Cooking Post: Leg of Lamb

Once or twice a year we do a roast leg-o-lamb. I say we because I go to my folks place, Redquarters, because their oven is more trustworthy.

What you need: 1  3-4 pound leg of lamb (I get boneless. It costs a little more but there’s less wastage and I don’t make broth from the bone anyway.)

several tablespoons olive oil

several tablespoons (3-4 cloves) minced garlic

1-2 T dried thyme (or oregano)

meat thermometer Continue reading

Eyes, Tummy, and Size Discrepancies

So, a few weeks ago I had one of my monthly progress check dental appointments. What I’d hoped to hear was “looks great, retainers it is, and we’ll just take some molds [blargh!] and then pop out what you have. Come back in two weeks so we can fit the new ones.” And then I could indulge in popcorn, nuts, bagels, pizza crust, and all the other stuff that has been verboten since November. Alas, that’s not what transpired. Grumble, grouse, thpppth. Continue reading

Reader Query

Now that Language of the Land has wrapped up (for now), is there interest in my starting another Saturday novel in installments? I’ve got the WWI alt-history, and an Azdhag novel (the sequel to Hubris) that are mostly done.

Thanks to those of you who have signed up for my mailing list. I’ll finish getting it set up and start using it (judiciously, I promise) soon. If you have not signed up and would like to be the first to know about upcoming releases, specials, and (possibly) author appearances, please send me an e-mail at AlmaTCBoykin dot Gmail dot com. (Bearcat, I’ve got your request and you’re on the list.)

Robinocracy Redux?

No, this is not about the swarms, nay herds, of robins currently descending on my town. It’s about a flavour of politics that may have contributed to the American Revolution and the structure of the Constitution. Bernard Bailyn’s first book, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, described the ideas floathing in the air during the 30 years or so before 1776. One of the debates going on in Britain, leading to large numbers of pamphlets and writings, centered on the power and position of the Prime Minister and his relationship with patronage. Robert Walpole came under special criticism, and Robin is a nick-name for Robert. Those unhappy with his administration’s tailored largess and undue influence called it a Robinocracy, and demanded a return to the old balance of powers. Does this sound familiar?

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Choral Conniptions

It was a dark and stormy first rehearsal of the season. Dr. Director is facing a choir gone feral over Winter Break.

Director: “And we’re doing a Whitaker.”

Choir (in unison): “GroooOOOOaaaannnn.”

Director: “Now that’s not fair! And it’s more accessible than the last Whitaker we did.”

Voice from the depths of the Alto Section: “And that’s what you said about the Charles Ives piece too.”

Director: “But that was over ten years ago.”

Basso Profundo: “Choirs never forget.”

It is more accessible. It is also longer and just as hard. And I can’t be the only one hearing the hat tips to Enya and Morten Lauredsen, either, as well as to Randall Thompson.

Book Review: Baptism by Fire

Pascoe, David E. Baptism by Fire: the first book at the Edge of Faith. 2013 Kindle Edition

“Join the Navy, see the desert, fight three meter tall flaming monsters” said no recruiting officer ever. Corpsman James Lawrie is used to patching up Marines and fending off his little sister’s unacceptable (to her big brother) suitors. But a fire fight in Afghanistan turned into fighting fire, notably a giant flaming thing sic’ed on the Forward Operating Base by an Afghan. An Afghan with strange words written on his body.

Now Lawrie is home, resting from something that never happened. Until he assists a friend from high school and discovers a body. One that bears the same strange writing. And when a Navy corpsman, FBI agent, and Russian priest walk into a bar, anything can happen, and probably will.

David Pascoe’s novel, Baptism by Fire is about the making of a warrior, not just of the flesh but of faith as well. James Lawrie discovers hidden strength and talent, growing during the course of this short but gripping novel. Pascoe delivers a well-written, believable fantasy with a military twist, featuring well-developed and fascinating characters. The purely military section reads right, and the banter later in the book sounds very familiar – there’s no nerd like a firearms nerd.

In some ways the book reminds me of Katherine Kurtz’s Adept series. Supernatural forces exist, some are good, some are bad, and the protagonists (most of them) rely on Christian faith to give them the armor they need to fight evil. And make no mistake, the evil in this story is pure, serious evil that corrupts the body as well as the soul.

I’ll admit, when Lawrie first crosses paths with the FBI, I was bracing for the usual “hero-suspected-of-being-villain-false-accusation/arrest” trope. I was happily surprised by Pascoe’s handling of the scene and others.

The author makes no bones that faith in the Christian god is necessary to defeat these manifestations of evil (although applications of tincture of lead and steel with a small dash of high explosive, and a fire hose, also help). If this is something you don’t like in your fun reading, this isn’t for you. Pascoe doesn’t preach, he just shows how things work in his characters’ world.

I enjoyed the book. It’s a fast, fun read with a nice dash of humor to leaven the horror. I look forward to the next work in the series. Pascoe gives us a teaser chapter, and let’s just say when the most experienced person in the field says, “I’ve never seen that before,” you know this ain’t gonna be easy.

LEGAL NOTE: I purchased this book. I was not given any remuneration or payment for this review.