Hoppin’ John

This is one of those dishes that have as many recipes as cooks. I can’t think of anyone within my ken who hasn’t modified it to their own taste, adding more spice, making it blander, what have you. It’s poverty food in the sense that if you need to stretch meat a looooong way, but you have some beans and rice and other stuff, you can make a filling and rather comforting dish. This was on frequent rotation when I was flying and in grad school, because I could make it in advance and have lots of leftovers. And yes, it can be inexpensive if you have a left-over ham-bone or meat bits from something.

Fancy New Year's version with fresh collards, as per tradition.

Fancy New Year’s version with fresh collards, as per tradition.

Who was John? No one knows. The recipe comes from the Carolina Low-country, where rice was first grown in North America, and beans with bacon over rice appears in receipt books in the early 1800s. (Receipt is the older term used in parts of the Coastal and Deep South for recipe.)

So, Hoppin’ John.

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New Readers: Where Do I Start?

So if you are a new reader, or are interested in sampling some of my work, or are introducing someone to my work, where do you begin?

  1. What genre are you interested in? I have urban fantasy, military sci-fi with a dash of history, military sci-fi without history, and a few random sci-fi bits and pieces. And one romance story, although several of my books include an element of romance. And one novel that is straight hard sci-fi, although it is related to the military-history series.

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Screwtape and Human Wave

“Dear Wormwood,”

So begins each chapter in a book about how to lure humans away from all that is good and eternal, and into darkness and evil. Screwtape, from the ministry of temptations, instructs his nephew Wormwood on all the varied ways that mankind slips into sin. You do not have to be a Christian to read some of the letters and feel a chill. The letters, written by C. S. Lewis between 1938-1942, could be written today.  Especially Letter XV. Continue reading

Book Review: Big Blue

Burkhead, David L. Big Blue (August 2016) Kindle Edition

Does anyone remember the movie posters for Aliens vs. Predator that said “No matter who wins, Humanity Loses”? Aside from thinking that it really should have been mankind instead of humanity? OK, how many of you are thinking that writing Marko Niska (“A candidate with a proven reputation.”) or Yellowstone Volcano/S.M.O.D. in for president is a better alternative to the present slate? Or you agree with “Vote Cthulu: Why settle for the lesser Evil?”

Your book has arrived. The pairing everyone has wondered about but feared to imagine is here. And North America is the half-way point. Don’t bother checking your insurance police, because nothing can cover you when the Great Old One collides with atomic weapons gone wrong. Continue reading

Occupy Update

After a brief hiatus to reassess the purpose of Occupy:Toilet Mat and to consider options for furthering those goals, the Occupation has indeed resumed despite the removal of The Mat.



The movement has resumed just as it first began. In the dark of night, the wee hours when most people are asleep, “MrreEEEEOOwww!” Continue reading

The Oklahoma Hills

A story from my flying days . . .

In the Oklahoma Hills

The morning started well then went splat, she thought, as the Seneca chugged along on autopilot. She woke up at four, hustled out to the airport and managed to get the plane out of its stall without dinging or breaking anything. Then she ran back to town for passenger snacks, picking up some for her people as well as for another pilot’s load. Except she hadn’t looked at the number of his passengers, and didn’t get enough. She offered him her donuts and pastries, but he said no, and told her to go back and get more for him. He’d take care of her people. As she charged out the door, headlights turned into the parking lot. Guess who? The ranking pilot sighed and said not to bother. She made a last “pit stop,” and emerged to find that he’d taken over, to the point of introducing her to “her” passengers. Which she could understand, because he knew them and went to church with two of the three. But it still stung. Continue reading

Places and Music 1

Music is a powerful memory trigger. In this case, I caught the memory but could not place what it was, exactly, not until the second time I prepared the composition for performance. Then I realized what my mind had begun to replay. It was . . . an interesting combination. Continue reading