It’s that time – the day we commemorate Veteran’s Day. A somber day, not exactly a “Happy Holiday!” with a cheery smile sort of occasion. This year, appropriately enough, the observance day is also the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps (U.S.M.C.). Happy birthday, Marines!The US military has been going through a rough patch in the last few decades, with more enemies domestic and internal (especially the most recent former C-in-C, whose policies were extremely destructive to the professionalism and moral of the uniformed forces, from what I’ve heard) than external… those the external threats, from ISIS to RocketMan are not inconsiderable.
I’m a veteran of sorts – served an uneventful (in terms of actual hot-war deployment) enlistment in the US Army Reserve. It’s enough that on some job applications I can check the “veteran” status box, but on others that list specific types of veterans (Vietnam War Era veteran, Service Medal Veteran, etc.) I cannot, because I don’t qualify as any of those specific types. Just a generic “signed up, served, went home, carry on” sort of thing.
I honor those who served, whether draftees like my dad, or volunteers like myself, friends who or family who served in war and came home like Joe Huffman’s son-in-law, or those who served and didn’t, like Adam Plumondore.
So bow your head briefly, raise a glass, or whatever, and thank those who served to protect your right to politely disagree with your fellow American, and helped to create the greatest country this planet has ever seen, flawed, decadent, and in decline though it may be.
America’s birthday. But the corpse of the freedom she represented has been dead a long time, and I don’t see any resurrection miracles on the immediate horizon.
I still love this nation, and think it’s the best one on the planet. But far too many of her citizens no longer desire freedom, they demand freebies. Too many don’t want opportunity, they want guarantees. The masses don’t want free speech, they want freedom from offense, and demand to shut down the speech of those they disagree with. They demand their opponents be wrapped and tied down like Harrison Bergeron. Too many of those in charge at all levels don’t desire challenge, they want sure things: they are risk averse, bureaucratic, and mindless rule-followers, and if judgment is demanded they want another rule passed by committee in which to wrap themselves for defense. Continue reading Happy 4th→
I had a conversation recently. We had a minor disagreement over something – the details don’t matter – but it evolved briefly into a discussion over debate methods and why he didn’t like to debate against me. We dropped it, but it got me thinking, and I realized it brought back a memory from a conversation I had a long time ago (~25 years or so) at an SCA event. Continue reading Debating reality→
One aspect of Sci-Fi is the idea of exploring different ways of thinking and looking at the universe, or even looking at each other. It’s always been tough to convincingly write utterly alien brains or societies, and most merely reflect common aspects of humans. Star Trek’s Vulcans are nothing more than smart and logical humans, Klingons the emotional and savage warrior (human), Romulans just the Machiavellian manipulator (again, human). Few writers have really good and totally alien minds/cultures. Continue reading Alien minds→
Time is nearly up for casting your Campbell votes for best new SF writer. As I said to Vox, just being on the ballot is kind of funny, and while I think winning would be pretty cool, I’ll be the first to admit I’m a loooooonnnnnggggg shot. Anything above “No Award” would be fantastic, but below that is quite a conversation piece, too.
“So, how did you manage to come in 6th of two when five were nominated?”
“Well, it’s like this, you see….”
And good times were had by all. If you vote for me at Sasquan, thanks, I’m honored, I truly do appreciate it, and it’s good to know my work was not for nothing. If you didn’t, as long as you voted honestly and not politically or “strategically,” then thanks for your consideration. I hope to see a few of you in Spokane – I plan on being there.
Speaking of, being the unemployed sort that I am – anyone living in/near Spokane have a couch or spare bed I could crash on for a few nights in mid/late August, so I can avoid the hotel expense if possible?
Yeah, we may be a republic in decline, but we’re still one of the greatest places in the world to be. Don’t believe me? What nations have a higher immigration numbers than us? No, that’s not the only metric, and yes, there are lots of ways to slice those numbers, but the fact that it’s still one of the most attractive places in the world to go to is testament to its qualities.
We are a nation founded in revolution – revolutionary ideas, revolutionary war, and revolutionary ways of doing things. Imperfect, but willing to admit our flaws (unlike so many other nations in the world) and doing our best, however indirect a course we may take, to improve.
I hope all is well with you and yours, you stay safe, and here’s to another year with banner sales, accomplishments, and a record year of prosecutions of government employees.
The longest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The sun is as far north in the sky as it will go, ~23.5 degrees north of the equator. The warmest days are ahead, but only ever-shortening days. A fascinating day for all of recorded human history, as for most of it we’ve not really understood why the length of day or seasons changed. It was THE GODS!, they declared, and worshiped accordingly. Studying / developing spherical geometry to try to understand the motions of the stars, planets, and sun, some early people like the Babylonians counted in base 60, which stays with us today in seconds and minutes.
Of course, for most healthy adult males, becoming a father is comparatively trivial (and many do that likely shouldn’t, and some don’t that likely should). It’s being a dad that really counts. That’s where the difficult, persistent, consistent, thankless work is. To the scum that managed to spawn and then run away to let others raise them, this day is NOT for you, even if you technically qualify. This is for those that stay involved with the mother of their children, and their children’s activities, giving them as good a role model as they are able, supporting and guiding them. It doesn’t mean being their slave – far from it, but doing what is best for them in the long run. Moms are necessary for optimal family health… but so are dads. The family is a unit, that works best when intact. So, for the dads out there, doing their best with what they have to work with (internally and elsewhere), Salute!
I got interviewed, sort of, by a former Campbell Award nominee Lawrence M. Schoen. He’s got a blog, Eating Authors. A character of his is very into food, a gourmand. He’s trying to bring attention to new authors, including specifically Campbell Award nominees. His vehicle for doing this is to ask them to write about a memorable meal, or something food-related in their life. My first thought was “that’s not a path I’d ever think to go down,” but some people have that sort of focus. It sounded like something that I wasn’t really interested in writing.
After thinking about it for a while, and exchanging several emails trying to figure out where what he found useful and what I was interested in writing crossed, I had an idea, cranked it out, and now it’s live on his blog.
The first weekend of May is Boomershoot weekend this year. I’ll be there. I have to start getting ready. I have met a lot of “somebodies” there over the years, various people famous or infamous (or at least well-known and recognized) in their own particular circle, if not leaders in the field. Mostly gunnies, but not entirely. Lots of very smart, knowledgeable, and often quirky folks. It’s a great place to hang out, where diversity (of calibers) and freedom of choice (of targets) is celebrated, and the only “trigger warnings” ever heard are when discussing technical accuracy or safety-related issues. It’s a place where “ATF” might as well be a local convenience store, and calling someone a redneck will get a quizzical look and a response of “Well, yeah. What did you expect? A bunch of engineers, geeks, and lawyers blowing stuff up in Idaho?” (please note for those who know nothing about it: the Venn diagram of boomershooters, engineers, geeks, and lawyers has a LOT of overlap).
Editing, writing, teaching, and cover-art are moving along well.