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Musings

  • I started a new injection today for my arthritis.  Possible side effects are ravenous hunger, abnormal hair growth, irritability, and an aversion to silver.
    • Am I the only one craving really, really rare lamb right now?
  • DaddyBear’s Maxim of Yard Work – Do not mow the lawn until after Memorial Day and do not rake leaves until after the first wind storm.
    • However, if it’s snowing, you better be out there shoveling while it’s still coming down.
  • I told my boss the other day that I was officially changing my title to “Designated Guilty Bastard”.
    • He may have thought I was joking.
    • If the reward for doing a job well is more of that job, I just be doing pretty good.
  • We turned on the furnace for the first time tonight.
    • Apparently, we were also making a burnt offering to some arcane deity in our ductwork.
    • Usually, we get a couple months of fall between turning off the air conditioning and turning on the furnace.  This year, we got a week and a half.
  • I was feeling pretty good about Boo and I getting out of the house this morning.  No bad attitude, no sharp words. We even got in the truck ahead of schedule.  We had a few extra minutes to listen to a Larry Correia audiobook and talk about the day before the doors to school opened.
    • Truly, it was a great way to start the morning.
    • Then Boo got out and noticed that he’d forgotten his lunch on the counter.
    • Oh, well, there are worse things to forget.  One of his uncles once forgot his left shoe and didn’t realize it until he was halfway to school.

Musings

  • For the first time in 25 years, I have taken one of my sprogs fishing and been able to get my own hook wet.  I will call that a victory.
  • There is nothing like the feeling you get when your wife notices a juvenile raccoon pushing its head through a previously overlooked hole in the screen door.
    • It had a sibling.
    • Hijinks ensued.
    • When I spoke to the maintenance fellow at the lake resort about it, he chuckled and said we were lucky it wasn’t a bear.
  • On a related note, I told Irish Woman that she could only adopt a raccoon if she promised to sit on the porch and drink beer with it on hot Kentucky afternoons.
  • If you’re going to fish at the bottom of a big dam, you better keep an ear open for the warning sirens.
    • If you are in a boat and do not heed the warning sirens, you better be pretty good at handling your boat in rough water.
  • Irish Woman and I thought Rock House was really neat, until we realized that we were about 10 miles downstream from the dam.  That would be the dam we saw them open the gates on an hour earlier, causing the river level to rise several feet in about two minutes.
    • The mud 20 yards up from the river, dotted with dead minnows, during a time when we hadn’t gotten rain in weeks, convinced us that we shouldn’t linger.
  • Note to self – When visiting a distillery, visit the gift shop before going to the bar.  It gets a tad expensive when you do it the other way ’round.
  • During out meander south, we visited one of my favorite gun stores.
    • I took a long look at a Mossberg in 20 gauge for Boo.  One may be following us home soon.
    • Ruger has apparently caught lightning in a bottle with the Wrangler, its new single-action .22 revolver.   I am currently number 30 on the waiting list and should have the revolver I bought last week sometime around Christmas.
  • Remember what I said about getting a suppressor?  Yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever have that much disposable income.
    • Yet another example of government regulation making something that should be inexpensive and convenient costly and a pain in the butt.
  • Our 15th anniversary is coming up in a month or three.  That’s the ‘crystal’ anniversary.  I already know what I’m getting Irish Woman.  She has no idea what to get me, but I told her that the finely ground glass in a good rifle scope might count.

In Memoriam

DaddyBear's Den

Imagine you’re a 30 something highly trained professional.  Throughout your military career, you’ve worked hard to be the best you can be at everything you do.  You’ve been through all of the Army’s toughest training, and have ascended to the pinnacle of the Special Operations Forces pyramid with an assignment to be a sniper in Delta Force.

You’ve deployed all over the world for both training and combat, and you’re tasked with providing sniper support to a routine snatch and grab operation in some third world shithole.  Absolutely routine, same op as you’ve done a number of times in the past few months.

