Yes, I know. And I still don’t like!

“If only you really knew them, you’d understand them better!”

“By exposing our [students/customers/employees/children] to a diversity of cultures, we ensure better understanding and a greater appreciation for members of diverse communities.”

Often, with this sort of pronouncement, there is an unspoken but understood “and you [they] will like them and get along with them and stop being judgmental about them (and give them what they ask for).”

Except, historically, that’s not always what happens. In fact, historically, the reverse is often true. When exposed to a strongly different culture, the response frequently is to enforce strict separation of cultures/religions/ethnicities on all sides, get one’s back up, and be even more [culture/religion/ethnicity] than before! Oops. Continue reading


Overheard in the Halls – Part Three

Senior Boy: ” . . . and then he tried to put it in reverse! Took us twenty minutes to dig him out of the sand.”

Senior Boy 2: “He tried to back out? That’s so racist.”

Mr. Long-Slavic-Last-Name to Fr. Romanus: “Splash.”

Fr. Romanus: ‘Splash?”

Mr. L-S-L-N: “The sound of a shark jumping.”

Fr. Romanus: “Ah, Indeed. Indeed.”

[Racist now means inane, stupid, foolish, apparently.]


Continue reading

Alma’s Dream House

If I were to win the Powerball, and the laws of physics and engineering were abrogated, I could build the perfect-for-Alma house. It would have lots of windows, plenty of space for books, an enormous kitchen, and be small enough to clean easily. And be at least partly underground and tornado proof. As I said, if the laws of engineering were abrogated . . . Continue reading


There I was, strolling along on a late winter’s evening. The wind from the south-southwest carried the usual suburban evening scents of dryer sheets, people immolating, er, grilling meat, a smoker, two fireplaces . . .the usual. With sunset and low humidity, the temperature dropped rather nicely, down to the upper 50s, enough for a jacket but also cool enough I wasn’t perspiring much. Strolling along at a brisk pace, watching traffic and thinking about not too much at all, besides the occasional loose dog. La de da, la di lee, ho hum . . .

PhEEEEWWWWWW!! Mephitis mephitis in the neighborhood! Run up wind as fast as you can!

Back away slowly, then run, he's armed!

Back away slowly, then run, he’s armed!

Continue reading

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring (trala) have nothing to do with T.U.L.I.P.

There is theology ahead, and history, and a bit of personal philosophy. I am not Reformed and certainly not a theologian. Read at your own risk. The links take you to the documents mentioned, and to Calvinist discussions of the topic.

On Tuesday I mentioned the acronym T.U.L.I.P. It is shorthand for the foundational doctrines of the Synod of Dort and the Westminster Catechism.

And yes, it is a wink and nod to the Reformed churches of the Netherlands.

Not quite Calvinist Tulips.

Not necessarily Calvinist Tulips.

Continue reading

Peopled Out: Introverts On the Road

Last year I met someone who makes me look like a wild, outgoing, party-animal who never met someone who wasn’t an instant friend. No, I’m not naming names, but I was hiding in a quiet area reading, trying to get away from people for a while, when Superintrovert walked in at a very brisk pace, glanced around, and sat. After a minute I looked up and asked, “Peopled out?”

“Oh yeah. Peopled out.” Ten seconds later Superintrovert departed for truly solitary climes. I felt a little bad, still do, about speaking to Superintrovert and possibly chasing said person away. Then I returned to my book and basked in being alone. Continue reading

The Puritans in the Popular Mind

How old am I? So old that when I was in grade school, the first English to settle New England were considered role models and people to learn about and emulate. No, not the “massacre the Indians because they are just like the Irish” example, but hard-working, faithful, willing the learn and to share, willing to make amazing sacrifices so they could worship as they chose, and hardy. We talked about Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers, dressed up in paper Pilgrim hats and Indian headbands at Thanksgiving and had a popcorn and candy-corn feast. It wasn’t until I was in High School and studying American literature and Hawthorne that I learned how hypocritical, mean-spirited, insular, corrupt, and unkind the Pilgrims were, and how blinkered by religion. Then I went to grad school and got a far better understanding of the whole mess, including a confirmation of my un-fondness for The Scarlet Letter. His other novel about guilt, justice, and families, The House of Seven Gables, is much better. Continue reading

Late and Light Post today

I’m wrapping up a chapter in the next-next Cat novel, doing a continuity check on the steampunk thing, and trying to get at least 1500 words done on an academic paper that is due in early April. Because of the references and footnotes, academic writing takes me about four times as long as does fiction. Normally, for a conference, I prefer to speak from an outline, but this one wants a finished, publication-ready paper along with whatever I use for my talk. Never a day off, when you’re in the word business. 🙂

 At start of day . . .

At start of day . . .

Alma at 1630.

Alma at 1630.

February State-of-the-Author

Short version: recovering from back-to-back upper respiratory messes, the second of which came with mild viral conjunctivitis. Thursday was the first day I actually felt mildly creative and up to doing more than typo hunting.

So . . . The next Cat book, which will have a different title than what I’d planned because there are a gazillion or so romance books with the title To Have and to Hold, will either come out in late May or early July. Why the gap? Because of my being away from the computer in June, or at least that’s the plan at the moment. If it gets done when hoped, then there will be a May e-book release and a July print version. Otherwise both will be in July. Continue reading