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Musings

  • My hand surgeon was less than enthusiastic about my suggestion that it might be easier to just take my finger off rather than fusing one of the knuckles.
    • In my defense, I had already been given my pre-surgery meds and I was as high as a kite at the time.
  • A nerve block that makes it so I not only can’t feel your entire right arm, but cannot even twitch my fingers is one of the oddest things I’ve ever experienced.
  • Irish Woman is always watching out for me.  She even took away my phone when my stoned self was looking to buy $1700 plane tickets to North Dakota.
  • You know, if Boo’s out in the front yard and I’m in the basement, and I can hear him scream when he falls out of the tree swing, you know he hurt something really bad.
  • Poor Irish Woman.  She was just getting me to the point where I was semi-functional when Boo needed to be taken for X-rays.  I’m just glad we stocked up on bourbon during our mini-vacation.
  • Boo ended up with a broken foot, a set of crutches, and a bad attitude.
  • He does, however, seem to enjoy the knee scooter the orthopedist rented to us so that he has a bit more mobility.
    • Now to convince him that it’s not a skateboard.
  • I’ve been trying to write, I really have.  But typing when you don’t have use of one of your index fingers is really, really hard.

Impossible Hope

 

Impossible-Hope-Generic

A few months ago, a friend put out the call for folks to do a good deed, and I was fortunate to donate a few thousand words to the cause:

My desire is to help my sister in any way I can. Being a man of modest means and resources, aside from being there for her and assisting whenever possible, there is little I can do alone. However, with help, I intend to do more. I was able to get in touch with a number of writers, all of whom have donated their time and effort and art for an Anthology of short stories, entitled “Impossible Hope”. Anyone who donates through here will receive a copy of the book as a thank you for their generosity. All of the money you donate will go to paying for the costs of the surgery and what it will take to get Bonnie and her husband there and back again. We ourselves will cover the costs of publishing the book, and once the book is published, all proceeds from it will go to the Ehlers-Danlos Society for the benefit of those like my sister. https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/ All those who donate through this effort will receive their copy before we officially publish the material.

I’m honored that my short story, Battle Buddy, is part of this remarkable collection of stories.  Each one shows the importance of never giving up, of always having hope, even an Impossible Hope.

Here are the stories and authors in the collection.  I really struggle to name a favorite, because they are all great, uplifting yarns.

  • Do Something – Logan Lewis
  • Battle Buddy – Tom Rogneby
  • Queen’s Gambit – David Freiberg
  • Glastonbury Abbey – Josh Griffing
  • Four Funerals and a Wedding – L. Jagi Lamplighter
  • A Random World of Delta Capricorni – John C Wright
  • Shoulders of Giants – Dave Higgins
  • Sir Ronan and the Smooth Road – Frank Luke
  • Buddy – William Joseph Roberts
  • Bullies and Soggy Soup Bones – Woelf Dietrich
  • Battle Within – Musaab Sultan
  • Take My Breath Away – Sam M. Phillips
  • Ghosts of Camlan Hill – Ben Wheeler
  • Moulin Rouge’s Last Secret – Denton Salle
  • Life on the Fringe – B. Michael Stevens
  • Blue Pearls – Benjamin Tyler Smith
  • The Other Side – Heather Hood
  • Invisible Battles – R.J. Ladon
  • With Royal Beauty Bright – Nicholas Arkison
  • The Switchman’s Lantern – James Pyles

The other authors got together to discuss their stories, and it is really interesting to hear about how things came together.

 

So, if you’ve got a few extra dollars you can spare, and you’re in need of something hopeful to read, please consider donating to Bonnie’s fund.  Enjoy!

World War II – Einstein’s Letter

The false peace of the Munich Agreement was tailing off in August of 1939.  Preparations for the invasion of Poland were beginning. Secret negotiations between the USSR and Nazi Germany were underway.

In the United States, Albert Einstein, a Jew who had escaped the Nazi’s, penned a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt that predicted the eventual end of the coming war:

Albert Einstein
Old Grove Road
Peconic, Long Island
August 2nd, 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.

Sir:

Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations.

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America–that it may be possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable–though much less certain–that extremely powerful bombs of this type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove too heavy for transportation by air.

The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and former Czechoslovakia, while the most important source of uranium is in the Belgian Congo.

In view of this situation you may think it desirable to have some permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this might be for you to entrust the task with a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an unofficial capacity. His task might comprise the following:

a) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore for the United States.

b) to speed up the experimental work, which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons who are willing to make contributions for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining co-operation of industrial laboratories which have necessary equipment.

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsacker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated.

Yours very truly,

SignatureAlbert Einstein

Book Review – Taghri’s Prize

Peter Grant has a new book on the streets, Taghri’s Prize.

Taghri has left the Sultan’s army to seek his fortune – and he seizes opportunity when it knocks. In the confusion of a pirate raid on a trading caravan, he kills their leader and captures their ship. The vessel is now his prize of war… but some prizes may be more trouble than they’re worth!

Nestled among the gold coins in the captain’s cabin is a stolen Temple sacrificial knife, whose Goddess is now paying close attention – too close! – to its new owner. Among the slaves he’s freed is a princess, formerly being held for ransom, who comes with political and personal intrigues all her own. Even if he survives the attention of both, there’s also a pirate lord out there, hell-bent on avenging the death of his son.

