Category Archives: Personal

I’m Alive!

Mostly. Had a great weekend in Tempe with a bunch of internet friends. Great hotel, and the rain held off just long enough. But man, it was hot and muggy. We had to share the hotel with a collegiate girl’s soccer team. The pool was barely big enough for that.

The Mills Avenue neighborhood right next to the ASU campus was terrific, with lots of fun, food, and refreshing adult beverages.

Now, to try to catch up with the real world, and start writing.

I’ve met more than a few readers of the blog over the years. How many of you have gone to a meet up of internet friends? Did you expect it to be creepy, only to turn out well? Because all of my meet up experiences have been quite good.

About these ads


Filed under Personal

The Ten Book Challenge

Roamy tagged me with this on Facebook. What are ten books that have stayed with you?

  1. The Bible. For my secular friends, I’d encourage you to read it, even if just as a novel. It’s a pretty interesting piece of historical literature. And if the spirit should happen to move you, so much the better.

  2. The American Heritage History of World War II. My folks had just about every American Heritage book from the 60s and 70s. It played a major role in my decision to become a soldier.

  3. The Hunt for Red October. Clancy’s book made my fascination with the platforms of warfare socially acceptable.

  4. The Blueberry Pie Elf. No great influence on me. I just really loved that book as a kid.

  5. Stuart Little- E.B. White is probably better known for Charlotte’s Web, but I always preferred this mousy little book. Mice don’t scare me. Spiders do. And pigs should be made into pork chops and bacon. Every writer should have Strunk & White handy, but if you’ve read much of my work, you know I keep my copy juuuuuuuuust out of reach.

  6. About Face. Hackworth’s book reached me at a time when I had some serious decisions to make, and it helped me make them.

  7. There’s a War to be Won. Geoffery Perret’s excellent history of the US Army in World War II. Think of it as a primer for the layman to understand the campaigns and the people of the war. And it’s a very easy read.

  8. C. B. Colby’s series of children’s books about the military. I read them again and again through my first couple years of elementary. Today the books would be banned in any school, and I would have been medicated and sent to counseling.

  9. The Brotherhood of War by W. E. B. Griffith. Oddly, I read the main body of the works in reverse order. You could hit up just about any platoon in the Army in the late 80s and someone would be reading one of his books.

  10. The Aubrey-Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian. Who doesn’t love the swashbuckling of Lucky Jack, and the cold intrigue of Stephen?

Now… who do I tag with this challenge?


Filed under Personal

Weekend Meetup

So, we’re heading to PHX this weekend. Purely a social gathering with some fellow bloggers, including about 50% of the active writing staff here. There may be alcohol involved.

We had hoped to produce some quality content to cover the weekend, but to our surprise, our anticipation of getting out of the house and having a social life with real, live meatsacks instead of pixels has us a touch giddy.

We’ve done this sort of thing before, with a couple of different groups of bloggers, many of which actually tend to overlap. A Venn diagram of our online social circle would be fairly complex.

Our first blogger meatup was, oh, 2008 or so. We actually met Ace. And yes, we killed a hobo.* And we still regularly meet with at least one of the persons at that gathering.

Phoenix isn’t a terribly long journey for us, but other attendees for this weekend gig are flying in from around the country. Some we’ve met before, others we’ve known for a decade, but have never met.

You’d think a story of meeting people you’ve only known on the internet would wind up being a murder of the week mystery on cable TV, but in fact, the really weird thing is, having chatted with these friends for years, you simply pick up the conversation where you left off.



*Inside joke for fans of Ace.


Filed under Personal

Maybe She Should Just Burn Them…


Seems the intolerant intellectual fascism of the American Far-Left remains in full flower.  Erica Payne, the vulgar uber-“liberal” progressive strumpet whose Agenda Project is yet another conduit for mega-wealthy leftists to disparage anyone who deigns to disagree with them, has decided that the way to combat Paul Ryan’s legal free expression is through vandalism.

Erica Payne, founder and president of the left-wing Agenda Project, is encouraging people to deface the cover of Paul Ryan’s new book, which is hitting shelves today.

Not a new paradigm, to be sure.  




Erica Payne provides a representative sample of the extreme prejudice and closed-minded intolerance of a bankrupt intellectual philosophy.  Disagreement with the far-left ideology will not only be brutally suppressed, but those who espouse such heresy will be flagged as threats.  This should come as a surprise to nobody, not after the machinations of the IRS and other government entities, including the race-mongering Justice Department, now in the sway of the most malignant administration in the history of our Republic.  

