Thursday Tid-bit: Clearly Familiar

A snippit from a short-story I’m working on…

“Francis Xavier Chiu, I am appalled!” Mrs. Chiu’s voice carried all too well, and F. X. had braced for the rest of the maternal eruption. “You could have gone to Princeton, or Harvard, or Stanford, or even,” she’d inhaled as she waved her hands, “Cal Tech, but no. Look at your sister and brothers. They all have science degrees. Even Paul.” She refused to forgive the second-youngest brother for becoming a mere civil engineer. “But no, you insist on going into… trade.” F.X. had wondered if the contempt from her words would corrode the tiles on the floor. It sounded acidic enough. “You are a disgrace to the Lee and Chiu families.” Continue reading

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Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, began at sundown on the 18th. This is the gravest of High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar, one of those days that even people who rarely set foot in the synagogue make sure to get a seat ticket for. Not unlike Christians and Easter and Christmas, a Jewish friend assures me. It is very, very serious, and marks the time when men must examine their souls and apologize and make amends and atonement for the sins committed against G-d. Believers should have already asked forgiveness and apologized to other people they might have sinned against. Continue reading

Heroes, Duty, and the Tester

Mild rant follows.

I do wish the media would quit abusing the word hero. At least half the time, probably nine-tenths of the time, what the reporters breathlessly call “a hero” is a man or woman doing his or her duty, as the individuals are quick to point out. That duty might be very high risk, but the people are trained and equipped for just that thing. I admire their skill and bravery, and their actions are often heroic, but within the call of duty.

It is when someone goes far, far beyond their duty that, according to what I was taught, they become heroes. Continue reading

Sunday Snippet: Oh-Too-Early

Our Daring Duo arise far too early, while André copes with a co-worker who has seen one too many movies…

The next morning, Lelia chewed through a bowl of something so dull it had to be good for her and read the news on her phone. Yep, just what she’d feared, they city was going to tear up Third Avenue, so buses would be re-routed. And after a thorough inspection, the off-ramp connector had passed all safety checks and would be re-opened. Lelia stopped chewing long enough to look up at the ceiling and ask the Powers That Be if anyone in the highway and roads bureaux had an ounce of brains. She didn’t hear an answer, which probably meant no. And the police and mayor asked parents to please keep better track of their kids, and remind them that stories bout haunted houses were just that, stories, no matter what rumor and the Internet might claim.

In other words, it was the normal October news. They’d probably get the annual Satanist scare in a week or so, followed by the poisoned candy warnings a week after that. Lelia sighed, got up, and washed out the cereal bowl.

“André and Rodney need to come back so we can deal with the Off Ramp of Doom once and for all,” Lelia said to the sink.

“And to get you more training. And to get away from the school before André does something entertaining but anti-social to the psychology teacher.” Tay sauntered in from the yard. Lelia pointed and he made a u-turn, wiped his paws on the mat, then came back into the kitchen. Continue reading

Book Review: The Mecca Mystery

Townsend, Peter. The Mecca Mystery: Probing the Black Hole at the Heart of Muslim History. (2018) Kindle Edition

Everyone knows that Mecca is the holiest city of Islam, and that it was there that Muhammad began his years as the last prophet of G-d. What everyone knows might not be correct, at least not if you apply the rules of historical research and inquiry. Continue reading

Finally Live: Imperial Magic

Imperial Magic, the second full-length novel in the Merchant and Empire series, is now available through Amazon.

Be prepared to learn far too much about furs, laws, and the challenges of being Tycho Rhonarida’s son.

Just what did leave that giant cat-like footprint in the alley behind the wares-house, anyway?