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Musings

  • I did my yearly sexual harassment training while working from home today.
    • Irish Woman says that she will now be able to call my boss if I get out of line when we both work from home.
  • My boss sent me an innocent text that had me suddenly remembering a similar conversation that brought me a lot of grief about 20 years ago.
    • Seriously, asking about some obscure, not widely known skill in an offhand manner has made my life interesting on more than one occasion, usually involving me doing things I won’t tell my kids about.
  • One problem with speaking foreign languages is that you cringe a lot when watching television and movies that feature those languages.
    • I forgave Sean Connery for his work in Hunt for Red October, but seriously, if you’re going to be doing a non-fiction work like a documentary, at least try to get someone who speaks the language to either write, act, or both.
  • I must remember to leave a note in the gun safe advising my heirs to never, ever, under any circumstances remove the Wolff trigger spring I put in my Garand.  Ye gods and little fishes that was a pain to get in.
  • While I was at it, I finally got around to dropping a Timney trigger into the AR-15.  So, how many of you all wished you could grow a third hand when you’re doing that kind of work?
  • I received a letter from the NRA urging me to upgrade from my Life membership, and offering to give me some branded swag as a thank you.  I will have to regretfully decline and take my 1911 and Model 13 out for some carry and range time instead.
    • Honestly, were I to take one of their courses, I would probably take a Glock.  I just don’t like being told what is and what isn’t an acceptable choice.

June CLFA Booknado!

The CLFA June Booknado is out, and it’s a real twister!

Get ready to peruse a Category 5 Booknado of literary delights! Let refreshing winds of free thought and freedom blow away tiresome leftist reads and bring in exciting New Releases and Special Discounts! Read on for this month’s selections; just click on any book image to read more and shop. Enjoy!

Of the new releases, I’m really enjoying “Rocket’s Red Glare” and “For Steam and Country.”  Of course, some hack put out a fantasy novel about a dude with a weird name and a woman with red hair (Go figure.  A fantasy book with a redhead in it.  Who would have thunk it?) and somehow got included in the list, so you might enjoy that too.

Check out this month’s list, and please, remember that reviews are lifeblood to writers.

Snippet

Well, sort of.  This is more of a deleted scene from “Lost Children“.  I tried to fit it into the book, but it never seemed to want to lay down and roll over for me, so I left it out.  Maybe it’ll get re-used at some later date.  It hasn’t been polished at all, but I hope you like it.


Elissa slipped into the meeting hall. Kara, half asleep from Ruarin’s concoction, fussed at the ache in her gums, but soothing words from the older woman lulled her into quiet once more.

“And now, child, let us see where your life will lead you,” Elissa whispered as she stepped across the dark hall.  At a wave of her hand, several lamps next to the cauldron burst into life, bathing the swirling sand in golden light.

Elissa, still cradling the infant in her arms, reached into the cauldron and gently laid the baby down on her stomach.  She took up a pinch of the fine dust and sprinkled it over the child.  Continuing the sweep of her hand, she muttered a spell, causing the dust to stir anew.

“This is the ash of Hadash, with all of the memories of our people,” she said to Kara.  The little girl looked up at her, a line of drool running down from the corner of one mouth.  “With it, we shall see where your fate lies.”

The dust mounded up in three places, then began to coalesce into recognizable shapes.  The mounds formed into a sword, a hammer, and a gryphon.  The figures moved about the baby, then settled into a semi-circle in front of her.

“These are the symbols of our lives,” Elissa whispered.  “The sword is for a warrior, the hammer for a craftsman.  The gryphon, symbol of our family and of all of the Chanani, is for our leaders.”  She gently ran her hand over the soft curls of dark hair ringing the child’s head. “Choose, Kara, so that we may know what you will be.”

The baby looked about at the figures arrayed around her, her dark eyes fixing on each of them as her neck wobbled from holding up her head.  Elissa made a small gesture, and the figures began to parade in front of the child, each one pausing for a heartbeat in front of her before moving on.

