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Musings

  • Girlie Bear got her first paycheck.  It was just shy of $40.  She paid about $5 in taxes and such.  She immediately understood the concept of “minimal government”.
  • Boo ran a mile in 10:31 tonight.  Not bad for a 7 year old.  Now if I can just get him to get ready for school faster than the speed of smell.
  • The only thing harder than sleeping in a bed with Derby sleeping on my feet is sleeping while she lays in the hallway outside the bedroom door and cries all night.
  • Tomato season seems to be coming to an end.  I think I have enough on the vine to do another batch of stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce.  I think I’ll pass on making tomato jalapeno jelly this year.  I still have a case of it downstairs from last year.
    • By the way, two parts peanut butter and one part tomato jalapeño jelly melted in the microwave and mixed together make a really good dip or chicken sauce.
  • Note to self – When the young man scooping ice cream cautions you that the large scoop is really large, take the hint.
  • We took Girlie Bear out for Mexican food to celebrate her birthday.  I started to tell the waiter about the big event so that she could get the whole Spanish song and sombrero treatment, but I’m smart enough to notice the “I will kill you if you do” look I got from Irish Woman.

Today’s Earworm

Presented without comment.

Musings

  • According to Irish Woman, she had to go all Southern Woman on an older man this afternoon.  Apparently it was effective, as the subject she was speaking to him about will be brought up at the next business meeting for the local Baptist church.
  • Boo has dress-down day tomorrow at school, if he either brings in one dollar or a hygiene item for the school’s charity box.  I suggested a box of condoms.
  • Highlight of my week – A friend brings out a couple of old family antiques to show his sons and asks me to help him track down information of an old sword based on the arsenal stamps on the blade.
  • While re-reading the book before dinner today, I came upon a passage where one of my characters does something quite stupid.  I thought to myself, “Now why would he do that when it’s obviously such a bad idea?”  I answered myself, “That passage is based on something you did when you were 19, idiot.”

The Five Stages of Project Management

Stage 1 – Denial

  • No way!!!!

Stage 2 – Anger

  • You have to be kidding me!

Step 3 – Bargaining

  • What if we promised to do all eight hours worth of work in two hours without an outage?

Step 4 – Depression

  • I can’t believe this.  We could have had another baby in the time it’s taken to get this close to implementing and at the last minute, we’re stopped.

Step 5 – Acceptance

  • It’s not personal, it’s business.  The work will get done someday, I’m sure.  Guess I’ll start planning another effort while we wait.

Blogs Roundup

  • Wing talks to us about how the culture of BRM’s upbringing makes certain aspects of our culture rather… alien to him.
  • BRM discusses an interesting house design for living in rough conditions.  Reminds me of the people who had semi-underground homes for insulation and weather.  It also is similar to the geodesic home we saw in Florida.   I wonder how one of those would stand up to a hurricane?
  • Old NFO gives us a taste of his next book.
  • Kathy gives us some wisdom:  You’re probably not as good about safety as you think you are.
  • Robb makes a good point.

Musings

  • I guess I’m old-fashioned in that I believe that the Constitution means what its plain language says.  “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” means, to me, that if someone is born here and is liable to follow our laws or face the punishment, then they are a citizen.  It doesn’t matter to me that some use the 14th Amendment in a way that we don’t like, it means what it says.  If a child is born 10 feet over the border in San Diego and is subject to arrest and taxation just like the rest of us, then that child is a citizen.  If we don’t like that, then we need to amend the Constitution, but it’s not a policy or something that can be changed by simple Legislative action or Executive fiat.
  • Bombing caves on the Mexican border or building a wall that’s not guarded 24 hours a day by men with guns and dogs that like the taste of human flesh, even if those things are possible, isn’t going to stop illegal immigration.  My idea for cutting the demand for illegal labor is this:  If your company or any sub-contractors/suppliers you use gets caught employing illegal aliens, then you are no longer allowed to compete for federal contracts and no federal money may be used to purchase goods and services from you.  Your food may not be used to feed schoolchildren or be purchased using government welfare.  You don’t get to compete to build, maintain, or clean government buildings or roads.  Federal insurance or disaster relief funds may not be used to purchase your goods and services.  That means that if you buy the chicken in your store from a company that has been busted using illegal labor in its poultry plants, you’re blackballed too.  If your university has students who have overstayed their visa’s, you are ineligible for Pell Grants, federal student loans, and federal research dollars.  A year or two of this, and the demand for almost slave labor will dry up.
  • There seems to be a rash of pedophiles and child pornographers caught here in Louisville, allegedly including a priest from one of the local parishes.  I just don’t get it.  If I were to ever have those kinds of thoughts, I’d like to think that I’d have the decency to suck start my 1911.  “But, DaddyBear, suicide is a mortal sin!”  So is taking upskirt pictures of minors and destroying their innocence.  Personally, I’d rather have to answer for something I did to myself than for something I did to a child.
  • Remember when you were in the military and you felt the urge to choke the life out of someone who puts their hand up when the CO asked “Does anyone have any questions?” on Friday at last formation?  Yeah, I was in a room with all of those people tonight.
  • Boo will be starting Tiger Scouts tomorrow evening.  I fondly remember my time in the Scouts, and the fine group of vandals and pyromaniacs who were in my pack and troop.  What a great bunch of future demolition specialists and confidential informants they were.  Why, it seems like only yesterday when I heard the scoutmaster, Mr. Olafsen, saying, “Which one of you maniacs broke into the mess hall and drew smiley faces on all the eggs?” at summer camp.