Then the world falls in.

First, one American helicopter is shot down, and then another falls from the sky.  A search and rescue team is able to make it to the first helicopter, but the crew of the second crashed bird is alone and thousands of pissed…

View original post 237 more words

Never Leave a Man Behind

DaddyBear's Den

On October 3 and 4, 1993, Operation Gothic Serpent, also known as the Battle of Mogadishu happened.  U.S Army Rangers, Delta Force, and helicopters from the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment began the day on what should have been an easy snatch and grab mission. By the time the sun set the next day, 19 Americans would be dead, 91 would have been wounded, and 1 would be a prisoner of war.  History was made that day in a way that no-one could have imagined when the helicopters lifted off.

When the Somalia relief mission was announced, our brigade commander came through our battalion looking for people who could speak Italian, French, or Arabic.  He didn’t even ask if anyone spoke Somali.  Volunteers who were accepted were sent off to augment the combat forces as translators.  This was the first of the “Christiane Amanpour Operations” where political leaders reacted to…

View original post 370 more words

Musings

  • For once, air travel was quite pleasant.
    • Seriously, even the TSA people were pleasant and helpful.
    • I can’t even complain about New Jersey drivers, much. The drive between Newark airport and undisclosed location was, for the most part, uneventful.
  • I do believe, however, that I shall never frequent the hotel I stayed at again.  It wasn’t the condition of the room (mediocre), the dearth of water warmer than piss, or even the lack of pressure for said piss-warm water.  It was the fire alarm sounding at odd times, usually when I was trying to sleep.
  • Scheduling a conference in Manhattan on the same day that the United Nations was meeting was probably not the best move somebody could have made.  Looking on the bright side, I got an opportunity to observe New York street life for three hours as we crept along through traffic.
    • Some people call it The Big Apple. I’m thinking it’s more like the The Big Anthill.  How can so many people stand being so close to each other?
  • Newark is one of those cities where there are islands of good places, surrounded by high fences and unarmed guards, in a sea of crackheads, strip clubs, and burned out cars.
    • Seriously, I expected to see roving bands of undead to complete the scene

Review – Heart of a Soldier

I first heard about Rick Rescorla as a young private in 1989.  My First Sergeant was a Vietnam vet with a 1st Cavalry Division combat patch, and among his war stories was talk of a fearless lieutenant he had met there.  I learned more about him when I read and reread We Were Soldiers Once, And Young a few years later.

Imagine my shock at finding out that Mr. Rescorla was not only among the dead of 9/11, but was also a hero of that infamous day.  Heart of a Soldier tells his story in a very human manner.

From Pulitzer Prize winner James B. Stewart comes the extraordinary story of American hero Rick Rescorla, Morgan Stanley security director and a veteran of Vietnam and the British colonial wars in Rhodesia, who lost his life on September 11.

Heart of a Soldier is the extraordinary story of war, love and comradeship, danger and heroism, told by a Pulitzer Prize winner who is one of our finest writers.

When Rick Rescorla got home from Vietnam, he tried to put combat and death behind him, but he never could entirely. From the day he joined the British Army to fight a colonial war in Rhodesia, where he met American Special Forces’ officer Dan Hill who would become his best friend, to the day he fell in love with Susan, everything in his remarkable life was preparing him for an act of generosity that would transcend all that went before.

Heart of a Soldier is a story of bravery under fire, of loyalty to one’s comrades, of the miracle of finding happiness late in life. Everything about Rick’s life came together on September 11. In charge of security for Morgan Stanley, he successfully got all its 2,700 men and women out of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Then, thinking perhaps of soldiers he’d held as they died, as well as the woman he loved, he went back one last time to search for stragglers.

Heart of a Soldier is a biography of Rick Rescorla and his life-long friend, Dan Hill.  The story starts as they meet in post-colonial Africa, and progresses through a lifetime of combat, family, and friendship.