The child watched the hammer pass without reaction.  As the sword passed, the child belched, causing its ash to scatter a bit.  A gentle smile crossed Elissa’s face at that.

Finally, the gryphon strutted to stand in front of her, and with a squeal, Kara reached for it.  At her touch, the dust fell apart, leaving behind only a puff to fall onto her hand as it passed through her chubby fingers.

Elissa picked the baby up and held her to her breast.  Carefully, she stood and turned back toward the door.

“Good, good,” she said to the baby.  Kara’s head slowly descended onto Elissa’s shoulder as she walked across the hall.  “I suspected you’d have power, but now we know.”

The matron waved her had back toward the cauldron, snuffing the lamps and plunging the room back into darkness. Kara, for her part, had fallen fast asleep before they reached the open door.

“You will have much to learn,” Elissa said as she pulled the door to the hall closed behind her, “but in time you will follow your mother’s path.”

The War – Episode 32

June 17, 6:00 PM Pacific
Los Angeles, California

 

The anchorman looked gravely at the camera in front of him, then began to read from the teleprompter.

“Good evening,” he recited, “and welcome to ‘Tonight with David Anderson’.”

He turned to the second camera and said, “Tonight, the country braces for the six-month anniversary of the Christmastime Attacks. People across the country are on high-alert for a repeat of December 19th.”

The monitor next to him showed images of police and soldiers manning roadblocks and patrolling the streets.

“Here in Los Angeles, a phoned-in threat to the light-rail system caused delays for thousands as commuters were searched before being allowed into stations,” he said as he turned back to the first camera.

“In Arizona, the governor announced plans for a memorial to the victims of 12/19. The monument, which is still in the design phase, will be erected on the grounds of the Cathedral of the Ascension in Tucson, where the attacks ended in a hail of gunfire,” Anderson said with a grim look on his face.

“Officials in Tucson have not confirmed that the attack on a man in a shopping center this week was related to terrorism, although sources say the man was part of the group of citizens who assisted law enforcement and the military on December 19. His family reports that he is in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery. All of us here at News Station 13 wish him well,” he read from the teleprompter.

“Turning to politics, a tense moment in the halls of Congress today as the Joint Select Committee questioned the governor of Maryland about her use of ordinary citizens in the so-called ‘Home Guard’,” he said. The monitor changed to show an older woman, her steel gray hair curled above a set of intense, dark eyes, speaking into a microphone.

“Where was the federal government on December 19th?” she said, staring accusingly at the desks across from her, “They weren’t at Our Lady of Lourdes School, that’s for sure. We can’t wait, we won’t wait for the federal government to protect us, and we’re not going to take one thin dime from you for the Home Guard. Those men and women give their time to protect our communities, and we won’t let Washington screw that up.”

“Administration sources indicate a compromise may be in the works between the governors of border states and Washington,” Anderson said as the picture switched back to him, “The White House has offered to release the National Guard back to the governors if they pledge to not use them to enforce border security. Congressional leadership is scheduled to meet with the President in the next few days to discuss funding for additional border initiatives. The current impasse appears to revolve around a disagreement on funding for programs to enhance law enforcement relations with immigrant and minority populations.”

Anderson looked gravely at the cameras once the monitor returned to him.

“On this anniversary, we all want to mark the horrific events of six months ago. We’ll discuss the attacks and their impact on our nation in a special segment titled “December 19, Six Months On,” right after this,” he said, then paused to wait for the light above the camera to go out and the commercial to start playing on his monitor.

 


 

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

What is a Minivandian?

This is the introduction to “Tales of the Minivandians.”  A few folks have asked what a Minivandian is, and I thought this was the best explanation I could come up with.  Tales and its sequel, “Coming Home,” are available in both e-book and hard copy on Amazon.

Enjoy!