Not as Young As I Used To Be

Boo had cross country practice tonight, and I thought I’d get a little exercise.  I walked the first mile lap and felt pretty good, then got to the half-mile point on the second lap and decided to see if I could run the rest.

Yeah, not a good idea.

So, in tribute to all of the middle-aged dads who decide to see if they can keep up with the 1st grade through 8th grade crowd, let’s all sing along.

Heavy-drop daddy running down the trail.
He’s getting passed by a snail.
If my lace should come untied,
I’m gonna lay right down and die.
Sweat is running down my face.
Why am I moving at this pace?
If my knee, it should give,
I will lose the will to live.
Passed by a woman with a pony tail
Why am I working so hard to fail?

Ah, gimme some, gimme some,
Oxygen, oxygen!

Snippet

This is a piece from “Via Serica,” which will be available in the next few weeks.  Please let me know what you think.


Eutropius approached the entrance to the Great Library. The high roof of its porch was bounded by tall columns, and its sides were lined with benches for the groups of teachers and students who sat in the shade to talk and debate. The building’s tall doors, made from some dark wood and decorated with bronze fittings, were carved with the symbols of the various gods and constellations.

As he gawked at the architecture and soaring columns of its entrance, Eutropius was jostled by clerks and older men who were coming in and out of the huge building.  After a few moments, he stopped turning this way and that, and started to walk into the library.

A big man with a bushy beard stopped him with a hand to his chest as he started to cross the threshold. He wore a green linen tunic and a sword hung from his belt. A bronze badge of some office or another hung from his neck, and he glared at the little slave from under dark eyebrows.

“What you do?” he asked in a loud voice, his Greek slushy in a thick accent that grated on Eutropius’ ears.

“I’m going into the library,” Eutropius said, holding out the paper that Actis had given him when he left the palace.

The guard took the paper out of his hands and squinted at it. He turned it over a couple of times, then ran his fat finger over the wax seal at the bottom. A broad, gapped smile of yellow teeth split his beard as he handed the paper back to Eutropius.

“Oh, prefect men always go in,” he said, sweeping his sword arm toward the door.

Eutropius squeaked a “Thank you” to the guard and scurried through the tall double doors of the library. Once inside, he stopped and gawked once again. Shelf upon shelf of books, scrolls, and tables stretched from floor to ceiling. Men and women walked among the shelves, some retrieving materials, some putting them back.

Looking around as he entered, Eutropius was amazed at the high domed ceiling. Beams of sunlight from its windows streamed down to illuminate the library, and as he watched, several birds flew through the sunbeams, casting shadows on the floor.

Eutropius began to walk deeper into the building. The smell of wax, ink, and papyrus was almost intoxicating to him, and he wondered where he ought to begin. There seemed to be no sign of how things were organized.

“I could spend a lifetime here looking for master’s maps, and I wouldn’t complain at all,” he said aloud.

As he wandered, he came upon a desk with several clerks behind it. One of them was in a heated argument with a man wearing a silk tunic and cloak. Both of them were waving their arms and shouting at one another in a language that Eutropius couldn’t understand.

Another clerk was speaking to an old man who apparently did not hear very well.

“No,” shouted the clerk, with an edge of irritation in his voice, “we have not received the books on the new tax laws yet. Check back in a few weeks.”

Eutropius considered asking a clerk where to look, but after a few minutes of waiting for one to finish a task and notice him, he drifted back toward the shelves. One of the clerks looked up from the scroll he had been packing for shipment, and watched the Greek randomly pick a corridor between the stacks of books, then turn to walk down it. The clerk stepped out from behind the desk and followed him.

Eutropius jumped when the clerk came up behind him and said in a loud voice, “What are you doing here?”

Eutropius turned around and faced the clerk, who was looking down at him imperiously. “My master has sent me here to find maps and do research on the lands beyond Egypt,” he explained.

“We don’t allow just any bumpkin with a sense of curiosity to just walk in here. How did you get past the guard?” the clerk demanded in a smooth, educated accent. Eutropius was immediately reminded of the snotty slave from Rhodes that had taught him as a child. Daily reminders of how his speech made him sound like something that had just fallen out of the dung cart on an olive plantation had not endeared him to such people.

