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  • Tom’s Principle of Laundry – The number of loads of laundry done in a household is a geometric progression of the number of people living in that household.
    • The number of socks that need to be mated is a further progression of that function.
    • Don’t even get me started about towels and dishrags.
  • Not sure why this is, but the smell of beef stew meat cooking with good onions in beef broth always makes me feel like I’m home.
  • Looks like we won’t get any color out of our maple trees this year.  The leaves are going from green to yellow to brown and falling off in less than 24 hours.
  • Some folks never seem to realize that you can’t threaten someone with consequences they do not care about.
    • “I won’t vote for your candidate in the next election!”  Were you going to vote for them in the first place?
    • “I won’t support your bill in Congress!” When have you ever been brave enough to break from your party?
    • “I’ll never support your cause!”  Oh, like you really cared about free speech and gun rights to begin with?
    • “I’ll walk away from these negotiations!”  OK, we can walk away too, with all of our money.
    • “If you don’t continue to pay me to breathe, I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue!”  That’s been done.  Have you considered aubergine?
  • It’s amazing how many people want me to care more about their business than they do.
  • “Make them say ‘no’ three times” only means that I have an opportunity to fall from “firm, but polite” to “terse” to “rude”.


  • Boo and I went on a hike with his Cub Scout group this morning.  It was a beautiful morning, with lots of stuff for the boys to stop and learn about.
    • We had as many hikers at the end as we did at the beginning, so I’ll call that a success.
  • People who go to the hardware store to wander the aisles are just as infuriating as people who go to the grocery store to wander.
  • There are many times in life where someone asking “Why?” is appropriate and necessary.
    • Most of the past week has not been one of those times, both for me and for other folks in my life.
    • Somedays, I just have to remember that I was not put on this earth to break things down Barney style.
    • Also, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that I have to conserve how often I use my crayons to explain things.
  • I went out today to do four errands.  I proudly came home after completing all two of them.


  • The Tomato-Jalapeno jelly tastes really good, but it’s not setting up the way I want it to.  I recanned it with more pectin, and it is a bit thicker.
    • During recanning, between residue and steam, I lost a pint of jelly.  That surprised me.
    • I’ll give it a few days to set up before I declare it a failure.
    • Then again, it might go well with vanilla ice cream.  This requires experimentation!
  • I also made chili sauce from  the tomatoes and peppers we’ve been freezing all summer.
    • The total is 23 quarts of sauce out of two 14 quart batches of fixings.
    • Along with the 22 quarts of pasta sauce I made last month, that should last us until this time next year.
  • Pro-tip – When canning food, make sure the dogs don’t have access to the kitchen.
    • There’s nothing like trying to empty a glass quart jar full of boiling water and having a dog run between your legs.
  • If the rain stops, Boo and I will be pulling what remains of the garden out tomorrow so that we can start mixing mulched leaves into the soil.
    • It’s my hope that all of my kids know how to at least supplement their diets with home-grown vegetables by the time they get to adulthood.
  • I also have a large bag of daffodil bulbs that need planting.  My plan is to eventually have enough bulbs planted that we won’t have to plant flowers every spring.
  • Irish Woman and Boo had a fun weekend down in Florida.  I’m told that Boo performed well as a young wizard, and they both enjoyed a lazy day yesterday swimming around an artificial volcano.
    • From what Irish Woman tells me, it would have been hard to find a virgin in the area much older than Boo had a sacrifice been necessary.
    • Irish Woman’s new term – “Buttkini”.  You figure it out.
  • Boo spent a good portion of his weekend at Hogwarts.  What does he want to watch tonight when I offer him a bonus movie night?  Harry Potter.
  • One of the side benefits of sending the family away for a weekend is being able to watch my movies before 9 PM.
    • Get your mind out of the gutter.