One day, you’re 23 years old, 10 feet tall, and bulletproof. You stand astride the world like a colossus. Women want to be with you, men want to be you. Life is a neverending adventure and party, and you’ve got it made. You’re going to spend every spare moment you have traveling the highways and byways, the wind whipping through your hair, the top on the convertible down, and a pretty young thing in the seat next to you.

The next day, you wake up, and the party seems to be over. Instead of travelling the world and enjoying every minute, you spend an hour in traffic so you can sit in a cubicle for eight hours. That pretty young thing that you had to struggle to recognize in the morning light is now your wife of a decade or more. Your badass entertainment system, if you still own it at all, is in the basement so the kids can go watch cartoons while you try to sleep in. Your hair is gone, and the convertible was traded in for a minivan a long time ago.

What in the heck happened?

Well, brother, what happened was life, with marriage, kids, commitment, responsibility, and all of the other things which life brings and which make life better. But somewhere down inside is that barbarian that wanted to conquer and pillage his way to Valhalla. Somewhere, the magic is still alive, and all it takes is realizing that to bring it back.

Buddy, you’re a Minivandian. You are the office barbarian, the guy at the family reunion that is just a little odd, the one that can look menacing while having a tea party, complete with tiara, with his little girl. You may not live a carefree existence anymore, but you wouldn’t trade what you have for anything.

Ladies, I’m not leaving you out. There’s a little barbarian in all of us, and in some of you we catch the whiff of the huntress, the barbarian queen. Revel in it! There is nothing you like more than to go into battle, alone or with your brute of a mate, and we love you for it.

The Minivandian was born out of long North Dakota winters reading Conan and Tarzan. It was born out of being kicked out of the house at dawn on any day that I wasn’t in school, and being forbidden to come back inside until it was lunchtime. Every stick was a sword or an axe, every mound of dirt in the summer and snow in the winter was a mountain to be conquered or defended. Using my imagination to bring fun into day-to-day life has been happening since I was very young, and sometimes, even as an adult, it comes back.

So, to my fellow Minivandians, I welcome you to my realm. It’s a few degrees twisted from what the rest of humanity sees, but it’s there. I’ll see you at the tournament field and the feasting table. Sharpen your blade, string your bow, and prepare to hear tales of high adventure!

Today’s Earworm

WOZ – Contact Me!

Blog reader WOZ, Blog reader WOZ, please pick up the blue courtesy phone.  Your friendly neighborhood DaddyBear owes you a copy of his latest book, but doesn’t know how to contact you.

Seriously, please get in touch at daddybear@daddybearsden.com.

Musings

Vacation Day 1

  • I realized while I was packing that I was intentionally leaving behind things that a TSA agent would find interesting, and would therefore want to ‘confiscate in the name of security’.
    • Never thought I’d take the same approach with folks in my own country as I did with police in 3rd world crapholes.
  • I noticed something during the trip – In places with a lot of background noise or echo, I have trouble understanding what folks are saying.
    • It’s only been happening since 1997 or so.  If it doesn’t clear up soon, I’ll have to consider getting it looked at.
  • There comes a time when you just tell everyone to go on without you so you can go to Tim Horton’s for a large coffee and a couple of crullers.
  • The picture the ride operator took of Irish Woman and Boo going down the log flume at Mall of America is getting framed and placed on our wall.  Irish Woman looks like she’s about to be dropped into Perdition.
  • Dinner that night was a “Crispy Cheddar Burger.”
    • No, I did not read the description before ordering it.
    • Imagine a nice, juicy hamburger patty, cooked in a 10 inch skillet.  Once the burger is done, liberally sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese over it and the bottom of the skillet.  Let the cheese melt and get all nice and crispy wherever it touches hot metal. Serve with lettuce, tomato, and cheese on a whole wheat bun, because someone who orders this is looking for healthy food.
    • What I saw was a plate covered entirely in, literally, grilled cheese with the top half of  a bun in the middle.  I had to lift it up to make sure there was a hamburger underneath it all.
    • Irish Woman laughed when she saw it, while I just gaped at it with wide eyes.
    • I took it as a personal goal to finish it, but I am not ashamed to say I failed.  I did, however, get 2/3 of that cheese into me before my insides threatened to go on strike if I took another bite.

