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Musings

  • Apparently, the project plan for my latest endeavor at work was written by Kafka.  After a 3 day cocaine binge.  During a practice run of the Apocalypse.
  • We’ve hit that beautiful part of spring here in Kentucky where it’s too nice to stay inside, but too chilly to hang out on the deck and work.
  • Getting sick was not on my agenda for the week.
    • Woke up Monday with a bit of a headache and feeling pretty crummy.  Since I have it on good authority that I am allergic to everything that grows in Kentucky, and the snow has melted, I assumed it was hay fever.  Took two allergy tablets and a 10 hour nap.
    • Woke up on Tuesday feeling like something scraped off the bottom of a burn barrel in Tegucigalpa. Still had my sense of taste, but a low-grade fever, chills, body aches, and headache all came to party.  After a telehealth visit with my doctor’s APRN, during which I self-reported my own vitals, I drove to the doctor’s office and got tested for flu and Covid.  Upon returning to my 3-bedroom-ranch-of-solitude, I took a random assortment of medications and vitamins, drank a hogshead of cold water, and passed out until Wednesday.
    • Woke up Wednesday feeling slightly less subhuman.  What woke me was a cheerful message from my doctor’s office that I was negative for both flu and Covid.  So, I assume that I either have plague, malaria, or a head cold.
    • By Thursday, all I had was the feeling of being run over, repeatedly, by a wooly mammoth in heat, along with the inability to speak in much more than a hoarse growl.
    • Today, I’m just tired and back to being my wonderfully grouchy self. It’s sort of a cross between a bear, a cape buffalo, and a siamese cat.
    • Irish Woman is glad that I’m up and around, but has reminded me that I am not on the “can have a pissy attitude this week” roster at the moment.  She has offered, on multiple occasions, to adjust my attitude if that’s what I need.  Where would I be without her?
  • The components for Irish Woman’s pool arrived this morning.  All of the things I had ‘organized’ in the garage were ‘reorganized’ to make room in front of the garage door for sundry boxes, bags, bundles, and bull—-.  She is convinced that she will be floating around, drinking a fruity drink, by Kentucky Derby.  I am convinced that I will never find anything in the garage ever again.
  • This weekend’s activities include picking up trash with the Boy Scouts along an overly-used two-lane rural highway, an archery tournament with Boo, hopefully putting 75 strawberry plants into dirt, doing the weekend laundry and housecleaning, and watching at least one classic monster movie for family time.  Everyone always told me that things would start to slow down as I got older.  If I ever get my hands on those lying so-and-so’s, I’m going to be on the 11 o’clock news as the quiet neighbor that never had trouble with anyone until ‘the incident’.

Looking At It From a Different Angle

This morning, Joe Biden had a bit of an issue climbing the stairs on Air Force One.  He tripped three times, the last fall taking him to his knees.

This video shows the incident twice, once from behind Mr. Biden, and then again from the side.  

Notice what was missing?  

Here’s a hint – There was an Air Force officer at the bottom of those stairs.  There were guards next to that officer.  There were undoubtedly staff and security on the aircraft.

Nobody came to his aid, or even seemed to make the attempt.   Even if Mr. Biden was able to right himself and make it to the top under his own power, you would think that someone at either end would have rushed to assist him.  Nobody was even at the top waiting for him to make sure he was all right.

Biden is not a young man, nor even a middle-aged man.  He is 78 years old, the oldest man to ever occupy the Oval Office.  He is still recovering from broken bones in his foot.  

There is no shame in admitting that you’re not 25, or 55, or even 75.  Mr. Biden needs to take care of himself, even if it means that someone stays by his side when he is negotiating steps or doing anything else when he may fall and be hurt. We live in a society that has become a cult of youth, and no-one in a position of power wants to admit that they aren’t as spry as they used to be.  But there is no shame for a 78 year old man to have someone along to help him when he needs it.

When folks approach 80, they become more fragile, and it is not uncommon for them to have balance issues.  Mr. Biden, like him or not, deserves to be taken care of in the manner that any elder deserves.

One question we should be asking now is why was he allowed to walk up those stairs without at least having someone walk up with him?  

The more important question we need to ask is why we didn’t see a man in uniform sprinting up those steps at the first sign of trouble, or someone else stepping off the airplane to check on Mr. Biden?