While both men’s leadership and heroism in Vietnam is discussed in detail, this is more than a gathering of war stories.  We learn about how they were brought up, their plans for life, how they diverged from those plans, and the ending one of them chose.  We get to know their families, their life after the military, and how they lived as men.

Heart of a Soldier isn’t an action story, although there is action throughout the first half of the book.  It’s not a romance, although romance plays a large part in Rescorla’s later life.  Heart of a Soldier is the story of two men from very different backgrounds who never forgot the meaning of honor and duty, even until the very end.

If you believe that such men deserve to be learned about and remembered, I think you’ll enjoy Heart of a Soldier.

Audiobook Review – Darkship Thieves

Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship Thieves is a fun romp that sucks you in and holds on tight.  I started out reading a bound copy I purchased from the author, but liked it so much I sprang for the audiobook so I could listen during my commute.

Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space. Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. Never had any interest in finding out the truth about the DarkShips. You always get what you don’t ask for. Which must have been why she woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in her father’s space cruiser, knowing that there was a stranger in her room. In a short time, after taking out the strangerwho turned out to be one of her father’s bodyguards up to no good, she was hurtling away from the ship in a lifeboat to get help. But what she got instead would be the adventure of a lifetime – if she managed to survive.

If you’re a fan of Heinlein, you’ll enjoy this book.  It is part Friday, part I Shall Fear No Evil, and part excellent world building and storytelling.  Hoyt’s attention to details in her settings and characters comes through in three dimensional Technicolor, and I found myself sitting in the car to listen to the end of a chapter more than once. The story has space opera, intrigue, and future history, all of which kept my attention.

Kymberly Dakin was an excellent choice to give voice to the main character, who narrates the entire book.  She did an impressive job of conveying the world and characters that Mrs. Hoyt created.

Because this is the first book in a series, the author had to spend quite a bit of time describing the word in which it happens.  Some readers will find this to be a bit of a drag on the plot, but the world that Hoyt builds is intricate and well filled out.  Otherwise, the plot moves along at a good clip.

Like I said, this reminds me a lot of Heinlein’s later works, and so the story is probably a bit too adult for readers under 15 or so.  There is some language, but it’s not gratuitous.

I’ve packed the sequel, Darkship Renegades, for a business trip, and I can’t wait to get started.  I think that once you give Darkship Thieves a try, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Musings

  • There’s no “I” in “TEAM”, but there are a couple in “PEDANTIC TWIT”.  Make a note of it.
  • Taking Boo to the doctor for a suspected case of strep throat exposed me to some of the latest examples of the creeping crud.  Luckily, he doesn’t have strep and is already feeling better.  I, on the other hand, feel like I got hit with a truck.
  • I finally forced myself to sit down and get the middle part of the current work in progress down on paper.  4000 words later, it’s just shy of 20,000 words.
    • I was shooting for a short story.  Oh, well.
  • I’m going to be traveling to New Jersey and New York for business next week.  I’m not dumb enough to try to figure out how to take along a firearm, so I’ve been researching knife laws.
    • Holy crap.  Basically, if I don’t want to buy a folding butter knife for the trip I’m down to Boo’s Cub Scout knife.  I’m not even sure that would be legal.
    • Do people there just use their teeth to open things or what?

