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  • Saying “I drink coffee for your sake and the sake of all His church” on a Sunday morning does not count as going to Mass.
  • Nothing says “I love you” like waking your husband up half an hour early for his middle-of-the-night work assignment because you don’t think the two alarms he set will be enough.
    • See above comment about coffee.
  • Always read your work emails before sending them.  Telling a vendor “I was doing your job while you were shitting yellow” is probably not conducive to receiving excellent customer service.
    • “He started it” would probably have not been useful in the talking-to I would have gotten.
  • I’ve been listening to Monster Hunter Memoirs and cackling to the humor.  Irish Woman keeps asking if I’m OK.
    • It’s what happens if the laughter stops that should worry her.


  • If you’re going to have the bridesmaids and groomsmen process to the altar to the sound of a string quartet playing “Sweet Child of Mine”, then please have the good graces to play a classical rendition of “Highway to Hell” as the groom approaches his place of judgement.
  • If you’re going to have an open bar at a reception, in a warehouse-turned-event-space, with a family known far and wide for its ability to vocalize at a level making amplification unnecessary, during a thunderstorm, please don’t get pissy when I ask you to repeat yourself and stand so that I can see your lips when you talk.
  • If you’re going to hold a pool party for your son and a half-dozen of his closest friends, please don’t feel it necessary to go back behind the pool to retrieve your phone in the pitch black of darkest night.  Doing so will inevitably cause one of said young men to approach your loving husband to say “Um, Mrs. Bear is laying on the ground and can’t get up.”
  • If you do, though, please don’t argue with your husband that you’re fine and just need a bandaid for your filleted shin so that you can drive your shocky self to the emergency room.
  • If your wife has filleted her shin, please don’t be shocked that she screams when you pour cold water down her leg to wash out some of the larger chunks of rock and dirt.  The peacock at the farm two streets over answering her call was pretty cool, though.
  • If you are a doctor or nurse in an emergency room, please don’t feel it’s necessary to repeatedly peel back the bandage on someone’s leg, wince, and pronounce that this is beyond your skills to sew up.  Also, loudly braying “No, this thing is freaking huge. No way am I trying to fix that!” into your cellphone does nothing for your patient’s state of mind.
  • If you’re thinking about going into medicine, might I suggest becoming a plastic surgeon.  Apparently, they have the power to answer a phone call from an emergency room at 3 AM, listen to the situation, then pronounce that they’ll be in at 9 AM.
  • If you’re a loving husband, don’t comment with “I’ve seen worse” and then tell your wife about it while you’re assisting her while changing her bandage.
  • If, two days after having 30+ stitches put into your leg, you start to run a fever, please don’t argue with your husband that you’re fine.  It tends to make us grumpy and rather curt.
  • If your loving husband is mixing up Dakin’s Solution for you to use on your wound, it’s funny to call it “Granny’s Recipe” the first three or four times he pours it into a mason jar.  After that, the smile is only there because he loves you.
  • If you injure yourself badly enough that you can’t enjoy your brand-spanking-new pool over the entire summer, please don’t complain about it to your husband who didn’t want the pool in the first place.  Schadenfreude is not conducive to a happy marriage.

Book Review – Other Rhodes

Sarah Hoyt begins another engrossing series with Other Rhodes:

Lily Gilden has a half-crazed cyborg in her airlock who thinks he’s Nick Rhodes,
a fictional 20th Century detective. If she doesn’t report him for destruction,
she’s guilty of a capital crime.

But with her husband missing, she’ll use every clue the cyborg holds,
and his detective abilities, to solve the crime her husband was investigating
when he disappeared.

With the help of a journalist who is more than he seems,
Lily will risk everything to plunge into the interstellar underworld
and bring the love of her life home!

Mrs. Hoyt’s greatest talent as a storyteller is to mold characters that spring from the pages fully formed, and Lilly is one of her finest creations so far. She is quickly painted as a loving wife to Joe, the jaded detective with a starship. But when things go sideways, she quickly evolves into the heroine, doing everything she can to save her man.

If you’re a fan of hard-boiled detective novels, Other Rhodes will be like slipping into your favorite fedora and trench coat for a midnight stroll down by the docks. The story moves quickly, and where it surprises, it does so in a way that puts a great twist to a familiar story.

This is a quick read, and would be perfect for a summer afternoon by the pool. Like the best of Agatha Christie or Mickey Spillane, Other Rhodes is appropriate for readers from teenagers to their grandparents. Mrs. Hoyt takes her time to fill in the broad strokes of a universe in our distant future, all while filling it with the characters and forces familiar to all of us.

For anyone who has enjoyed a dime-store detective novel or just likes solid, character-driven science fiction, Other Rhodes is highly recommended.