The little scribe set his jaw and muttered, “I am no bumpkin, you officious dicktwister!”

The clerk’s head rocked back as if he’d been struck, then his face reddened as he began to shout, “Who do you think you are, you little shit? This is the Library! You can’t talk to me like that!”

Eutropius set his hands on his hips and leaned forward, returning the shouts of the clerk, “I am here on the orders of Senator Marcus Aemilius Paullus, who is on a personal mission of Caesar Augustus, you arrogant ox fucker! If you want to insult me rather than assist, then I will take this letter of introduction back to the prefect and let HIM deal with a librarian who can’t stand the idea of someone actually using his precious library!”

The clerk opened his mouth to spew a response, but stopped before the first word could come out. His red face slowly drained of color, becoming paler than it had been. Finally, he closed his mouth and looked around at the people staring at the two men.

“The prefect?” he finally said, leaning close so that he could speak quietly, “You’re here on government business?”

“Of course I am, fool,” replied Eutropius in an equally quiet voice, “Do you think I came to this warehouse because I like the smell of rancid wax and old ink?” To himself, he thought, And even if I do, it’s none of his business. I wonder who I have to kill to get his job?

Eutropius opened his clenched fist and held out the now-crumpled letter. The clerk took it and read it quickly, glancing at the wax seal at the bottom.

“I showed that to the guard at the door, and he said everything was in order,” said Eutropius haughtily.

The taller man looked up from the paper, and put on a false smile.

“I believe I know where the confusion lies,” he said, showing his teeth and trying to defuse the situation, “You spoke to the man at the door, the big Gaul?”

“Yes, the one with the beard,” replied Eutropius.

The clerk snorted. “That oaf can’t read. He probably saw the prefect’s seal and sent you along. You really should have shown this to one of us as soon as you came in,” he said.

“If you want to see my papers when I enter your shrine to the gods of dry rot, then you should post yourself at the entrance instead of ambushing me after I start going about my business,” snapped Eutropius, “Do you insult everyone who comes in here, or is that just a special service you provide to fellow Greeks?”

“My apologies for my tone,” said the librarian, “I only get like that with people who come here to steal or waste my time. We are driven to distraction by the curious and the thieves.”

“Well, I am neither,” Eutropius replied in his most theatrically haughty tone.

The clerk sighed and handed back the letter. “How may I assist you? You mentioned maps?”

Eutropius relaxed and smiled. “Yes, I need to know about the lands beyond Egypt. And yes, I especially need maps,” he said, looking around the library again, “How do you keep things straight in this labyrinth?”

“Oh, you learn how to find things. I’ve been here for about 10 years, and I’m still figuring things out,” replied the clerk, “May I ask why you need these? Is this curiosity on the part of your master, or practical?”

“Practical, I’m afraid. He and another senator are being sent on an expedition for Caesar. I can’t say exactly why,” replied Eutropius.

The clerk’s eyebrows went up and he let out his breath in a low whistle. He turned to lead Eutropius deeper into the library, “That shouldn’t be difficult. We have maps from the ports along the coast of the continent. If I recall correctly, they do not show much detail in the interior, but we shall see what we can find. When do your masters leave?”

“We only have a few days, so we will need to be quick,” replied Eutropius, hurrying to follow the clerk.

“Well, then, let’s get to it,” said the clerk, “There is much to see. You know, if you were to write down what you see as you go, it would make a wonderful addition to our collection.”

Eutropius thought to himself while he followed the clerk between shelves of rolled-up maps, I have to get there and survive to return first.

Today’s Earworm

I need something to cheer me up and get the old blood pumping.

Musings

  • I am no longer allowed to use the term “250 pounds of pre-chewed bubble gum” to describe another human being.
  • Boo’s cross-country coach said that when they run as a group, he will be calling cadences.  I tried to think of any running cadences I could call around children, and came up empty-handed.
    • Seriously, I spent 15 minutes thinking about this.  “Don’t let your dingle… Nope, not that one either.”
  • There are days when I can’t believe they pay me to do my job.  There are also days when I shrug and think about the paycheck.
  • As I’m writing this, I’m watching Boo dance with a polymer gladius to a battle song from a movie.  Life is good.
  • I started the day with a cup of good coffee and a couple of pieces of baklava made by old Greek Orthodox women.  Life is good.
  • I took Boo out for Greek food at lunch.  He wasn’t too sure about the whole idea, but tucked right in when I told him that it was warrior food and that the chicken was actually velociraptor.
  • It isn’t a wedding in Kentucky until somebody breaks out the cornhole boards.
  • Little boys are creatures that can be absolutely fascinated by the antics of tadpoles in a pond, then disappointed that the rocks they threw in did not crush a few of them.
  • At this point in the electoral process, I’m thinking of voting for “Extinction Level Event” in 2016.
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