• Archives

  • Topics

  • Meta

  • Coming Home
  • Quest To the North
  • Via Serica
  • Tales of the Minivandians
  • Join the NRA

    Join the NRA!

Today’s Earworm

New Yarn Hits the Street

Jim Curtis has a new story out, The Morning the Earth Shook.  

Here’s his description:

A year after Calexit, the last US bases in Southern California are under siege, with their power and water cut off. Their perimeters are under constant probes by a now hostile nation. There is intelligence the government of California is planning a final all-out action to overwhelm the last bases and claim the spoils of victory for their own…

But the men and women in uniform aren’t going to let their bases be overrun, especially after the murder of their dependents. This is their story, a novella of the last military withdrawal from California. And if there’s one thing the Sailors and Marines are not going to do, it’s go quietly!

I’m a couple chapters in, and I’m having to force myself to put it down because sleep.  Curtis is an excellent storyteller, and this promises to be a pageturner.  If you like military fiction that grabs you and doesn’t let go, give this one a whirl.

Couldn’t have said it better myself

Over at The Antisoma, Heroditus Huxley explains her view of compassion, and who deserves it.

Like the title says, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Look, I’m a pretty soft touch, all things considered.  It doesn’t take much more than someone, who truly needs assistance, asking politely for my help for me to give it.  A lot of times, you don’t even have to ask before a meal comes to your doorstep or an extra few dollars are in your hand.

But there are folks for whom that doesn’t apply.  I call them the “willfully poor,” and I know of which I speak.

You see, when my folks split up, my mother took us headlong into the welfare system.  Food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, energy assistance, free school lunches, and everything else she could get her hands on flowed through our home.  Us kids ate what food stamps and free lunches would provide and we wore what government checks would buy at the Salvation Army.

I met some very hardworking folks during those years.  Problem was, the vast majority of them were working hard toward the wrong goals.  These people made welfare a 9 to 5 job, and they burned the midnight oil trying to find some way to squeeze just a few more dollars out of the system.

Tattoos were uncommon then, but booze and cigarettes were an everyday experience. My mother’s friends on welfare always had name-brand soda and candy at a time when most folks in my town had store-brands as a very occasional treat.  The number of kids who found themselves labeled as having learning disabilities or other medical issues skyrocketed amongst my mother’s circle, with each case bringing in a little more cash or another excuse to not find work.

At the beginning of the month, it was pizza and beer and new clothes.  At the end of the month, it was rice and canned tuna and government cheese.  But somehow, there was always money for the adults to go out to eat or to go to the local bar on Friday and Saturday.

But there is a silver lining to this:  I will sell organs before I take a dime of government assistance.  Too many memories of my mother buying a 25 cent pack of gum with a $10 food stamp so she’d have the change to spend on whatever struck her fancy, along with the looks the lunch ladies gave me when they stamped my free-lunch card, have driven me deep into the “I’d rather be hungry, thanks” crowd.

There are those who have hit a rough patch, with some needing assistance for a long while, but want desperately to stand on their own two feet.  Then there are those who not only can’t fathom what not having someone bring them their checks and EBT cards, but also violently and vociferously object when you suggest that there is a better way to live.

For the former, I have compassion and sympathy, and I am willing to give until it hurts.  For the latter, well, not as such.  If that makes me too hard, then I’ll wear that badge proudly.

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.

%d bloggers like this: