Broke Cooking and Beans

So, Larry Correia issued a marvelous fisk of some reporter in Houston who has never had to live on a real, ramen-or-nothing-I’m-so-broke budget. Said reporter took it upon himself to explain why poor people eat fast food instead of cooking, and how horribly expensive it is to cook for one’s self.

I’ll just wait until you stop laughing.

What’s amusing to me is that I had just made an enormous mess-o-beans using my favorite pinto bean recipe. I love pinto beans and other legumes. Mom and DadRed are not so inclined, and so whenever they leave me unchaperoned, out comes the bean pot. I’m old school, so I do the overnight soak, followed by a sllloooooowwww cook over low heat. Continue reading

It’s Alive! (The new novella, that is.)

Something lurks in the vliets. Trouble creeps into Hamburg as the rains leave and the heat rises, drifting like the miasmas out of the back-channels and old canals. Imperial Prussian mages threaten men, while half-men, half-armor Klankenmänner lumber through the streets.

Jakob Timmerman, once called Jaeger, senses something in the air. Foul magic oozes through the city, like miasmas from the vliets. The imperial mages have a terrible secret, and Jakob learns it.

Jakob’s only chance to survive lies hidden in the vliets, the stinking, secret, dark vliets.

A steampunk novella, set in Hamburg in 1892.

Quit Jinxing the Forecast!

The weather dudes (and dudettes) did it again. They jinxed the rain away.

Ten days ago, one of the local meteorologists suggested that we might have a good chance for moisture February 15-17. However, he was careful to point out that such forecasts have happened before and the models fell apart as the actual date approached.

Then he went out-of-town for the weekend, and the younger, less pragmatic folks came in. Continue reading


So there I was, minding my own business as I wandered through the house the other afternoon. We had one of those bitter south winds blowing, the kind that cut straight through everything but bricks and boiled wool. I happened to glance out the west-facing window and observed a bedovelment in progress.

You see anything, Bob?

Continue reading

Fat Tuesday

The Battle of Carnival and Lent

Today marks the last day of Fasching (Germany/Austria) and Carnival (France, elsewhere), if you follow the Western Church’s calendar. Feasting and merriment are about to come to an abrupt end, as Christians are enjoined by tradition to renounce certain pleasures, or to take on new devotions and duties, in spiritual preparation before the great feast of Easter.* In Europe this was a time to eat up the last of the meat and butter and other fats. Continue reading

Crossing that River

The physics and engineering behind bridges are fascinating things. I’d forgotten how elegant a good bridge can be, until I was watching some Teaching Company videos the other night. I wanted to read, but my eyes were acting up, so I went with “educational but not Day Job related.”

You got a gap, I got a bridge.

I like bridges. But not floppy suspension bridges. I first met those in Thermopolis, Wyoming when I was eight or nine. Mom laughed at me, but I was not going out on something that flopped, wagged, wiggled and moved in the wind. No, no, not going. Heights of that kind do not bother me, but uncertainty underfoot bugs me to no end. Continue reading

Like Grass Afire

One of the legends that developed in the United States, almost as early as the first Romantics began writing about American Indians and the landscape, was that of the noble Indian living in peace and harmony with the land and with other Indians, never killing more than he could use, using every bit of all animals, and having a special knowledge of the place. By the 1960s and ‘70s, this became “Native Peoples left no footprints on Mother Earth,” meaning that they didn’t cause environmental degradation or change, and that prior to the coming of Europeans, all of North America was pristine wilderness.

To which some brave souls said, “Pick one. Was it home to Native Americans, or untouched land?” Because a few environmental historians had gone back to looking at Indians as people, people who managed their landscape and who occasionally fouled up the landscape. The earliest records about the North American landscape described fires gone wild, foul stenches that covered miles because so many bison had been run over a cliff that at best twenty percent of them could be used at all, and so the remaining hundred rotted, polluting the water and land under them.

Not a Romantic mental picture, is it? Continue reading

Gentlemen and Ladies

What defines a gentleman and a lady? Peggy Noonan had a few good ideas two weeks ago in her Saturday column in the Wall Street Journal. She was considering the reported actions of an actor and the woman who ended up having serious regrets about not saying “no.” Noonan was too kind: I think the man was a cad. However, since the woman went along with his advances, even though she says that she really did not want to, letch and manipulative bounder will have to suffice, if the man did as reported.

Noonan wanted to know what defines a gentleman. She did not ask the next question: what defines a lady? Continue reading

Random Filler Post

I volunteered* to help with a major part of Day Job’s academic contest prep and participation this year, and that’s eating my time at the moment, as is trying to go through the second Shikari book again and alpha or beta reading some things for friends.

Combo fence

I hope to release “In the Vliets” later this month. Then the second Shikari book and the next Cat Among Dragons title over March – April – May.


*Volunteered – when your boss says “Are you familiar with this topic?” You say, “Um, most of it,” and Boss puts you in charge of that section of the tests.