Vacation Day 2

  • We drove through western Minnesota and across the plains of North Dakota.  I’m pretty sure Irish Woman felt a bit of agoraphobia when she realized that she could literally see from one horizon to the other.
  • Traffic in North Dakota is a little different than what I experience in Louisville.  For example, the speed limit through all of the construction zones was no less than 65 miles an hour in North Dakota. In Louisville I normally just put my car in park and break out the chess set when I hit construction.
  • We visited the world’s biggest buffalo in Jamestown, where I had the strange sensation of watching children play on a jungle gym that I remember playing on more than 40 years ago.  Does that mean I’m old?
  • We arrived safely at my aunt and uncle’s house just in time for dinner and for Boo to begin several days of being spoiled rotten.

Vacation Day 3

  • I wake up, my head is clear, my joints don’t ache, and my nose isn’t running.  Toto, I don’t think we’re in Louisville anymore.
  • At the suggestion of my uncle, we visited the state capitol and the North Dakota Heritage Center.
    • We started at the statue of Sakakawea, which is how you properly spell the name of the Native American woman who led Lewis and Clark out of North Dakota.
    • Not sure why she did that.  Lewis and/or Clark must have done something really wrong to her over that winter.
    • Boo was fascinated with the dinosaur exhibit, which included a creature that was preserved so well you could see its fossilized skin.
      • Since it was in North Dakota and not Kentucky, there was no evidence of poorly spelled tattoos.
    • Irish Woman was entranced by the displays of Native American artifacts and clothing.  She marveled at the detail of the beadwork, and seemed to finally understand that human beings need to do something constructive with their hands after they’ve been locked inside for four months while the wind howls around their shelter.
  • For lunch, we went to a cafe my uncle also suggested.  Boo had a buffalo burger, which he pronounced as delicious, and a pumpkin roll, which I think might have convinced him to marry a Scandinavian girl.
  • That afternoon, we visited Fort Abraham Lincoln and toured the barracks of the 7th Cavalry and General and Mrs. General Custer’s house.
    • OK, I did walk around whistling ‘Garryowen‘ to myself.   I admit it, I’m a geek, and the 7th was one of those units I wished I could have spent more time with.
    • The barracks showed just how far we have come in the military.  The soldiers under the rank of First Sergeant got a bed, a shelf, and a box half the size of a foot locker.  Food was hard tack, coffee, sugar, and salt, unless you spent part of your $13 a month to buy luxuries like vegetables.  Apparently, water came directly from the Missouri, and was ‘filtered’ by letting the biggest chunks of sediment settle to the bottom of the bucket before drinking.
    • Mrs. General Custer (the tour guide said that was how she preferred to be addressed) also lived rough in her two-story house, complete with china, musical instruments and three servants.
      • I learned that when the Custers didn’t like the look of the solid maple trim and doors throughout the house, they paid someone to paint it so it looked like oak.  I didn’t say stain, I said paint.  Some poor soul painted the pattern of oak grain on the maple.  I expect to see that someday on one of those fix-up-a-house-to-maybe-make-money shows Irish Woman likes to watch.