Today’s Earworm

Thought for the Day


  • You know you’re in a cool group of folks when you mention that you’re stuck on a rather esoteric subject in a project and someone goes “Oh, yeah, check out <INSERT BOOK TITLE HERE>.  If it doesn’t have what you’re looking for, let me know.  I know a guy.”
    • Another sign is the presence of not only a plushy manatee, but also a life-sized plushy lemur, at the party.
  • You learn things when you spend time with your tribe.  This weekend, I learned that I really like Irish whiskey.  Irish whiskey, on the other hand, wants me to die horribly.
  • I need to sit down with a paper map and plot out the routing for my flights to and from Texas this past weekend.
    • I’ll have to make an unbroken salt circle around the map first.  I’m pretty sure that I’ll summon something rather sticky and irritated when I finish drawing that particular shape.
  • I was 2 for 4 in the “Screaming Baby on an Airplane” game this weekend.
    • One waited until we were almost at the gate to deplane before losing his mind. Not perfect, but nearly so.
    • The other one started whining when the engines fired up, cried as we took off, then screamed from Denver to Louisville.  Everyone was, or tried to be gracious, about the situation. I was amazed at this infant’s stamina.  He’s got a career as a marathon runner who does opera in his spare time.
  • Folks, if you’re going to fly a low-cost airline in this day and age, please be sparing in your use of perfume, cologne, and fermented fish sauce during your morning cleansing rituals.  Just because we’re crammed in like sardines doesn’t mean you have to smell like one.
    • I normally tell my children that someone should be slow dancing with them before they can be smelled, but we were almost at the point of cuddling while we sat 6 across on a widebody.
  • In the never-ending debate of “WhatABurger versus In-n-Out”, I have to say that when you want a tasty burger served with a side of great service and awesome french fries, you go to WhatABurger.  When you want a delicious, sloppy, grease-bomb and a tee-shirt, you go to In-n-Out.

Book Review – Malevolently Familiar

Alma Boykin delves deeper into her characters in Malevolently Familiar:

Caught between the Old Lands and the New . . .

Less than a month after confronting an ancient evil, Lelia Chan, her Familiar Tay, and their allies meet an unmovable object. Meister Gruenewald needs their help. A new danger rises across the Great Sea, one that requires more than just his knowledge and power.

What Lelia and Master Saldovado find in the Old Land triggers a race. Can the shadow mages and their Hunter allies bring a power-obsessed sorcerer to justice? Or will his twisted idea of paradise destroy all they have fought to protect? Light-side magic workers have tried to stop the sorcerer, and paid with their lives, struck down by a creature from Elsewhere. One with a grudge.

Worse than death awaits Lelia and her chosen family if they fail.

Like all of the stories in this series, the best part of Malevolently Familiar is the characters and how they interact.  Yes, there is action and suspense, but the true thread running through this tapestry is Lelia Chan’s family.  In this installment, we learn more about Lelia’s employer and semi-adopted father, Master Saldovado.  As this character fleshes out, Lelia herself is evolving from the young mage to an elder.  Looking back on how Lelia started out all those books ago, it’s amazing how well Ms. Boykin has created and molded her.

While this is not a swiftly paced story, it does not drag.  It’s not a simple read, but I found it an easy read.  Boykin’s style is straightforward without being sparse. As her characters move in and out of the story, the reader can easily see them and how their stories play out.  By now, we know almost all of them, but with each book, they come more sharply into focus.

If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, Malevolently Familiar will be like spending a week with old friends.


  • Pool – An Old English word that means “A hole in the yard into which one pours money, time, and liability”.
  • It took two days for the installer to put the pool together, two days to fill it with the garden hose, and one day for Irish Woman to discover the first leak and the definite lean of the pump and filter.
    • I am afraid to say this out loud, because she can kill me with her mind, but not my monkeys, not my circus.
    • One good thing about this boondoggle is that someday, I will want to spend a lot of money on something she doesn’t want on the property, and all I will have to do is point across the yard to her industrial-size algae receptacle.
  • Somehow, a trip to the farm store to get a heavy duty extension cord turned out to be a purchase of an extension cord, a garden hatchet, two solar lamps, and a plastic hollow log.
    • We needed the extension cord because, of course, the pool installers got out here before the electrician did.
    • The garden hatchet is so that Irish Woman can repel boarders while she’s puttering around the yard.
    • The lights are so that Irish Woman can see her opponents while she putters around the yard.
    • The hollow plastic log…. Well, I’m not really sure what that’s for.  I’m sure it will have a purpose someday.
  • There is that magical moment, after four days of banging your head against a problem, when it finally goes away and you’re proud of yourself.  It’s not because you solved it, though.  Rather, you gain a feeling of great accomplishment for not choking the person who knew what was wrong, how to fix it, and yet did not pipe up or bother to write down their knowledge.  Allowing that person to walk away unscathed is the true achievement.