It’s going to take all of Taghri’s skill, experience and cunning to survive winning this prize!

Grant is one of my favorite storytellers, and I’m thrilled that he is stretching out into a new realm.  Taghri’s Prize deals with a setting that is unique in recent fantasy fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Grant’s world.

The story flows very well. It’s got action, romance, pirates, and a whole lot more that fans of Conan and John Carter will enjoy.  Taghri is no barbarian by any means, but a lot of the elements that I enjoyed in Cimmeria and Barsoom show up in Taghri’s Prize.

Taghri, the eponymous main character, is well fleshed out after only a few chapters, and the other characters develop over the course of the book.  I am really interested in seeing where Grant takes this ensemble in later stories.

If you enjoy a good swashbuckler, I think you’ll enjoy Taghri’s Prize.

Musings

  • I got a very nice letter from the new Mercedes dealership today urging me to bring my truck in for a trade-in.
    • Apparently they’re desperate for 7 year old plain-jane F150’s at the high-end Euromobile store.
    • Unfortunately, Mercedes doesn’t make a long-bed truck.
    • I did, however, see a crew cab, 8 foot bed, F250 today and I got very covetous.
  • Question – How many pleats can a kilt have before the balding hipster has to admit that he’s cross-dressing?
    • There has to be line separating “rugged individualist” from “flouncy”
  • When the orthopedic nurse winces at your xray, maybe you’ve let your joints go too far.
  • I’m going to be having surgery soon to fuse a knuckle in my trigger finger.  This will mean I either have to learn to shoot left handed or use my middle finger.  Since I shoot mainly to relieve stress, the middle finger isn’t a bad option.

Thought for the Day

Here men from the planet Earth
first set foot upon the Moon
July 1969, A.D.
We came in peace for all mankind

 

Musings

  • Sleepover math: If each 11-year-old boy at the sleepover is to be offered enough nutrition to not starve to death between 4 PM on a Saturday until 10 AM the following morning, how much food must you have on hand?
    • Answer – 2 large cheese pizzas, 1 large pepperoni pizza, 1 large ham and pineapple pizza, 1 order each of breadsticks and garlic knots, a case of bottled water, a pound each of mandarin oranges and strawberries, one bag of microwave popcorn, a dozen donuts, a hotel breakfast buffet, and enough coffee to keep yourself sane.
    • That, by the way, is not an exaggeration.
  • One of the boys had never seen any Star Wars before the sleepover, and the other boys threatened bodily harm to anyone who spoiled it for him after I put the DVD in the player.
  • Watching a bunch of alpha-male young men try to play Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit was quite entertaining. I’ve watched old priests dicker over details of Christian dogma with less zeal than these kids did when arguing about each other’s answers to questions about Hogwarts.
  • If you’re working the oh-my-Lord-it’s-early shift at the donut place, please partake of some of your fine coffee before answering the drive-thru.
    • “A dozen plain donuts and a dozen mixed donuts” should not confuse you.
  • I know IrishWoman was trying to help me out on my diet, but I was kind of counting on having those leftover doughnuts and pizza for breakfast and lunch tomorrow.
    • No, it’s fine. I like cold boiled eggs and cheese at 4 AM on a cold, rainy February morning.

Today’s Earworm

Repost: Combat Preparation

Note – This originally appeared here in 2010. It is the first dim thought I had of the Minivandians

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 across his back, and attached his long dagger to his ankle where it would make a good back up weapon.

Bowing his head before starting his march to battle, he prayed to the gods, both old and new, to protect him as he faced the ravening hordes he was sure to encounter today.  He thought of all the old comrades who had gone before him, and the young men who had come home half mad from the sights he was heading towards today.

Once both his body and spirit were armed and armored, he stepped out onto the black plain that lead to his goal.  He squared his shoulders, but knew that today might be his last.  Too many gray hairs graced his head, too many battles over the years ran through his memory for him to expect to see the sun set on this day.

As he walked forward to battle, the sights and sounds of this day burned into his soul.  The high pitched ringing of a bell, the soft music that filled the air, the old warrior knew they would be the sounds that would take him to Valhalla.  The red and black clad herald of  the madness within greeted him as he walked through doors that magically opened for him.  The noise of the horde immediately pressed on him like a wave.  Undaunted, he waded into the lair of the enemy, intent on his purpose.

The last thing he heard before the noise drowned out all sanity was the merry calling of the door keeper:

“Merry Christmas!  Welcome to Walmart!”

Saint Joseph and the Donkey

A Christmas thought

DaddyBear's Den

As we sat down to our Christmas Eve feast tonight, it occurred to me that things are pretty good.  We’re all home, everyone is healthy, and it’s a pretty normal evening for us.  It could be a lot more difficult for us.

Imagine that you’re a simple tradesman, who’s been told to walk 80 miles to the city of your ancestors.  With you, you take your young, very pregnant wife.  Luckily, you have your trusty donkey, so she doesn’t have to walk the whole way.  Once you get there, there’s no place to stay, so you end up in someone’s stable.  Of course, after four or five days on the road, she goes into labor.

So now, you’re in a barn, with a young woman going through her first labor, and you’re alone.  Somehow, you get both her and the baby through the labor alive.  Then strangers start showing up…

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