Dinner Tonight

Ingredients:

  1. 1 Large white onion, sliced into thick rings, then quartered
  2. 1 pound sliced mushrooms
  3. 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  4. 2 cloves garlic minced
  5. 1 pound stew meat in 1/2 to 3/4 inch chunks
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. 1 can Rotel tomatoes

Sauté bacon until done to your liking. Add in onions and garlic. Sauté until onions soften. Add in mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms start to give up liquid. Add stew meat and brown on all sides. Pour in rotel and mix thoroughly. Simmer until reduced to about half of liquid. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with steamed vegetables of your choosing. Will also go well with rice. Serves 3 to 4

Today’s Earworm

Musings

  • Note to self – When your wife asks if you think she’s pretty, do not answer: “Were I not a married man, I would take you in a manly fashion” unless she’s as big a geek as you.
  • Asked at the dinner table – What’s the difference between a hormone and a pheremone?
    • DaddyBear’s Answer – A hormone makes it so you can grow a mustache.  A pheremone makes you not care if she has a mustache.
  • I’m not saying that putting the strawberry beds together wasn’t hard, but when you’ve slapped boards together to make dirt-holding containers in which to grow a cup and a half of produce every year as often as I have, it comes pretty easy.
  • The blackberry frame I put up, apparently, resembles a gallows.  Hey, you build what you know.
  • You know you’ve married the right woman when she agrees that a used bourbon barrel would make a good addition to our patio furniture.
  • Went to the big gun store this weekend, and they actually had a lot of ammunition.  An ammo can of .308 was as much as a decent rifle in .308 used to cost, but hey, there’s ammo.
  • One good thing about all the work to remove movies and books that some find problematic is that it motivates me to check to see if I already own a physical copy of it and correct the situation if I don’t.

News Roundup

  • From the “Petulant Poultry” Department – Peep, a pet rooster that regularly attends Civil War reenactments, recently went missing when his owner stopped at an Alabama Cracker Barrel restaurant.  Searchers combed the bushes looking for the rooster, but their luck was nothing to crow about.  Luckily, Colonel Sanders’ favorite feathered trooper was returned to his owner when a good Samaritan rescued him and drove him to Mississippi.  I can only imagine the stories that chicken told during the trip.  “There I was, I say, there I was, son, up to my pinfeathers in Yankees. It was the second day at Shiloh, and we were running out of both mealworms and gunpowder….”
  • From the “Miracle Worker” Department – President Biden announced today that all adults in the United States will be vaccinated by May.  Additionally, all primary and secondary school teachers will be vaccinated by the end of March, which will allow schools to re-open just in time for the summer break.  I just can’t say how impressed I am with this.  I mean, there was no Covid-19 vaccine when the President took office just a few weeks ago, and already he is making it happen for all of the pharmaceutical companies and teacher’s unions.
  • From the “Wave of the Future” Department – A Kentucky firm plans to deploy two small space stations in the near future.  These will be used as for orbital manufacturing, taking advantage of the negligible gravity in orbit.  Representatives of the Kentucky bourbon industry are reported to be in talks to put a still in space so that bottles of suborbital hooch can finally reach the market.
  • From the “That Didn’t Take Long” Department – North Korea has reportedly restarted work at a remote, secret nuclear facility.  Addressing the country while seated in a high-backed leather chair and stroking a long-haired white cat, Kim Jong Un, leader of the isolated communist country and renowned connoisseur of fine Tazhik fermented camel milk whiskey, maintained that the facility is not related to nuclear development.  Rather, he asserted, it is a medical research compound, where the best minds North Korea can find are working to perfect a peasant that can thrive on 3 grains of rice a day.  President Biden is expected to comment on this after he arises from his latest nap.
  • From the “BDA” Department – The Air Force recently announced that last week’s air raid in Syria killed one militant and wounded two others.  In addition, the seven weapons used to make the rubble bounce in the war-torn country destroyed nine facilities and damaged another two.  It’s good to see that our defense dollars are being used so wisely.  1 enemy KIA and 2 WIA, along with the destruction of two goat barns, three mud huts, and four rusty shipping containers is certainly a good payoff for the money it cost to deploy a pair of strike fighters, their air and ground crews, then fuel and arm them for the mission.  The airstrike is reportedly in response to a rocket attack last month in Iraq, in which $32.50 worth of Iranian unguided munitions were used.
  • From the “Biggest Mouse I Ever Saw” Department – A kangaroo caused a ruckus in Alabama the other day when it escaped its handler and led police in a high-speed chase down the highway.  Local residents seem to be of different minds on the subject of the miscreant marsupial, who is still at large.  About half of those polled think it should be captured before it or anyone else gets hurt, while the other half thinks several of the creatures should be released so that there can be a draw hunt for their offspring in a couple of years.
  • From the “Suffering Cetaceans” Department – A seal was detained by police in Canada the other week after it crossed a highway and headed into the woods.  The seal was overheard by this reporter barking out that it only wanted to go to Tim Hortons for a coffee and a couple of crullers, and wanted to know if it was under arrest.

Review – Learnedly Familiar

Alma Boykin’s 17th book in her Familiar Tales, Learnedly Familiar, continues a series that I can’t put down.

Where do you file a Missing Meister Report?

Something is moving. Arthur Saldovado, Lelia, and André defeated ancient evil, but mysteries remain. And worse – Arthur’s name-sake is learning how to drive! Who needs abyssal creatures when you have teenagers, school-yard spats, and retail woes to worry about? Certainly not Lelia Chan Lestrang.

When André’s mentor disappears, Lelia braces for the worst. Trouble’s coming, as bad perhaps as the evil that drew her and André together. But she has a few surprises of her own now, including allies in very strange places. With very strange senses of humor.

