Tuesday Tidbit

I’ve been heavily revising the next Cat Among Dragons book, and cut out three chapters. This is one of them. I may have run it here before.

Oh Who Will Come and Go With Me?

“Commander,” Brigadier General Rahoul Khan inquired as Boer One helped her out of the back of the troop carrier. “What happened?”

I got a song stuck in my head and a man died. That’s not the sort of answer one gives one’s commanding officer, and Rachel drew herself up as close to attention as she ever bothered with anymore. “Everything went per the exercise pre-briefing, until a road broke, sir.”

His eyebrows rose and he blinked dark-brown eyes. “The road broke.”

“Yes, sir.”

He folded his arms and waited for the rest.

*** Continue reading

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The Perfect Fish?

Not for everyone, I know, and not really compared to what most people think of as piscatorial perfection. But herring has some advantages over salmon and trout, which helps explain why it is now the fish of the North Sea coast. Let’s just say you will find one or two salmon things at most on the breakfast buffet, and at least four different herring dishes, and entire fillets are very popular tinned fish.

I’ve had salmon since I was rather young and it came in cans. And trout I first met in Montana. I enjoy it, but it does not travel well, so you have to be in places where trout is raised, or go fishing with a friend in a trout stream that allows you to keep the fish.

I had not encountered herring in large quantities before this past summer. I’d walked past the cans of tinned herring at World Market (aka Temptation Market), and had tried Rollmops once or twice even though I was not suffering from a hangover at the time.*

Rollmops.

And I’d collided with pike-perch and lost while in the Czech Republic. The problem wasn’t the fish, it was me. I was presented at dinner with a very large plate bearing a very large and bony fish (complete with eye), a fish knife, and a fork. What little I managed to de-bone before we had to leave for our next stop was not bad, albeit bland and a little dry.

Zander, or pike-perch.

Continue reading

Blackbirds and the Playa

October morning playa.

As I mentioned last month, this has been a very good year for late-season plants around the playa lake. You can see that the native grasses are even taller, growing rather briskly before they went dormant for the year a few weeks ago. And the sunflowers have all shed their petals. Instead of yellow faces, they now have black, red, and yellow birds in them. Continue reading

The Itchy Foot Itches

I did not want to go back to work on Tuesday afternoon. I wanted to put my pick-up in four and just keep going west, over the horizon, as the cold, crisp air blew into the cab, heading into the grasslands that lead to the edge of the Caprock and then down into the mesa country. It had nothing to do with the classes I was substituting for, nothing to do with the students per se, and everything to do with a cold front’s passage, the brisk afternoon air, the clear skies, and an old, old itch. The westering urge had been woken, the whisper of “Something hidden. Go and find it… Something lost behind the ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!”* Continue reading

Statism and the Anointed

I was once informed that I was one of fifteen intellectuals in a small city. My first reaction was to balk, then look for the closest exit. I’m not an intellectual! I’m well-read, curious, and I’m coming to slowly acknowledge that I’m a polymath (but not nearly as much of one as most of my friends), but I’m not an intellectual.

Which is funny, because most people, if told they are intellectual, would take pride in this. Why did I recoil? Because to me, even 20 years ago, Intellectual has political connotations as well as cultural, and I wanted no part in either of them. Only later did I learn the words I wanted to explain my reaction. They come from Thomas Sowell, and describe “the Anointed.” Since then, I’ve watched the Anointed race to be the first to embrace the philosophies and dreams of statism, and I am even more unhappy when someone calls me an intellectual.* Continue reading

Strange Evening

My neighborhood is not one where you typically find bodies in yards, unless they are birds or squirrels that succumbed to predators or youthful folly. So you can imagine I was a bit nonplussed when I turned down a residential street to get away from some unusually heavy traffic and I found what appeared to be an unconscious person in a yard, with two dogs. The dogs were not aggressive, but they did seem to want me to notice them and possibly do something (Border collie mixes). Continue reading