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Musings

  • It’s not every day that I get to use a hatchet, a bow saw, a bush hog, and a claw hammer.  Today was one of those days.
  • You know you’ve done some funky stuff when you have to scrub the tub after your shower.
  • The tree is up, it’s twinkling, and the Grinch is in the DVD player.  Ho freaking ho.
    • We, being traditional folks, went through the annual ritual of “Where did we put those bloody lights?”
  • I’m not a redneck for putting my beer out on the porch to keep it cold.  I’m an environmentalist.
  • We have found that the only way to get Derby to sleep on her dog bed is to put said bed onto the couch where she prefers to sleep.
  • Either Irish Woman is trying to fatten me up for the mid-winters feast, or she just feels like making huge breakfasts this weekend.  I haven’t needed lunch since Friday.
  • The office had their Christmas lunch and gift exchange on Friday.  The most hotly contested gifts were a yard long Snicker’s bar and 10 pounds of country sausage from a local butcher.  Not sure what that says about the folks I work with.

Combat Preparation

A repeat from 2010. Enjoy!

DaddyBear's Den

The old warrior slowly ran the stone down the length of his sword.  This weapon had been made for his grandfather, and he was planning on passing it along to his own grandson.  He could be buried with some of his lesser weapons, but this piece of family hardware would pass down the line along with the strong bodies and tough minds that had set him and his brothers apart during the wars.  Once the edge was sharp enough to shave with, he ran an oiled rag down its length to protect it from the elements.

Next came the shield.  He polished the leather, wood, and iron of it lovingly.  He noted every chip and dent, remembering the blows that had made their mark over the years.  He would need this old friend’s protection again today.

Next came his war kilt, chain mail shirt, and helm.  He strapped his sword…

View original post 264 more words

Thank You!

A few weeks ago, several of us publicized a GoFundMe campaign for a member of the Farm Family who needed a bit of help.  I’m happy to report that the campaign has raised over $18,500 for Andi, and it’s still open if you can help.

Thank you all so much for your generosity.  I’m sure it will go a long way toward helping Andi and her family recover.

The raffle that OldNFO set up to encourage and reward donors has ended.  Looking at the list of prizes, it’s quite impressive.  Winners are being contacted, and will be announced soon.

To the winners, congratulations! To all of you who were able to help out, thanks!

Musings

  • The other night, I was reminded that the little switch on the side of the stand mixer goes backward to shut off the mixer, and forward to turn it all the way up.
    • I just wanted to make another pumpkin pie.  I ended up a pumpkin spice Norwegian.
    • The passage of time slowed to a crawl when I heard that little motor start to wind up.  I swear, I could see each and every droplet as it exited the mixer.
    • Irish Woman, being the calm and supportive wife that she is, called out to make sure that my string of profanity was not due to an injury, then showed her intelligence by staying in the other room until after I’d cleaned up and gotten a shower.
    • There was one part of the kitchen that wasn’t painted orange: the hole in the splatter pattern shaped like a fat man leaning over a mixer.
  • The married man’s quandary:
    • Does he just sweep and vacuum the living room rug and light a few candles so that his wife can feel that he’s pulling his weight while she runs their offspring to school?
      • or
    • Does he tell his wife that he did it because the dog got into the garbage can while he was in the shower and he didn’t want her to come home to THAT mess on the living room rug?
  • The Big Brown Truck of Happiness came up our driveway at 9:30 this evening, and the dogs didn’t lift their heads from their beds.  Either they’re really used to this guy, or they had a really hard day.

Black Friday Sale on Books

If, like me, you prepare for Thanksgiving weekend as if a hurricane were coming in and wouldn’t be caught dead in a grocery or department store until Monday morning, you’re going to be looking for something to do.

You could cook or bake, but you’ve already got all those leftovers, and the kids can eat pumpkin pie for breakfast.

You could clean the house, but you probably did that already getting ready for Thanksgiving.  Seriously, don’t you deserve a break after all your hard work?

You could watch TV, or go to the movies, but there’s 10^6 channels and nothing on.

There’s always the Internet, but don’t you think all that turkey and fixings has already done enough harm to your blood pressure?