Return to a Familiar world, full of adventure, bad puns, dark music, magic, shedding lemurs, and domestic chaos.

Like the rest of the Familiar Tales, Learnedly Familiar is a character-based story centered around Lelia Chan and the people who make up her world.  Her husband and soulmate, Andre, continues to be the rock upon which her life is built.  Her children are growing up and discovering their own magical abilities.  The extended clan of old-world hunters that adopted her continues to develop as a cohort of new characters, enriching an already powerful gaggle of personalities.

And, hey, if a wise-aleck lemur, a pack of demented ferrets, and an oversized skunk with a Scarlett O’Hara accent don’t catch your attention, what will?

Ms. Boykin weaves a comfortable plot that has a thread of tension in it that grows until the very last scenes.  Story arcs that reach back several books continue here, but new patterns start to develop in each addition to the Familiar Tales tapestry.  The continuity throughout the series, coupled with fresh faces and adventures, keeps me coming back for more.

If you’re a fan of stories that pull together family, life, and just enough magic to keep things interesting, then Familiar Tales is a great series.  Start at the beginning, but be prepared to devour them until you’re caught up with Learnedly Familiar.

Today’s Earworm

Musings

  • I should know better than to let Irish Woman loose in a farm supply store with a well-stocked seed display.
    • Apparently “Let’s start small” means I’m going to be creating at least half a dozen raised beds to accommodate her ‘small’ garden.
    • Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, summer squash, herb garden, strawberry bed, blackberry and raspberry canes, and six blueberry bushes in planters made from whiskey barrels.
  • Irish Woman should know better than to tell me to go away in a farm supply store with a semi-stocked gun counter.
  • There were no modern sporting rifles to be had, but there were some AR-pattern shotguns, a few hunting rifles, and a very nice Ruger American in .22LR.  They also had quite a few pistols under the glass.
    • There was low-end buckshot, some slugs, and some bird shot.  A small stack of .22 was present, but was dwindling as I looked at it.  No centerfire rifle or handgun ammunition at all, although the nice lady working the counter said that they’d gotten some and had it bought in the first hour of being open that morning.
    • There were also cases of MagPul AR and AK magazines, which surprised me
  • I had a nice internal conversation while standing at said counter.
    • Note to self – That .22 bolt action uses the same magazines as my 10/22.
    • Note to self – Boo turns 13 in a couple of months.
    • Note to self – A boy needs a rifle all his own
  • So, to go with his Mossberg 20 gauge, Boo now has a .22 bolt action.  I think that’s a good start.
  • Note to self – Dogs do not care that you were up until 4 AM working.  5 AM is time to go out and read the newspaper, and 7 AM is breakfast o’clock.
    • I was letting Irish Woman sleep in this weekend.  Poor thing got her second Covid19 shot, and it’s made her a bit puny.
    • I’ve been a bit of a grouchy zombie all day, but that’s been par for the course around here.
  • We got between 4 and 6 inches of snow on top of about 2 inches of ice over the past week or so.  I was the weirdo in the neighborhood who was out shoveling while it was still coming down.
    • Better to move a little snow 2 or 3 times than to move a lot of snow once.

Review – Showdown on the River

J.L. Curtis has started what I hope is a new western series. It’s a great beginning that starts fast and never stops.

Rio Bell is leading a cattle drive up the Goodnight Loving Trail to Fort Laramie. It’s his first time as trail boss, but with trusted hands and hard work, he expects to be back in Texas by late September though fire, flood, or rustlers bar the way!

He didn’t count on a range war.

They didn’t account for the Rio Kid…

And he sure as hell didn’t count on the girl showing up!

Curtis is one of his generation’s best storytellers, and his talent really shows in Showdown on the River.  The author fills the wide open spaces of the American West with bigger-than-life characters.  We have cowboys, mountain men, bad men, and a fiery frontier woman who isn’t afraid of anything. If you enjoyed the glory days of Western dime novels, you’ve met all of these people before, but Curtis puts his own twist on them and makes them even more human.

Showdown on the River follows a cattle drive from Texas to the Mountain West, then follows Rio, the main character, as he stumbles into a range war.  Rio has a dark past, and Curtis does a great job of showing the bad things that can happen when a good man is pushed to violence.  The plot starts at a brisk pace and gradually picks up steam before going full tilt through the final act.  Along the way, we meet and get to know Rio and his cowboys, along with a bunch of cantankerous mountain men.  Curtis throws in a strong-willed, beautiful woman, giving Rio one more thing on his mind as he tries to survive doing the right thing.

Showdown on the River is a quick read, especially after the book’s midpoint.  Once the table is set, Curtis treats us to one great plot sequence after another.  He keeps the reader’s attention throughout by including enough historical detail to be interesting, but without delving too deeply.

I’d definitely recommend Showdown on the River if you’re a fan of old-fashioned spurs-and-six-guns Westerns.  If you’ve never tried the genre before, this would be a great place to start.

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