioned at yesterday's evening news and saw his face on the screen because of the double murder of his ex-wife and her fiance and his jumping to death right before today's sentencing.

About three years ago when I went to my friend Woody's boatyard to paint, I noticed a small old modest boat docked there. It was not in very good condition with a funny name the Rogue Dog. It was the kind of old boat for multiple uses. However, I found the whole scene is worth painting so I stopped and painted it. When Woody saw the painting, he said maybe Michael would buy it from you when he came back. That was the first time I heard his name.

A few months later, I went to Woody's place again to paint. Michael happened to be on deck so we greeted each other. Michael was very friendly. He must have heard about me from Woody and invited me on beard the boat. There was on board a lady and a puppy, too. We chatted a little and I found him every knowledgeable and down to earth, spending almost all his life on seas. He held a PhD from University of Florida in physics but seemed to be involved in a wide variety of businesses and researches, even inventions. Before I left, he asked me to bring my painting of the boat next time saying he was interested in buying it.

The time I took my painting to his boat, he happened to be back from grocery shopping. He invited me on board again. It was lunch time so he said, "Why don't have lunch with us?" I accepted. He asked the lady to prepare a lunch for me, too. I didn't and don't know his relationship with the woman. Her role on board seemed to be between a maid and an assistant. He asked for the price of the painting. I think I offered a reasonable price for the size, considering the market in Florida, but he still haggled a bit and I accepted his counteroffer. Over the lunch, we talked a lot of things. He talked about cruising around the Caribbean area. I asked him if he traveled to Cuba because I was always fascinated by the country, he said of course. He laughed and told me that people there were desperate to sell their cigars and he smuggled quite a bit and made some money. He also told me he was writing a novel about navigation. Ever since then I often stopped by his boat whenever I was around the dock.

One day I offered to paint his portrait and promised it would not cost him extra time and he might do whatever he wanted so long as he was comparatively stable. He agreed saying how about in his cabin when he was writing his novel. Therefore, I set up in his crowded cabin and painted his portrait. He was delighted when I gave him a quality color photocopy. He insisted I autograph it.

Later I knew he was writing the novel  Cool Runnin. The book seemed to be a success. The recorded reviewer  give him five stars. You may check it out at the following link:

The following is how Amazon introduces the author:

Michael Spiegel is native to South Florida with a lifetime’s experience on the local waters and extensive cruises throughout the Bahamas and Caribbean. He has a doctorate in physics with both experimental and theoretical interests. He is the holder of multiple patents and is Vice President and chief scientist with a medical device company currently developing a unique new electrical therapy. He has had numerous magazine articles published covering his eclectic interests, which range from the sciences, yacht design, wind surfing, and boating stories. He is the author of Reality in Transition, a non-fiction book that examines global problems and offers analytic solutions. Years of encouragement to “tell his stories” resulted in this novel, Cool Runnin. It is drawn from his relationships and personal knowledge of that time and place.

You may follow the murder case or Michael's suicide at the news link:

I don't care much about the case. I feel sorry for the loss of human lives: both the murder victims' and Michael's. It is a tragedy. Of course, anyone who is involved in murder is not in the right state of mind. We will never know what he was thinking before, during, or after the killing. To me I feel sad because a meaningful life whom I knew and spent some happy time together ended like that.

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