  • Famous Last Words
    • I don’t need to wear rubber gloves when I cut up these jalapenos.
    • Washing my hands will get all the capsaicin off my hands.
    • That’s just nice, clean steam coming out of that boiling pot of tomatoes and peppers.
    • My eyes and sinuses will stop burning in a little while.
  • Irish Woman and Boo are off on an adventure.  Apparently they had to do their O.J. Simpson impression running across an airport to make their connection today.
  • Schedule for me while they are away:
    • Tonight – Jalapeno-Tomato jelly.
    • Friday – Researching walking routes through the Pamir Mountains and the governmental structure of the Parthian and Bactrian Empires. Laundry.
    • Saturday – Chili base and housework.
    • Sunday – Yard Work, cook dinner, and pick up the family.
  • I spent about half my day trying to prove a negative.  I think I may have made a career out of doing that.

Dinner Tonight


1/4 to 1/3 pound leftover beef roast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups beef broth
1 cup warm water
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped.
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, deseeded and coursely chopped.
1 cup pearl barley, dry.
1 1-pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine broth, water, beef, onion, and peppers in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and add barley.  Allow to steep in broth for 30 minutes.  Prepare mixed vegetables per directions on package, drain and add to soup.  Turn heat back on, low, and bring back to a simmer.

Serve with bread.  Makes two to three servings.

Coming Soon!

While I was at LibertyCon this year, OldNFO mentioned that he was considering expanding his short work “The Morning The Earth Shook” into a compilation of short stories about CalExit.  For those of you with a healthy, full life away from the ugliness of politics, CalExit is the movement to take California out of the Union and stand it up as its own country.

So, as I sat in a dark theater watching a panel, an idea got to me, and I started sketching it out.  Once I had it lined out and drafted, I sent it along to Jim, and it’s going to be included in his anthology.


Seeing the works of the other authors in this, I’m humbled to be included.  Jim says that he expects for it to be ready for publishing in a few weeks.  I’ll keep y’all updated.


DaddyBear's Den

20 years ago, American warriors were fighting for their lives, cut off and low on ammunition, food, and water.  Some were already dead; others would die from their wounds before a relief column could get to them.  18 Americans would die in the dust of Mogadishu on October 3 and 4, 1993.  The bodies of heroes Randall Shughart and Gary Gordon were drug through the streets as trophies, and western press obligingly flashed images of the macabre parade for all to see.

In honoring these men, we need to reflect on what we should learn from their sacrifice.  Mogadishu should have been a wake-up call.  Our opponents are not civilized nations, such as Germany or the U.S.S.R.  We are facing, for the most part, a poorly trained, but highly motivated, mob of barbarians.  They will give us no quarter, yet will use our own willingness to offer it as a…

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  • My morning started with my youngest son walking around the house in his underwear singing “One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater”.
    • I’d blame it on his mother, but I distinctly remember being that age and walking around my house, in my underwear, clucking out “In the Mood” with my brothers like the chickens on the Muppet Show.
  • Let’s say you have 50 tasks, which are somewhat related to each other in a couple of ways.  If you do a little analysis, you can group them into either ten batches of five or five batches of ten.
    • My co-workers gave me 50 batches of 1.
  • It’s amazing how quickly somebody stops complaining about something when you point out that they are the ones who created said problem in the first place.


  • My genius of a wife, whose only real fault is her unfortunate taste in men, had the brilliant idea of renting a cabin at a lake in Indiana this weekend.
    • Unfortunately for her and Boo, her grumpy, creaky, and rather ill husband tagged along to make things harder for everyone.
    • Having a cool, quiet place to go to in order to crash on Friday and Saturday did me a world of good.
  • There is a nice feeling to be had when you’re making your morning coffee and you show your son how to make his hot chocolate in a canteen cup.
  • Boo spent a lot of this weekend fishing for blue gill with his aunt-by-choice-not-by-chance.  The happiness that a three inch long fish can being to a young boy is priceless.
  • I didn’t feel good all weekend, but chalked it up to stress and arthritis.  Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted, but gutted through it.  I felt like death warmed over by the time I got home on Monday.  I slept about 20 of the last 24 hours, after drinking a little less than a gallon of water, and I feel good enough to crawl out of bed.  Tomorrow is another day.
  • Falling asleep with a fever, while watching an old horror movie, was probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.
  • Apparently, there is a money scandal involving the local university’s basketball program, and it consumed the first ten minutes of tonight’s local news.  The weather got another five minutes, as did commercials.  I’m glad there wasn’t anything important to talk about in the remaining ten minutes, because it was mainly fluff pieces or stuff that’s been going on for days.
    • I’ve given up on watching the national news broadcasts.  It’s either inane human interest stories, or it’s politically canted one way or another to the point that the actual information gets lost in the fog.
  • I am currently beta reading a book, reading another two books, listening to two audiobooks and several podcasts while I drive, working on both a novel and a couple short stories, and trying to do research.  I’m also enjoying every minute of it.

