A Wonderful World

On Christmas Eve I took the truck out to run an errand (get Chanukah cards. Someone had not pulled their display and it was a good time to restock) before going to the gym. The live broadcast of the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols had started on the PBS radio station and I listened to “Once in Royal David’s City” as I got back into the truck, followed by the invocation, and “What Sweeter Music” by John Rutter (one of my favorites). It struck me just how wonderful, unbelievably wonderful, my world is. Continue reading


New Truck

Well, the replacement for Olde Faithful Pick-up arrived on the 23rd. It has more frills than I’d planned on or wanted, but it was the last one in this color in this distribution district, and I did not have a choice. If I’d known about the froo-froo when the salesman located it, I might have turned it down, but it arrived and so the bank and I have joint custody. It is more nimble than the older one, and as I’d feared, the electronics are very distracting. I don’t like having motion in my peripheral vision, and the multi-function display (MFD) scrolls the artist and song info from the radio station when the radio is on. There is also a “heads-down” display that shows the current speed and extraneous info located on the instrument panel between the tach/temp and speedometer. That means the needle-indicated speedometer is offset and smaller. Eventually I will get used to it, but at the moment it is another distraction. Continue reading

Hoarding for Fun and Instinct

No, not herding, hoarding, as in what True-dragons and some HalfDragons do, to Rada Ni Drako’s amusement, occasional chagrin, and growing irritation. Irritation because Joschka hordes relatives. Thanks be he has enough resources, and self-discipline, that he can support his extended family and is willing to let them have their own lives, as long as they write, call, and visit regularly. But once he decides that Rada comes under his aegis in more than just a “subordinate and commanding officer” way, he’s going to try her patience sorely. But she’s not surprised. After all, she’s watched Zabet for how many centuries? (A polite author does not ask such things of a lady. Especially if that lady is Rada ni Drako.) Continue reading

The Ghost of Orion

There, just above the trees, as the last colors of sunset fade from the sheets of high clouds. Watch, look just a touch to the side. Yes. Through the veil of sunset, as the sky darkens from rose to ash-of-roses through lapis to ultramarine. Three diamonds, faint as a dream’s last touch at sunrise, then three more appear. The clouds thin and the Hunter appears before dimming once more. Orion’s ghost stalks the night. Continue reading

Merry Christmas . . .

now get off of the internet! 🙂

Go play with your pets, or harass family members, or wage a snowball fight, or pretend to grump about getting really nice, thick wooly socks.

May you enjoy one day of peace on Earth, good will toward men. May you win any snowball fight you engage in, and may you get what you want and not what you deserve. (Unless you’ve been really, really good.)

You’ve Been in Choir Too Long . . .

. . . when you correct the liturgist. From memory. For at least two denominations.

. . . when you know six composers’ arrangements of a hymn and have a definite preference.

(and you once daydreamed about being invited to join the M.T.C. despite being a gentile and having a sturdy but not spectacular voice)

. . . when the director mentions a composer and over half the choir groans. Continue reading

A Writer’s Purpose

What is the purpose of a writer? What is our job? Translating thoughts into words, and words onto screen, paper, or some other medium. If someone is of a religious or spiritual bent, he might feel that part of his job as a writer is to honor his deity, or to try to enrich the world through writing good stories, true stories (for the Truth as he understands it), or to encourage his fellow believers. Or perhaps the writer’s job is to persuade readers of the rightness of her cause? For fiction writers, it is probably safe to say that our job is to entertain you, the reader. Continue reading

Book Review: A is for Arsenic

Harkup, Katheryn. A is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie (print edition)

No muss, no fuss, a little powder in a drink, or a bit of liquid added to hot coco, and someone stands to gain an inheritance, or conceal a secret. Poisons are a standard in murder mysteries, and Dame Agatha Christie’s books set the gold standard. Dr. Katheryn Harkup takes a chemist’s eye view of Christie’s work, looking at the most common “inheritance powders” and liquids found in the novels and plays. Along the way the reader learns a great deal about forensic science, biochemistry, criminal history, and when to avoid taking tea or accepting a dinner invitation from eager relatives. Continue reading