Time was, books would be burned, instead of merely vandalized.  But that probably involves a carbon footprint which will accelerate Global Warming.  (No estimate on the environmental impact of burning the homes of Global Warming skeptics.)  So the Erica Paynes of the world will have to settle for defacing private property in lieu of providing cogent counter-argument.  Which demonstrates just how illiberal those who consider themselves the most “liberal” truly are.   

Perhaps instead of the coarsely vulgar slogan adopted to disparage the Tea Party, Ms. Payne’s Agenda Project could find a more appropriate one.  Sieg Heil comes to mind.  



Filed under Around the web, history, obama, Personal, Politics, Uncategorized

Teach your children well

Okay, I’m not really a fan of Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but if we are going to keep our Second Amendment rights, then we need to teach our kids what that means.

And for Mini-me, that means learning to shoot at summer camp. Do note the eye protection, hearing protection, and boogerhook off the trigger. I like giving liberals the vapors.
I like the zombie target. Nice shootin’.
IMG 001 crop

I’m also proud of her, that when the other girls were screaming about a spider in the cabin, she asked someone to pass her a shoe and smushed it. (Sorry, XBrad, they weren’t allowed flamethrowers.)


Filed under Personal

Hometown memorial and a friend remembered

Huntsville has a significant military presence, and so it is fitting that the Huntsville-Madison County Veterans Memorial is not just a stone on the courthouse square but a place to contemplate, to remember those who fought for us, those who held up their hands and swore the oath, those who gave everything.

The waterfalls and fountain are soothing.  The three sections along the outside provide a chronicle of the wars fought, with black marble memorials to hometown heroes.  These sections are anchored by two sets of statues.

100_0640 cropand

100_0637 cropSome of the stones on the walkway have famous or appropriate sayings (click to embiggen).

100_0638Wonder if anyone in the current administration would take heed of this one.

100_0639The walkway behind this part of the memorial is paved with memorial bricks.  This one was placed just in time for Independence Day.

100_0632 cropAs Don would say, pull up some bench.

100_0633 cropDon’s ashes will be scattered during a parachute jump next month, so there will be no grave marker for him.  This I thought was appropriate, so that he will never be forgotten.


Filed under army, Personal, veterans

As Patty Ann would have said…

One of my Facebook friends posted a link to this annoying Slate article (I know, redundant)
Old Boys’ Lab

It reads like it was written 30 years ago, except for the “microaggressions” crap. The big, bad men are keeping the poor, helpless girls out of the treehouse. Really? I have a hard time believing that the same economics professor who in 1986 told the class that 10% of coeds sleep with their professors and he wasn’t getting his share would get away with that on today’s overwrought, politically correct campuses.

Now, granted the author interviewed only 9 women about their experiences in the labs, and they talk about academia, not the real world. The cycle of NIH and NSF grant funding might indeed make a professor prefer hiring a man for a post-doc position because a woman in her late 20’s/early 30’s might take off during that year to have a baby. For the woman, if you have to dedicate a significant portion of your life tending to a demanding little tyrant, it might as well be your own flesh-and-blood and not some professor who sees you only as his slave labor. Personally, I think that fewer women are going for Ph.D’s and post-doc work because the jobs are out there for women in scientific fields, and not all require the extra degree.

In the government, much has changed in the last 50 years. A friend wrote a paper on the women engineers and scientists in the Saturn V days at Marshall Space Flight Center.

During the heyday of the Apollo program, there were 6,000 employees at MSFC, but only 22 were women in engineering or science, and I know at least seven of them. These were women with a great deal of persistence, who had successful careers despite roadblocks and lack of mentors. Margaret “Hap” Brennecke had to publish papers on aluminum alloys and welding using her initials, otherwise the papers were rejected. I know two of the women had to fight to keep their jobs after maternity leave. That’s a far cry from feeling oppressed because some lunkhead said your ponytail was “too flouncy for cancer research.” In 1997, a guy praised me for a project done well and added that he didn’t know a woman could do that good a job. He meant it as a compliment, and I took it as such.

We have had women astronauts, women center directors, and a woman deputy administrator. Gone are the days of being like the Brontë sisters and hiding your gender just to get published. You have the Family and Medical Leave Act to protect your job while you’re out on maternity leave. You not only have ladies’ rooms in the labs (they had to add a ladies’ room to the building I was assigned to in 1986), you have on-site daycare and lactation rooms. If someone’s trying to play slap-and-tickle, then either threaten him with a Lorena Bobbitt or report him, don’t just let it slide.

Above all, be competent. When people respect what you do, then chromosomes and plumbing don’t matter. As Patty Ann (God rest her soul) once told me, it’s time to put on your big girl panties and get the job done.


Filed under Around the web, Personal, space