Vacation Day 4

  • My uncle graciously offered to drive us around western North Dakota, which proves how much he cares about us.  Seriously, locking yourself in an SUV with the three of us all day is a sacrifice of sanity.
  • First, we visited the Enchanted Highway, which is a series of art installations on the prairie.  This is a testament to a man’s dedication to his community, and an example of what someone will do to keep from getting cabin fever in February in North Dakota.
  • Then, we went west and saw the Badlands.  When Irish Woman asked me why they were called the Badlands, I said it was because where weren’t good for much.
  • Finally, we visited Medora, which is like Tombstone or Deadwood, except that they prefer to invite you to the Fellowship Hall at the Lutheran church for coffee and cookies rather than shoot you dead in the street.
  • A drive through part of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park brought back memories of when I was a Scout, except that I wasn’t huffing and puffing behind the more physically fit kids as we went up and down the buttes this time.
  • We saw several wild horses and a bunch of buffalo.  In one circumstance, a bull buffalo was walking down the middle of the street, and we just pulled over to let him pass.  He looked in on Boo, and I am proud to say that not only did my son not reach out to pet the rather large animal, but Irish Woman also suppressed her urge to jump out and hug the wooly beast.
  • That night, we gave my aunt several skeins of alpaca wool yarn I had acquired from a friend who has a herd.  It’s not often that an artisan in this day and age not only knows where her yarn came from, but also the name of the animal who donated the wool.
  • We finished the day off with a relaxing boat ride on the Missouri River with my cousin.
    • I’m guessing the water was ice cold, because the temperature immediately dropped ten degrees once we were away from shore.
    • I wasn’t at all worried when Boo was given the pirate hat and closely-monitored control of both the wheel and the throttle.  No, really, I was fine.  So was Irish Woman.  Really.  Fine.

Vacation Day 5

  • We travelled to Minot and spent some time with one of my other aunts and most of her children and their families.  If I ever doubted that there is a strong family resemblance, then I learned better that day.
    • Seriously, if I were to line up my little brother (OK, youngest brother.  Son of a gun is bigger than I am, and that’s saying something), my cousin from one aunt and uncle, and my cousin from another aunt and uncle, you’d think somebody had triplets a few decades ago.
    • When we went to leave that evening, I promised my aunt that I would be back.  She made me promise to not wait another 30 years this time.  I will keep that promise.
  • On the drive up to Minot, we passed several Minuteman missile silos.  Irish Woman and my aunt agreed that purchasing one of the defunct sites and turning it into a subterranean McMansion would not be a good idea.

Vacation Day 6

  • We visited my home town and attended services at the church where I was baptized.  It was neat to have several folks recognize me after so long.
  • We had lunch with one of my cousins and his family, and had a great time listening to family news and telling old family stories.
    • I recounted the time when my four siblings and I went to her house to get lunch because it was closer than our own home.  Unfortunately, my aunt was not at home, and my uncle was sleeping after working all night.  He didn’t miss too many beats when five pre-kindergarten age children showed up on his doorstep and asked for lunch.  He woke himself up enough to make us fried egg sandwiches and glasses of cold milk before sending us on our way and going back to bed.
  • Boo got to go on a ride in an ATV, and now he wants one.  I may or may not indulge him on that.
  • We visited my grandparents’ graves, and I think I know where I want my ashes to go when it’s my turn.  It’s a beautiful place right on the edge of the prairie.
  • Irish Woman was surprised to see another missile silo just at the edge of town, and wondered how the locals felt about having such a thing there.  My uncle and I showed the classic Norwegian high plains stoicism when we just shrugged.

Vacation Day 7

  • We made our way back east to Minnesota.  I can’t say I was happy to cross the Red River.
  • I made a tactical error in stopping at Taco John’s for lunch, but I remembered really enjoying their food as a kid.  I was not disappointed.
    • However, several hours later I told Boo that if he broke wind in the car one more time, I was going to strap him to the roof rack and make him catch bugs with his teeth.
  • It occurred to me as we drove that I should have invested in the company that sells the government of North Dakota orange plastic traffic cones and barrels for their construction zones.  I would have been a millionaire several times over.