The War – Episode 33

September 22, 6:17 AM Central
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Jadah stood at the bus stop with her son, Marshall. She looked critically at how short the sleeves of his jacket were, and made a mental note to take him to buy a new one on payday. It was the first really chilly morning of fall, and she had pulled last year’s light jacket out of the closet so that he could have an outer layer over his ever-present sweatshirt.

The nine-year-old saw her looking and rolled his eyes.

“Mom,” he said plaintively, “I can do this. You can go home. Really.”

Jadah shook her head and replied, “Nope. You gotta be escorted by an adult until you’re ten.”

Marshall rolled his eyes again and went back to talking with his friends. Their mothers all smiled at Jadah and after a moment, they all laughed a bit.

“His birthday’s in December, right?” one asked.

“Yeah, and he can’t wait to get cut loose,” Jadah replied, looking up as Linda, one of Marshall’s classmates, and her mother, JoLynn, hurried up.

“Guess we’re not late after all,” JoLynn said, her breath coming out in puffs of vapor.

“You’ve got a couple of minutes,” one of the other mothers said, “Linda looks nice today!”

JoLynn looked over at her daughter, who was talking with Marshall and another boy, and smiled.

“She had me do her hair and help her pick out a skirt,” she said, “Guess she wanted to look special today.”

Jadah snorted. “For real? Wish I could get Marshall to do more than brush his teeth and pull on an old sweatshirt and jeans in the morning,” she said.

The women chatted for a few more minutes before they heard the bus snort its way around the corner at the end of the block. The children picked up their backpacks and formed a line in the grass along the curb, while their mothers stepped back to the sidewalk. As the bus pulled up and the doors opened, JoLynn stepped forward and reached out to her daughter.

“Stop!” the bus driver cried out as she reached for the button to close her doors. JoLynn looked up at her and smiled.

“Just fixing her hair!” she called as she tugged on her daughter’s dark curls and straightened the red bow at the top of her ponytail.

The bus driver opened her doors again and yelled out “Get back on the sidewalk! You know better!”

JoLynn looked up at her and smiled. “I know,” she said loudly, then released the switch she held in the sleeve of her jacket.

A flash of light and a cloud of smoke enveloped the line of children as her suicide belt activated. JoLynn screamed as the explosives burned instead of exploding. Her wool jacket charred and peeled back, exposing her torso to the open air and intensifying the flames.

The children, including her own daughter, scattered. Mothers grabbed children, sometimes their own, pulling them to the ground and shielding them with their bodies. After a few seconds, the sizzling and popping of the flames ceased as the last of the explosives burned off, and the quiet of the morning was only broken by the gunning of the bus’s engine as the driver floored the accelerator, as well as JoLynn’s screams as the pain from her burns surged through her body.

Jadah pulled herself up from the sidewalk and the child underneath her. Her knee throbbed where the concrete had torn into her pants and scraped her skin, but adrenaline dulled the pain to an afterthought. She turned toward the writhing figure on the ground.

“Bitch!” she roared as she started kicking and punching at the woman who had tried to murder her son. She was soon joined several of the other parents, who tore into the failed bomber with clawed hands and booted feet. JoLynn continued to scream for a few moments, but by the time the police arrived, her cries had stopped echoing from the buildings along the street.


Other episodes can be found here.  The rest of the story can be found in Escort Duty, available now at Amazon.

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