To help everyone find something to do over the weekend, and to help you stretch your entertainment dollars so that you’ll have more to spend on all of the other sales, I’m putting Escort Duty and Tales of the Minivandians on sale for 99 cents each from now until Sunday evening.  That’s right, for just 99 cents, you can get hours of entertainment to distract you from trying to figure out what to do with 35 pounds of leftover mashed potatoes and gravy.

Tales of the Minivandians is a collection of slightly skewed real life stories from my home, each of them answering my mantra, “What would Conan do?”,  along with a high fantasy novella that introduces you to the Northerner and his family.

Escort Duty is a collection of short stories, including “The War“, a sort-of thriller that I’ve been serializing here over the past few months, and the titular “Escort Duty”, which is a story starring Simon from the Minivandians universe.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and I hope you enjoy Escort Duty and Tales of the Minivandians!

 

 

100 Years On – October Revolution

On the 7th of November, 1917, Communist forces in the Russian capital of Saint Petersburg seized critical infrastructure and government buildings.   The following day, the Winter Palace, which housed the government installed after the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II earlier that year, fell to the Communists.  Within weeks, the Bolshevik arm of the Communist Party had taken over control of the government, including the military, and the Russian Civil War was underway.  Fighting would continue until  1922, leaving the Bolsheviks in control of the new USSR.  It would be almost 70 years until the USSR and the nations it came to dominate would shake off

Over a century of revolution, oppression, and genocide, more than 100 million people worldwide would fall victim to the quest to establish and support Communism.  Words like ‘gulag‘, ‘holodomor‘, ‘killing fields,’ and ‘cultural revolution‘ have come into our lexicon.  Productive regions of our world have been turned from breadbaskets into basketcases, all in the name of seeking the perfect Communist state.  Over a billion people still live under the yoke of Communism.

I am hard pressed to name a movement that has caused such widespread human misery. We are still haunted by the consequences of the October Revolution, and I am afraid that our children and grandchildren will still have to deal with them.

100 Years On – Cambrai

On November 20, 1917, the British Army began a combined arms attack, including infantry, artillery, tanks, and airplanes, against German forces defending the critical supply point for the Hindenberg Line at Cambrai.

The British were able to penetrate several kilometers into German lines during the first day, losing only about 4000 soldiers.  However, losses of British tanks were heavy due to large numbers of mechanical breakdowns and German resistance, and only half of their tanks were available for use on the second day of the battle.  British advances after this were costly and slow.

On November 30, the German counter-offensive at Cambrai began, with the Germans using new infiltration tactics against the British.  In the end, the Germans were able to push the British off of most of their initial gains, while taking a small bite out of pre-battle British positions.   Casualties were also relatively equal, with each side losing approximately 50,000 men during about two weeks of fighting.

Cambrai was a laboratory for new tactics and equipment on both sides of the lines.  The British demonstrated growing skill at coordinating artillery with infantry attacks, while their use of massed tanks to overcome German obstacles further demonstrated the usefulness of this new weapon.  German techniques to infiltrate enemy lines with groups of specially trained soldiers, as well as their use of anti-tank tactics and weapons, were used to great effect during the last year of the war.

Musings

  • Irish Woman doesn’t know how to take me sometimes.
    • Run the side of the minivan down a cement pole in a parking garage, but nobody gets hurt?  No biggee.  We’ve got more important things to worry about.
    • Get laid off from a job?  We’ll survive.  Not going to cry about it.
    • Chew gum in a closed car when I’m already irritated by her choice of modern country music?  Suddenly, she’s married to an irrational twit.
  • Having roses delivered to the house goes a long way toward proving that I’m worth keeping around for another year.
  • The cost of getting useful information out of any technical training is getting through the first two hours of folks having trouble connecting to the website and introducing themselves.
  • If you’re going to sell me something as a ‘neck knife’, please be sure that the necklace attached to the sheath will fit around my head.
    • When I tried it on, I looked like I’d crowned myself with a bladed weapon.
  • Am I the only one who considers it rude to ask an instructor which of the assignments in a class can be ignored?

Story Idea

These are the first few paragraphs of the next Boogeyman story.  It’s just a rough stub, and I haven’t plotted out what’s going to happen in the rest of it, but I think it’s a good introduction.


 

My new client rose and shook my hand. He gripped the business card I’d given him in his other hand. For once, I was sending business Sid’s way.
 