Vacation Day 8

  • When pulling out of our hotel in Saint Cloud, we noticed that the strip mall next door had, in this order, a high-end sports bar, a medical clinic, a liquor store, an Asian massage parlor, and a sandwich shoppe.  That seemed to cover all the bases.
  • After going through the TSA checkpoint, Boo turned to me and asked, in a rather loud voice, “Dad, do you have your gun with you?”.  I rather quietly and urgently told him to stop talking, and later explained that if the nice agents had heard him, we would not have been flying back to Kentucky today.
  • I noticed that the shops and restaurants in the Minneapolis airport have neither caramel rolls nor lefse for sale.  That just seems wrong.
  • MSP does, however, have the best set-up ever for folks who want to minimize interaction with other human beings.  You sit at a table, use a touchscreen to select your food and drink, pay by swiping a credit card, and a server brings it to you, perhaps without saying a word.
  • Our landing in Louisville was rather festive.
    • If you remember the dogfight scene between the Millennium Falcon and TIE fighters in The Force Awakens, then you know what our approach was like.
    • All things considered, our pilot did a good job of getting us down safely.  I will also give him credit for catching the second arresting wire on touchdown, because if he had braked just a little harder, my two remaining wisdom teeth might have come loose.

 

So, I went home after 30 years away.  I reconnected with my family, and to my surprise, they were happy to see me and glad I was there.  We’re already making plans to go back.

The War – Episode 31

June 13, 7:07 PM
Tucson, Arizona

A blast of hot air hit Bob as the doors slid open in front of him and he pushed his cart out of the air-conditioned grocery store. The late evening sun was bright enough that he had to bring his hand up to shade his eyes so he could scan the parking lot for his truck. Rene saw him come out and honked twice to catch his attention.

Bob waved to her and started walking across the cracked parking lot. The polymer grip of his pistol, which he took pride in having lost enough weight to holster inside his waistband, bumped against the cart’s handle as he started off. His long shadow slipped across the asphalt as he went, and he watched for traffic as he crossed to the parking area.

Rene got out of the driver’s seat and walked to the back as he dropped the truck’s tailgate and started loading the groceries.

“Busy in there?” she asked as she picked up a box of cereal and placed it next to the cat litter in the truck’s bed.

“Not bad,” he said, “Had to wait for someone who could work the meat cutter to get that turkey you wanted for lunches. Most everyone in the deli was gone.”

She nodded, “I figured. But it’s what the kids’ll eat,” she replied.

Bob humphed a bit. “Still think we ought to just buy bologna. They’ll eat that when they get hungry enough,” he said with a small smile.

Rene rolled her eyes as she walked around and got back in the truck. Bob put the tailgate back up and took the cart to the corral in the next row over. He squinted again as he faced into the sunset and started back toward the truck.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed his shoulder and pushed him around. He felt something hit the back of his knee and his right leg folded underneath him.

“Allahu akhbar!” his attacker screamed as Bob felt a bolt of pain rip through his gut. The attacker, his face shaded by the sun behind him, pulled his knife from Bob’s torso and then struck again, driving it back into his belly.

Bob struggled to grab at his attacker, but only succeeded in pulling the thug down with him as he fell onto the asphalt. The man pulled the knife out once again, then raised it high for another stroke. Bob brought his arm up to block the blow, and screamed as the blade ripped down into his forearm.

The attacker grabbed Bob’s shirt and struggled to pull his knife back out. Bob lashed out as hard as he could, striking at the man’s chest and face. The man, now smeared with Bob’s blood, pulled the blade free and reared up on his knees to strike again.

Rene’s pistol roared and spat out a tongue of flame a foot long. The man’s back exploded outward with a burst of meat and blood as her bullet struck him in the chest and passed through to exit on the other side.  Time seemed to hang in the air for an eternity, then Rene fired again, this time hitting him at the base of his throat. The attacker fell back, his head hitting the asphalt with a sickening thud.

One of Bob’s hands went to the wounds in his belly, and he tried to reach for his pistol with the other. He felt Rene grab him, and heard her scream for someone to help. He reached up and touched her cheek with his free hand as he felt the world gray out around him.


 

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

 

Good Read

I was going to a post about the Battle of Midway, which happened 75 years ago this week, but OldNFO beat me to the punch and did a better job than I could have done.  Go on over and give it a read!

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