Musings

  • Boo has managed to forget his lunchbox at school for five days in a row.
    • I told him that tomorrow is the last day I put his lunch in a brown paper bag.
    • The day after that, he takes his lunch in a plastic grocery bag.
    • The day after that, he takes his lunch in a diaper bag.
    • Boo thought that was funny.  Irish Woman is afraid I might be serious.  I’m trying to figure out where I put the old diaper bags.
  • It’s amazing that there are people in the world who get peeved when told by someone, who is so high in the food chain that they’re not even breathing the same air as the rest of us, that they have to do as they’re told, when they’re told.
  • The grooming standard at work has changed enough that I can grow a beard out, so I am.
    • Last time I could grow one, something something years ago, I didn’t shave for over two years.  It got long enough that I could braid it, and it had quite a lot of red and blonde in it.
    • I shaved when I interviewed for the current day job.  Since then, I’ve never gone more than a few days without shaving.
    • Now, after a month of growth, I can see that Father Time has spent the last something something years kicking my butt.
    • All of the blonde and red is now white and silver, and there are only patches of brown.  Seriously, if I didn’t still shave my neck and scowl a lot, I’d look like Santa Claus.
    • Irish Woman has suggested dying it, but I’d rather look old than look like I’d just dipped my beard in a can of shoe polish.
    • Oh well, I’d rather look ‘distinguished’ than have my usual baby face.
  • Recovery from my surgery is going well.  I’m out of the bandages and the stitches in my finger are out.  I’ve got a rather nice scar, and I’m learning to type with the new normal in my index finger.
    • I tried dry firing with a pistol and a rifle this weekend.  The ‘fixed’ finger is still functional, but I think I’ll pull the living heck out of the trigger if I use it on anything but a hair trigger.  Time to start dry firing with my middle finger.
  • Speaking of guns, I’ve had a hankering for a suppressor lately.  Unfortunately, Irish Woman has a hankering for a new house next year, and Boo has hankerings for, well, just about everything that a boy needs to grow.  You know, like three whole meals a day, clothes that fit his growing body once month, and let’s not forget that whole ‘educate him so he moves out someday’ requirement.

Audiobook Review – Monster Hunter Guardian

Sarah Hoyt and Larry Correia, two of my favorite story tellers, have come together to bring us Monster Hunter Guardian, a story centered on Julie Shackleford.

When Owen Pitt and the rest of the Monster Hunter International crew are called away to mount a month’s-long rescue mission in a monster-infested nightmare dimension, Julie Shackleford – Owen’s wife and descendant of MHI founder Bubba Shackleford – is left behind. Her task: hold down the fort and take care of her new baby son Ray. Julie’s devoted to the little guy, but the slow pace of office work and maternity leave are starting to get to her. But when a routine field call brings her face-to-face with an unspeakable evil calling itself Brother Death, she’ll get more excitement than she ever hoped for.

Julie is the Guardian of a powerful ancient artifact known as the Kamaresh Yar, and Brother Death wants it. In the wrong hands, it could destroy reality as we know it. Julie would die before giving it up.

Then Ray goes missing, taken by Brother Death. The price for his safe return: the Kamaresh Yar. If Julie doesn’t hand over the artifact it means death – or worse – for baby Ray. With no other choice left to her, Julie agrees to Brother Death’s demands. But when you’re dealing with an ancient evil, the devil is in the details.

To reclaim her son, Julie Shackleford will have to fight her way through necromantic death cults, child-stealing monsters, and worse. And she’ll have to do it all before Brother Death can unleash the Kamaresh Yar.

It’s one woman against an army of monsters. But Julie Shackleford is no ordinary woman – she’s one tough mother!

I attended Sarah Hoyt’s reading of the first chapter of this book a couple of years ago at LibertyCon, and I’m very happy to see how it came together into a full length novel.  Julie is expertly painted as a young mother desperately searching for her child.  Between the writing and exceptional narration by Bailey Carr, the listener feels her anguish, anger, and determination in every word.

Guardian moves quickly, only occasionally slowing down to let you catch your breath.  Where MHI stories usually center around a team of people with a few principle heroes, Julie spends the vast majority of the story on her own, with not much more than her wits and a gun to aid her in her search.  Hoyt and Correia used this to develop her as a character, and I hope that they continue this in more MHI novels.

Ms. Carr’s narration is excellent.  Her voice and pacing keep the listener riveted as the plot moves along.  She was a perfect fit for Julie Shackleford.

Guardian is definitely a great addition to the MHI series and makes for a wonderful listen during morning commutes and long summer evenings.

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