“Thanks so much, Mister Shelby.”
 
“No worries, Mister Matthews. We’ll figure this out.”
 
He nodded, then moved toward the door. Just before his hand reached the knob, it turned and the door swung open.
 
There, framed in the doorway, stood a woman. Blonde curls flowed down to her shoulders, framing a face that could launch a thousand paternity suits. She wore a crimson silk dress that would have been appropriate in a board room or a bordello. Her red lips parted in an easy smile as Matthews ducked his head and walked past her. I could tell he was trying to look like he wasn’t examining every inch of her, but the woman didn’t pay him any mind.
 
She turned her gaze to me, fixing me with eyes the color of milky jade. Long eyelashes fluttered as she sized me up, then she took a step forward and closed the door behind her.
 
Immediately, the room filled with her scent. It was delicate, jasmine and cinnamon with something subtly sweet underneath that would drive a lesser man mad. Not being a lesser man, all it did was send a shiver up my spine. Well, maybe two shivers.
 
“Mister Shelby?” she purred, her voice low and sultry, with a soft drawl that made me hang on every word. “I’m Laura Fallworthy. I left you a voicemail the other day, but you didn’t answer me.”
 
I stared at her with my mouth half-open, then answered. “Sorry, but I’ve been on a case. No cell coverage out where I was.”
 
“Well, I need your help, and I was hoping that you’d make me a priority.” Without asking, she took a seat across the desk from me and crossed her muscular, tanned legs. She caught me looking and smiled knowingly.
 
“I’m sure I could make it worth your while.” Time seemed to slow as she talked. I could make out every movement, every wrinkle of her bright red lips. Her teeth were sharp and white, and I caught a glint of mirth in her eye as she took a deep breath, bringing both of her best features into sharp focus.
 
In my mind’s eye, I envisioned scenes, all with this woman at their center, that would have made the most jaded madam blush. For a long moment, there was nothing else in the world, only this ravishing beauty sitting in my creaky old office chair. Of course, I would do anything for her.
 
I raised my hand, trying to gesture as I stammered out a reply, and the setting sun shining through the window glinted off the gold band on my finger. Immediately, I felt the fog lift a little. Her scent became heavy and cloying in my nostrils, and I felt a pressure against my mind.
 
The shit? I thought. Somebody’s playing games.
 
I blinked slowly, and thought of the worst, most bloody memory I could dredge up. When my eyes opened, I fixed my gaze on the woman sitting opposite me while I replayed that day in my head.
 
“Jesus Christ!” she yelped, and I felt the push in my head let go. “What is wrong with you, mister?”
 
As if by magic, the hazy glow of sex around her collapsed. Her hair lost some of its luster, and her eyes no longer burned at me with desire. Her sultry tone was now brassy, and her soft drawl had become a harsh twang.
 
“Ugh, I mean, who thinks about things like that?”
 
I shook my head, feeling the last of the succubus’ magic let go of my mind.
 
“Lady, if you’re going to try to enchant me into taking your case, you’ll have to speak to my wife first.”
 
She shuddered again, then shrugged. “Can’t blame a girl for trying.”
 
“Maybe, but she will.”
 
Laura Fallworthy pouted, which probably would have been enticing a moment earlier, but now just made her look petulant. For a moment, I considered throwing her, and I don’t mean figuratively, out of my office. But curiosity got the better of me.
 
“Listen, just tell me what you need, and leave out the Helen of Troy routine, all right?”
 

Overheard in the Kitchen

I was teleworking today, and decided a nice peanut butter and jelly would be great for lunch.  There wasn’t any jam or jelly open, so I took a new pint jar of Irish Woman’s homemade Strawberry Margarita Jam out of the cupboard.

As I opened it, Irish Woman came into the kitchen.

Irish Woman – Now, that was a good batch.

Me – Smells good.

Irish Woman – It set up perfectly.  Look, you could hold that upside down and it would stay in the jar.

I shrugged, and held the jar upside down over the counter.  It held in the jar.

Then, it didn’t.

Plop – As the first half of the jar fell out onto the counter.

Splat – As the second half of the jar fell out onto the floor.

Irish Woman – You never do as I say, ever, and you choose to do THAT?

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