Today’s Earworm

Happy 4-3-21


  • Well, Irish Woman’s pool is finally starting to happen in ways that involve more than writing checks.
    • Oh, the check writing will never end, but now other things are happening too.  See if you can spot where this makes me a happy bear.
    • I will be paying to upgrade the electrical service on the house because the 1979 breaker box in my basement is full.  Apparently we need electricity for the world’s most expensive cattle trough, and my suggestion to hook up an exercise bike and a generator was vetoed.
    • I cannot have the plumber out to add a new outdoor water spigot where I want it because pieces and parts of the above ground cistern have been stacked in my garage and I am forbidden to touch them.  That means that my darling Irish Woman will have to string together a couple hundred feet of hose to fill her artisanal sump once it’s assembled.
    • The excavating company was out yesterday to do site prep.  I now have a 24 foot hole in my yard, ranging from half a foot to 2.5 feet deep.  Luckily, the limestone shelf upon which Kentucky rests is just a tad deeper than this.  Around here, the sound of a jack hammer is ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.
    • The dirt from said hole is piled up in a nice berm between the hold and the street. Irish Woman, the love of my life and mother to my spawn, says that it will be planted with flowers and grass so that it screens her bluelight-special-looking above ground pool from the street.  This is a desperate scheme to convince me that we are not shooting the value of our new property behind the ear by doing all this.
    • I, on the other hand, am considering where to site the AT-4 and M-60 teams on it to keep the Soviets from advancing across the black top.  Let the godless Communists stay on their own side of the street.
    • Additionally I have about a ton each of gray and brown sand piled up at the end of my driveway.  You know, that little bit of concrete that makes it easy for me to get my truck in and out?  Yeah, not usable for the foreseeable future.
      • I do know where I can get some sandbags, and the boy needs his character built a tad.  Hmmmm.
    • The nice man, and I’m not being sarcastic about this, he’s a saint, from the excavating company had a really rough day yesterday.  First, he had to deal with me. That alone earns him a lot of brownie points.  Second, he was sideswiped on the freeway during one of his multiple trips to get stuff for the project.  The dude who hit him apparently didn’t stop, so he has to deal with a hit and run report to the police and his insurance company.  Next, he backed his trailer over a retaining wall and flower bed next to our driveway.  I’ve been assured by my darling wife that this will be fixed at some point in the vague mists of the future.  Finally, Irish Woman brought him a couple of burgers when she discovered that the poor man had not had lunch.  Unfortunately for him, he discovered that Burger King is now serving Whoppers a nice medium-rare after a couple of bites.
  • I am assured that this addition to our house will make She Who Will Not Be Denied happy for the rest of her life, and that she will take care of it and it won’t be a bother and it will bring peace and tranquility to our house.  Now, look closely and you can see my excitement about this project.
  • I am assured that at some point, I will be able to put in a sauna, which is what I want.  I’m sure that license to do this will be granted by Lady Voldemort a couple of weeks before my doctor tells me that saunas will kill me.
  • Cleaning up the highway with the Boy Scouts went very well.  There is a cadence to these things:
    • The boy discovers a piece of trash nestled in the grass alongside the road.
    • He and his pals examine the bit of flotsam, poking it with various sticks and grabbing utensils.
    • He then attempts to pick it up with said grabbing tool.  He gets extra points for snagging it in the most inconvenient manner.  This will necessitate multiple tries and debates on the best method between him and his compatriots.
    • He then announces what he found.  Loudly.
    • The advertising jingle for the product, if known, is then sung or chanted at least once.  If it has a tag-line, he will sing this out for several minutes after, or until something else catches his attention.  Marketing works, my brothers and sisters.
      • Mothers, who are along to act as speed bumps by standing a couple of inches out into the road wearing bright clothing, will be mortally embarrassed by how many beer commercials their sons know by heart and by pointing out how many of the brands they have at their house.
    • If the article is not identifiable, is rather gross, or is at all interesting, a debate will ensue between him and the Scouts nearest him to ascertain the object’s identity and discuss it at length.
    • The object will then be placed into a trash bag.  50% of the time, he will want to present a dissertation on his findings to the adult holding the trash bag.  The other 50% of the time, the trash will be dropped on the ground, causing the cycle to begin again.
  • Spring break began yesterday.  I am puttering around the house today, and we will be heading off to the mountains for a few days.  Irish Woman told me that she rented a cabin.  My vision of what we are going to be staying in was a few rooms, roughly furnished, with electricity and running water.  What she rented is a 3 story, 3 bedroom/bath wooden house with a gas grill and both a jacuzzi and pool table.  There’s nothing like roughing it for a few days.
  • Pictures from the rental agency include several outside, second story posts with rather prominent claw marks in them, so I’m guessing that either there is a local bear population that has learned that suburbanite tourists equal easy food or that the raccoons in the area have mutated.  More on this to come after we get back.
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